Royal Navy Submarine Museum breaks records with 100,000th visitor in less than seven months

HMS Alliance full length restored April 2014

The National Museum of the Royal Navy is celebrating breaking the 100,000th visitor mark at its Gosport-based Royal Navy Submarine Museum just seven months after the reopening of World War 2 submarine HMS Alliance.

HMS Alliance re-opened on 3rd April 2014, following a major £7M conservation and restoration project, £3.4m of this was donated by the Heritage Lottery Fund. The Duke of Cambridge attended a Service of Re-dedication in May as Commodore-in-Chief Submarines and Royal Patron of the HMS Alliance Conservation Appeal.

At the time, it was anticipated that visitor numbers would increase by 20% within a year, so news of breaking the 100,000 mark was warmly welcomed by Director General Professor Dominic Tweddle: “We are delighted that, having secured Alliance’s future with an incredibly successful fundraising campaign, so many visitors have jumped at the chance to go onboard and see what life under the waves is really like.”

Alliance was designed during the Second World War for service in the Far East and was launched in 1945. She then began a distinguished 28 year career during the Cold War until she retired and became the centrepiece of the Submarine Museum. Moored on cradles by the Museum quayside since 1982, the outer structure of HMS Alliance had corroded severely, a process that had proved hard to arrest due to difficulties of access. 

The project to restore HMS Alliance has also included a new education and volunteering programme. Over a hundred volunteers from the local area of Gosport have contributed by undertaking duties at special fundraising events, helping conserve the submarine and working behind the scenes in the archives. 

The museum is also home to The Royal Navy’s first submarine Holland 1 and the only surviving WW2 midget submarine X24.  The family friendly museum has working periscopes, hands on interactive games, the “Horrible Science of Submarines” exhibition and a family indoor play centre “Busy Boat Bay”. 

Umbra Crew

Crew of the HMS Umbra.