February 26, 2021 – Plymouth’s former naval base commander has begun a 16-week study to determine whether the city can host an ambitious Cold War museum.
Commodore Ian Shipperley will report in July whether the likely multi-million pound project – which would feature veteran hunter-killer submarine HMS Courageous as its flagship exhibit – can both find the funding and, crucially, keep the money coming in if it does.
A fundraising drive last year brought in £40,000 in nine weeks to fund the detailed study which will look at every aspect of the proposed ‘Cold War Centre’ in Plymouth.
The aim of the center is to champion the role of the Royal Navy, the city of Plymouth and British engineering and technology in helping to stave off and ultimately eradicate the Communist threat between the late 1940s and the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Cdre Shipperley will work with industry, museum and history specialists to compile his report which will form the basis for a business case should he decide that the center could be a success.
The team behind the center – including the former head of the Submarine Service, Rear Admiral John Weale, and Commander Ian Whitehouse, who skippered submarines HMS Onyx and Sovereign on patrols – believe the time is ripe not just for the museum, but the chance to snap up key Cold War artefacts with the MoD Submarine Disposal Program running in Devonport.
As well as acting as a visitor attraction and highlighting a ‘war’ largely played out in the shadows and not recounted in many museums, one objective of the center is to foster interest in science, technology and engineering – the fields which helped give Britain the edge over its Cold War foes.