Heritage and exhibition specialists at Focus Consultants are preparing for the opening of the Royal Navy’s only Gallipoli surviving craft following a major restoration of the First World War warship.
On 6th August, The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) will open HMS M.33 to the public for the first time in her history, following a distinctive and extensive conservation project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Come the centenary of her launch, HMS M.33 will be the only First World War warship to allow visitors to walk her decks this year.
Focus Consultants has been a part of the team involved in the £2.5 million ‘Commemorating Gallipoli – the HMS M.33 Project’, part of the NMRN’s wider ‘Great War At Sea 1914-1918’ programme to mark the Royal Navy’s First World War.
With the help of Focus as cost consultants, the restoration project secured almost £1.8 million from the HLF. Focus London and Nottingham Offices were involved in delivering the scheme.
“This project has brought HMS M.33 back to life and will enable visitors to go aboard this historic warship for the first time and explore the stories of those who fought on board,” said Focus Associate Eleanor Clarke. “The team at Focus Consultants has been proud to have played a part in the restoration of such an important ship in time for the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign she took part in.”
HMS M.33 is positioned in No.1 Dry Dock at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, alongside HMS Victory and the Mary Rose Museum. Focus has been involved in a number of schemes in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Working with Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust and the International Boatbuilding Training College, the company is project manager and quantity surveyor on a development to restore and refurbish Boathouse 4 and create a new £5.5 million Boatbuilding and Heritage Skills Training Centre.
HMS M.33 is the only surviving Navy ship from the ill-fated Gallipoli campaign, and as such, holds great historic importance. This is despite the fact she was constructed and sent into service so speedily that she did not even warrant a name. Fabricated in just seven weeks she was one of nearly forty “monitors” built in a rapid construction campaign following the outbreak of First World War.
Sir Peter Luff, Chair of HLF, said: “The role played at Gallipoli by the Royal Navy and Monitor Class ships like M33 in protecting soldiers in the August 1915 landings is an incredible story of perseverance, endeavour and bravery. It has a personal meaning for me as my father and his two brothers served in Gallipoli. So I’m particularly grateful that, thanks to National Lottery players, M33 is now open in the campaign’s centenary year and people can experience first-hand the conditions in which the men aboard lived and fought.”
The NMRN commissioned Ian Clark Restoration to conserve the fabric of the ship.
HMS M.33 launches on 6th August 2015 and welcomes its first visitors on 7th August.