Aeronautica Museum

January 2012

Plans for the £8m waterfornt Southampton Aeronautica museum, dedicated to Southampton's transport heritage, have stalled after its proposed site was withdrawn. 

The team behind the Aeronautica attraction had hoped it would be housed at the Trafalgar dry dock as part of the redevelopment of the entire waterfront.  However, developers have initially recommended the pier berth be used to accommodate the Red Funnel Ferry terminal that would have to be relocated under the plans. 

Museum project leader Alan Jones called it "a massive disappointment".

Associated British Ports (ABP), who own Southampton Docks, told the museum team it was withdrawing the offer of a long-term lease, in case the ferry terminal has to be moved to free up the land around its existing base at Town Quay for redevelopment.  

Landowners Southampton City Council and ABP have been in talks about the initial finds, but have stressed no final decision has been made.

Mr Jones said: "If Aeronautica is to survive, we need a waterfront site and that is now a challenge.  I am hopfeul this might galvanise and prove to everyone the city deserves a major heritage site on the waterfront.  Tourism is money."

BBC News, Southampton Daily Echo, Jan 2012

July 2011

A fire-damaged naval pinnace will be given a new lease of life at a new workshop called Aeronautica in Southampton Docks. Dorian, built in 1915 in Portsmouth and later lengthened by 4ft (1.2m) to 45ft (13.7m), took part in the evacuation of Dunkirk before becoming a houseboat on the Thames after the war.  A serious fire in 2000 wrecked the wheelhouse and most of the interior.

She will be restored by volunteers of the Dunkirk Little Ships Restoration Trust in conjunction with City College, whose students will gain practical supervision while giving a helping hand to the Dunkirkers and the entire project will be filmed as a training documentary.

Classic Boat magazine, August 2011

May 2011

At 1pm on Friday 6 May, National Historic Ship and Dunkirk Little Ship Dorian will be arriving at the new workship at Aeronautica where she will be restored.

The aim will be to have her fully restored in time to take part in the Return to Dunkirk organised by the Association of Dunkirk Little Ships at the end of May 2015 which will also be Dorian’s 100th birthday.  The whole of the project will be filmed as a training documentary.

The new workshops are a part of Aeronautica which, thanks to the generosity of Associated British Ports, involves the regeneration of the 1905 built Trafalgar Dry Dock, with its pump house, and 50 Berth in Southampton Docks to form a heritage attraction including the Calshot Lightship, Tug Tender Calshot, SS Shieldhall, Steam Tug Challenge (another Dunkirk Little Ship), Ex HMS Medusa, Sail Training Vessels Tenaceous and Lord Nelson, Solent Sky with its collection of historic aircraft, the Spitfire Tribute and Southampton’s historic trams.

You can read further about Dorian here:


Solent Sky Museum, currently based opposite the entrance to Ocean Village Marina in Southampton, has unveiled plans to relocate to the Trafalgar Dry Dock next to the Ocean Liner Terminal within the next five years.

The new aircraft Museum will be built over the top of the existing dry dock, featuring a full-size replica of the stern of SS Olympic (Titanic's sister ship) in the void of the dock.  It is planned that a number of vessels from the National Register of Historic Vessels will find a permanent home at the new site.  The first of these vessels is LV78 - the Calshot Spit lightship which was moved there in November 2010 (see image).

The site was previously called 'Project Trafalgar' but was re-named 'Aeronautica'.  It will tell the story of Southampton's rich maritime and aviation history, whilst complementing the £15m Sea City Museum planned for the civic centre.

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