Marines’ move to dockyard is sad but makes sense

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So, the inevitable has finally happened. Sadly, the Royal Marines Museum is to quit its home of 55 years and move to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

Sadly? Yes, because it is the last vestige of the courageous corps left on the site of its magnificent old barracks.

Sad too because it is the one big draw to what many would say is a greatly-neglected corner of Portsea Island. Perhaps.

However, deep down, no matter how attached one might be to the museum and its spiritual home, we know it makes commercial sense.

How many times have we all been stopped by puzzled visitors in and close to the Historic Dockyard searching vainly for the Royal Marines Museum?

And when you tell them it’s a fair old yomp (or drive and another parking charge) along the seafront, watch them shrug their shoulders and give it a miss.

You cannot argue with the logic expressed in our story on page 7 today by museum director Robert Bruce when he says: ‘The story of the Royal Marines is at the heart of the naval story which is told at the dockyard.

‘That’s the right place for the whole story to be linked up together.’

The museum currently attracts an average of 29,000 visitors a year. It’s a fair figure, but one which the administrators reckon they can quadruple off the back of HMS Victory, Warrior, the National Museum of the Royal Navy and, of course, the stunning new Mary Rose museum.

But before this happens by the end of 2017 we should all hope several things happen.

Firstly, that the museum is given the space and facilities it so richly deserves in the dockyard.

Secondly, that the superb building which is currently home to the museum is put to sensible use (although we suspect it will be converted into apartments).

Thirdly, that at a time when there is so much talk about how to breathe new life into the seafront, deep thought is given about what we do with the Eastney corner of the city.

And that does not mean an endless parade of beach huts...