UK: Refurbished Devonport Naval Heritage Centre Attracts Over 1,200 Visitors
The newly refurbished Devonport Naval Heritage Centre, which unveiled historical secrets to the public, has been declared a success by attracting over 1,200 visitors during the inaugural Plymouth History Festival.
Intrigued visitors, including base staff and families, poured into the base on the two Open Days, in particular to learn fascinating historical facts from ‘behind the dockyard wall’.
There were also guided tours by the heritage volunteers and themed talks on subjects such as Crime and Punishment in the 18th and 19th Centuries which highlighted Plymouth’s rich history and heritage.
The Naval Heritage Manager, Warrant Officer Adrian “Boz” Boswell, said:
“The Open Days gave us the rare opportunity to throw open the Naval Base gates to the public as part of the city’s History Festival.
“This gave us the chance to show-case our rich heritage collection to hundreds of people who were fascinated to see what lies behind the Naval Base wall.
“The Royal Navy has very close links with the people of Plymouth and further afield going back hundreds of years and we are keen for them to see what is usually necessarily closed to them in as large numbers as possible.
“Therefore, it is very encouraging to see so many come through the gates and enjoy themselves delving into the past and seeing the present as well.
“We are looking forward to opening again as part of the Armed Forces Week celebrations on Sunday 30th June.’’
Volunteers worked for six months preparing heritage collection for display and refurbishing the galleries which includes a display on HMS Warspite the Royal Navy’s most decorated warship which was launched in Plymouth 100 years ago on 26 November 1913.
Visitors were given the unique opportunity to be given a guided tour of Courageous – the only decommissioned nuclear-powered submarine opened as a museum this side of the Atlantic.
Refurbished entirely by volunteers, the Churchill Class nuclear submarine provides a fascinating glimpse into the operational world of the ‘Silent Service’ and the cramped conditions in which 120 men worked, ate, slept and socialised.
The Naval Heritage Centre is accessed via Granby Way in Devonport. Admission is free, although donations to help maintain the exhibitions are welcome.
The next Naval Heritage Centre Open Day will be on Sunday 30th June from 10am – 5pm.
Press Release, June 17, 2013; Image: Royal Navy