A new home in Cardiff Bay for the Museum of Military Medicine has been given the green light by the local council.
Currently based in the village of Mytchett, Surrey, where it was long known as the Army Medical Services Museum, the site contains a collection of more than 30,000 items telling the story of British medical advances in historical conflicts.
Some of its more unusual highlights include a specially adapted carriage used by Florence Nightingale during the Crimean War, a box of tools belonging to Napoleon Bonaparte’s dentist, and the death mask of senior Nazi Rudolf Hess.
The museum began a search for a new home in 2016, with Cardiff Council finally approving the project in December last year. The new building, a five-storey construction costing £30m and designed by architect Scott Brownrigg, will be located in Britannia Park, an area of green space in the bay opposite the city’s Norwegian Church.
The project is due to go ahead despite a local campaign objecting to the loss of the open space, which included a petition signed by more than 2,500 people. Concerns have also been raised about the viability of the museum, which suffered funding problems even before the COVID-19 pandemic.
The site in the heart of the Welsh capital had been sought in part to address problems of low visitor numbers at the museum’s current, relatively rural location.
The museum has stated that its goal is to ‘create a national venue that will benefit its local community’, including offices and teaching facilities, as well as the UK’s first 8K immersive video area, Deep Space, a resource for local school children and medical students from nearby universities.
Construction is due to begin next year and should last approximately 18 months.
This is an article from the April/May 2021 issue of Military History Matters. To find out more about the magazine and how to subscribe, click here.