A BRIEF HISTORY OF LEE-ON-THE-SOLENT

Having previously been known as just Lee and much further back Lebritan, Lee-on-the-Solent gained its current title in the nineteenth century. This name with a focus on the seaside aspect of the town was part of an attempt to rebrand the town as a seaside resort by local man Sir John Robinson who hoped the […]

Did you know? 9 facts on Alverstoke

Alverstoke is mentioned in the Domesday Book as Alwarestock The name ‘Alverstoke’ is most likely to be derived from a corruption of the name Alwara – an Anglo-Saxon Lady of the Manor – and Stoke, a settlement on the area of Alverstoke. Other names in official Crown and Manorial records include Alwarestoch/Halwarestoke in the 11th […]

ASTOUNDING INVENTIONS – The Gosport Tube

Did you know that the Gosport Tube, a method of enabling instructors to talk to trainee pilots was invented in Gosport before the First World War? This is probably the most important Gosport Invention to date. In 1917 Major Robert Raymond Smith-Barry took over No.1 (Reserve) Squadron at Grange Airfield, Gosport. He began training new […]

FIRST COMMERCIAL YACHTS BUILT IN GOSPORT

Did you know that the first commercial yachts were built in Gosport? Do you know what a Trotter box is? Do you remember Camper and Nicholson? Then read on… In 1782, the first commercial yacht builder, Francis Amos, a shipwright on the Thames, moved to Charles Fort in Gosport. He began developing his boat building […]

VISIT GOSPORT HERITAGE OPEN DAYS AT FORTON FEST

SATURDAY 13 AUGUST There will be fun, live music, charity and craft stalls for shopping and some funfair rides at this year’s Forton Fest so come and see the Open Days stand and join us! We’ll have some Victorian activities for the kids and an Inventions Quiz for the grown-ups. We’ll also be handing out […]

FORT BLOCKHOUSE – OUR MOST POPULAR HISTORICAL VISIT

Fort Blockhouse is an existing military establishment in Gosport, and the final version of a complicated site. At its greatest extent in the 19th century, the structure was part of a set of fortifications which encircled much of Gosport. Today the Fort is surrounded on three sides by water and provides the best view of […]

ASTOUNDING INVENTIONS HM submarine Torpedo Boat No 1 (HOLLAND 1), the navy’s first submarine

Did you know that Gosport houses the first Royal Navy commissioned submarine? She’s had an interesting history… Holland 1 (or HM submarine Torpedo Boat No 1), built in 1901, is the first submarine in a six-boat batch of the Holland-class submarine commissioned by the Royal Navy. She was lost in 1913 while under tow to […]

Brewing and the Royal Navy

Have you ever wondered why there were so many brewers and pubs in Gosport? Do you know what IPA stands for and what it represents? Do you know what sailors used to drink on board ship (as there wasn’t drinking water available until the 19th century?) Then read on… Provisioning for the Royal Navy was […]

A black and white image shows a shoreline with a railway pier extending to the left into the sea. On the pier a steam train can be seen.

The Abandoned Stokes Bay railway station – Gosport’s Victorian railway

Hampshire has been home to a number of railway stations that are now sadly no longer in service and abandoned. Some former railway lines and stations are more prominent than others, like the old Meon Valley line, now a walking and cycling route starting in Wickham, or Droxford, known for being the place where Winston […]

GOSPORT’S VERY OWN HOLLYWOOD HERO

THE BOB ANDERSON STORY Did you know that Gosport was once home to a Hollywood stuntman responsible for some of the most iconic sword fights in film history? From 1953’s The Master of Ballantrae starring Errol Flynn to more modern epics like The Lord of the Rings and The Legend of Zorro, Gosport born and […]

In the foreground is a side view of a gravestone that is leaning slightly to the left. Beyonce the gravestone the corner of a Gothic Chapel of Rest can be seen between shrubbery and tree cover

Funerary and Flora – Ann’s Hill Cemetery

As England’s population grew there was a need for more places to bury our dead. Each church’s graveyard held the dead of its parish and burying the dead was only allowed on the lands near a church. The Hampshire church graveyards became full to overflowing and there was a need for more space, which often […]

HMS MEDUSA – LAST OF HER CLASS

On the morning of 5th June 1944 the small yet powerful HMS Medusa set off from Portland on the South Coast of England and began the 90 mile journey across the English Channel to participate in the D-Day landings in Normandy. Taking on a key role as Navigation Leader, Medusa positioned herself on the outskirts […]

Discovering Alverstoke’s Castle – Motte and Bailey walk

Did you know that Gosport had a castle? Do you know where its remains are located? Read on…. Today in Alver Valley Country Park there is no sign of a castle, but there is the remains of a Motte and Bailey. This is probably Norman, as the Normans brought new forms of military architecture, among […]

DISCOVERING MARTIN SNAPE – GOSPORT’S MOST FAMOUS ARTIST

Martin Snape was born at Spring Garden Cottage, just a stone’s throw outside of the historic town ramparts, on 31 December 1852. He was the first of six children born to Alfred and Sarah Snape who are each listed in the 1851 census as “painter and teacher of drawing”. One of his brothers, William, born […]

