Sunday 3 November 2013

Diving Museum at Gosport

We went over to Stokes Bay for a walk and lunch and discovered the Diving Museum which is located in the adjacent Number 2 Battery, a Victorian coastal defence gun battery that looks south over the Solent and the Isle of Wight.

Outside there's a collection of diving equipment including decompression chambers from the nearby naval establishments. This suit is remarkable it was German, captured at the end of WW2 and brought back to Gosport for use by the then relatively young branch of the navy.

Inside the exhibitions are split into commercial diving, sports diving and research, with a special section to commemorate Busta Crabb the decorated British Royal Navy frogman and MI6 diver who vanished, mysteriously during a reconnaissance mission around a Soviet cruiser berthed at Portsmouth Dockyard in 1956.

All the staff are volunteers who have long careers as navy or commercial divers are very knowledgeable and friendly.  There's lots to do for children in addition to hunting the 10 miniature divers hidden among the displays, there's a chance to have your photo taken as William Walker, a deep-sea diver, who worked under water every day for six years placing bags of concrete in the flooded foundations of Winchester cathedral to prevent it's collapse.

Or even try out first hand what  the old hard hat diving would have been like, fortunately it is only a fibre glass replica but heavy enough.

The Diving Museum is run by the volunteers from the Historical Diving Society, and is really well worth a visit.

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