'Astonishing' £7m restoration of D-Day vessel in Southsea wins top award

AN ‘ASTONISHING’ £7m project in the city to restore the last remaining landing craft tank from D-Day has won a coveted award.

Saturday, 3rd July 2021, 11:03 am

The unique LCT 7074, which is now part of the D-Day Story museum on Southsea seafront, was awarded the Museum and Heritage Awards restoration or conservation project of the year.

Judges ruled the scale of the restoration was ‘astonishing’ and ‘brilliantly delivered.’

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D-Day veterans welcomed aboard LCT 7074 in Southsea ahead of public opening tomo...

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LCT 7074 following its restoration. Picture: NMRN

LCT 7074 reached her new home in Southsea last year following the two-year restoration that was carried out by the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) and Portsmouth City Council and mainly funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the National Heritage Memorial Fund.

Professor Dominic Tweddle, director general of the NMRN, said: ‘This award really does demonstrate the unique and extraordinary skills that the National Museum of the Royal Navy conservation team hold. The challenge to conserve a fragile low-grade steel vessel made to last months and ensure she is robust enough to tell the vital story of D-Day for generations to come is immense.

‘We drew on the conservation expertise of our historic ships team, the largest of its kind in in the world. Measuring just four feet shorter than one of the NMRN’s other historic ships Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson's HMS Victory, the sheer scale of LCT 7074 is breath-taking and we were honoured to bring her back to life.’

LCT 7074 Before Restoration - Copyright NMRN

The prestigious industry recognition comes at the same time that the National Lottery Heritage Fund confirmed an addition £589,000 to support the project and plug the gap left in its finances caused by Covid delays.

Portsmouth council’s culture boss, Councillor Ben Dowling, added: ‘I'm delighted LCT 7074 has won this award, it's truly deserved after the fantastic response it has had from Portsmouth residents and visitors. The landing craft adds an extra dimension to the D-Day Story and adds another iconic attraction to Portsmouth as a destination. It also creates new opportunities for the museum's outreach work and helps engage a younger audience, proving particularly popular on social media.’

Entry to LCT 7074 is included in admission to The D-Day Story allowing visitors to step on board.

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