New suit will lead to deeper knowledge at Gosport’s diving museum

DEEP DOWN Museums officer Kevin Casey with the deep sea Newtsuit. Picture: Ian Hargreaves  (123924-3)
DEEP DOWN Museums officer Kevin Casey with the deep sea Newtsuit. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (123924-3)
Paul Wilkins. Picture: Sussex Police

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GOSPORT’S Diving Museum might be closed over the winter but work has not stopped to make next year’s displays even better than this year.

The latest addition to the museum, in Stokes Bay Road, Gosport, is a 10-year-old, 350kg Newtsuit, which was previously at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.

Staff received the atmospheric diving suit, which can withstand a pressure of 500psi, last week.

Suits of its type are suitable for a variety of uses, including helping in a submarine rescue and for preparing underwater gas and oil fields.

It also has two thruster packs, which are electrically-driven propellers, so that the diver inside it can move more quickly.

And the suit, which can take a diver 1,000ft below water without any complications, is one of many planned new exhibits at the museum, which will reopen in March.

Gosport resident and museum officer at the nationally-run Historical Diving Society, Kevin Casey, said that he hopes the new attraction will bring even more people to the museum.

‘It’s a very early example, it was the 18th one built, it’s got a number 18 on it,’ he said.

‘It’s very important because there’s not a lot of them in the world.

‘There are a few in museums but it’s the only one I know of in a museum in this country.

‘It’s such an expensive piece of equipment, you just can’t go and say “oh can I have one of those and put it in my museum?”.’

John Bevan, the chairman of the Historical Diving Society, said he hopes that the suit will help the museum build on its successful first two years in Gosport.

He said: ‘It complements our exhibits beautifully because we also have another suit there, another atmospheric diving suit which was a German one, which is nearly 100 years old now.

‘It’s from the 1930s so we’ve got an old one and a new to show how it’s developed.’

And the museum will soon take delivery of more pieces of diving history, including items from the Royal Navy.