Campaign fund saves historic Hartlepool museum again after lockdown blow

A historic Hartlepool war museum says a £30,000 fund raised by supporters has saved it twice from closure after being hit by the coronavirus lockdown.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

The Heugh Battery Museum on the Headland, which is the only First World War battlefield site in Britain, closed in mid March as Covid-19 began to spread across the country.

Museum manager Diane Stephens says it has been saved again from closure by more than £32,000 raised by the public last year.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It launched an appeal, supported by the Mail’s Battery Charge campaign, in March 2019 to help pay their bills and keep the doors open and was a huge success.

Heugh Battery Museum manager Diane Stephens.Heugh Battery Museum manager Diane Stephens.
Heugh Battery Museum manager Diane Stephens.

Now the cash has come to its rescue again after being hit hard by the enforced lockdown closure.

Diane said: “The lockdown is affecting us terribly. We had that fabulous fundraising last year.

“Really that saved the museum twice. If we hadn’t had that money in the bank we wouldn’t have survived the lockdown.

“We would have gone by now.”

Diane Stephens receives a cheque from 2019's Tommy To Tommy sponsored walk from Councillor Dave Hunter. Picture: Tom BanksDiane Stephens receives a cheque from 2019's Tommy To Tommy sponsored walk from Councillor Dave Hunter. Picture: Tom Banks
Diane Stephens receives a cheque from 2019's Tommy To Tommy sponsored walk from Councillor Dave Hunter. Picture: Tom Banks
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Unfortunately, the lockdown means the museum is not able to spend any of the money on its exhibits and improvement plans, but is paying for ongoing bills such as utilities.

There is no set date for when the museum may be able to reopen as it awaits government guidance.

Its staff of one full-time employee and two part-time workers are on furlough.

Diane added: “We are waiting for government guidance to filter down through regional bodies.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Until then we are erring on the side of caution. It is frustrating especially given the beautiful weather we’ve been having.

“We will open as soon as we feel we can abide by the guidelines that come down from central government.”

Diane feels the battery museum has an advantage over many others in terms of social distancing as many of its exhibits are outdoors.

“We do have some pinch points,” she said. “It’s about what it will look like and what areas will be accessible.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The gun battery was a military position from the 17th to the 20th Century, and most notably saw action during the Bombardment of Hartlepool on December 16, 1914.

Read More
Read more: Sponsored walkers raise incredible £23,000 for museum

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you