Row over plan to ship HMS Victory model out of museum

Model maker Stefan Krapf (28) pushes his model of HMS Victory into the Explosion Museum, Gosport in 2005
Model maker Stefan Krapf (28) pushes his model of HMS Victory into the Explosion Museum, Gosport in 2005
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A HUGE model of an historic ship could sail out Gosport as a museum makes way for a new exhibit and a council has not re-homed it.

The Victory model at Explosion! Museum, in Priddy’s Hard, Gosport, is set to be removed from the foyer.

Curator Nick Hewitt told The News it has been in the museum’s only temporary exhibition space since 2005.

He wants to move it in October to install displays on the First World War ahead of the centenary next year.

With no storage space in the museum or an alternative site in Gosport, it could go to Portsmouth or back to Germany.

But councillors have argued it should stay put as Gosport has a strong connection with the Georgian warship.

Cllr Roger Allen, member for Hardway, said: ‘We’re incensed about it.

‘The history of Victory has a got a hell of a lot of to do with Gosport and its heritage.

‘We just don’t want to see it taken away.’

Stefan Krapf, of Flossenburg, Bavaria, Germany, spent eight years building the 150kg 4.4m long and 3.1m high ship.

It was moved to the museum back in 2005, when Herr Krapf, then 27, offered it to the then council-run museum.

But Mr Hewitt said that was only on a lease basis and in 2011 he told the borough council it would need to find a new home in the town.

He said he has since suggested it go to an undisclosed place in Portsmouth but has not received a response.

Mr Hewitt said: ‘I first broached this with [the council] 18 months ago.

‘I extended the loan deliberately to give them more time to find a home in Gosport for it, I’m so disappointed.

‘We don’t have appropriate storage for a delicate model.’

He added First World War objects in storage would be brought out for a new display.

‘We’ve got the First World War centenary coming up and we need to be doing something to reflect that very strong local Gosport story,’ he said.

‘Priddy’s Hard was hugely busy in the First World War.’

Paul Dunton, a member of the Gosport Society, said he wants to see it stay put.

He said: ‘Why can’t the council display it in the Town Hall until such time as the war display is over?

‘It’s such an attraction, it’s a lifetime’s work.’