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1834 to 1928 Video
Transcript Of Narration
In 1539 a fort was constructed on the shore at Eastney but it was not until 1860 that barracks were built for the Royal Marine Artillery. In 1923 they were joined by the Royal Marine Light Infantry from Gosport and the two were amalgamated to form The Royal Marines. The officers building is now the Royal Marines Museum and the barracks are now private apartments.
In June 1861 Clarence Pier was opened and horse drawn trams ran on to it from the railway station with passengers destined for the Isle of Wight ferry. The pier was bombed during the Second World War and was re-opened in its present form in 1961. In the upper reaches of the harbour, Whale Island was until 1845 covered at every spring tide and presented the appearance of a whales back, hence its name, Whale Island. By successive deposits from excavations from the Dockyard, the surface was raised several feet and the Admiralty bought it in 1861 for £1,000.
Portsmouth Town Hall was built on its present site at a cost of £137,098 and was opened on 9th August 1890 by the Prince and Princess of Wales. "You have every reason to feel proud of this fine building, worthy of the largest naval port in the United Kingdom, and of the architectural beauties which it displays" said the Prince. On the night of 10th January 1941, the whole of the interior was destroyed by a German fire bomb but it has been restored to its former splendour, with new additions including a theatre.
In 1914 the world tumbled into war and Portsmouth sent soldiers and sailors to the battle fronts. Volunteers manned essential services and women filled the gaps left by the men. A cenotaph was erected to commemorate the men who never returned to Portsmouth and was unveiled on 19th October 1921. One of the plaques on the Cenotaph reads ”In honour of the navy and to the abiding memory of those ranks and ratings of this port who laid down their lives in the defence of the empire and have no other grave than the sea” The memorial was extended after the second world war to include these who died at sea during the second world war.
The decision was taken by the Admiralty to transform what is now Gunwharf Quays into a training establishment for officers and men in torpedo warfare which resulted in the creation of the shore base HMS Vernon in 1923. This area of Portsmouth has now been turned into Gunwharf Quays, which is a shopping, leisure and residential development.
In January 1928 HMS Victory was towed to her current position in Portsmouth Dockyard and was embedded in cement. She was then restored to the condition she would have been in, in 1812 and she is now on display to the public within Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.
On 17th July 1928, King George V unveiled a plaque setting forth her glorious service for 175 years. HMS Victory remains commissioned which makes her the oldest commissioned ship.