500 years of naval ship building at Portsmouth Dockyard in Hampshire, could be coming to an end as BAE Systems are considering closing the dockyard after completing the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carriers, HMS Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales.
The dockyard is an enormously important historical site for the whole country that has been in continuous use for over five hundred years.
It’s fortunes have fluctuated over time but it has been the hub of shipbuilding for Britain’s Royal Navy and a key engineering centre, amassing around it generations of skilled workers, how tragic if this was to be it’s final years.
The history of the dockyard is simply breathtaking and the raison d’etre for the city of Portsmouth itself.
Here are just a few facts that give a flavour of the ‘yard’ as it is locally
- The first dry dock was built in 1495 on the orders of Henry VII, close to where HMS Victory now sits
- The first warship built there was Sweepstake in 1497
- The old dry docks are shaped for wooden walled ships
- The Mary Rose was built here in 1509
- It’s rope houses were 400 feet long
- The extension of the dockyard in the 1860’s resulted in the largest civil engineering project in the world
- In dredging new basins, the Victorians moved 27 million cubic meters of mud
Portsmouth and it’s dockyard are synonymous, the history staggering.
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