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New Royal Navy museum for Plymouth as part of 12-year plan

HMS Courageous, which will be featured at the new Plymouth location of the National Museum of the Royal Navy.

The National Museum of the Royal Navy is to open a £5 million permanent museum in Plymouth as part of a 12-year plan.

The new museum will be located in Davenport and feature the former nuclear submarine HMS Courageous.

Over the next decade, the existing Davenport Naval Heritage Centre will move to a revamped and expanded Bonaventure House (also known as Officers’ Terrace) in the South Yard.

This will allow the museum to display thousands of objects and artefacts held in Plymouth including 10,000 glass negatives of the pre-World War 1 base, a collection of ship models, figureheads and items brought back from former colonies as Britain pulled out after World War 2.

The HMS Courageous will move to a nearby dock with a neighbouring building turned into a museum telling the Royal Navy’s Cold War story. Work on the project is scheduled to begin later this year with completion expected within 10 years.

Prof Dominic Tweddle, Director General of the National Museum, said: “Plymouth’s naval history has not been particularly well served over the years. We can do better, so let’s do it.

“Courageous is a fantastic attraction, wonderfully restored and preserved, but at the moment she’s difficult to see. If all goes well, we will have a museum which tells the story of the Royal Navy and how it relates to Plymouth, as well as the Navy’s story since 1945.”

The plan also includes a multi-million pound revamp of the Fleet Air Arm’s museum in Yeovilton over the next 12 years. It will see the museum completely rebuilt and galleries overhauled so that upwards of 100 classic aircraft can be displayed.

The National Museum was formed a decade ago to bring the service’s four principal museums – Royal Navy, Submarine, Royal Marines and Fleet Air Arm – under central leadership.

Image: Davenport Naval Heritage Centre

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