Tees Valley Mayor blown away by Hartlepool’s ‘nationally important’ Heugh Battery Museum
The Mayor of Tees Valley is backing efforts to save Hartlepool’s historically important Heugh Battery Museum describing it as ‘a hidden gem’.
Ben Houchen paid his first visit to the battery on the Headland which is the only First World War battlefield on UK soil by seeing action during the Bombardment of Hartlepool in 1914.
He heard about museum bosses’ battle to raise £5,000 and boost visitor numbers by the end of May to ensure its survival.
The appeal is being backed by the Mail through our Battery Charge campaign and members of the community.
They include Councillor Dave Hunter, Stephen Picton and Ian Cawley who are organising a 16-mile Tommy to Tommy sponsored walk and onesie waddle on May 19 and who invited Mr Houchen to visit the battery.
He was given a tour of the site and its impressive collection of military guns.
Mr Houchen said: “What a hidden gem. I’ve been blown away; it’s not what I was expecting at all.
“I’m a little disappointed in myself having lived in the area my whole life that I wasn’t aware of what is a fantastic museum and something we should be supporting.”
Mr Houchen said the museum was a lot bigger and more impressive than he was expecting.
He pledged to help spread the word, particularly among schools he works with, as part of efforts to increase visitor numbers.
Mr Houchen added: “The guys running this are doing an amazing job.
“It’s a piece of national history and we need to make sure it stays active.”
Museum manager Diane Stephens said: “We are absolutely delighted that Ben came and is willing to spread the word about the hidden gem he has discovered.”
To donate to the fund go to the Heugh Battery Museum Appeal at www.justgiving.comCheques can also be made out to The Heugh Gun Battery Trust Ltd.