LCT 7074: D-Day landing craft tank in Southsea to reopen to the public

AN HISTORIC craft that is unique to Portsmouth is set to reopen to the public next week.

The LCT 7074 - which is the only remaining landing craft tank used during D-Day in the world - will open on May 17 as part of the D-Day Story museum in Southsea

Following a six-year restoration project that cost £4.7m, the craft first opened to the public in December last year but was closed just eight days later due to Covid restrictions.

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The LCT 7074 when it arrived in Southsea. Picture Credit: Keith Woodland

Stephen Baily, director of culture at Portsmouth City Council, said: 'LCT 7074 was a hugely popular addition to the museum when we officially opened in December, and we were disappointed to have to close so quickly, but we are delighted to be re-opening the D-Day Story next week.

'It is a huge honour to hold LCT 7074 at the museum; another piece of history in Portsmouth that highlights the important part our city played in D-Day.'

And this week, it was announced the LCT 7074 has been shortlisted for the conservation and restoration project of the year at the 2021 Museum and Heritages Awards.

The LCT was decommissioned in 1948 and then used as a nightclub in Liverpool in the 1970s and 80s. However, she fell into disrepair and sank into the Mersyside dock in 2010.

The landing craft tank LCT 7074 at The D Day Story in Southsea, when it first opened to the public on December 12. Pictured is: (l-r) Andrew Whitmarsh, curator, Felicity Wood, public participation officer, James Batney, manager, Ewan Cole and Alice Mew, Museum and Visitors Service Officers at The D Day Story. Picture: Sarah Standing (111220-426)

Supported by a £4.7m grant from the National Lottery she was then restored at the Portsmouth Naval Base, managed by the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) and Portsmouth City Council, before being transported to its new home along the seafront last year.

Head of collections and exhibitions at the NMRN, Nick Hewitt, said: 'The restoration of LCT 7074 has been a long and arduous project for the team at NMRN, and we have encountered several setbacks with the movement and opening of the ship due to Covid-19.

'So, to see her outside the D-Day Story and to know that so many visitors will be able to experience her first-hand is a fantastic feeling.

'When she was rescued by the museum, she was rusty, unloved and covered in barnacles; having spent many years submerged at Birkenhead Dock. But now, she is transformed.'

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

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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