The white marble bust of an elderly Victorian gentleman with sideburns. He is wearing a cravat and overcoat of the period.

Augustus Siebe, the founder of the legendary diving helmet manufacturing company ‘Siebe Gorman’ has arrived at the Diving Museum in the form of a marble bust. The bust has never been on public display before and has been loaned to the Diving Museum from the Science Museum Group.

Accompanying Mr Siebe’s bust was another item which is also on loan from the Science Museum group: a diving helmet which is the world’s second oldest surviving diving artefact. The diving helmet is attributed to William Henry James, a British inventor who patented his idea in 1825, although a contemporary of his (a Mr T.B) claimed it was his – as did another gentleman, Joseph Schultes in Germany. Although the owner is disputed, we believe it may be the James helmet.

As these items have never been on display before we celebrated their arrival with a number of invited VIP guests including our local Lady Mayor, Diane Furlong and our MP, Caroline Dineage.

Allen Leatt, CEO of IMCA (the International Marine Contractors Association) and Dick Martin (Senior Vice President of Subsea7) also attended and we were pleased to honour them as Gold Industry Partners for their invaluable support. Liz James accepted our certificate on behalf of Subsea7. Liz is a Project Manager in Subsea7 and was also the first female to qualify as a commercial diver in the UK.

We also took the opportunity to extend our thanks and appreciation to our mentor, Gail Stewart-Bye of the National Motor Museum who guided us through the procedure towards our successful application to become an accredited museum.

Some photos from the event follow (sadly not all great quality – we may have been celebrating just a trifle)

 

 

 

Liz James of Subsea7 receives a certificate from Dr John Bevan in recognition of Subsea7's support to the museum.
Dr John Bevan presents Mr Allen Leatt of IMCA with a Gold Industry Partner certificate.
Mr Allen Leatt addresses the guests
Group of people around the glass cabinet containing the diving helmets looking at the exhibits
View of the new exhibits in their glass display cases. Backs of the guests in the foreground.
Chairman of the Historical Diving Society, dR John Bevan holding certificates he is about to present to our supporters.
Gail Stewart-Bye, Senior curator at the National Motor Museum receives a certificate of appreciation from Dr John Bevan, chairman of the Historical Diving Society
Caroline Dineage MP, with Kevin Casey (Museum Director) and the Lady Mayor of Gosport, Diane Furlong standing around the display cabinet containing the Deane and James helmets.
Two volunteers facing the camera. One holding a bottle of wine aloft in celebration.

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