Boathouse 4

Boathouse 4 was built in 1939 in response to the need for a rapid rearmament programme prior to the start of World War II. This vast building, incorporating its own dock and locks, is typical of 1930s military industrial architecture. Access to Boathouse 4 is free.

Boathouse 4 is a great new family attraction within the Historic Dockyard, with exhibitions,  hands-on children’s activities and a brand new indoor mast climbing experience.

The building was constructed in the rearmament period before the Second World War and has also been restored and converted into a Boatbuilding Skills Training Centre and will soon be home to the International Boatbuilding College Portsmouth and Highbury College. These two colleges will be training a new generation of students in the techniques of traditional boatbuilding and other related skills that are still very much required today to build and conserve wooden boats.

Built within this magnificent historic building, overlooking the Boatbuilding Skills Training Centre is a new exciting exhibition “The Forgotten Craft” which tells the heroic stories of the small boats which were the backbone of the Royal Navy. From the wooden cutters that ferried Lord Nelson to and from his flagship, to the Cockleshell Heroes in their canoes and the powerful motorboats that helped to win the Second World War. For those visitors feeling extra courageous, you can put your wits to the test by scaling our amazing ‘Mast & Rigging’ experience to see if you have got what it takes to make it to the top of the crow’s nest! (Minimum height limit is 1.1m)