December 2011

NMDC Newsletter: December 2011
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NMDC Newsletter: December 2011
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Welcome to NMDC’s monthly news update...
In this issue:

and much more…



10th anniversary of free admission to national museums

National museums celebrated a decade of free entry on 1 December.  While many of our members have been free for generations, free admission to those that charged was introduced by devolved nation administrations on 1 April 2001, and to English national museums on 1 December 2001. At an event at the Natural History Museum to mark the anniversary Lord Smith of Finsbury, who as Culture Secretary (1997-2001) negotiated the change in Government policy and current Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP agreed on the overwhelming success of the policy in boosting visitor numbers.  Over 50 million people visited the UK’s national museums last year, more than double the number before the re-introduction of universal free admission in December 2001.  Visitor figures have increased markedly at all the formerly charging DCMS-sponsored museums, rising by over 150% from 7.2 million in 2000/01 to nearly 18 million in 2010/11.  The anniversary coincided with the reopening of the Scottish National Portrait Gallery following a £17.6m renovation, and a visit by HM Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh to the Museum of Liverpool.  There are now over 50 free national museums across the UK. A Twitter debate using hashtag #freemuseums10 reached over 3.25m Twitter accounts worldwide and generated almost 1,000 tweets. One of the most popular tweets was from Jeremy Hunt MP “Today marks 10 yrs. since the intro of free entry to all our national museums. Our heritage belongs to the many, not the few.”  National museums also asked their followers to say what free entry meant to them.  The anniversary received good press and broadcast media coverage around the UK including: Stephen Deuchar, Director of the Art Fund, which played a key role in the campaign to make national museums free for all, wrote an article for the Independent which was edited to remove his final paragraph, changing the tone of the article. It should have read: "The reality is that not all museums can afford to open their doors without charging a fee, and this is not the right moment in history to argue that more of them should try.  But we should salute those that can and do, and we should applaud continuing government support to the principle of free entry to the great collections of our national institutions.  It is a civilising and visionary policy, and, in a world where not much else is going right, it has helped put museums and visual culture at the very heart of British national identity and pride."  Independent Read more about the 10th anniversary of free admission on the NMDC website.

NMDC welcomes boost for lifetime giving scheme

The Chancellor's Autumn Statement included the announcement of an increased annual limit of £30 million for tax reductions under the proposed Gifts of pre-eminent objects and works of art to the nation scheme.  The Government confirmed its plans to "legislate to enable individuals to receive a reduction in their income tax or capital gains tax liabilities, and companies to receive a reduction in their corporation tax liabilities, in return for donating pre-eminent objects under this new scheme.  Total tax reductions under this scheme, and taxes offset under the existing inheritance tax Acceptance in Lieu scheme, will be subject to an increased annual limit of £30 million a year overall.”  The NMDC welcomes the news of the increased limit, one of the key issues highlighted in our response to the consultation on the new scheme.  Original proposals were for a cap of £20 million (the current limit for the Acceptance in Lieu scheme only) which the NMDC and others argued could be detrimental to both schemes and compromise the Government's ambition to encourage and increase gifts to the nation. The NMDC believes that the proposed scheme, if well designed, will be crucial in helping to support the formation of long-term and life-time relationships between individual and corporate donors and cultural organisations. Further details will be published on 6th December. A summary of implications of the Autumn statement for DCMS sectors is on the DCMS website.  The full Autumn Statement can be read on the HM Treasury websiteback to top


Prince of Wales Medal honours arts philanthropists

HRH The Prince of Wales presented his 2011 Medals for Arts Philanthropy at Clarence House on 17 November 2011.  The Medal celebrates outstanding individuals who support the arts in the UK.  The 2011 “honourees” are: 
  • Lloyd Dorfman, founder of Travelex, which is a major sponsor of the arts including the National Theatre's £10 ticket scheme;
  • Lady Hobson, supporter of Royal Opera House and the Royal Ballet;
  • Mike and Jean Oglesby, supporters of numerous arts organisations in Manchester including The Royal Exchange Theatre and the Halle Orchestra;
  • Jonathan Ruffer, who bought a group of paintings by the 17th-century Spanish artist Zurbaran for £15m from the Church of England and then gave them back to Auckland Castle through the new Zurbaran Trust; and
  • Theresa Sackler, who together with her late husband Mortimer, has supported many new building projects at museums and cultural organisations across the UK including the Sackler education centre at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and the National Galleries of Scotland’s Playfair Project.  Arts and Business

