Bringing display of historic swords to Hartlepool would be 'a huge win for the town'
Councillors have praised plans to bring a major collection of historic swords to Hartlepool’s National Museum of the Royal Navy for display.
Museum bosses had identified a potential opportunity to secure a major collection of 300 swords which are of “national significance” and features Lord Nelson’s personal fighting sword.
Various external funding opportunities to meet the costs of acquiring the collection are being explored.
Yet this will take many months to progress and delays could also come due to Covid-19, according to council reports.
Therefore Hartlepool Borough Council’s finance and policy committee was asked, as a fall back, to approve releasing some of the existing funding earmarked for the area as an undisclosed loan to purchase the swords collection.
Councillors on the committee unanimously backed the plans and praised the benefits it could bring to the museum and the town.
Cllr Shane Moore, the leader of the council, said: “It’s no secret that I’m somewhat of a history buff and naval geek especially, but honestly this is for me a huge win for the town.
“I think it’s going to be fantastic for us if we can pull this off, and hey, one of the swords is Nelson’s own fighting sword, you can’t get better than that can you really.
“I think what’s good for Hartlepool is it enables the museum to start telling a story more specifically around Trincomalee and its sister ships and it helps connect the museum itself to the ship.”
The collection of 300 swords is “world class” and the “finest collection of naval edged weapons” ever assembled, according to council reports.
Cllr Jim Lindridge added: “I think this is a big opportunity for the town as well, it’s a great partnership we’ve got with the national museum and I think this will enhance the opportunities for further visitor attractions to bring them into the town.
“I would think this would be in the interest of the town, it would benefit from this, it is a substantial amount, but I think the benefits far outweigh the risks.”
The loan agreement with the museum will specify details of the repayment, with the funding potentially coming from various sources.
As part of Hartlepool Borough Council’s capital investment strategy, resources have been earmarked for Waterfront projects such as the museum’s expansion.