Portsmouth will be a focal point for the commemorations in June and to ensure the D-Day Story museum was ready for this important anniversary, our in-house multi-disciplinary team were commissioned by Portsmouth City Council to redesign and carry out refurbishment and alteration work. The £5m project, which included £4m from the Heritage Lottery Fund, has transformed the museum with new exhibition galleries, a café and shop. In recognition of these works, the D-Day Story was recently shortlisted for a Museums and Heritage Award and is in the running for one of the most prestigious museum awards in Europe: the European Museum of the Year Awards.
We were also involved in projects at two of Hampshire County Council’s Country Parks, both of which have links to D-Day, thanks to the County’s Countryside Service colleagues who had the vision to drive these projects forward: The Lookout at Lepe Country Park and restoration of the Chapel at Royal Victoria Country Park, in Netley.
Lepe played a major part on D-Day. This site was one of the places used along the south coast for the loading of tools and equipment for the invasion. Some of the concrete mats used to reinforce the shingle beach for heavy vehicles and other structural remnants are still visible today. The Lookout at Lepe has been built sympathetically, helping protect this historic site. It is raised up on stilts to with stand the impacts of coastal erosion, uses robust and sustainable materials, and has a reduced building footprint compared to the old café.
The former hospital at Royal Victoria Country Park was handed over to the US Military on 15 January 1944 to be used as their medical base on the south coast in the build up to the D-Day invasion of Normandy. It was then transferred back to British control on 19 July 1945.
The Chapel is now all that remains of this historic building. Our heritage team recently completed works to the Chapel, including restoration, improvements to visitor access and facilities, as well as new interpretation and exhibition space to engage visitors with the large scale of the original hospital and the site’s heritage, helping to protect this piece of history for generations to come.
Find out more about the D-Day Story
Find out more about Lepe Country Park and Royal Victoria Country Park