100-year-old naval vessel back in battle, this time for National Lottery Award

HMS Caroline, the 100-year-old naval vessel and sole survivor of the WW1 Battle of Jutland, docked in Belfast’s Alexandra Dock has been announced as a finalist in the National Lottery Awards 2018.

The ship, which opened in 2016, followed by the completion of a visitor and exhibition centre in the restored Pump House and refurbishment of Alexandra Dock earlier this year, was the recipient of the largest ever Heritage Lottery Fund grant of £11.5m in 2014. It is the only project from Northern Ireland as a finalist in the Heritage category of the Awards.

Since the ship opened as a discovery site, Caroline has welcomed intrepid explorers, curious to know what life was like during The Battle of Jutland, the largest sea battle of the First World War.

Captain John Rees OBE, Chief of Staff of the National Museums of the Royal Navy says he is delighted that the ship has been recognised as a high-quality project.

“Over the past six years, contractors, staff, management and officers have worked tirelessly to restore HMS Caroline to its WW1 glory, and tell the historic story of the Battle of Jutland.

“We are immeasurably grateful to those who have taken the story of Caroline into their hearts, from the visitors who have been intrigued enough to visit her, to the National Lottery and Heritage Lottery Fund for realising her value and enabling a completely new and fascinating heritage tourism asset for Belfast and the whole of the UK.”

HMS Caroline has partnered with one of the site’s biggest fans, NI EXPLORER – an influential Instagrammer who was one of the first to board the ship after its restoration, to share its unique and intriguing activities on board to his followers, encouraging both votes and visits.

The man behind the account added; “Titanic Quarter is booming with great days out and historic maritime heritage to explore. HMS Caroline should be celebrated for the unique day out that it provides to the increasing number of visitors to Belfast, as well as those at home getting more and more curious about what we have to offer on their doorstep. It’s fantastic to be part of a campaign to help HMS Caroline achieve the recognition she deserves.”

The HMS Caroline experience takes the visitor from an immersive ‘Jutland Experience’ on board, and the sights and sounds of the devastation of battle, to historic spaces such as Captain’s Quarters, Marine’s Mess and the heart of the ship; the Engine Rooms which drove HMS Caroline through the historic war years.

The Pump House is home to an extensive visitor and exhibition centre featuring much of the original Edwardian era machinery and technology, medals and artefacts from those who served on board.

HMS Caroline is one of three NI projects recognised in the final stages of the awards, alongside Culture Night Belfast in the Arts category, Connswater Community Greenway in the Environment category, and Blind Tennis at Windsor in the Sports category.

To vote for HMS Caroline follow this link, call 0844 836 9701 or use the #NLAHMSCaroline hashtag on Twitter.

All voting is independently verified by the Electoral Reform Services.

HMS Hermes returning from the Falklands