In 2011 the Historical Diving Society opened a diving museum at Gosport in Hampshire. It is located in No2 Battery at the western end of Stokes Bay. The battery was built in the 1860’s as part of the defences of Portsmouth Harbour and the Naval Dockyard.
It is not yet popularly known, but Gosport is the home of the global diving industry. The co-inventor of the diving helmet, John Deane, lived in Gosport from 1835 to 1845 during which time he discovered the Mary Rose. The first diving helmet ever sold by the inventors was to a Gosport mariner, Henry Abbinett. Gosport represents a natural home for the country's premier historical diving museum.
Divers have collected pearls and coral since at least 5000 BC. The 18th century saw an explosion of interest in recovering treasures from sunken vessels with diving bells which was followed by the invention of the diving helmet in the 19th century – commercial diving was born. After the Second World War, sport diving became popular. Today, divers can work at depths as great as 300m doing everything from military operations, oilfield support, salvage and construction to fish farming, archaeology, research – and even just for fun! From ancient to modern, it’s all at The Diving Museum.
The museum opened to the public on 30 April 2011 and was formally opened on 18 June 2011 by the Mayor of Gosport, Councillor Chris Carter in the presence of Caroline Dinenage MP and Vice Admiral Sir Richard Ibbotson CB DSC who is now the president of the society.
The aim of the museum is to be educational, informative and of general interest to all visitors, both divers and non-divers.
The Diving Museum is an outreach project of the Historical Diving Society and it is manned entirely by volunteers.
For information www.divingmuseum.co.uk