Now you see it…

General Montgomery's Grant Tank

The Grant Tank used by Field Marshal Montgomery at the Battle of El Alamein will be the first vehicle to be moved from the ground floor of the Large Exhibits Gallery.

…But soon you won’t.

My role in transforming IWM London is to ensure that all the objects are moved safely out of the building and into storage or to the relevant workshops for conservation before we begin the major construction work on the building in January 2013.

Preparing the schedule and team for the massive task ahead of us has been two years in the making. It’s taken us this long to plan because of the level of detail we’ve had to go into to make sure that all of the objects are ready to move in a very short time window. We’ve also had to plan for storing them and then returning them to their new homes when the new gallery spaces are complete.

There are over 5,500 objects to be moved into storage and they include the Grant Tank used by Field Marshal Montgomery at the Battle of El Alamein, the V2 and Spitfire from our Large Exhibits Gallery as well all the objects in the First and Second World War galleries from uniforms to an observation tree. There are around 40 people involved in coordinating the big move over the next three and a half months.

V2 standing upright in the Large Exhibits Gallery at IWM London

A V2 standing upright in the Large Exhibits Gallery will be lowered to the ground and then dismantled into pieces for transport

Some of the objects we’re moving are a particular challenge. We obviously can’t drive the tanks through the front door and we can’t just pack them up and ship them off to storage either. We’ve had to consider a whole range of issues, from the safety of everyone involved to the weight and condition of each object to determine the appropriate methods we’ll be using on the day. Many of the vehicles will need to be carefully towed out of the building, while others will be crated before loading onto transport.

How do we move the aircraft?

The aircraft suspended over the Large Exhibits Gallery will be de-rigged from the cables that hold them in place and slowly lowered down to the floor before we dismantle them into pieces for transport to IWM Duxford.

How do we move a tank?

We can’t move the aircraft until we’ve moved the other vehicles and objects that are displayed on the floor below. To move the tanks for example, we’ll be using steel cables towing vehicles to pull them across the floor to a lift that will take them to ground level to be prepared for transport.

We’re here at last, and ready to get started. Stay tuned for more updates from me and the team on our progress and follow our journey on twitter #IWMtransforms. If you have any questions about our plans, feel free to ask them in the comments below.

  1. Matt Wilson says: September 13, 20121:42 pm

    Fingers crossed nothing gets damaged…

  2. michael foran says: November 16, 201211:56 am

    How is all the moving going?

    • Bryony says: November 20, 20124:23 pm

      Hi Michael. The moving is going really well almost all of the large objects are now at IWM Duxford ready for conservation. The remaining objects are due to be moved out in late December. Thanks for checking in!

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