A tale of two submarine museums

HMS Onyx saw service in the Falklands but is now languishing in the Gareloch. Picture by Mike McLean.
HMS Onyx saw service in the Falklands but is now languishing in the Gareloch. Picture by Mike McLean.

Falklands War veteran submarine HMS Onyx is still lying alongside in Rosneath – while attempts to turn her into a tourism attraction in Greenock continue.

Meanwhile, the project to create a submarine museum on the other side of the Clyde has come a step closer, with plans by the Scottish Submarine Trust for a former church hall in Helensburgh being given planning permission.

Previously in Liverpool and Barrow, HMS Onyx was towed up the Clyde on May 1.

The Oberon-class sub was assembled in Greenock, and tourism group Discover Inverclyde combined with local business people to lobby for a her to be used in a museum, possibly at Scotts Yard – details are in this Inverclyde Now story.

Onyx helped take SBS members into the Falklands. Picture by Mike McLean.
Onyx helped take SBS members into the Falklands. Picture by Mike McLean.

After a request by MSP Stuart McMillan wrote to Fergus Ewing, Minister for Energy, Enterprise and Tourism, seeking support for the project – it was estimated that £35,000 was needed initially to secure the submarine.

But Mr Ewing has replied: “Unfortunately in this case neither the Scottish Government nor the VisitScotland (sic) are able to provide any direct funding to preserve the Onyx.

“However VisitScotland and the Growth Fund can support applications to marketing organisation through group partnerships.

“Therefore when the Onyx is closer to being able to establish itself as a visitor attraction, VisitScotland would be happy to offer advice on catering to the widest possible audience and marketing HMS Onyx within the wider Inverclyde setting.”

The Helensburgh project has an estimated budget of £740,000, and has received donations so far of £300,000 for a World War Two ‘X Craft’ mini submarine, £200,000 from the Armed and Forces Covenant and a conditional grant of £140,000 from Argyll and Bute Council.

Initially it was hoped that the museum would be open in time for the Commonwealth Games on July 23, but planning permission and listed building consent were needed for substantial work at St Columba Church Hall on Sinclair Street.

These have now been granted by Argyll and Bute planning officials under delegated powers.

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  1. News in brief: Remembering the Great War, more cash for park fund, | The Lochside Press
  2. Budget’s £5m boost for Helensburgh – The Lochside Press

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