• About Us

    About Us

The Unicorn Preservation Society was formed in 1968 and is charged with the conservation and preservation of HMS Unicorn as a Museum and Heritage Asset.  The Society is a registered charity in Scotland, registration number SC002771 and is constituted as a Company Limited by Guarantee, registration number SC046145.

We have ambitious plans to secure HMS Unicorn's future by dry-docking her close to her current location.  

Trustees

Our Board of Trustees comprises:

Lady Catherine Erskine - Chair
I have been involved in the restoration of a historic estate, Cambo Estate, since moving to Scotland in the 1970s and I am heavily involved in fundraising, tourism and running a visitor attraction. I originally joined the Scottish Country Dancing group which took place on the Unicorn and was invited to join the Board in 2010. My passions? I am still passionate about Scottish country dancing and I am a very keen gardener and walker.


Professor Eric Wright - Vice Chair
I recently retired from the University of Dundee. I was a medical research scientist and Fellow of The Royal Society of Edinburgh, with extensive experience in academic governance and have been a member of many committees of professional societies, scientific and educational charities and trusts, and UK and USA government advisory committees. I was elected as a trustee in 2019. I live in Fife and my pastimes include managing a three-acre garden and working through a large book collection.


Bob Steel - Treasurer
I was a partner in KPMG, one of the global big four accounting firms, where I worked in Edinburgh, Dundee and the USA. On return from the USA in 1998, l joined Henderson Loggie in Dundee becoming its managing partner in 1999 until I retired in 2018. Catherine, on the recommendation of a mutual friend, introduced me to HMS Unicorn and I was delighted to become a member of the Board. How else do I spend my time? I golf, play bridge, curl, travel, play guitar and listen to anything from Woody Guthrie to Wagner.


Commodore Eric Fraser - Chair of Steering Committee
I joined UPS as a Trustee in 2018 after 37 years in the Royal Navy and a subsequent spell as Scotland’s first Veterans’ Commissioner. With an active interest in our country’s maritime heritage, I was delighted to be invited to join the Board and have thoroughly enjoyed being involved in developing a long-term plan for HMS Unicorn. I now run a tour guiding company with my wife, and any spare time is taken up with golf, fly-fishing and, of course, spending time with my grandchildren.


Norma Aitken
As Head of Corporate Services within the Fife Health & Social Care Partnership, my role covers all aspects of good governance and communications functions. I served 2 terms as an Executive Director of NHS Fife and latterly was Chair of the Kirkcaldy & Levenmouth Community Health Partnership. I have been involved in community and public engagement at Local and National level for over 20 years. Living in the village of Thornton, I Chair the Community Council and the Thornton Green Fingers Group. My favourite pastimes are pottering in the garden, fundraising for the Scottish Cairn Terrier Rescue and walking my two dogs Evie and Midge.


Bruce Linton
I started James Keiller Estates in 1980, focussing on commercial, residential and leisure property development. Part of the largely Dundee-based portfolio was sold off in late 2018. I have recently purchased Scotia Homes in Ellon with a partner to help build a strong family business. I was delighted to join UPS 2 years ago. I am an Honorary Fellow of Dundee University and also a trustee of Dundee Heritage Trust.


James Toal
I am a Fifer with over 40 years’ experience in Customer Service, Sales and Marketing. On retiring as a Director of Marley Eternit, UK’s largest manufacturer of roofing products, I volunteered with The Prince’s Trust as a business mentor for young entrepreneurs and served as a Trustee with two Learning Disability charities. I was invited to become involved with the Society in 2019. My favourite pastimes are fly fishing, photography, old cars and motor racing; mostly now superseded by playing with my 2-year-old granddaughter.


Emma Jane Wells
I am a museum and heritage professional, and have worked with a wide range of organisations throughout my career. I am a Falkland Islander by birth and so have an interest in maritime heritage. I joined Unicorn's Board to provide museum and collections-specific advice and support. I have 3 young children, so have little time left of my own! We have ponies at home and I also enjoy reading and keeping fit.


Steve Wood
I am a Chartered Structural Engineer and my entire working life has revolved around the existing and historic built environment. My day job is Technical Director of Conservation with a firm of Consulting Engineers, David Narro Associates. A long-held fascination with naval history and architecture led me to hunt down Unicorn in 2004 en route to a sailing tour of Scapa Flow. Visiting the ship from time to time, and regular contact, led to me being invited to join the Board of Trustees in 2015.




In addition to our Trustees three others with governance roles attend our Board meetings:

Lord Dalhousie - President
I served in the Coldstream Guards for more than 10-years before having a 25-year career as an investment banker. Since then, I have been heavily involved in running Dalhousie Estates, our family-run business engaged in farming, property letting, forestry and field sports. I have a unique, lifelong link to HMS Unicorn in that my father helped to save the ship in 1968. I am now helping to preserve the ship in a sustainable environment for future generations. Dalhousie Estates, my wife, three children and six grandchildren keep me busy. But, when not working, I enjoy country sports, gardening and history.


