Royal Navy Submarine Museum - Gosport - Great Britain

Address: Haslar Jetty Road, Gosport (See map)
Telephone: +44 (0)23-92529217

Shop: shop present
Restaurant/refreshments: refreshments
Size of the museum/site: medium
Year of visit: 2004
Overall rating:

Description:We were pleasantly surprised when we visited the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport. What can you expect from a submarine museum? Maybe one or two submarines and an information sign. But that definitely doesn't go for this museum. Apart from a well preserved WW II sub and Britain's very first submarine built in the beginning of the 20th century, there are quite a lot of smaller submarines and related items, background information brought in an educational way and friendly staff ready to answer any questions you might have.

The submarine museum has two main attractions: the HMS Alliance and the Holland 1. The Holland 1 was the first submarine to be used by the British Navy. It was designed and built by the Irish-American John Philip Holland in 1901. After a decade of service in the Royal Navy the Holland 1 sank and was restored in 1980. After some years it became apparent that it needed a special treatment to be preserved (due to corrosion). The museum has succeeded in doing so and visitors can now even have a look inside the ship. With a bit of imagination you can understand that circumstances were pretty hard in there and moreover manoeuvring the ship was a difficult task. Anyway the sub's bigger than we expected, but still small compared to the modern submarines and the HMS Alliance, which is the other main attraction of the museum.

A visit to the HMS Alliance, which served in WW II, is part of a guided tour with a veteran who actually served on a submarine. You get to see the most important parts of a submarine in about 45 minutes, complete with some sound effects as well as an anecdote every now and then. All in all, the combination of all this with a ship that actually took part in the Second World War makes for an interesting part of this museum.

Next to these both submarines there's a lot more to see in this museum like the smaller German Biber submarine, but also a lot of information on the development of submarines and photographs. For both the submarine enthusiast and the more generally interested public this is a museum not to be missed. By the way, you might want to visit the Historic Warships just on the other side of the water (in Portsmouth).

Sketch of one of the first (and primitive) ideas for a submarine.

The Holland I, the British Navy's first ever submarine.

The propellor of the well-preserved Holland I.

Mice were used aboard the submarines to measure the quality of the air.

In the front's the submarines main engine when not submerged, in the back a part of the electric motor is visible.

Side view of the HMS Alliance.

Two of the HMS Alliance's torpedo tubes.

Imagine having all these switches and handles on your dashboard!

These handles are all part of the subs starting procedure.

A German, Biber type, mini-submarine.