Major donation enables British Museum to acquires Picasso etchings

A £1m donation has enabled the British Museum to purchase a complete set of Picasso's Vollard Suite.  This landmark acquisition for the British Museum is made possible through the generosity of the Hamish Parker Charitable Trust in memory of the donor’s father, Major Horace Parker.  The suite comprises 100 etchings produced by Picasso between 1930 and 1937 and is arguably his most important cycle of etchings. This will be the only complete Vollard Suite held by a public museum in the UK and only a handful of museums in the world are fortunate to hold a set. The works will go on display at the Museum in the summer of 2012 and will be the first time a complete Vollard Suite has been shown in Britain in the past 50 years.  British Museum

Impact of recession on arts fundraising

Arts Quarter has announced the findings from its fourth survey of UK arts organisations, looking to plot the ongoing effects of the global recession on the sector.  In all, some 452 arts organisations of all scales, regions and art forms took part in this year's survey, the fourth of its kind to be conducted since the start of the recession in 2008. The key findings include:
  • A majority of arts organisations think that they will be unlikely to recover losses in public sector funding from other sources until at least 2015.   
  • Continuing modest growth in both fundraising and earned income streams combined with the impacts of public sector cuts felt across the sector point clearly to the arts being in the midst of the Second Recessionary Wave.
  • On earned revenues, a lack of confidence in growth in a number of key areas as consumer confidence wanes and the impacts of public sector cuts take hold on a number of key revenue streams. 
  • The first signs of 'fundraising bottlenecking' are becoming evident in the sector as more organisations begin private sector fundraising,  competing for support with established fundraising teams. This is leading to some reporting declines in fundraising revenues owing to increasing competition for support - without a commensurate growth in funders or philanthropy generally.
  • Declining faith in the 2012 Olympics and Cultural Olympiad's capacities to generate much needed additional revenues and create a long term legacy of greater arts attendance post 2012.
Arts Quarter

Practical guide for corporate funders

New Philanthropy Capital has published a guide for corporate funders. It is intended to be a practical tool to help funders make the most of their giving while at the same time meeting their strategic and business objectives. The publication aims to ensure charitable funding is spent as effectively as possible and that corporate funders understand the impact their donations. New Philanthropy Capital back to top


Scottish National Portrait Gallery reopens

The Scottish National Portrait Gallery reopened on 1 December, following its major 2-year refurbishment project.  The £17.6m project, the first major refurbishment in the Gallery’s 120-year history, has restored much of the architect’s original vision of the building, clearing away an accumulation of twentieth-century interventions, and increasing the public and exhibition space by more than 60 per cent.  In addition, a range of new visitor facilities has been introduced, which includes a large, purpose-built education suite; an adjoining ‘state-of-the-art’ seminar room; a larger café and shop; a new glass feature lift; an ambitious interactive new media resource and a Learning and Resource Centre.  The Gallery’s displays retain a strong chronological backbone, based around the four key phases in Scotland’s history: Reformation, Enlightenment, Empire, Modernity, together with the Contemporary and aim to explore Scottish history and culture in a more cohesive and interconnected way, enabling individual portraits to be viewed within a wider context.  Photography has been given a much greater prominence and is integrated into displays throughout the Gallery, as well as having its own major gallery space.  National Galleries of Scotland

Royal visit for the Museum of Liverpool

HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, visited the new Museum of Liverpool on 1 December. The Royal couple were the first visitors to the four new galleries which opened to the public on 2 December, including The Great Port and Liverpool Overhead Railway along with a 38-metre time traveller’s timeline, and a gallery dedicated to Liverpool’s King’s Regiment. The Museum of Liverpool received a record half a million visitors in the first three months since opening in July.  Museum of Liverpool

HLF funding for First World War centenary projects

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is inviting applications for heritage projects of any scale which relate to the anniversaries of the First World War.  HLF is working with Imperial War Museums to support local community groups and organisations to commemorate these centenaries, and recently published a booklet, Remembering the First World War, to publicise funding opportunities.  Heritage Lottery Fund