COUNTDOWN TO BOOKING – GOSPORT HERITAGE OPEN DAYS

Only 18 days to go for you to book your tickets on the 28 bookable events we have this year! Booking opens at 0930 on 20 August 2022 To decide which of these you’d like to book please visit https://www.gosportheritage.co.uk/category/2022-events/ Looking at our 2022 programme you can decide which guided walks you’d like to go […]

VISIT OUR STAND AT THE PROVINCIAL BUS RALLY, GOSPORT – Stokes Bay

PROVINCIAL BUS RALLY, GOSPORT – Stokes Bay 7 August 1000-1630 This year Gosport Heritage Open Days shall again be supporting the Provincial Bus Rally, handing out the new 2022 programme and providing information on new and traditional events. Visitors to our stand will be able to see all the events on the programme and learn […]

THE ASTOUNDING INVENTION THAT OPENED UP SEA EXPLORATION

John Deane’s Diving Helmet In 1823 John Deane, who has since become known as the Infernal Diver, patented the design for a “smoke helmet”. This helmet was designed to be used to fight fires as it allowed the pumping of breathable air through a hose and into the helmet allowing firefighters to stay in smoke […]

IS THIS THE MOST FAMOUS MILITARY HOSPITAL IN BRITAIN?

The History of Royal Haslar Hospital, Gosport For over 250 years the Royal Haslar Hospital has provided medical care to the Royal Navy and, more recently, to all three Services and civilians. Planning for the hospital commenced in 1745, after submissions to King George ll and Haslar was to be one of three proposed hospitals […]

Royal Clarence Yard part 2

Following on from our post yesterday about Queen Victoria’s connection to Royal Clarence Yard, today’s blog delves into Clarence Yard’s primary use for several hundred years as a victualling yard. Feeding the navy has always been a big job, with huge quantities of ale, rum, meat, bread being produced along with many other provisions. Royal […]

Queen Victoria's own railway station in Royal Clarence Yard, looking southwest. Only a small section of brickwork now remains at the near end.

Royal Clarence Yard part 1

Queen Victoria at Royal Clarence Yard Did you know that Queen Victoria has a special link to Gosport and the forgotten railway in the town? To find out more read todays blog… On Tuesday 22 January 1901, the death of Queen Victoria was announced when a notice was pinned to a small bulletin board on […]

ASTOUNDING INVENTIONS – HISTORY OF THE HOVERCRAFT

Did you know that the first Hovercraft had its maiden journey in the Solent by Gosport? After working for Marconi, where he helped to invent radar, the “hovercraft” inventor Dr Christopher Cockerell patented the word and invention in 1954. Aware of D-Day and Normandy landings Cockerell thought about how to get troops dry-shod and safe […]

A NEW WALK AROUND THE DARK SIDE OF GOSPORT

This year our researchers have been busy creating an experience in the dark side of Gosport’s history. This 90 minute “adults only” guided walk isn’t based on buildings, but on hidden, social history. You’ll hear about murder, suicide, hanging, prostitution, baby-farming, smuggling, and press gangs. To spice up the proceeding you’ll also get a glimpse […]

GOSPORT HERITAGE OPEN DAYS ANNOUNCES 60 FREE EVENTS THIS YEAR – 20 of which are new

This year’s Heritage Open Days features 23 new, interesting events coming for Gosport residents and visitors to enjoy. Some are linked to Gosport’s Astounding Inventions such as the first commercial yachts, oldest diving helmet and ovens where ships biscuits were made. Other new events are at Explosion Museum and the famous Submarine museum. Twelve events […]

You’ll see more of us

As we build up to this year’s Festival you’ll be seeing a lot more of us out and about at local events as we get ready to launch this year’s Programme. We have over 60 events. Half are bookable, half you just need to turn up. A third of our events are Family Friendly and […]

12+ FUN EVENTS FOR YOUR FAMILY

2022 has got some fascinating events. Some are linked to Gosport’s Astounding Inventions, others are favourites such as the excellent Diving Museum to see the world’s oldest diving helmet and to the world’s only Hovercraft Museum. We are excited this year to be having events both at Explosion Museum and at the famous Submarine Museum. […]

OVER 23 NEW EVENTS THIS YEAR!

Please put 0930 on 20 August 2022 in your diary now, as this is when you can go to www.gosportheritage.co.uk to book your place on some exciting events. To sign up now online to get an e-copy of the programme, go to Contact Us. The new programmes will be appearing in Gosport in early August […]

This year’s theme

The theme for this year’s Heritage Open Days is ‘Astounding Inventions’. From 9-18 September there will be FREE events across Gosport celebrating some of the astounding inventions that were created right here in our town! Find out the story of pioneering inventors the Deane Brothers when you visit the Diving Museum in Stokes Bay, or […]

Less than two months to go…

Less than two months to go until Gosport Heritage Open Days 2022 and the team are working hard behind the scenes to finalise the FREE programme of events that will be on between 9-18 September! Make sure you pop the dates in your diary and to find out more about all the exciting events that […]

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