HARTLEPOOL’S iconic ship HMS Trincomalee is all set to become a global tourist attraction after clinching national status, the Mail can reveal.
The ship today became a full subsidiary of the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN), giving her the same national standing as HMS Victory.
The benefits of the new status are enormous. The ship’s financial future will be secured and it will remain in Hartlepool forever. It also means increased marketing, more funds, and more support with research.
It also means Hartlepool has become the only place on the North-East coast to have a subsidiary of a national museum.
Today, NMRN officials said the link was the start of a journey which would be “really exciting” for the town.
Dominic Tweddle, the director general of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, said: “Trincomalee is an incredibly important vessel.
“We want to make sure that we can work with the HMS Trincomalee Trust to get many more visitors round her.
“We want to make sure she is maintained in tiptop condition and hopefully play a part in the next stage of the re-development of Hartlepool.
“There are lots of opportunities to work with Trincomalee, with the local authority and with the Maritime Experience to make it even bigger, better and more popular.”
Mr Tweddle added: “We are starting a journey. We are starting a process. We are committing to Hartlepool and I think it is a good step for us. It gives the Navy story more exposure in the North-East.”
John Megson, the chairman of the HMS Trincomalee Trust, said the Royal Navy “does not let you lightly into the family” without being satisfied of the benefits nationally and internationally.
He added: “The NMRN looked upon the quality of the conservation of HMS Trincomalee and, through that, the success of the Trincomalee Trust over many years to be able to present the ship in its current splendid status.”
Mr Megson said there would be “significant benefit moving forward to Hartlepool and, through that the tourist visit for what will increasingly become a national iconic museum.”
He said Trincomalee’s increased profile was also important because the ship’s trust are keen to play a part in the Hartlepool Vision plans.
“The Trust was represented at the launch of the master plan and we are fully supportive of the ambitions, especially with the need to further enhance the tourist offer in Hartlepool.
“This is an early marker for the desire to improve the economy of Hartlepool further through the tourist offer.”
Trust general manager David McKnight said: “HMS Trincomalee is a hidden historical gem, but by becoming a member of the NMRN family, one of the benefits is for us to take advantage of the increased marketing opportunities both nationally and internationally.”
He paid tribute to the team which restored the ship to her current resplendent state. “This status is recognition of the quality of the work in this town.”
Mr McKnight added: “With the involvement of Trincomalee in the national museum and the increased marketing, we would expect it to result in increased interest and visitors to Trincomalee.
“We would anticipate that many of these visitors would be likely to want to stay overnight which increases the financial value to the local economy.”
He said visitors would probably want to go to other places in the area. Mr McKnight added: “That is good for the town and that is part of our contribution to the local economy.”
And he praised the Hartlepool Mail, saying it had “driven people to the ship” through its publicity of events on board the ship. “For that, we are immensely grateful,” said Mr McKnight.
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