First World War Centenary Partnership log

Imperial War Museums has launched the First World War (FWW) Centenary mark – a new logo which members of the FWW Centenary Partnership can use as a marker that their events and non-commercial products.  FWW Centenary Partnership is an IWM-led initiative for all organisations that are marking the hundred year anniversary of the First World War (2014 – 2018).  The partnership already has over 200 national and international organisation members, creating a network which includes museums, archives, libraries, universities, colleges and special interest groups through to broadcasters. Partners can register via  to share ideas and expertise, update each other on their plans, ask questions, share resources, form local partnerships for planned activities and access free digital assets drawing on IWM's collections and expertise.  First World War Centenary

Welsh Sharing treasures scheme re-launched

Welsh Heritage Minister Huw Lewis has announced that the Welsh Government's flagship scheme to allow museums to borrow items from the collections of National Museums Wales is to be widened. Under the scheme, local museums can apply for grants to put on exhibitions and raise gallery standards so that they can borrow items from national collections for display. Following an independent review, the scheme will now be more flexible to allow museums to apply for grants to develop touring exhibitions as well as apply for a grant more than once so that they can develop successful projects. The scheme will also be extended to allow libraries and archives to borrow items from the collections of National Museums Wales and other UK national organisations.  Welsh Government

London 2012 Festival Programme launched

The programme for the London 2012 Festival has been announced including major exhibitions and events at museum around the UK. The newly launched website for the London 2012 Festival includes a full calendar of events and enables users to search by date, venue and location,  and to book tickets.  The London 2012 Festival will be a 12-week nationwide celebration between 21 June and 9 September 2012 as a finale to the Cultural Olympiad, celebrating culture and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.  London 2012 Festival  

Natural History returns of ancestral remains

The Natural History Museum has returned 19 ancestral remains to the Torres Strait Islands (TSI) community.  This is the second group of items to be returned to the Islands and follows the Museum’s announcement in March of discussions with community representatives about the return of 138 ancestral remains and their future care. The delegation of eight Traditional Owners also presented the Museum with a letter expressing the community’s wish for the Museum to continue as guardians of some of the remaining poorly provenanced remains and hold them in trust.  The return of remains builds on over 20 months of dialogue with the TSI community and the Australian Government. The Museum and TSI will continue to work together to agree how responsibility for the remains will be managed and how they will be cared for and accessed for future study. The Museum has approximately 20,000 human remains, collected since it was founded in 1881. Specimens range from single teeth to complete skeletons, and they are used by researchers worldwide to study a wide range of topics, from human evolution to disease.  Natural History Museum

New BBC and British Museum radio series

The British Museum and BBC have announced details of a new 20-part series to be broadcast on BBC Radio 4.  To complement, the World Shakespeare Festival, Neil MacGregor, the Director of the British Museum, will look at the world through the eyes of Shakespeare’s audience by exploring objects from his period.    Like the hugely successful History of the World in 100 Objects, the programmes from the series will be available to download and keep online.  In a recent blog, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP reported that the History of the World podcasts have been downloaded 35 million times - the most successful podcast in the BBC's history – with two-thirds of the downloads from outside the UK. The BP Exhibition Shakespeare: staging the world at British Museum from July –November 2012 will feature key objects covered in the series.  The World Shakespeare Festival involves over 50 arts organisations, and is part of the London 2012 Festival, which is the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad.  British Museum World Shakespeare Festival

Millions of people looking for Things to Do in your venues

Culture24 is urging museums and galleries to register for a new BBC activities website, Things to Do.  Culture24 is now the official cultural data provider to the BBC.  This means museums, galleries, libraries, heritage sites and other cultural organisations have the opportunity to have their activities channelled from the Culture24 database to the new website, which is being promoted in regular slots on the BBC homepage, reaching 1 million unique users every day.  Things to Do is looking for more activities that:
  • Relate to art (or arts) or crafts;
  • Have a hands-on element (eg a make and take session, guided tour or talk with Q&A);
  • Are free (not including admission) or cost-recovery   Culture24   BBC Things to Do  

