By Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas
HOT on the heels of one grant, The Diving Museum at No 2 Battery Stokes Bay, Gosport, is to benefit from a second award to finance improved access and continue the refurbishment of the Grade II* Listed building.
Two months ago, The Globe reported that the Historical Diving Society which owns the museum was to receive £100,000 from the Department of Digital, Media, Culture & Sport’s £18.8 million Museum Estate and Development Fund – operated by the Arts Council England – for an ‘exemplar’ heating project.
Now, the society is one of 66 cultural organisations across the country to benefit from a share of over £22.7 million from Arts Council England’s Capital Investment Programme.
Museum Director Kevin Casey told The Globe that the £237,000 would be used to fund a range of improvements including, “an external access ramp, a platform lift and an internal ramp to improve disabled access.
“A door at the rear of the building will be reinstated to provide an emergency exit and work will be carried out to stop the water ingress through two of the external gun emplacements at the top of the building.
“And there is work to be done on the casemates [fortified gun emplacements]”
The repairs and refurbishments are estimated to cost £255,000 and so the society will fund the £18,000 shortfall.
Mr Casey added: “There has been some delay but we hope that by May next year, all the work funded by both grants will be completed.
“Much of the work will be done when we are closed over the winter, especially installing the external access ramp and the platform lift, so there should not be any disruption to visitors.”
And he confirmed that this is by no means the end of the work needed at the museum. He is currently working on a bid for money from the National Lottery Heritage Fund in order to develop the exhibition itself and the interpretation of the museum’s exhibits.
The museum is open between 11am and 4pm at weekends and Bank Holidays between April and October.
Photograph (top): the range of rebreathers exhibited in The Diving Museum. The Historical Diving Society, reproduced with permission.