Search is on for a permanent way to keep museum dry

RICHARD BATSON Behind the sandbagged museum doors lie the stories of men who battled huge seas and fierce storms to save lives.

RICHARD BATSON

Behind the sandbagged museum doors lie the stories of men who battled huge seas and fierce storms to save lives.

So do the emergency flood defences mean the £1.8m showpiece Henry Blogg building at Cromer is less than shipshape and watertight?

Officials at North Norfolk District Council, which owns the building, and the RNLI, which runs it, say the bags were put down as a "precaution" ahead of recent high tides and stormy weather. But talks are under way to find a permanent way of keeping the rain and sea out of the museum and its precious relics.

The building, opened by comic Ronnie Corbett in April 2006, was the first purpose-built museum to be launched by the RNLI for 60 years. It houses legendary coxswain Henry Blogg's former boat the H F Bailey in which he carried out 154 rescues and saved 448 lives, but also a wealth of pictures, artefacts, exhibits and hands-on activities to make it family-friendly.

The interior is climate-controlled to ensure the boat does not get too damp or dry, so ensuring extra water does not enter the building is important.

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A dribble came under the roller doors during recent bad weather, so the sandbags were added as a temporary measure until a more permanent way is found to improve the seal at the building, whose curved modern design has won an award as well as drawing controversy.

RNLI spokesman Amy Ross said the leak was not bad enough to affect the climate in the museum, but the sandbags were requested from the council as a precaution. A few months ago a storm tide nearly reached the building, so it was vital to bolster protection of the exhibits.

The RNLI was now writing to the council asking them to fund a system of aluminium storm boards for high tides, she added.

The museum is open from 10am to 4pm Tuesday to Saturday in the winter. Contact 01263 511294.

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