Somewhereto: introductory free event at Channel 4

Somewhereto_ are inviting museums, libraries and arts organisations to an event on 15 December to find out more about the somewhereto_ project.  Somewhereto_ is a nationwide London 2012 legacy project helping young people “find the space they need to do the things they love.” The event will provide an opportunity to see music and performances from the youth partners currently involved. The project is run by Livity, in partnership with Channel 4, and funded by Legacy Trust UK, an independent charity, part-funded by Arts Council England. Arts Council   Somewhereto

Museum of London Archaeology goes independent

Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) became an independent charity on 1 November.  The Museum of London and MOLA retain close links via a partnership arrangement set out in a Memorandum of Understanding, including collaboration on educational outreach, fundraising and public relations as well as sharing specialist expertise and equipment. MOLA employs around 180 archaeologists working on most of the major archaeological sites in London. The new charity's independence from the Museum is intended to give it a stronger remit including the freedom to operate and to explore new markets across the country and overseas. The move is also expected to streamline operations, reduce duplication and cut red tape.  MOLA has its own Board of Trustees which is chaired by philanthropist and businessman Michael Hoffman. Museum of London  

Museum of London partnership with RBS

Royal Bank of Scotland has become the official Learning Partner of the Museum of London.  The bank’s Global Banking and Markets arm is supporting the museum’s Learning Programme and will allow it continue into 2013. The programme is expected to reach more than 100,000 schoolchildren a year.  The Bank will also supply volunteers who will help develop and deliver a new financial markets education programme to teach local schoolchildren about London’s financial history and the impact of financial markets on the social and economic climate.  Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has welcomed the partnership.  DCMS

Public asked to donate to see Ship in a Bottle move to Greenwich

The Art Fund and the National Maritime Museum have launched a public appeal to give Yinka Shonibare’s sculpture Ship in a Bottle a permanent home at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.  The work was commissioned by the Mayor of London for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, where it has been on temporary display since May 2010: it is due to come down from view next month.  The campaign invites people to donate by text (text SHIP to 70555 to donate £5) or donate online and watch a virtual Ship in a Bottle move from Trafalgar Square to its new destination in Greenwich as the campaign progresses.  Art Fund

HMS Belfast remains closed

HMS Belfast, part of Imperial War Museums, will remain closed until further notice following the collapse of the gangway that leads visitors onto the ship on 29 November. All visitors and staff were evacuated and escorted back to shore. Two contractors working on the site sustained minor injuries and were taken to hospital as a precaution. Health and Safety Executive representatives visited the site on the afternoon of the incident and the Museum will continue to co-operate fully with their investigations. HMS Belfast, which is moored on the Thames between London Bridge and Tower Bridge, is the most significant surviving Second World War Royal Navy warship.  HMS Belfast  


Tate Publishing has released Tate Guide to Modern Art Terms, its first modern art app for iPad and iPhone. Produced by Aimer Media, the app is an art dictionary with over 300 terms enabling users to search by artist, movement, technique or trend; view over 40 art works with pinch-and-zoom technology; share art terms via Twitter and Facebook; and create lists of favourite terms. The app is based on a book of the same name published by Tate Publishing in 2009.  Tate Guide to Modern Art (iTunes)    Tate  


Government launches the first National plan for music education

The Department for Education  published National Plan for Music Education – The Importance of Music on 25 November 2011. It sets out the Government’s vision for music education “to enable children from all backgrounds and every part of England to have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument; to make music with others; to learn to sing; and to have the opportunity to progress to the next level of excellence.”  This is part of the Government’s aim to ensure that all pupils have rich cultural opportunities alongside their academic and vocational studies.  From 2012 music education will be provided by new ‘hubs’ which will deliver music education in partnership, building on the work of existing local authority music services. The Department for Education has asked Arts Council England to be fund-holder and establish and monitor the new national network of music education hubs.  The establishment of a network of hubs was a key recommendation the review of music education in England undertaken by Darren Henley last year.  The hubs aim to realise the vision set out in The Importance of Music: A National Plan for Music Education and ensure that every child aged 5-18 has the opportunity to sing, learn an instrument and take part in an ensemble performance.  The Department for Education has allocated £171m for the hubs over the current spending period.  The amount available will fall each year: £75m in 2012-13, £63m in 2013-14 and down to £58m in 2014-15. The Department currently spends £77m a year on music tuition. The hubs will be fully operational from September 2012.  Department for Education   Arts Council

