Royal praise for Dockyard museum staff

CONNECTION Princess Anne talking to the Pescott-Frost family inside the museum (112326-3228)
CONNECTION Princess Anne talking to the Pescott-Frost family inside the museum (112326-3228)

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PRINCESS Anne praised staff at the National Museum of the Royal Navy on a visit to mark its 100th birthday.

The Princess Royal was the guest of honour today at a party in the Victory Gallery in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard to celebrate a century of naval heritage in the city.

The Queen’s daughter, who is a patron of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, unveiled a plaque and thanked staff for all their hard work.

She said: ‘I look forward to working with many of you for many years to come as the museum continues to develop.’

The Dockyard Museum, as it was initially called, first opened on June 28 1911.

It was the brainchild of Mark Pescott-Frost, the Secretary to the Admiral Superintendent of Portsmouth Royal Dockyard.

His early work to preserve items for posterity has grown into the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard as it is today – bringing in 500,000 visitors every year.

In her speech to 200 guests, Princess Anne said: ‘I wonder if Mark Pescott-Frost, when imagining the Dockyard Museum at the start of the 20th century, ever thought 100 years later we would have an internationally-renowned destination?’

The royal was visibly thrilled by a new stained glass window made by Fareham artist Ross Pringle, saying ‘I love the colours.’

The window in the Victory Gallery marks key dates in the museum’s past.

Mr Pringle said: ‘I’m very happy with how it’s worked out. Everybody seems quite pleased with it so I’m glad and a little bit relieved really that it’s all gone ok.

‘Princess Anne said she liked it so I’m very happy. It was a fantastic experience to meet her.’

The Princess Royal mingled with guests and was shown around by Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, who is the chairman of trustees at the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

He said: ‘It’s a real delight to be able to celebrate 100 years of naval heritage in Portsmouth.

‘I’m very proud of what has been achieved here. We should use it as our inspiration to look forward to keep developing the museum for the future.

‘We have 500,000 visitors a year at the moment but we should be getting one million people through the doors and I think we’ve got the team to do that. It can be done.’

The Princess Royal also opened the Trafalgar Link Road into the Naval Base during her visit to the city.