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Giant scarf wrapped around historic submarine

Written by Bill Sainsbury on Friday, 13 December 2013. Posted in Blog

Scarf Unveiled pic 1A 400m scarf has been wrapped around the conning tower of HMS Alliance, the historic WW2 era submarine at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport. The giant scarf is the result of a community project which has involved over 200 local knitters, knitting 1337 squares to make a scarf alleged to keep the historic submarine warm over the winter.

Gareth Brettell, Education Manager at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum said,

“We are very grateful and totally amazed with results from our local knitters. Knitting has a long tradition in the Royal Navy, from the much loved woolly submarine jumpers to mending clothing while at sea. This community project has been a perfect way to develop interest in HMS Alliance”

Over 40 local community groups from the Women’s Institute, local churches, sheltered housing schemes and social knitting groups have taken part in the project to make the giant scarf. There have also been a number of individual knitting enthusiasts who contributed by knitting at home, with one lady knitting a section of scarf 200 metres long!  Each knitter has knitted at least one square and the squares have been sewn together into sections and then joined together by volunteers at the Submarine Museum. Staff from the Submarine Museum have also visited the groups and given talks and shared submarine artefacts. 

There have been an incredible 1337 squares knitted in total. The squares are all possible colours and some of the squares have patterns on them inspired by the artefacts such as the Jolly Rogers that submarines have long been associated with. One of the squares even has the words “HMS Alliance” knitted on it in Morse code.

The giant scarf has also spawned some smaller scarves which will be wrapped around the other submarines at the Museum, including Holland 1, the Royal Navy’s very first submarine launch in 1901. A celebration event to thank all the knitters was held at the Submarine Museum. The scarf will be displayed for a few days, weather permitting. In the New Year it will displayed in the Learning Centre at the Submarine Museum.

displayAlso, this month has been very exciting for the curatorial department as we have being doing some trials onboard the submarine to see how our new displays will work for the completed new interpretation of Alliance ready for patrol which will open next Easter.

The new interpretation onboard will see every compartment filled with objects, sounds and reanimated equipment to make the boat come to life giving the impression that the crew have just stepped off for a few minutes. Over the past year and a half we have been interviewing veteran submariners and looking at historical photographs to make sure that we get every detail right. A lot of time has been spent on EBay collecting objects and visiting our friends at Sabre Sales in Southsea.

We have also been testing our new audio guide for visitors who want to explore the submarine in their own time. We trialled this over the half term along with our new soundscape and so far the feedback has been really positive.

The final fit out will take place once the internal conservation has been completed in January.

An idea of how the galley on HMS Alliance will look with new interpretation. Lovely pot mess! 

Continue Reading to see Enid Fletcher, one of the knitters, taking about this community project

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About the Author

Bill Sainsbury

Bill is the Marketing, PR & Events Manager at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum

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