Schools need to learn to take full advantage of museums

Anra Kennedy, Partnerships and Content Director at Culture24, wrote an article for the Guardian on 23 November arguing that collections and expertise of our world-class museum sector should be at the heart of educational experience, not side-lined. In the article she outlined nine actions to promote cultural learning including appointing cultural learning staff shared between venues and schools to enable collaboration in local, subject-themed clusters.  Guardian

Creativity, Money, Love: Learning for the 21st Century

Creative & Cultural Skills, in partnership with A New Direction, has launched Creativity, Money, Love, a collection of responses to the question: ‘What does the education system need to look like in order for the creative and cultural industries in the UK to thrive?’.  Contributors include Trevor Phillips OBE, Lord Puttnam, Sir Christopher Frayling and Camila Batmanghelidjh, Founder of Kids Company. The essays will be published over the coming weeks through the Guardian Culture Professionals Network. CCSkills    Guardian Culture Professionals Network


Professor Sir David Cannadine, a leading historian and chair of the National Portrait Gallery, has called on the Government to continue to keep history as a compulsory part of the curriculum up to the age of 16.  Guardian


Internship guide for arts organisations

Arts Council England and Creative & Cultural Skills have published Internships in the arts - a guide for arts organisations, which offers advice on how to develop high-quality and mutually beneficial employment opportunities, as well as setting out the legal obligations for arts and cultural organisations offering internships.  Recommendations include:
  • an open, transparent and fair recruitment process;
  • internships being well planned and based on a wider internship and equal opportunities policy;
  • the offer of meaningful experiences and responsibilities that contribute to the aims of the organisation;
  • at least national minimum wage payment.
The guide also highlights the legal obligations for organisations offering internships, including the need to conform to the National Minimum Wage Act. Arts Council

£1bn Youth Contract to provide incentives for employers

The Department for Work and Pensions has announced a £1bn package of support to tackle youth unemployment including apprenticeships, work experience placements and cash payments to encourage employers to recruit young people.  The measures include:
  • 160,000 job subsidies worth up to £2,275 each for businesses who take on an 18-24 year-old from the Work Programme;
  • 250,000 Work Experience places over the next three years, amounting to at least 100,000 a year;
  • 20,000 extra incentive payments worth £1500 each for employers to take on young people as apprentices, taking the total number of payments available to 40,000 next year.  DWP

Arts Council and BBC launch digital arts programme

Arts Council England and the BBC have announced a partnership to create The Space – an experimental digital arts media service and commissioning programme which aims to help to transform the way people connect with, and experience, arts and culture.  Launching in May and running until the end of October 2012, this pop-up service will challenge artists, arts and cultural organisations to collaborate with each other and with partners to capture and create cultural experiences.  Arts Council England is investing £2.5 million of its strategic digital innovation funds in commissioning grants for artists, arts and cultural organisations to create work to be shown in The Space: brief expressions of interest should be submitted to the Arts Council by 9 December.  The BBC will also contribute substantial support, providing the technology solution that will enable the arts, for the first time, to sit seamlessly together across the four “key platforms of the digital media age: PC, mobile, tablet and connected TV.” In addition, the BBC will mentor successful applicants – particularly smaller organisations – through the creative process, with training and guidance where appropriate.  BBC

The Public: Lessons learned by Arts Council England

Arts Council England has published an independent report setting out the lessons to be learned from its funding of The Public, in West Bromwich.  The Arts Council invested £31.8m increased from an original allocation of £19m in the building project between 1995-2009. The Arts Council’s funding decisions attracted debate when The Public went into administration and then liquidation in 2009 with no prospect, at that time, of an opening date.  In 2010/11 The Project received 157,000 visits.  Arts Council

Arts and Business merges with Business in the Community

Arts and Business, the organisation promoting business sponsorship of cultural organisations, merged with Business in the Community on 1 December.  Colin Tweedy, who has been Director of Arts and Business for 28 years, is standing down.  Business in the Community

