£5m plan for Darwin ship replica launched

A £5 million project to rebuild the Royal Navy ship made famous by Shrewsbury’s Charles Darwin has been launched, with donations expected to flood in.

The HMS Beagle set sail in 1831 to take Darwin on his famous voyage
The HMS Beagle set sail in 1831 to take Darwin on his famous voyage

A £5 million project to rebuild the Royal Navy ship made famous by Shrewsbury’s Charles Darwin has been launched, with donations expected to flood in.

Darwin set sail aboard the HMS Beagle from Plymouth with captain Robert FitzRoy in 1831 to start a five-year voyage around the world. The naturalist compiled a detailed scientific journal, later turning it into a famous book of memoirs.

Now an almost identical replics of the ship is to be built using the same materials, such as English oak, which were used at the time.

The campaign needs to raise £5million, substantially more than the £7,803 which originally constructed the vessel.

The HMS Beagle project is aiming to re-enact Darwin’s world-changing voyage by rebuilding the ship and travelling on the same route as Darwin did all those years ago, taking in places such as Brazil, Chile, New Zealand and Australia.

Officials behind the campaign hope it will set sail from a dock in England by December 2013 and along the journey satellite images will relay the discoveries to schoolchildren.

It is hoped to eventually open up the Beagle to paying customers and school groups, helping to ‘bring the adventure of science to life’ through education.

Shropshire residents are being urged to get involved with the recreation project by making donations and signing up for updates.

Lisa Taylor, project administrator for the HMS Beagle project, said: “This is the core of the overall scheme and the whole idea is that it will retrace the journey that Darwin first took all those years ago.

“The ship will have satellite connections to classrooms around the world because we feel very strongly that seeing things first hand is critical and that there’s been a personal connection with nature that’s been missing in recent times.

“The ship will be a slightly more modern version but still built to the original specification and we’re currently looking at various shipyards across England to acts as its home port.”

The HMS Beagle Project can be contacted at www.hmsbeagleproject.org or via email at admin@hmsbeagleproject.org