Gosport museum receives almost £1m for refurbishment project

NAVAL and military history will be brought to the forefront of a museum redevelopment.

Monday, 26th July 2021, 3:10 pm
Updated Monday, 26th July 2021, 7:48 pm

The Old Grammar School in Gosport High Street has received almost £1m from Hampshire County Council for a top-to-bottom refurbishment.

Open to the public as a heritage museum, the money will be used to transform the site into a community hub, while also making the town’s heritage more prominent.

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The old grammar school building in Gosport High Street. Picture: David George

Councillor Steve Forster, the county council’s executive member for commercial strategy, estates and property, approved the spending of £998,319 on the project, saying it ‘will be really good for visitors and for residents.’

The plans include the construction of a new dementia-friendly cafe and community outreach programmes on wellbeing and mental health.

Education is also high on the agenda, with heritage-based talks and workshops lined up as well as curriculum-linked science and history sessions for schools.

There will also be a shopping area for local artisans to sell original works and Gosport memorabilia.

Division councillor for Leesland and Town, Cllr Zoe Huggins, is excited about the refurbishment.

She said: ‘The Old Grammar School has been in need of this funding for a little while now.

'It's going to be a tremendous community asset - it's great to see investment like this and for us in Gosport to have that is so important.

'This town is steeped in history and I'm excited to see that placed in the spotlight.'

Gosport has a rich and proud history with the armed forces, which still plays a vital role in the town to this day.

On D-Day, troops embarked from Hardway, Stokes Bay and the ferry port, and HMS Sultan is still a prominent employer for Gosport residents.

The money for this project has come from the Hampshire Cultural Trust, with Historic England putting forward £467,500 as part of the total.

Gosport's waterfront is also subject to redevelopment, with a public survey launched by the county council earlier this month.

Fellow division councillor Lesley Meenaghan says everything is 'knitting together at once'.

She said: 'We have talked for a long time about how the high street needs to evolve with things that people want.

'This transformation will be fantastic - people wanted a museum, a cafe and some sort of art and culture facility - and that's exactly what they're getting.

'It's all coming together for Gosport at the moment, and it's lovely to see money being put into the area.'

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