Southampton City Council Press Releases
Olympic rowing hero to open Sea City Museum
Double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell is to officially launch Southampton’s SeaCity Museum next month.
James Cracknell is one of Britain’s most successful athletes of all time, with six World Championship titles as well as two Olympic medals for rowing.
Since his retirement from an international sporting career he has also appeared in a number of popular documentaries covering his charity and sporting challenges which included rowing the Atlantic.
He will be joined in performing the opening ceremony on Tuesday April 10 by Henry and William Ward, who are descendants of Titanic crewman George Kemish, and the opening of the £15 million museum coincides with 100 years after RMS Titanic departed Southampton docks for her first and only voyage.
The museum opening comes as the eyes of the world will be on Southampton for the centenary commemorations of the sailing of Titanic and the official opening of SeaCity Museum will be preceded by a procession of more than 600 school children through the city – each holding a placard dedicated to a Southampton crew member who sailed on the ship.
James said: “This is a very special time for the city of Southampton and I’m honoured to be part of such an important event. The SeaCity Museum helps bring the story of the Titanic and the history of this city to life, and will do so for many visitors in years to come. I’m very much looking forward to meeting some of the Titanic crew’s descendants and seeing so many people coming together to mark this significant event.”
Work originally started on the concept for Southampton to have a world-leading maritime museum featuring the city’s Titanic story and rich maritime heritage in the autumn of 2007 and works started on site in October 2010.
Mike Harris, Senior Manager, Leisure and Culture at Southampton City Council said: “The opening of the SeaCity Museum truly is a proud moment for Southampton, and we’re very pleased to have James Cracknell involved. The opening event is going to be a memorable occasion for so many; from the hundreds of children involved in the procession, those with historic links to the Titanic, to the many other spectators in attendance. The museum is now in the final stages of preparation and we are very much looking forward to having James join us in opening the doors to the public.”
The museum will tell the story of Southampton’s crew and the impact the tragedy had on families in the city and will also feature other major maritime led exhibitions, telling the stories of people who have arrived and departed in the city since pre-historic times.
Notes to editors
SeaCity Museum is the latest important step in the development of Southampton’s Cultural Quarter. Southampton Cultural Development Trust is spearheading the city’s drive to complete the Cultural Quarter, with its new galleries, performance and film spaces, through advocacy and fundraising. www.culturesouthampton.org.uk
Assisting James Cracknell with the opening ceremony are William and Henry Ward. William is 6 years old; Henry is 8 years old. William attends Bitterne Park Infants School and Henry is at Bitterne Park Junior School. They are related to George Kemish who was a fireman onboard the Titanic and came from Shirley. He survived but rarely talked to the family about the disaster. George Kemish is William and Henry`s great grandfather.
Key forthcoming SeaCity Museum dates:
If you are interested in news and features in the build up to the opening of SeaCity Museum the following milestones provide copy and photographic opportunities.
VIP reception at SeaCity Museum.
Official opening of SeaCity Museum featuring a procession of local schoolchildren carrying placards representing the lives lost in the Titanic disaster.
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Liz Pusey or Amy Henson, Leepeckgroup: 023 8063 2211
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