House of Commons inquiry into library closures

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee of the House of Commons have called for evidence on library closures. The Committee invites written submissions on the following specific issues:
  • What constitutes a comprehensive and efficient library service for the 21st century;
  • The extent to which planned library closures are compatible with the requirements of the Libraries & Museums Act 1964 and the Charteris Report;
  • The impact library closures have on local communities; and
  • The effectiveness of the Secretary of State's powers of intervention under the Public Libraries & Museums Act 1964.
The deadline for submissions of evidence is 12 January.  UK Parliament

Libraries Development Initiative looks for new ways of working

The Arts Council and the Local Government Association have launched the Libraries Development Initiative. Running for one year from March 2012, the Initiative will support 10 projects that explore how embedding arts and culture in libraries can improve people's experiences, bring benefits to the library service and develop cultural provision in local areas.  Projects will also look at new ways of working that will enhance libraries' sustainability and relevance as vibrant hubs in their local communities. Each project will receive up to £20,000.  Arts Council

Culture Secretary urges tourist industry to make the most of London 2012

In a speech to tourism leaders on 7 November, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP announced the participation of some of the country’s top holiday brands – including Bourne Leisure, Superbreaks and Hoseasons - in a new 20.12% discount scheme. Designed to boost domestic tourism on the back of next year’s Olympic Games, the scheme will offer holidaymakers booking a UK short break before the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games a 20.12% discount. Mr Hunt also confirmed that the Government is to invest a further £39 million in the GREAT campaign to give a concerted push to promoting the UK as a great place to visit, study and work. VisitEngland’s campaign is supported by a £3 million investment from the Olympic budget and is expected to deliver 12,000 new jobs and £480 million in extra spend over three years.  DCMS

Reserves - Revised DCMS Allocation Letters 2011-12

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has published the revised 2011-12 allocation letters sent to its funded bodies - including national museums - in August 2011.  The letters indicate the amount of the institution's own reserves that it can spend this year. The approach taken has been to allocate 95% of the budget requested by organisations, enabling the Department to remain within the budget set for it by the Treasury.  DCMS

Channel 4 bolsters arts coverage

Channel 4 Arts has commissioned artists including musician Ghostpoet, 2011 Turner Prize nominees George Shaw and Hilary Lloyd, artist David Shrigley and conceptual and performance artist Francis Alys to make new programmes for its new arts strand, Random Acts. Artist Grayson Perry will present a three-part documentary series exploring British taste. He will then use the experience as the inspiration for a major new work comprising a set of six tapestries that will tour nationwide.  Channel 4


Gareth Thomas MP asked a Parliamentary Question on 25 November about whether DCMS had received representations supporting the opening of branches of Tate in Scotland and Wales. Responding for the Government, Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP said: "This Department has not received representations of support to open further branches of the Tate Gallery in Scotland and Wales. The Tate's intention is to work in partnership and help strengthen access to the visual arts beyond its own four galleries in London, Liverpool and St Ives. This is achieved through the Plus Tate programme, which works with 18 venues across the UK to foster a climate of partnership and exchange."  UK Parliament back to top

Our jobs website, also has details of current vacancies at leading museums around the UK including:
  • Security Team Supervisor, Wallace Collection
  • Touring Exhibitions Engineering Manager, Natural History Museum
  • Deputy Head of Education (Maternity cover Part Time), Ashmolean Museum
  • Curator of Art, National Maritime Museum
  • Documentation Officer, V&A
  • Conservator, Royal Armouries
For details of these jobs and many more visit

  And finally...

One of our museums is missing

Olympic organisers have apologised for airbrushing HMS Belfast, part of Imperial War Museums, out of an official poster for the London 2012 Festival.  The posters, which caused offence to Navy veterans, were placed in prominent positions just before Remembrance Day, and only days after celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the Second World War cruiser becoming a museum. A spokesman for the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games told the Daily Express: “We are very sorry about this – it was a simple mistake in the advertising production process. Posters without HMS Belfast in have been removed.”  Daily Express

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If you have any comments or contributions for the newsletter please send them to the Editor, Kate Smith, at [email protected].
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