Posted: 5 May, 2020

On 8th May 2020 it will be 75 years since millions of people took to the streets to celebrate the end of the war in Europe. Despite the current social-distancing rules, we can still join together as a nation to reflect on the enormous sacrifice and courage of those who saw us through these dark times and to celebrate as people did 75 years ago, the arrival of peace in Europe.

Focus is proud to have been involved in projects across the military sector that were vital to preserving stories and artefacts from these times. Working with clients such as the National Army Museum, Imperial War Museum and National Museum of the Royal Navy among others, Focus worked on concept development, research, funding, grant applications and supporting clients through the operational planning and set-up phases. Below are just some of the highlights from their portfolio:

M.33 – National Museum of the Royal Navy

The National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) opened up M.33, one of only two British WW1 warships to have survived into the 21st Century, to the public by undertaking restoration work and successfully integrating it into the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard collection of vessels in August 2015, therefore ensuring its future. Focus prepared the Business Plan and continued their involvement throughout the delivery stage to project completion, securing almost £1.8 million in funding.

National Army Museum

Focus was appointed for the redevelopment of the museum enabling it to face the challenges of the 21st Century. The redevelopment allowed the museum to open in March 2017 with a new extended entrance, improved accessibility and archive storage, relocation of the existing catering facilities, the addition of a dedicated education suite and benefitting from an atrium area allowing natural daylight to enter the museum.

Boathouse 4 – Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Boathouse 4 is a rare surviving example of industrial military architecture and a significant historic building. Due to it prime position and sheer size, it is one of the most prominent and visible buildings within the Dockyard. Further to receiving NLHF funding in 2013, Boathouse 4 has been repaired, refurbished and converted into the UK’s leading Boatbuilding Academy and Heritage Skills Training Centre. The venue has also opened up as an attraction for visitors with a number of important historic vessels placed on display, some of which are undergoing active conservation by the academy students.

D Day Museum

Portsmouth’s D-Day Museum is Britain’s only museum dedicated solely to covering all aspects of the D-Day landings in Normandy and has undergone extensive redevelopment including a newly refurbished entrance, a dedicated learning space and a new website. The latest display technology has been used alongside the Museum’s unique collections. The personal experiences of those who took part will be at the heart of the new displays. Further to receiving funding in early 2016, Focus worked to deliver the project in time for the 75th anniversary of D-Day Landings in 2019.

HMS Belfast – Imperial War Museum

Focus played a pivotal role in the delivery of an impressive new museum and visitor centre for HMS Belfast, the most significant surviving Second World War Royal Navy warship of her type. Focus project managed the development for the new Quayside Pavilion and provided funding research support. The project provided new entrance facilities therefore improving access for groups, schools and corporate clients. Its new dramatic roof top café-bar allows visitors to enjoy the stunning views of the historic ship and surrounding London landmarks. The striking new centre, which has been built on stilts, has transformed the entrance to the iconic London landmark on the River Thames.

Newarke Houses

Focus were retained to redisplay the Royal Leicestershire Regimental Collection together with a 20th Century Social History Collection in the Grade II listed museum. With funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Royal Leicestershire Regiment and Leicester City Council, Focus worked closely with exhibition designers on the delivery of the Exhibition Fit-Out works. The completed project was well received and the HLF considered the lift to be an example of how access can be provided in a significant Listed Building.

Other projects that Focus have proudly worked on are:

Staff from Focus Consultants LLP will be joining in the celebrations on 8th May 2020 from their homes. For more information about how you can also celebrate VE Day please click on the following link http://www.nam.ac.uk/whats-on/virtual-ve-day-75-festival

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