Captain Tom Woolley - Technical Adviser
In addition to a career in the RN and RNR, I have been in the commercial maritime industry for the past 40 years; I am the managing director of Targe Towing Limited and a past member of BP’s North Sea’s HSE leadership team. As Chair of the Unicorn Technical Committee, I am deeply committed to preserving the ship and to bringing my commercial and professional knowledge in support. My other interests include ornithology, walking, cycling, gardening and religion.


Dr Tom Mitchell for CGPM Consulting LLP - Company Secretary
My background is as a Chartered Accountant and working in international offices of major accounting firms and in financial services. For the past decade, I have managed a firm of Chartered Accountants that specialises in working with charities improving governance, finance, risk and people matters. I sit on the ICAS charities technical panel and act as a trustee for three charities. I was first engaged by the Society for a governance review in 2014. When not working, I love to read, garden and delve into modern history.


Staff team

Our staff team are always pleased to welcome you On Board:

Dr William Rough - Operations Manager
My background is in the education and the museum sector. I have a Ph.D. in the History of Art and a Postgraduate Diploma in Museum and Gallery Studies. I volunteered with the Maritime Volunteer Service before joining HMS Unicorn as Learning and Engagement Officer in 2015 and was then promoted to Operations Manager in 2018. Outside of Unicorn, I enjoy visiting other museums, folk music, walking my dog, and learning to play the concertina."


Finlay Raffle - Learning & Development Officer
I am a Dundonian and my background is in history. I studied at the University of Glasgow and went on to do a postgraduate degree in Museum & Gallery Studies at the University of St Andrews. I started working on the ship in 2016 as a Museum Assistant and in 2018 became the Learning & Engagement Officer. My favourite pastime is playing the piano, particularly Chopin, Sondheim, and Billy Joel.


Garry Coppin - Maintenance Officer
My background is in IT infrastructure project management and working as an IT solutions architect for a global IT sales company, based around London and the south east. More recently I have been involved in support work for adults with additional needs. I first got involved with the Unicorn around 2012 as a volunteer whilst out of work following a visit to the ship. My favourite pasttime? it has to be baking bread.


Natasha Rubczak - Front of House
I began volunteering at HMS Unicorn in 2016, mostly focusing on archival work. Since 2018 I have been employed as a Museum Assistant and I look after the Visitor Experience. I am currently undertaking an MLitt in Museum and Gallery Studies at St Andrews University. You'll never guess my favourite pasttime? ...visiting museums!


Federica Papiccio - Collections Intern
I joined HMS Unicorn in January 2019, and oversee the museum’s collections. I graduated from the European Institute of Design before completing an MLitt in Museum and Gallery Studies at St Andrews. Having held various posts in the heritage sector, I am now pursuing a PhD at St Andrews. When I'm not working, you will find me reading, playing my ukulele, watching long movie-marathons or, of course, brewing never-ending cups of green tea.


Lucy Richardson - Events Co-ordinator
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Connor Jones - Intern
I graduated with a Diploma in Accounting and Finance in 2018. I am interested in the inner workings of charities as well as the front facing operations of a museum like UPS. I originally got involved through Bernardo's Works Employability Fund as a volunteer in May 2019. I was kindly offered a year-long placement position as a Museum Assistant in July 2020 funded by Community Jobs Scotland. In my spare time, I'm a keen and avid chess player learning to be savvy with finances!





In addition to our staff team you may also see a number of our volunteers on board at any time.

Future plans

There is no doubt of the historical significance of the ship. It is imperative that a sustainable future for the ship is created in an environment where the major risks are alleviated. Our strategic plan, which you can link to here, sets out our way forward.

What are the major risks? There are three primary risks that the Society is focussed on:

  • Over time ships experience stress along their hull, causing the centre to bend upwards or downwards. HMS Unicorn is bending upwards;
  • Rainwater damage. The saltwater in which Unicorn sits helps preserve her exposed timber. Rainwater is acidic in nature and corrodes the exposed wood. This is the reason that Unicorn was roofed when built. It is rainwater that damages the outer skin of the hull and if we don't repair leaks the the inner skin of timber too;
  • Time. Even with the relative protection of saltwater, the hull of a wooden ship deteriorates over time and requires high levels of maintenance and repair.

At the foot of the page is a link to our donation page, please click it and give generously to the HMS Unicorn Fund.

Shop on board

We have a comprehensive on-board shop, selling everything from pencils to pewter and soft toys to mugs. Only a selection of our offering is shown here:

Souvenirs



Mugs and ceramics



Household



Personal

Child friendly



Toys



Personal



Really useful

Books



Books about HMS Unicorn



Local Maritime History



Local literature

Our policies

We have several policies and make four available to visitors and guests to the Ship through this website:

 

Get in touch

If you would like to find out more about us on board HMS Unicorn, please contact us by phone on 01382 200900 or by email  at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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