Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Southampton's £8m Aeronautica museum plan unveiled

Artist's impression of Aeronautica museum
Image caption If approved the museum would be based at Southampton docks

Plans have been unveiled for a £8m museum celebrating Southampton's maritime and aviation history.

The Aeronautica attraction, based at the docks, would house historic aircraft and ships linked to the city.

It would include a full-size replica of the stern of SS Olympic, the sister ship of Titanic which sailed from Southampton on its fateful voyage.

Docks owner, Associated British Ports, is in discussions with the council over the site which could open by 2015.

It is hoped successful applications for arts and heritage grants would cover most of the costs.

'Rich heritage'

The plan would also see visitors taken to and from the site on one of the two restored trams that used to run through the city.

The museum, which is set to replace the Solent Sky attraction, would also include some of the ships which took part in the WWII Dunkirk evacuation.

Jerry Lewis, from the Dunkirk Little Ships Restoration Trust, said: "I am delighted because it will give us the base we all need.

"It is only that way that you can really get the message through to people and be able to tell them the whole story and get the younger people interested."

The new attraction comes after the council was awarded a £4.6m lottery grant towards it plans for a £15m Sea City Museum just one mile away from the Aeronautica site.

But the authority believes the city can accommodate both sites.

Councillor John Hannides, member for leisure, culture and heritage, said: "Southampton has such a rich heritage that I think we definitely have the capacity to have two excellent complementary venues, such as what is being planned.

"It will enable everybody, the visitors and residents of the city, to really get a feel for what our heritage really represented."

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