The SS Nomadic is a ship that lived almost a hundred years longer than its ill-fated big sister, RMS Titanic. Both were built in Belfast in 1911 by Harland and Wolfe and the Nomadic is the last surviving vessel of the famous transatlantic White Star Line. After a chequered career that included active service in both World Wars, the Nomadic returned to its Belfast home and is now a museum ship on the Hamilton Graving Dock.
Consarc Conservation were appointed to be part of an integrated Design Team to oversee the conservation, repair and refurbishment of the vessel’s interior to its former 1911 condition. It was established that the original flooring material had been Linoleum, buried under a cement screed since the late 1960s when the ship was converted into a floating restaurant in Paris. The discovery of this original flooring material helped to inform the geometric design and colour-pattern chosen from the standard Forbo ‘Global 3’ range. The original flooring, now restored, is displayed as an exhibit on board the vessel.
Forbo thus played a leading role in the re-creation of the vessel’s original interior. The design department at Forbo Flooring in Kirkauldy reproduced the original flooring pattern on CAD and this can now be seen by visitors to the First and Second class areas.
“The choice of floor covering was driven by the desire to replace the original material with something that matched it as closely as possible”, explains Graeme Moore, RIBA conservation architect and Associate at Consarc Conservation, Belfast. “The new product is also the ideal choice for durability and ease of maintenance, the ‘Topshield’ coating ensuring that the heavily trafficked areas under tourists’ feet can be cleaned with only warm water”.
Forbo is proud to be part of this important restoration project, and to have proved once again that innovation is the best form of preservation.