The main entrance to the Historic Dockyard, Victory Gate dates back to 1711 and features a plaque on the right hand wall which marks the visit of Queen Anne in the same year. Formerly Main Gate, it was widened during the Second World War to allow large vehicles to enter and the wrought iron scrolled arch and lantern that spanned the two pillars was lost.
The Porter's Lodge was built in 1708 as a domestic building where the Dockyard Porter resided. The porter had an extremely important role with three functions. He guarded the Dockyard's boundaries and property and marked working hours by ringing the muster bell which was located on the side of Boathouse 5 and closing the gate against latecomers. He policed the workers to prevent excessive theft and also sold beer to the men 'to enable them the better to carry on their labour and not to distemper them'. He was the public face of the Dockyard, the daily interface between the inside and outside communities.
Behind the Porter's Lodge in College Road is the Porter's Garden. It is a Millennium Garden owned and sponsored by Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust. It was designed by Landscape Architect Robert Camlin in 1999 with advice and support from Hampshire Gardens Trust and recreated on the site formerly occupied from 1708 by the Dockyard Porter's garden.
John Dickens, father of Charles, worked at the Pay Office from 1805 to 1814. The building dates from 1798 and is one of the earliest examples of a fire-proofed building. It now houses part of the Mary Rose Trust’s reserve collection of artifacts.
Adjacent to Porter's Lodge is a statue of Antarctic explorer Robert Scott, commissioned and sculptured by his widow. The statue was previously in Long Row in the working Naval Base.
Immediately opposite the Porter's Lodge on the left hand side of Victory Gate is the Police Cell Block, built in 1882 for the detention of naval defaulters.
Boathouse 5 is the former home of the Mary Rose Museum and Boathouse 6, the home of Action Stations. Both boathouses were built between 1845-48 and part of the great Victorian extension of the Royal Dockyard.
The Mast Pond was excavated in 1665 by soldiers and Dutch prisoners. Linked to the harbour by a tunnel under the road, which runs through Boathouse 4, the large white building opposite, it was originally used to store masts awaiting repair or collection. In its time it was the world's centre of mast-making. The Mast Pond is now home to a flotilla of restored crafts maintained by the Portsmouth Dockyard Historical Trust.
Opposite the Mast Pond is Boathouse 4. Boathouse 4 is the Historic Dockyard's only link with the 1930s rearmament period. It was the Dockyard's small boat building and repair facility. It played an important part in D Day preparations and experiments in the harbour in 3 man midget submarine tests. It was closely associated, in the 1950s and 60s with the repair of the Royal Yacht Brittania's small boats. It management was passed to Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust in the 1990s.
Currently home to a family restaurant and retail outlet, Boathouse 7 along with its neighbour Boathouse 5, was the centre of mast making and accommodated the tallest mast ever built. It was originally built on wooden pile, but both buildings were dismantled and rebuilt in late 1870s/80s on iron pile. Attentive visitors will still see shrapnel holes in the timber columns from the Second World War.
Dating from 1813, the Benbow was one of the largest battleships ever built and this figurehead stood, for many years, at the gate of HMS Vernon, now known as Gunwharf Quays. Admiral John Benbow experienced differing fortunes in his life but ultimately won the hearts of the Navy for his gallantry after refusing to leave action stations during battle.
The three Great Storehouses which dominate Main Road were built between 1760 and 1790 and kept an enormous range of provisions to house the ships' stores and equipment needed for Britain's rapidly expanding fleet. Their interior structures are largely built of re-used ship timbers as are the wooden floors of the colonnades. In order of appearance they are Storehouse No 9, 10 and 11. Storehouse 10 features a replica of the original clock tower which was destroyed in an air raid in 1941, completed in 1992 and opened by HRH Prince Charles.
In 1913 Sempahore Tower was destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt and now incorporates the resited Lion Gate. It is the Head Office of the Naval Base Commander and Queen's Harbour Master.
Semaphore Tower is not accessible to the public as it is situated in the Naval Base.
Running along the full length of Anchor Lane, the Great Ropehouse measures the same as the Eiffel Tower if it were laid on its side. It is one of the longest ropehouses in the country and the fifth to be built in the Dockyard. It was the victim of several disastrous fires which disrupted production of cordage for Britain's huge sailing navy in the 18th Century. One of the arsonists, a Scot known as "Jack the Painter",is immortalised in Dockyard history as he was tried at Winchester Assizes and hanged 60ft high from a mast set up just inside Victory Gate.
M33 is one of only two British warships to survive from World War 1. Built in 1915, the 53m (177ft) monitor is a floating gun platform designed to bombard coastal positions from the sea. She saw action at Gallipoli and later was used to help the White Russians in the White Sea in 1919. M33 is owned by Hampshire County Council Museums Service.
At the top of Main Road, beyond HMS Victory, is the Great Ship Basin. This was the hub of the Dockyard during Georgian times, when it was filled with wooden ships of the line. No 1 basin and No 5 Dock date from 1698 and No 6 Dock came into use two years later.
The basin was extended in the 1780s and the other dry docks finished by 1802. Now it is home to HMS Victory, the occupant of No 2 Dock since 1922 and the hull of the Mary Rose, which has been in No 3 Dock since 1982.
The Block Mills were opened in 1803. and inspired by the innovative thinking of Samuel Bentham. The block making machinery, invented by Marc Brunel (father of Isambard Kingdom) and manufactured by Henry Maudslay turned out 130,000 pulley blocks a year for the rigging of ships like HMS Victory. At the time, the Dockyard was at the leading edge of the industrial revolution. Thirty unskilled men using the 45 machines could equal the output of 100 skilled craftsmen. The building is considered to be one of the most important industrial buildings in the country, but since it is situated in the operational Naval Base, public access is restricted.