The Princess Royal visits The National Museum of the Royal Navy Hartlepool

The Princess Royal visits The National Museum of the Royal Navy, Hartlepool marking 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 this visit from HRH The Princess Royal marks 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 is very popular, including onboard tours of the ship, live weapon demonstrations, walk-through experiences, costumed interpretation and a large pirate “play ship”.

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. The work will reflect the National Museum’s vision to be the “World’s Most Inspiring Naval Museum”.

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 sixteen, working from bases all around Britain.

The development also includes the replacement of Hartlepool's ageing Mill House Leisure Centre with a flagship multi-million pound development on the Waterfront site.

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.

This exciting project is to be made possible through funding from Hartlepool Borough Council and the Tees Valley Mayor and Combined Authority in addition to match funding from other sources.

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”

Shane Moore, Leader of Hartlepool Borough Council, said: “Securing the arrival of the National Museum of the Royal Navy in Hartlepool has ensured the town has a visitor destination of national significance and we are now building on that investment and progressing to develop the wider Hartlepool Waterfront site. This is such an exciting time for Hartlepool and the National Museum and the visit of Her Royal Highness has been a fantastic opportunity to showcase the exciting developments to come and the strong partnership between our organisations.”

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. The museum is a fantastic attraction with big plans for the future, and so are the plans for the town. That’s why we’ve put £30million into the transformational waterfront priority project, which will attract new businesses and visitors, and further boosting the marina and surrounding areas.”

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