A HISTORIC deck chair from a famous ship has been removed from display at a Southampton museum after being vandalised by visitors.

SeaCity museum hosted the artefact, taken from the Titanic’s sister ship Olympic, but on two occasions museum-goers have jumped cordons and protective barriers and damaged it.

Southampton City Council has now been hit with a £1,600 repair bill and forced to remove the item from the Southampton’s Titanic Story exhibit.

City historian Genevieve Bailey told the Daily Echo: “Apparently some parents allowed their children to climb over the glass and they’ve smashed it.

"The terrible thing is that it’s not the first time.

“This is getting beyond a joke and the council is losing money hand over fist. How can you teach a child right from wrong when the parents don’t care?

“If you go back 10 or 15 years ago people were happy just to sit and look at things, but now they just take it upon themselves. The parents should pay for it – it’s vandalism.”

The RMS Olympic was a transatlantic liner, enjoying a 24-year career after construction was completed in 1911, and was the largest ship in the world for two periods between 1911 and 1913.

Now the chair has been removed from display, the city council has been forced to look into providing a new historically important attraction for museum-goers.

A city council museum spokesman said: “Unfortunately on two occasions visitors have damaged the chair, despite measures to cordon it off and protect it.

"On both occasions we have had to take action to restore this important collector’s item.

“While we would prefer to keep original artefacts from our collection on permanent display, we recognise that we cannot continue to risk such damage to these items and incur the extra cost of repairs.

“Therefore we have looked at other ways of using this space, including bringing in modern replica deck chairs which our visitors will be welcome to sit on.

"It is unlikely that the chair will go back on permanent display, but we intend to include it in future temporary exhibitions with appropriate measures in place to protect it.”

Councillor Satvir Kaur added: “I am really disappointed and I think it’s a real shame that we have this historical artefact that we are not able to share with people because it hasn’t been respected or looked after by visitors to the museum."

“I think We need to remember, particularly when this is quite a special part of the city’s history, that if we want the chance to admire these artefacts and learn more about the past then we need to show the items respect and sadly that doesn’t seem to have happened so we aren’t able to share this particular thing with the city.”