The keel is made of English Elm from the forests near Portsmouth. It was the first structure to be laid when building Victory. It is major part of the ship, which ties together the upright frames, the stem (front) and stern post (rear).
On top of the keel is another thick layer of English Elm known as the deadwood, or hog, which helps fix the bottommost planking. On top of the deadwood is the oak keelson, which attaches to the stemson at the fore (front) of the ship and the sternson at the aft (rear). Large sections of these structures are thought to be original.
The keel is believed to be almost entirely ‘as launched’, except for a 4.5 metre section that was damaged during a 1941 air raid.
All fastenings are copper, apart from those used for the modern repair, which are galvanised steel.