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Southampton Sea City Museum Receives Grant

Plans for a Sea City Museum in Southampton have been given a massive boost after the scheme scooped a £4.6million grant.

Southampton City Council is planning to build a new £15 million museum which will showcase the city’s heritage. Set at the heart of the Southampton’s new and emerging Cultural Quarter, The Sea City Museum will feature two permanent exhibitions focussing on Southampton’s Titanic story and the city’s role as a gateway to the world. It will showcase the city’s impressive archaeological and maritime collections – and will also provide a new space to be used for temporary exhibitions.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) announced that it has awarded the scheme a £4.6million grant.

Councillor John Hannides, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Heritage, said: “This is wonderful news. We want to create a Sea City Museum that will showcase Southampton’s amazing maritime heritage. It is a story that I believe many people feel has gone untold for too long now. . The Sea City Museum will tell our Titanic story. Many of the crew of the Titanic were from Southampton, and in total 549 Southampton people lost their lives on the ship in the tragic events of 1912.

“Southampton also has an incredible story to tell about being a gateway to the world so The Sea City Museum will look at the city’s role in the global context of emigration and immigration during the last 2,000 years. The building also has the space to include other exhibitions about Southampton’s cultural heritage as funding permits.

“This grant will help make our dream of a world class Sea City Museum a reality. This attraction will draw thousands of visitors to Southampton every year and will create many more jobs for the local economy.”
The council plans to convert the Grade II* listed Magistrates’ Courts into the Sea City Museum. The Magistrates’ Courts, which adjoin the Civic Centre, Southampton City Art Gallery and the Guildhall are at the heart of the cultural quarter but have sat empty for some time. Re-using the building, conserving its best features and at the same time creating a significant new attraction for the city centre is an effective answer to the need for a new museum.

The entire cost of the scheme is around £15 million. So the council still needs to raise £10 million to pay for the remainder of the costs. It is considering a range of options to achieve this.

Carole Souter, Chief Executive of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Southampton Sea City Museum will be an exciting addition to the city’s cultural quarter and will remind people of its important contribution to the UK’s maritime heritage.

Award winning architects Wilkinson Eyre are leading the design team for the project. They are assisted by consulting engineer Gifford, who are responsible for all the building services and structural engineering work. Ensuring the project stays within budget is the responsibility of global construction consultancy Davis Langdon who are the quantity surveyors. Both Gifford and Davis Langdon have an office in Southampton.

Innovative architectural and design company, Urban Salon are the museum designers who will develop educational, original and fun ways to communicate the historical stories within the museum. The project managers are Focus Consultants, who are also currently working with the council to project manage the re-opening of Tudor House.
The overall management of the project is being led by Southampton City Council

If all goes to plan the Sea City Museum could open in time for 2012 – 100 years since the Titanic sank.

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