Yachting News » Of Interest » Portsmouth Shipyard Closure Heralds the End of an Era

Portsmouth Shipyard Closure Heralds the End of an Era

Victory Portsmouth um 1900

The ending of shipbuilding at Portsmouth brings to a close hundreds of years of history encompassing great naval names such as HMS Victory and the Mary Rose.

It was Portsmouth where the Tudor warship Mary Rose was built in 1509 and it was Portsmouth from where ships sailed to ward off the Spanish Armada in 1588.

It was Portsmouth from where Admiral Lord Nelson left England for the last time before passing into legend at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 and it was Portsmouth where the first iron-hulled warship, HMS Warrior, was built - ushering in a new wave of shipbuilding.

Where once the Portsmouth naval shipbuilding was carried out to counter the Spanish and the French, the 20th century vessels turned out at the southern England port were designed to deal with a new enemy - Germany.

Portsmouth-built Dreadnought gave its name to a whole class of ships following its introduction in 1906 while other Portsmouth-created vessels were prominent in the Great War. 

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard 300Portsmouth was to play an even bigger part in the Second World War. The whole town, and the surrounding areas, were fully involved, as Portsmouth was heavily bombed during the conflict.

Portsmouth's busiest, and perhaps, greatest day came in June 1944, with the town being the main departure point for D-Day. Packed ships left the Hampshire port bound for the beaches of Normandy as part of the greatest naval invasion in history.

Less than 40 years later, the citizens of Portsmouth were seeing off a smaller, but significant, fleet bound for the South Atlantic to take part in the 1982 Falklands War. This particular armada included the hastily-converted cruise liner the QE2.

Although shipbuilding is now ceasing at Portsmouth, the town's naval heritage lives on in the form of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard which welcomes many thousands of visitors a year.

HMS Mary Rose and pirates 300A long-time attraction is HMS Victory, Nelson's flagship at Trafalgar and arguably the most famous of all the British warships.

Another great tourist attraction is the Mary Rose which sank in the Solent in 1545 and which was recovered in 1982. After many years of restoration work, this famous Tudor warship is now on display in a specially-constructed museum which opened in May this year.

Also on display at Portsmouth is the 1860-built HMS Warrior - one of the vessels for which the town is famous and which reminds 21st century visitors of the part Portsmouth has played in Britain's island history.

*Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

*Original story : The Telegraph via Google News (search term: Portsmouth shipyard)

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