Historic Architecture of H.M. Naval Base Portsmouth 1700–1850

By Jonathan Coad, published February 1981


This article describes the establishments which together made up the eighteenth and nineteenth century dockyards. The victualling depots, the ordnance facility and the naval hospital are all described, from their beginnings when Henry VII had the first dry dock built in 1495. The stone docks, one dry and two wet, built in the 1690s began the pre-eminence of Portsmouth amongst royal dockyards. The systematic development of the dockyard is described, with modernization taking place alongside land reclamation to provide the necessary extra space until the great fire of 1770 caused a major delay. The article describes the introduction of steam engines in 1799 and Brunel’s block making machinery in 1806. The administration of the dockyard across the centuries is outlined. There are dozens of photographs and plans.

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Filed under: English Channel | Other (Nineteenth C) | Other (Eighteenth C)
Subjects include: Harbours & Dockyards

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