WORK has started on a one-of-a-kind attraction which will tell the story of the Royal Navy since 1914.
The National Museum of the Royal Navy has begun restoring its 18th century-built Storehouse 10 that will house the new exhibition in Portsmouth’s historic dockyard.
It is scheduled to open in spring 2014, in time for the centenary of the start of the First World War.
The exhibition, named HMS – Hear My Story, will tell the stories of those who have taken part in conflicts over the last 100 years.
Project director Matthew Sheldon said: ‘It will be the largest exhibition anywhere in the country and there is nowhere better for it than Portsmouth.
‘There is a huge amount of work involved before we can put the exhibition in; this building has been quite unloved over the years.
‘The exhibition will be about the untold personal stories.
‘It’s really important for us because the centenary of the start of the First World War is in 2014 and we really want this exhibition to be open by then.’
The new exhibition space and galleries will be named the Babcock Galleries.
As well as the HMS exhibition, there will also be space for other displays which will rotate throughout the year to commemorate anniversaries and showcase new collections.
The work will cost £4.5m, of which £1.4m is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Dick Martin is the project manager for contractor Warings.
He said: ‘I actually delayed my retirement to do this job because when I was 16 I started my life here as an apprentice bricklayer doing pointing work on this same building. As it was my first job I wanted to make it my last and have things come full circle.
‘I’m very happy with how everything is going so far.’
The National Museum of the Royal Navy will stay open during the work.