27 February 2020
Princess Anne visited The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Hartlepool, in February to mark the start of ambitious new development work on Hartlepool’s waterfront.
Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visited The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Hartlepool on Wednesday 26 February 2020. As Patron of The National Museum of the Royal Navy the visit marked the start of work in partnership with Hartlepool Borough Council to redevelop the museum and wider waterfront site.
In 2016, The National Museum of the Royal Navy became the owner and operator of HMS Trincomalee and entered into a 35 year lease with Hartlepool Borough Council for the surrounding quayside and museum complex.
The museum continues to exist as a recreated Georgian seaport with HMS Trincomalee as the centrepiece. The visitor experience includes onboard tours of the ship, live weapon demonstrations, walk-through experiences and Living History displays.
Hartlepool Borough Council, the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority and the National Museum of the Royal Navy are now embarking on an ambitious £30m development programme which will see the regeneration of the museum and the surrounding waterfront location. It will create a new heart for Hartlepool and link to other adjacent regeneration schemes.
As part of the development programme, a recently acquired World War II rescue launch, RML 497, will be restored and form the centrepiece of a new exhibition hall. These works, part of Hartlepool Borough Council’s Capital Investment Programme, will be funded by the Council and the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority. RML 497 provided air sea rescue during World War II and carried a crew of 16, working from bases all around Britain.
Other elements of the programme will include a STEM learning centre to provide learning and skills training opportunities for local people. The restoration of the Wingfield Castle paddle steamer, owned by Hartlepool Borough Council and one of the last two remaining to be built in Hartlepool, will also take place and form a key attraction on site. The adjacent land will form an outdoor events space and new water sports activities will help to create a vibrant activity hub where local people can spend their leisure time.
Roslyn Adamson, General Manager of The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Hartlepool said, “It was a huge honour to welcome Her Royal Highness on her visit to Hartlepool as our patron. The Princess Royal took great care to speak to a large number of our volunteers and staff and Her Royal Highness’ own knowledge of historic ships was very evident in the questions she asked of them. The Princess Royal visited our quayside shops, embarked on a tour of HMS Trincomalee and visited RML 497 to learn of our plans for her restoration and display. The visit will have greatly assisted in achieving The National Museum of the Royal Navy’s ambition to further raise the profile of the Hartlepool site and bring more visitors to the town. We thank Her Royal Highness for taking the time to visit and show such keen interest in our work”
Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen said, “Hartlepool has a proud naval history going back centuries and it is only fitting that The National Museum of the Royal Navy plays a key role in the wider redevelopment of Hartlepool Waterfront.”
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