A Few Days in England - Nov 2007

DAY 14: Portsmouth

I found myself finishing work late on Friday afternoon (well Friday evening really, it was 1830 and dark...) so I booked into a hotel on the beachfront at Southsea for two nights. The next morning I walked around the edge of the harbour, across the old fortifications of the Spur Redoubt and on to the old Naval Dockyard.

The Spur Redoubt

Southsea's claim to fame is being the departure point for Admiral Nelson and his flagship HMS Victory. The Spur was built as a series of defences against seaborne invasion of Britain. Today it is a popular walk around the Southsea coast, where you can watch the ferries plying the waters of the Solent and catch a glimpse of the Isle on Wight. This aerial view shows the Spur moat as the long dark shape above and left of the car parks. The Royal Garrison Church, with only half of its roof is in the green field.

Now for the photos

Sign board telling the story of The Spur
Walkway over the Spur moat.
The Spur moat
A sallyport in the wall of The Spur. These passageways are low and narrow so that invaders could only emerge in single file.
Overlooking the Spur and the moat.
The Royal Garrison Church at Southsea. Half the church was destroyed by fire and as a memorial to sailors who lost their lives in WWII it has been left without its roof.
Looking out across the Solent
View across to Gosport 
One of many ferries that pass close inshore
The next part of the old defences was the Round Tower....
...seen here looking north
Looking out of the Tower through one of the gun ports, there is a wide view across the English Channel.
View south across the Channel from the Tower...
...and the view north into Portsmouth.
Just in case you get lost, this helpful doorway arch gives your location. Handy if you have a GPS...
especially as the building next door might convince you of a different location
View down Broad Street, which turns left at the end...
...into Bath Square and the Spice Island Inn.

The Old Naval Dockyard

The high point of the tourist circuit in Portsmouth is the Naval Dockyard and all the old and new naval vessels stored there. The jewel is HMS Victory, restored after the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Nelson. Lying alongside HMS Victory is the remains of the Mary Rose, Henry VIII's flagship that sunk in the Solent in July 1545. This oblique aerial image shows HMS Victory and the large white tent that surrounds the Mary Rose.

From Southsea, the tall masts of the old ships are clearly visible, together with the Millenium Tower built in the centre of Portsmouth.

Tall masts and the Millennium Tower
Looking north up Portsmouth Harbour
Near the entrance to the old Dockyard is this memorial to Isambard Kingdom Brunel - famous engineer.
HMS Warrior, the first iron-clad warship, launched in 1860
HMS Victory from off the starboard bow
The bow of HMS Victory
Side-on view
The stern and the great cabins of Nelson and Hardy
Port side and lines of cannons
Cannons and rigging
...A mast of HMS Victory and the Millennium Tower
Part of the Mary Rose inside its protective cocoon
The housing is full of water spray, with the lights changing frequently so that they do not damage the woodwork
...Part of the hull
Closeup of the remains

The Royal Navy At Anchor

Portsmouth remains the home port for the Royal Navy as it has done since Henry VIII's time, when he lost the Mary Rose on her maiden voyage. Today the fleet is much smaller...

HMS Kent - a frigate
HMS Illustrious - aircraft carrier
D97 or HMS Edinburgh is a type 42 destroyer, launched in 1983
D92 HMS Liverpool, another Type 42 destroyer.
The fleet berthed at Portsmouth
RFA Diligence - a repair ship
The view northward to the high land behind Portsmouth. The buildings on the skyline are Portsdown West, part of the Ministry of Defence.
Also looking north
Now southwest towards the lowering sun

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Last updated: 30/06/2017