D-Day Museum revamp starts

The D-Day Museum on Southsea seafront ''Picture: Malcolm Wells ( 123505-5512)
The D-Day Museum on Southsea seafront ''Picture: Malcolm Wells ( 123505-5512)

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A BRAND new entrance has kick-started the multi-million pound regeneration of Portsmouth’s D-Day Museum.

Visitors to the seafront attraction will now be greeted by a huge picture of British troops in June 1944 about to board the landing craft that would carry them to Normandy.

Taken from the archives of The News, the image was captured at South Parade Pier, in Southsea, just days after D-Day itself and has been enlarged to cover the front of the museum.

It has been paid for by Portsmouth City Council, which is aiming to bid for £4.4m from the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out major work to the museum ahead of the 70th anniversary of D-Day in 2014.

The new entrance will be officially opened tomorrow by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Cllr Frank Jonas, who will arrive at 10am for the ribbon cutting ceremony alongside veterans.

The occasion will also mark the arrival to the building of the visitor information service, which has moved from outside the Blue Reef Aquarium into the museum’s foyer.

D-Day Museum development officer Andrew Whitmarsh was involved in selecting the photograph and said he hoped it would grab the attention of people passing by.

He said: ‘We wanted it to show Portsmouth’s connection with D-Day. The picture shows troops about to load onto a landing craft at South Parade Pier just a few days after D-Day.

‘It is good to have that local connection – it is almost exactly the view of what someone would have seen on the seafront 68 years ago.

‘Part of the reason for choosing it was that it would grab people’s attention from a distance. Hopefully people will think it is quite striking and it will draw them in to come and look around.

‘This is the start of a period of redevelopment for the museum.’

The new signs for the museum will also be lit in the evenings.