A year on from the launch of Boathouse 4 in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, HRH The Princess Royal will pay a visit to the boatbuilding space on Monday 20th March.
The original Second World War boathouse, which dominates the entrance to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, has been transformed by the Portsmotuh Naval Base Property Trust into a space for traditional wooden boatbuilding and training, restoration, repairs, and maintenance.
It’s also an exciting addition to the dockyard’s roster of attractions, with a storytelling angle regaling the tales of an era of forgotten craft.
The Princess Royal will view the ‘Forgotten Craft’ exhibition, discovering the importance of these key vessels, before meeting descendants from Coastal Forces, a branch of the Royal Navy commonly known as the ‘Spitfires of the Sea’, which celebrated its centenary last year.
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.
Boathouse 4 houses a 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.”
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 Alec Rose around the world in 1968.