Northern Ireland

HMS Caroline makes Museum of the Year award shortlist

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Media captionHMS Caroline makes Museum of the Year award shortlist

The World War One warship HMS Caroline has been shortlisted for the 2019 Art Fund Museum of the Year award.

The Belfast-based vessel will compete against four other UK museums for the prestigious prize, worth £100,000.

HMS Caroline is the Royal Navy's sole surviving ship from the 1916 Battle of Jutland, the biggest sea battle of the conflict.

The warship opened to the public as a museum on the centenary of the battle.

Image copyright Press Eye
Image caption HMS Caroline opened to the public as a museum on the centenary of the Battle of Jutland in 2016

Built in 1914 in Birkenhead in England, HMS Caroline was one of the fastest warships of its time.

The Battle of Jutland - off the coast of Denmark - involved some 250 ships from the Royal Navy's Grand Fleet and the German High Seas Fleet.

More than 8,500 sailors lost their lives in the 12-hour battle on 31 May and 1 June 1916.

After the war, HMS Caroline was berthed in Belfast as a training ship, but also saw service in World War Two.

Science Museum ceremony

There were fears at one point that the ship would be moved from Belfast after it was decommissioned as a Royal Navy training vessel in 2011.

However, about £15m of funding enabled it to stay in the city and open as a floating museum.

Image copyright Marc Atkins
Image caption HMS Caroline was one of the fastest warships of its time

The living quarters of the captain, officers and ratings as well as the signal school, engine room, sick bay and galley were all intact but were restored and opened to the public.

A further restoration of the Alexandra Dock - where it is moored - and the nearby Pump House in Titanic Quarter was completed in 2018.

HMS Caroline will compete for the Museum of the Year title against:

  • Nottingham Contemporary
  • Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford
  • St Fagan's National Museum of History, Cardiff
  • V&A Dundee

The prize celebrates the best museums and galleries across the UK.

The winner will be announced at a ceremony in the Science Museum in London on 3 July.

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