By early 2015, the Newport Medieval Ship Project had moved from the Ship Conservation Centre, at Maesglas, and had arrived at, if not settled fully into, the present Medieval Ship Centre (MSC) at Queensway Meadows. The new smaller unit was empty and stark, void and solitary. And clearly, it could not host the large open days enjoyed at the more spacious Maesglas site: the three remaining PEG tanks occupied a majority of the usable floor area.
Tank 3 (pictured above) was to be transported to the York Archaeological Trust for freeze-drying on 19 Jun 15. This made usable the space in front of Tanks 2 and 1 (visible under red covers on the right of the picture). A committee decision was taken to open to the public, on a smaller basis, a week after the departure of Tank 3 and regularly from that date – 26 Jun 15. No pressure, then.
Major construction work by the Newport’s Museum staff and the Newport Transporter Bridge team had created the insulated Timber Store and the (retail) Cabin, and then FoNS Work Parties started on 28 May 15 with reconstruction of the displays and designing the exhibition. FoNS persevered and the doors were rolled up for the first regular Open Day, on time on Friday 26 Jun 15. FoNS has been in a process of continual improvement (management-speak for the learning from, and the correcting of, deficiencies) since then: but we seem to be succeeding in transforming our working industrial unit from a place of conservation to a place which heralds a new Heritage Attraction for Newport. And don’t believe me: believe our Visitors’ comments in our Visitors’ Book.
It is a delight that, at the time of writing (20 Jun 2016) and one year on, we have had our most successful regular open Fri/Sat (pictured below on Sat 18 Jun 16) with the focus firmly on the spirit and soul of the future – re-construction and display.
As of now, we have only just shy of 1,000 visitors through our doors this calendar year. That’s 2,258 since opening our doors just one year ago.
Many thanks to all those who made this possible in the first place, and to those who continue to make it happen every week.
If you feel that you can come and join us, as a ‘Friend’ of the Ship, or as a volunteer, or to help drive our project forward, we would love to hear from you. Contact our chairman, Phil Cox by email or call or text to him on 07411 149678.