Although the weather threatened strong wind and rain for the official opening of the Historical Diving Society (HDS) museum at No. 2 Battery, Stokes Bay, the opening ceremony was conducted on an upbeat note in bright sunshine.
On arrival, HDS members, museum volunteers and invited guests mustered in the museum prior to the ceremony.
The ceremony started with short speeches by HDS Chairman John Bevan, HDS Museum Officer Kevin Casey, Vice Admiral Sir Richard Ibbotson KBE, CB, DSC, Caroline Dinenage MP (who had been delayed at HMS Sultan’s Open Day) and Mayor of Gosport, Councillor Chris Carter, who all emphasised the significant diving heritage of Gosport and the worldwide interest that the museum would arouse.
After the speeches, Admiral Ibbotson, Caroline Dinenage MP and Councillor Carter used a diver’s short sword to cut three successive ribbons stretching across the ‘drawbridge’ leading to the main entrance of the museum.
After the ceremony, attendees entered the museum for a reception and a chance to look around the exhibits.
Make no mistake. The UK diving population is huge these days and this is the biggest and most comprehensive museum of its type in the country. Many of the artefacts are unique. We are sure people will flock to it once word starts getting around.