Sunday, January 01, 2006

Submarine Museum plan has been sunk


February 08, 2005

HMS Olympus launch.

Hopes for a £5m submarine museum to boost tourism in Barrow have been sunk by a lack of cash.

A group of ex-submariners wanted to bring the 300ft-long Barrow made sub Olympus back from Canada to be the centrepiece at a new Submarine Heritage Centre.

They started the campaign five years ago to celebrate the achievements of a town which has built more than 300 subs, including the first Royal Navy submarine in 1901. But yesterday the SHC, led by Terry Spurling, admitted defeat, and formally withdrew its offer to buy the former HMS Olympus from Canada for £30,000.

It sent a special copy of its newsletter to members and supporters, who include admirals and former Olympus captains, and BAE Systems Submarines boss Murray Easton. In it they said the fight to establish a museum in Barrow was over.

Mr Spurling said £700,000 had been needed to tow Olympus from Canada to a prepared site on dry land next to The Dock museum.

But the SHC had managed to raise only a few thousand pounds.

An offer of a £2.6m grant from the West Lakes Renaissance urban regeneration company was only available if they raised the same amount elsewhere.

HMS Olympus - Gibraltar inner harbour.

But other funding organisations turned them down.

Mr Spurling said: “We are very disappointed because we all believed in it and put five years work into it, but we have to be realistic. Very reluctantly, the SHC Trustees and management team have had to conclude that we cannot raise the funds required to buy and repatriate Olympus and set up the proposed SHC.”

Two container-loads of submarine equipment brought from Canada and stored at BAE are now to be sold by the group to try to recoup their £2,800 cost.

Visit Submarine Heritage to know more about the project.



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