Solent Sky

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Solent Sky
Solent Sky general view.JPG
Solent Sky is located in Southampton
Solent Sky
Location within Southampton
LocationSouthampton, Hampshire
Coordinates50°53′53″N 1°23′35″W / 50.89793°N 1.39313°W / 50.89793; -1.39313Coordinates: 50°53′53″N 1°23′35″W / 50.89793°N 1.39313°W / 50.89793; -1.39313
TypeAviation museum

Solent Sky is an aviation museum in Southampton, Hampshire, previously known as Southampton Hall of Aviation.

It depicts the history of aviation in Southampton, the Solent area and Hampshire. There is special focus on the Supermarine aircraft company, based in Southampton, and its most famous products, the Supermarine S.6 seaplane and the Supermarine Spitfire, designed by R. J. Mitchell. There is also coverage of the Schneider Trophy seaplane races, twice held at Calshot Spit, and the flying boat services which operated from the Solent. In December 2019 the Calshot Spit lightship was relocated next to the museum in order to be converted into part of the museum's cafe.[1] In September 2020, 3 of Southampton's former trams were moved to the museum site where it is planned they will undergo restoration before going on public display.[2]

Construction of the current building began in 1983 and was designed by Barry Eaton, then the City Architect.[3] It opened in 1984.[4]


Aircraft on display[edit]

Aircraft on display at the museum include:

Supermarine S.6A, N248 on display.
A drone view of the museum

Engines on display[edit]

Calshot Spit lightship[edit]

The Calshot Spit Lightship (LV 78) is a lightship built in Southampton in 1914. It was decommissioned in 1987. Between 1988 and 2010, it was located at the entrance to Ocean Village marina,[5] which formed a static attraction at the marina. This Trinity House navigation aid had guided ships entering Southampton Water from the western end of the Solent, coming around the low lying sand and shingle Calshot Spit. It was built in 1914 by J I Thornycroft shipyard in Southampton, and decommissioned in 1978. The lightship was removed on 3 November 2010 and taken to be restored at Trafalgar Dry Dock. The lightship was to become a "gateway attraction" at a new heritage museum called Aeronautica.[6] The plans for Aeronautica came to a halt in January 2012.[7] In December 2019 the Calshot Spit Lightship was transported to its new home at the Solent Sky Museum.[1]

Police and Fire Heritage Collection[edit]

In 2017 an exhibition by the Hampshire Police and Fire Heritage Trust was added to the museum.[8]


The work of Solent Sky is supported by a registered charity, the R. J. Mitchell Memorial Museum Limited, whose objects are "to advance the education of the public in matters relating to aviation by establishing and maintaining a museum as a permanent memorial to R. J. Mitchell, the designer of the Schneider Trophy S6B seaplane and the Spitfire."[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Southampton Calshot Spit lightship on the move ahead of cafe revamp". BBC News. 12 December 2019. Retrieved 14 December 2019.
  2. ^ Yandell, Chris (1 September 2020). "Famous Southampton trams make final stop at Solent Sky Museum". Southern Daily Echo. Retrieved 7 October 2020. 
  3. ^ O’Brien, Charles; Bailey, Bruce; Pevsner, Nikolaus; Lloyd, David W. (2018). The Buildings of England Hampshire: South. Yale University Press. p. 619. ISBN 9780300225037.
  4. ^ Rooney, David (14 April 2021). "Flying Boats at southampton". Science Museum. Science Museum Group. Retrieved 18 October 2021.
  5. ^ "Trinity House LV No. 78 - Calshot Spit 1914 - 1978". Archived from the original on 9 August 2006. Retrieved 2 July 2006.
  6. ^ Bethan Phillips. "Landmark Calshot Spit lightship moved from Southampton's Ocean Village to Trafalgar Dock". Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  7. ^ "Southampton Aeronautica museum site is withdrawn". BBC News. 19 January 2012. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  8. ^ "Exhibition on the history of Hampshire police and fire services opens at Solent Sky Museum". Southern Daily Echo. 14 July 2017. Retrieved 10 November 2019.
  9. ^ "R. J. Mitchell Memorial Museum Limited, registered charity no. 262995". Charity Commission for England and Wales.

External links[edit]