Mines and Countermines Store

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Mines and Countermines Store, erected in 1899/1900, stands as an imposing structure on the Priddy’s Hard peninsula. This Grade 2 Listed building boasts a long, narrow, gabled design, reflecting the distinctive architectural style favoured by Admiralty architects of the late 19th century. A central tramway runs the length of the building; this would have facilitated the movement of materials, munitions and equipment.

Originally intended for the storage of harbour defence mines, the building’s purpose aligned with the Royal Engineers’ responsibilities until 1905. By 1913, it transitioned into a guncotton store with an attached Examining Room.

The building had largely gone unused since the MoD left Priddy’s Hard in 1988, other than as for occasional informal storage of larger items by the Explosion Museum. As with the other historic buildings that were part of this project, Building P was gradually falling into dereliction.

We took on ownership of the site in 2009 and in 2018 we were awarded grant funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to convert and restore the building, along with six other historic buildings on site. Collaborating with the Coastal Forces Heritage Trust and the National Museum of the Royal Navy, we developed a new museum exhibition within the store.

This exhibition, titled ‘The Night Hunters: the Royal Navy’s Coastal Forces at War,’ commemorates the heroic efforts of the Coastal Forces during both World Wars. With Motor Torpedo Boats as its centrepiece, the exhibition offers visitors a glimpse into the daring operations of these naval units.

Operated and managed by the National Museum of the Royal Navy, the Coastal Forces exhibition is a testament to the vital role played by these forces in defending Britain’s shores. The project was made possible through funding from the LIBOR scheme secured by the Coastal Forces Heritage Trust, in addition to the National Lottery Heritage Fund grant awarded to us.