Hundreds enjoy Gosport museum’s third year at battery

EXHIBITS David Gibbs from Gosport and his son Edward, eight, look around the Diving Museum. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (132544-2)
EXHIBITS David Gibbs from Gosport and his son Edward, eight, look around the Diving Museum. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (132544-2)
Harleston Road. Picture: Google Maps

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A MUSEUM is celebrating its third year of plumbing the depths of diving history in Gosport.

The Diving Museum, based in No 2 Battery, at Stokes Bay, Gosport, was made into a museum in 2010 and opened in April 2011.

Between 400 and 500 people packed out the small but professional museum from Thursday to Friday.

It had opened its doors as part of Gosport Heritage Open Days.

Kevin Casey is the museums officer at The Historical Diving Society, which runs the museum.

He said: ‘We were very, very busy and had good reports.

‘We had all of our guides there so there were plenty of people showing everyone around.

‘People were very surprised – they don’t expect it to be as good as it is.’

Among the guests was the mayor of Gosport, Cllr John Beavis.

In 2010 the society was given use of the historical coastal defence and spent time cleaning up ready to use.

It boasts a Russian diving suit, a 350kg Newtsuit, spear guns and children’s activities.

Now the museum has been expanding, with a new room open this season, showcasing Gosport’s link to diving, along with models of the Stokes Bay Lines.

Kevin added: ‘It’s part of No 2 Battery that wasn’t open to the public for the first two years.

‘Those exhibits are primarily anything to do with Gosport and the battery... and the history of diving relating to Gosport.’

As reported, the town has a strong connection to diving history.

The first diving helmet sold was bought by Gosport mariner Henry Abbinett, who in 1836 dived into the Solent to become the first person to see the Mary Rose in almost 300 years.

Then it was the co-inventor of the diving helmet, John Deane, who lived in Gosport from 1835 to 1845, and his partner, who recovered timbers, guns, longbows, and other items from the wreck.

And the museum is expanding outside No 2 Battery, after it took over an ARP Shelter in Alverstoke.

The shelter, near the corner of the Tebourba Drive and The Avenue, is now the home of much of the museum’s archives.

The museum is open 11am to 4pm each day until the end of October.

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