The Diving Museum in Gosport receives major £750,000 cash boost towards redevelopment project

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A cash boost will help The Diving Museum in Gosport ‘generate income’ for the region, and ‘encourage tourism’ to the borough, a councillor has said.

The grants approved by Historic England and Arts Council England amount to £750,000 towards a redevelopment project to restore the historic building.

Gosport borough councillor Kevin Casey, museum director and vice chair of the historical diving society said: ‘We’re going to do up the building, the only part of the defences that will be open to the general public.’

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In addition to the repair grants, the museum is applying for a delivery grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to extend the inside of the museum.

The Diving Museum in Gosport.
Picture: Sarah Standing (220719-2031)The Diving Museum in Gosport.
Picture: Sarah Standing (220719-2031)
The Diving Museum in Gosport. Picture: Sarah Standing (220719-2031)

Cllr Casey added: ‘Because of the condition of the building we’re only able to use one-third of it but with enough work, we’ll be able to spread the museum through the whole building.’

‘We’ll get the lottery grant which is £600,000, that means we’ll be taking on paid employees, we’ll be open more months in the year and more days of the week. We’ll help to generate income for Gosport, employment and encourage tourism into Gosport with the heritage sector.’

Marion Brinton, partnerships team leader at Historic England, said: ‘We are pleased to be supporting the Diving Museum. Museum use is a great way to repurpose a difficult building which was once a Victorian gun battery.

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‘The museum team has worked very successfully to bring together various funding sources to support the repair of the building, improve access, and re-present their collection of artefacts. We are delighted to be working in partnership with Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.’

The Diving Museum, in Stokes Bay Road, is the only museum of its kind in the UK. The museum has been housed in the Grade II* listed No2 Battery, a historically significant building in Stokes Bay.

Built in 1862 as part of Lord Palmerston’s defences of Portsmouth Harbour, it is one of five original gun batteries accessible to the public. In the 1930s, the Ministry of Defence handed the building to Gosport Borough Council as a civil defence establishment. It was later used as a nuclear bunker during the Cold War.