U-boat attraction opens in Birkenhead

by Tom Walker | 19 Feb 2009

A decommissioned German U-boat has opened to the public as a visitor attraction on Liverpool Docks.

One of only four remaining in the world, the vessel was acquired by Merseytravel when its previous owner, the Historic Warships Museum in Birkenhead went into voluntary liquidation.

The ship has been completely restored and cut into four sections with glass panels at the end of each section to allow visitors the chance to view the insides from specially-constructed walkways.

Interpretation panels, explaining how each element of the vessel functioned during wartime, have been placed adjacent to each viewing glass.

Designed by Real Studios, the attraction also includes a new exhibition centre which offers visitors further information of the boat's history. The boat was sunk by the RAF on 5 May 1945 and exhibits at the centre include interviews with surviving crew members and their personal belonging recovered in 1993 when the vessel was lifted from the seabed in the North Sea.

Other exhibits at the centre in include an original Enigma cipher machine, found on board U534; a hydrophone demonstration, which detects sounds including ships’ engines; and a scaled-down model of a U-Boat, which can be made to dive or surface by filling or discharging the ballast tanks.

There will also be a number of interactives exhibits, based on the ship’s technology and designed to look like period military equipment.

Real Studios worked together with DHA Lighting, Spiral Productions (A/V and film) and Colin Lindley (mount maker and object install) on the project.

The U534 attraction is part of a number of new attractions to open in the area.

Later this year, a Beatle-themed tourist attraction will open at the new £10.5m Pier Head Ferry Terminal.

A decommissioned German U-boat has opened to the public as a visitor attraction on Liverpool Docks. One of only four remaining in the world, the vessel was acquired by Merseytravel when its previous owner, the Historic Warships Museum in Birkenhead went into voluntary liquidation. The ship has been completely restored and cut into four sections with glass panels at the end of each section to allow visitors the chance to
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