Lego Event Winners Announced

During February Half Term a fun Lego event for families was held at Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower. It was the first time this activity had been run at the museum and a tremendous time was had by all.

In total on the Monday and Friday of the school holidays just under 300 people attended the event with 164 children entering the competition to try to win a selection of prizes. The challenge was to make either a boat or a ship but to make it as extreme, creative or deadly as possible as well as remembering to ensure it had one or two sea going characteristics.

There were many amazing speed boats, hovercraft, ships and submarines that were created and the features were highly imaginative. It was great to see so many good designs but for that reason it was extremely difficult to judge. In the end, the winners for each age category were awarded as follows:

11+ Age category

1St Prize = Joseph Brogden


Runner Up Prize = Josh Fox

Runner Up Prize = Tyler Crawley

Runner Up Prize = Daisy and Rosie Borg

7-10 age category
1st Prize (joint) = Gruffydd Thomas

Lego 049

1st Prize (joint) = Oliver Cawte


Runner Up Prize = Harry Anyon

Runner Up Prize = Finlay and Hamish

Runner Up Prize = Sophie Phillips

Under 7s age category

Joint 1St Prize = Aimee Jones

Lego 248 Aimee Jones

Joint 1st Prize - Oakley Richardson 


Runner Up Prize = Josh Bull

Runner Up = Caiden Cannon

We hope they enjoy their prizes and we say a huge “well done” to them and to all those who took part.  

Hollywood comes to Explosion with an exclusive Night at the Museum event

NATM3 QUAD AW501Hollywood is coming to Explosion with a touch of movie magic to celebrate the release of Night At the Museum: Secret Of The Tomb.

The film, which is released on December 19th nationally, is the third in the popular series of “Night at the Museum” franchise and stars Ben Stiller as Larry who leaves New York City for London. It unites favourite and new characters while embarking on an epic quest to save the magic before it is gone forever and marks the last time a new film featuring much-loved actor Robin Williams premieres.

To celebrate, our historic setting in the former ammunitions depot plays a fitting backdrop to an exclusive free night of Night at the Museum activity on December 17th at 4.30pm. 

There’ll be family activities, goody bags, a host of characters and a showing of both the first and second films in the “threequel” “Night at the Museum” and “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.”

The event is being run in partnership with JACK fm and hosted by JACK fm’s Welshy, who is part of the Bam Bam at Breakfast team.

Tickets are free and on a first come first serve basis on

Sea Dart Missiles installed to Launcher


Explosion's Sea Dart launcher was the first GWS30 Sea Dart Mod 1 to be built at VSEL Barrow-In Furness, now BAe Systems. After testing at Barrow, in 1965 it was then sent MOD Aberporth for testing with missiles and other stress testing. It was generously gifted to Explosion, now part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, by BAE systems in 2012 and restored by Ian Clark Restoration later that year. The two drill missiles which were donated with it were restored at the museum over a period of seven months, mainly by Explosion volunteer and Fleet Air Arm veteran Joe Keane.

Explosion has been planning to reunite the missiles with the launcher for some six months now, but a task which would take seconds on board ship is considerably more complicated without a loading mechanism or a ship's power supply, and takes rather more time and people to make it happen! We are extremely grateful to both Rapid Response Solutions, who originally recovered the system from Aberporth for us and then generously agreed to lift the missiles into place free of charge, and to Terry Partington and his expert colleagues from Babcock International's Weapon Engineering Training Group at HMS COLLINGWOOD, who provided advice throughout and safely fitted the weapons into place for us.

The Sea Dart system has now left RN service. Explosion's is the only example in a UK museum collection, and before long will almost certainly be the only survivor worldwide. We are certainly sure that no-one else has attempted the complicated evolution we carried out today!

Credit to Ian Maw for the photographs.


Derek Retires! - Third Time Lucky?

Derek Volunteer












A number of museum staff and volunteers gathered at Explosion! recently for a farewell-presentation to Cdr (Rtd) Derek Gurney RN – who in many respects was responsible for making the museum what it is today.

Derek joined the Royal Navy in 1955 as an Artificer Apprentice, and specialised in Ordnance. As an OA 1st Class he was selected in 1967 for a commission, and over the next 25 years had a number of appointments both at sea (including service as WE Officer of HM ships NUBIAN as a Lt Cdr and FIFE as a Cdr) and ashore – where he gained considerable experience in Project Management. He retired in 1992, and after a few years as a freelance consultant in the Defence industry applied for an administrator/researcher post at the Museum of Naval Ordnance – formerly within RNAD Priddy's Hard, but since 1994 jointly-administered by Gosport Borough Council and Hampshire County Council's Museums Service.

When Derek joined the museum its budget was very limited, and progress toward its opening to the public slow. But in the late-1990s it was proposed that the Priddy's Hard site be re-developed as part of the 'Renaissance of Portsmouth Harbour' scheme funded by the Millennium Commission – and Derek's extensive knowledge both of naval weaponry and project-management made him an ideal candidate for the post of Project Officer for the creation of what would become Explosion! - the Museum of Naval Firepower.

Between September 1997 and April 2001 (when the museum was formally opened by HRH Prince Andrew) Derek co-ordinated the various ideas for the new museum, supervised the drafting of the specifications, helped select the contractor, and then oversaw the work. Thus he was, as previously stated, very largely responsible for the creation of Explosion! He then left the museum in 2002 – literally 'to see more of his family' – but subsequently returned as an advisor in 2007, when Explosion! was in such financial difficulty that there was a serious prospect of its being closed. Due in part to the quality of the work he had directed that threat was averted; and after Explosion! was acquired by Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust in 2009 Derek assisted in the museum's re-Accreditation prior to its transfer to the National Museum of the Royal Navy in 2013.

Historic Graffiti highlighted at Priddy's Hard


The brickwork around the buildings at Priddy's Hard contains a large range of graffiti that is slowly deteriorating.

The Museum has recently been assisted by Camisha Wilson to document the graffiti. Camisha was placed at the Museum on work experience from St. Vincent College.


The project was to document graffiti on all historic buildings at the site, like the example above which can be seen just a few feet away from the Museum entrance. However, this work also included collecting samples from buildings further afield including the Ramparts. Over 100 examples were found dating from 1801 to 1996.

A small display can be found within the Museum Locker Room which also includes one genuine example. Members of the public are encouraged to visit the site and see what examples they can find for themselves.

In addition to the display, Camisha also developed a new family activity within the locker room based around her recent research. All visitors have the opportunity to mark/sign thier own paper brick and be part of our site history. The individual bricks will also be displayed together on the adjacent galss screen.

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