• Commemorative visit by HRH The Princess Royal comes nearly a year after successful opening of Boathouse 4.
• The team has reintroduced traditional wooden boatbuilding and training, restoring, repairing and maintaining a fleet of historic small boats and telling the story of these “Forgotten Craft”.
HRH The Princess Royal will make a commemorative visit to Boathouse 4 in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard on the afternoon of Monday 20th March.
The original Second World War boathouse, which dominates the entrance to the Historic Dockyard, has been transformed by Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust (PNBPT). The Trust has funded the £5.7M project with the help of grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund (£3.75M), the Government’s Regional Growth Fund (£479K) and several charitable foundations.
Opened last year, the Boathouse has a rich heritage based around small craft in the Royal Navy. It was the workshop for building and repairing a large fleet of small boats including many landing craft which took part in D-Day. Small craft were vital for the effective operations of the Royal Navy, which needed thousands of small boats in all manner of deployments, both in war and peace time.
Peter Goodship, Consultant Chief Executive of Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust said: “Visitors are fascinated by the history of the small boats and how we are revitalising much-needed traditional skills. We are delighted to welcome HRH The Princess Royal to Boathouse 4 and for her to meet the team who have worked so hard to transform this very important building.”
The Princess Royal will view “The Forgotten Craft” exhibition which tells the story of these key vessels and then meet descendants from Coastal Forces, a branch of the Royal Navy, commonly known as “The Spitfires of the Sea” which celebrated its centenary last year.
Boathouse 4 is now home to the International Boatbuilding Training College and Highbury College’s Solent Marine Academy and The Princess Royal will see students restoring, repairing and maintaining a number of historic boats. These include the F8 landing craft from the Falklands War and Lively Lady, the yacht sailed by Sir Alec Rose around the world in 1968.
The visit will conclude with The Princess Royal unveiling a plaque in Midships, the newest restaurant to be opened on the site. Weather permitting HRH will finish the visit with a round trip of the harbour on the Second World War HSL 102, the only surviving example of the 100 class high speed launch stationed at RAF Calshot during the Battle of Britain which retrieved shot down airmen from the sea.