Royal Navy museum chief speaks on proposals for Hartlepool

The  Maritime Experience.
The Maritime Experience.

A MUSEUM chief has told how his national attraction could bring big investment to Hartlepool.

John Rees, the chief of staff and strategic director for the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN), exclusively told the Mail about the exciting developments which could soon be happening in Hartlepool.

By this April, the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) could join forces with Hartlepool Borough Council and the Trincomalee Trust to run the Hartlepool Maritime Experience (HME) as a single site operation.

The Mail was first to reveal that the link-up could happen and we also revealed it could even see Harrier jump jets, submarines and Polaris missiles on display.

Mr Rees said there were big benefits to all parties.

“We have been working with the Hartlepool Borough Council and the Trincomalee Trust,” he said.

“There are opportunities for all parties to play a part and we all bring different skill sets.

“We bring the fact that we are a national museum with extensive collections and which has a track record in obtaining capital 
investment.

“How we develop it, depends on how we engage at the various stages. One is how we work together to deal with the Trincomalee, HME and the other attractions and museums that are in the location.”

In a reference to Hartlepool’s exciting plans for town centre re-development, Mr Rees said one of the key factors in the link-up was the council’s determination for “strategic development in the area”.

The Vision has highlighted the area as one part of the town which would benefit from the Hartlepool Vision campaign.

Mr Rees believes the HME could benefit and could become a developing tourist attraction over the next few years.

If all three parties work together, it could lead to “further opportunities” said Mr Rees.

He said one of those areas could be in the form of exhibitions - and they would be special exhibitions which could come to town as early as this year.

What they would be, what they would contain, would depend on the progress made with the development of the HME, said Mr Rees.

But a spokesman for the council said: “As part of the proposals, NMRN will commit appropriate investment in the site which will include significant exhibits from their world-class collection.

“Whilst it’s too early to determine what temporary and permanent exhibits could be placed in Hartlepool, NMRN’s extensive collection includes Harrier jump jets, Polaris missiles, mini submarines and a large variety of floating vessels, both modern and historic.”

The Hartlepool Mail first revealed earlier this year that the HME could become part of the national museum.

The proposal will be discussed on Friday at the council’s finance and policy 
committee.