Hull Maritime Museum in £12m renovation to reveal victorian secrets

Video report by Michael Billington

Specialists are uncovering the hidden treasures of a former Hull dock office in a £12m transformation.

Hull Maritime Museum's original Victorian features were hidden behind plasterboard for almost half a century but are being revealed as renovation gets underway.

The Grade II listed building is due to reopen in 2025, as part of the Maritime City project to promote Hull's seafaring history.

Specialist heritage contractors have been commissioned to carry out the works.

Contractors have been on site since last month, but work to start stripping out some of the 1970s fixtures and fittings is now in full swing.

For the first time ever, the building's second floor is being opened up to the public to create extra exhibition space. One of the three domes, a familiar sight on the city's skyline, will also be accessible to visitors.

A courtyard, previously hidden from view at the centre of the building, will also be covered over to create a three-storey atrium, bringing light flooding in.

Maritime City Project Director, Gillian Osgerby, said: "We had a vision, and now it's really wonderful to see that vision come to life.

"It's a really stunning building and it's amazing the spaces, how quickly they're changing just by taking down some plywood."

The second floor of the former Dock Offices is being opened to the public for the first time.

The work is being carried out by heritage contractors Simpson, who have previously worked on buildings like Castle Howard near York and Durham Cathedral. The museum will create 50% more space for exhibitions. 

Cllr Daren Hale, Leader of Hull City Council, said: "The refurbishment of the Hull Maritime Museum is a significant milestone for the Hull Maritime project.

"It will be great to see the transformation as it progresses, creating a museum that will attract new and more diverse visitors.

"This major investment will ensure the stories of Hull’s maritime past will continue to be told, and importantly in new and engaging ways to showcase our significant collections to the world."