CAMPAIGNERS have been left frustrated after a museum is relinquishing one of its centrepiece exhibitions.
A model of HMS Victory has greeted visitors at the Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower in Gosport since 2005.
‘Gosport played a massive part in Victory and we believe it should stay as part of the exhibition.Councillor Roger Allen
It pays tribute to the role that the town played by providing the ship with ammunition and its sailors with food and rum. But now the scale model is being removed.
Professor Dominic Tweddle, director general of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, says that it is time for a change of exhibits.
He said: ‘The decision to do so has not been taken lightly but reflects our desire to improve our displays to visitors and concentrate more on the collection which is unique to the site.
‘We entirely agree on the importance of HMS Victory and her connections to Gosport and Portsmouth Harbour.
‘However, we consider it far more enriching for our visitors to see the ship itself.
‘The NMRN is working hard to attract visitors to our Gosport sites and to continue investing in them. We strongly urge councillors to support our work.’
But Councillor Roger Allen says he wants the model to stay on show at Explosion!
He said: ‘Gosport played a massive part in Victory and we believe it should stay as part of the exhibition.
‘The model is unique in its attention to detail and a massive credit to her builder.
‘The ammunition and gunpowder used on Victory was made at Priddy’s Hard and the sailors were fed out of Royal Clarence Yard.
‘Explosion museum was opened as the “museum of naval firepower” to showcase the history of weaponry used by the navy throughout history.
‘There can be no ship that is more famously associated with naval firepower than HMS Victory.’
Cllr Peter Edgar helped get the model ship into the museum in 2005 when it was run by Hampshire County Council.
He said: ‘It is absolutely vital that it remains at Explosion.
‘For 110 years it was a Gosport ship and it is a big part of the town’s heritage.’
HMS Victory played a pivotal part in helping Britain win the Battle of Trafalgar and was docked in Gosport when it returned until 1922.
The model was designed by Stephan Krampf, and was donated to the museum free of charge.
Herr Krampf, of Flossenburg, Germany, spent eight years building the 150kg, 4.4m long and 3.1m high ship.