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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 November, 2004, 10:25 GMT
Cash backing for submarine museum
Artist's impression of submarine museum
An artist's impression of the proposed submarine museum
More than a century after Barrow-in-Furness built its first submarine, plans are being drawn up for a museum to celebrate its heritage.

The Submarine Heritage Centre has been given backing and provisional 50% funding from the urban regeneration company, West Lakes Renaissance (WLR).

The 5.5m project would be built alongside the existing Dock Museum.

It is hoped the key exhibit would be HMS Olympus, a Barrow-built submarine that served with the Canadian Navy.

'Robust' plan

Plans for a museum were first put forward three years ago by a group of submariners connected with the yard.

However, when Barrow's 10m regeneration master plan was being drawn up a more 'robust' business plan was demanded to justify what would be multi-million pound public funding.

After a change to the original site, and a focus group's findings that up to 50,000 visitors a year could be expected, WLR said it would provide 50% of the 5.5m capital, provided the rest could be raised.

Terry Spurling, chief executive of the centre, said: "We would have folded without their backing, but now we have got half the cash in the bag we can set about raising the rest.

"We are going locally, nationally and to Europe to try to access the money, and we are pretty certain we can get it."

HMS Olympus is currently in Canada, but there are hopes it could be brought across the Atlantic during the next towing season, which ends in September 2005.


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