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History unleashed underwater for first time in Solent

The underwater dive trail was launched by English Heritage and Nautical Archaeology Society Credit: English Heritage

Britain's first underwater submarine dive trail will open today on a wreck of a Navy submarine which sank in the Solent.

The trail is based around the protected wreck of a HMS/mA1 which is the first British-designed submarine used by the Navy that sank in 1911 in the Solent.

The underwater exploration is the fourth underwater tourist trail for protected wrecks since 2009 Credit: English Heritage

The project was launched by the English Heritage as part of an initiative to create up to a dozen trails by 2018 for historic wreck sites from the 17th to 20th centuries.

The trails are already running on three sunken warships including HMS Colossus in 1787, which off sank off the Isles of Scilly.

The Coronation sunk off the coast of Plymouth in 1691 and Norman's Bay Wreck sank during the Battle of Beachy Head in 1690 in Sussex.

Trails are already running on three sunken warships: HMS Colossus, Coronation and Norman's Bay Wreck Credit: English Heritage

The submarine had sunk twice, in 1904 and then 1911, when it was unmanned and being used for underwater target practice.

Licensed divers on the new trail will be able to see the submarine resting upright and given a guide to help them navigate the wreck.

The submarine was built in July 1902 by Vickers Sons and Maxim Ltd Credit: English Heritage

Terry Newman, Assistant Maritime Designation Adviser for English Heritage, said: “We are diving into history with the launch of our first submarine trail.

"Protected wreck sites are as much part of our national heritage as castles and country houses, although they are not as widely accessible unfortunately!

"By giving licensed divers access to these historically and archaeologically important wrecks, we are encouraging greater understanding and recognition of England’s underwater heritage.”

Yarmouth castle 'had safety failings' after boy badly cut leg

English Heritage has accepted a Crown Censure, which is equivalent to a criminal prosecution, after a 12-year-old boy was badly cut when a glass floor panel broke whilst visiting Yarmouth castle on the Isle of Wight.

Yarmouth Castle on the Isle of Wight Credit: English Heritage

The boy jumped on a glass viewing panel after his friends and brother did the same.

The panel had also been walked on by thousands of other people, before suddenly shattering and cutting the boys left leg.

He ended up needing two operations for the injuries but has since recovered.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) reviewed the incident, which happened on 5th September 2011, and today gave English Heritage the Crown Censure for failing to take reasonable steps to protect members of the public from risk.

HSE found the panel was not made of toughed or laminated glass and that English Heritage had not assessed the risk of the glass floor panels breaking, at Yarmouth castle or any of their properties since 1984.

There had, however, been regular visual inspections.

This is the first censure recorded against English Heritage in 30 years.


Stonehenge visitor centre is nearing completion

Video. The long awaited visitor centre at Stonehenge is nearing completion. £27 million has been spent on transforming the setting of the ancient stones and generally improving the experience for the thousands of visitors who visit the site each year.

It is the largest project undertaken by English Heritage and today, they revealed just what the public will be getting for their money. Our reporter Robert Murphy was given a preview.

Stonehenge visitor centre cost £27 million

The new visitor centre at Stonehenge will open in December, just three days before this year's winter solstice.

English Heritage is spending £27 million on the complex. There will be an exhibition which will include a 360-degree virtual experiecne, allowing visitors to feel like they are standing on the stones.

We spoke to Simon Thurley, the Chief Executive of English Heritage

  1. David Johns (@davidjohns_itv)

Cold war bunker out of cold storage

A cold-war nuclear bunker, buried beneath a park in Gravesend, has been given Listed Building status by English Heritage. The Civil Defence Bunker would have been used as a communications centre in the event of a Soviet attack, and was fully functional between 1954 and 1968.

David Johns has been to see it, and speaks to volunteer Naj Lehl, Melanie Norris from Gravesham Borough Council, and volunteer Sam Willoughby.

Bunker wouldn't have survived a nuclear attack

The bunker can't be seen from above ground Credit: English Heritage/Picasa
Inside the bunker and how it would have looked when it was in use Credit: English Heritage/Picasa

A bunker that has been given listed status by English Heritage would not have survived a nuclear attack.

The bunker would have been used between 1954 and 1968 in the case of a Soviet air attack.

The building would have handled information and coordinated the response to a nuclear attack.


Cold was bunker recognised by English Heritage

A bunker in Kent has been given listed status by English Heritage today.

The bunker is a rare example of a purpose built civil defence centre, which would have been used in the case of a Soviet air attack.

The building would have been staffed by around 35 people and was in use between 1954 and 1968.

It has now been restored and is open to the public.

Stonehenge centre to open later this year

No part of Stonehenge will close while work continues to build the new visitor centre which will open at the end of 2013.

Once the new visitor building is up and running, work will start on removing the existing outdated facilities, building a small, security ‘hub’, tucked into the landscape and the car park will be grassed over.

The restoration of the landscape near the monument will be well underway by summer 2014.

Stonehenge visitor centre plans revealed

This video shows an artist impression of what the new Stonehenge Visitor Centre will look like.

Construction of the new visitor centre in Wiltshire is progressing steadily since work started in July last year.

There will be two "pods" that house the exhibition, café, shop and education facilities.

The most distinctive feature - the undulating zinc canopy roof - is about to be installed.

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