Light vessel moving to new museum

Southampton’s Calshot Spit Lightship was moved from Ocean Village marina yesterday, ready to take centre stage in the city’s new £8m Aeronautica museum at Trafalgar Dock.

Two huge cranes (below) lifted the 140-ton light vessel out of the ground and onto a 120-wheel trailer, before being taken 800 yards to Trafalgar Dry Dock.

 Calshot Spit Lightship ocean village lift out

Aeronautica project officer Alan Jones said: ‘I think God must have been on our side today when you look at the weather.

‘Wind would have been a big problem. If it had been windy the cranes wouldn’t have been able to operate. I’ll be very relieved when the moving is over.

‘We’re going to restore her and she then becomes a gate guardian to the new heritage centre.’

After retiring from service in 1989, Calshot was set in concrete in Ocean Village.

Built in 1914 by J Thornycroft, the lightship was known as Light Vessel 78 (LV78) and had a pioneering, revolving light on top of her mast.

She was moored at Calshot Spit at the entrance to Southampton Water to guide flying boats into their berths and warn ships of sandbanks.

Ocean Village’s redevelopment has forced LV78, which is one of the last lightships in the world, to move.

She was going to be scrapped until the museum pledged to save her and restore her to her original glory.

Aeronautica is expected to open in 2015 and will house historic aircraft and ships, replacing the current Solent Sky Museum.

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