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HMS - Hear My Story

Storehouse 10 Restoration

Storehouse 10

Major restoration works to the ground floor of Storehouse 10  began in 2012 and were completed in Autumn 2013. A new glass link was installed between the two Storehouse buildings that comprise the main museum. The link provides a fantastic entrance and the converted gallery spaces once again reveal the magnificent structure of this Georgian storehouse. Work then began to turn this brand new space into ‘HMS - Hear My Story’.  

New gallery space

Converting such a storehouse for a contemporary exhibition brought its challenges. Some of the original fabric such as the brick work was in poor condition; part of the timber floor which had survived a previous fire was not level and required protection, and services which are essential for visitor comfort had to be brought into the building.

Unexpected, less routine and less welcome problems experienced included hidden patches of asbestos and pools of mercury, which had leaked from equipment stored on the first floor and required specialist removal. 

Building the new link between the Sailing Navy gallery and HMS









Storehouse 10 has a history of its own; a magnificent Grade 1 listed building, constructed by the Navy in 1777 to provide storage for essential supplies. It served continuously as a store for 200 years, but was severely damaged by a German incendiary bomb in the air raid of March 1941. This caused a fire which led to the collapse of its clock tower and the upper floor in the North Wing. In later years it became less useful for modern naval stores – the last surviving photograph we have of it in use shows it as a store for bicycles.

An excellent design team led by the architects PURCELL created a sensitive design to address these issues. (Download design). 

An Elevation of the Middle Storehouse




Baker. Soldier. ‘Sailor’

The story of Alfred Smith as a baker, a soldier and a ‘sailor’ is told in the different items kindly donated by his family. When the First World War broke out Alfred Frank Smith was a baker in Sussex; to 'do his bit' he joined the local Volunteer Training Regiment - a sort of Home Guard - but then in 1916 he opted to join the Royal Navy and go to sea.

However, instead of joining a ship he became an infantry soldier in the Royal Naval Division and, despite being a married man of 26, he was classified as a Boy Sailor! He was assigned to the 'Hood ' Battalion as a Lewis Gunner and sent to fight in the trenches in France. On the 28th September 1918 he was hit in the chest by a German bullet which lodged itself close to his heart. Luckily the bullet was at the end of its flight and it didn't cause serious damage. It was enough though to take Alfred out of the fight and into a convalescent camp at Blandford in Dorset where, wearing his blue hospital uniform, the local people would take him into their homes for meals. Demobilised in 1919 Alfred bought a Newsagent & Tobacconist shop in Lewis. He had 10 children and died in 1974 with the German bullet still lodged close to his heart.