Tuesday, 23 April 2013

IOW Part 4.......

Thursday morning, after breakfast, found us on the coach going back to Cowes to catch a boat, which would take us across The Solent to Portsmouth habour.

Portsmouth with the Spinnaker Tower in the distance.

Spinnaker Tower is a 170 metre (560ft) landmark tower in Portsmouth.  It is the centrepiece of the redevelopment of Portsmouth Harbour,   its shape was chosen by Portsmouth residents from a selection.  The tower, designed by a local firm of architects reflects Portsmouth's maritime history by its being modelled after a sail.  The tower was opened on 18th October 2005.

Fort Blockhouse
Fort Blockhouse was first built on the Gosport side of Portsmouth harbour in 1495 with 5 guns.  Henry VIII ordered it replaced with an 8 gun battery as part of his Device Forts in 1539.  This had probably vanished by 1667 when Bernard de Gomme installed a 21 gun battery for Charles II. In 1708 the fort was rebuilt on an irregular trave.  Upgrading was done at the turn of the 19th century, and again in  1845 from which time most remains date.  The site was considered obsolete by the Royal commission, and it was turned over to the Navy, where as HMS Dolphin, it has been the home of the submarine service for years.

Passing a ferry on The Solent.
In this next picture you can see three of the four Solent's Forts - Horse-Sands, No Man's Land, St. Helens and Spitbank.  They were never used in anger and have become known locally as "Palmerston's Follies" after the Prime Minister of the time.

The middle fort, just behind the Hovercraft,  is roughly the area where Henry VIII's warship The Mary Rose was raised from the sea bed.  After serving for 33 years in several wars against France, Scotland and Brittany and after being substantially rebuilt in 1536, she saw her last action on 19 July 1545. While leading the attack on the galleys of a French invasion fleet, she sank in the Solent. The wreck  was rediscovered in 1971 and salvaged in 1982 by the Mary Rose Trust in one of the most complex and expensive projects in the history of maritime archaeology. The finds include weapons, sailing equipment, naval supplies and a wide array of objects used by the crew. Many of the artefacts are unique to the Mary Rose and have provided insights into topics ranging from naval warfare to the history of musical instruments. Since the mid-1980s, while undergoing conservation, the remains of the hull have been on display at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard and an extensive collection of well-preserved artefacts is on display at the nearby Mary Rose Museum.   Unfortunately we didn't have time to go to see the remains of the hull or visit the Mary Rose Museum.

The Spice Island Inn, overlooking Portsmouth Harbour,

was, apparently, at the centre of the red light district in times gone by, and the place where drunken sailors last remember being when they awoke, having been press ganged onto one of His Majesty's ships.

As we sailed into Portsmouth Dockyard the first ship we saw was HMS Warrior, one of two armoured frigates built for the Royal Navy in 1859–61. She and her sister ship HMS Black Prince were the first armour-plated, iron-hulled warships.

The next ship we saw was HMS Edinburgh (D97) which had just arrived that morning.

Edinburgh was built by Cammell Laird of Birkenhead and was launched on 14 April 1983 and commissioned on the 17 December 1985. The largest of the Type 42 destroyers, Edinburgh is known as the "Fortress of the Sea", she will be the last Type 42 destroyer to serve in the Royal Navy and is scheduled to be decommissioned in June, after a tour of the British Isles.  As we sailed by, some of the crew and visitors waved to us, and our captain played "Land Of Hope & Glory" over the PA system which brought tears to everyone's eyes.

We were very lucky that day that so many of the British fleet were in dock for one reason or another, here are some of them.

HMS Illustrious (R06),  is the second of three Incincible-class light aircradt carriers built for the Royal Navy in the late 1970s and early 1980s. She is the fifth warship and second aircraft carrier to bear the name Illustrious, and is affectionately known to her crew as "Lusty" .

HMS Defender (D36)  is the fifth Type 45 or Daring-class air-defence destroyers built for the Royal Navy.   She is the eighth ship to bear the name.

In the next photo, in the background between the two newer ships, is HMS Victory, famous as Lord Nelson's Flagship at the battle of Trafalgar in 1805.  She is 104-gun first-rate ship of the line of the Royal Navy, laid down in 1759 and launched in 1765.

HMS Lancaster (F229) is a 'Duke' class Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy.  She is known as "The Queen's Frigate",  the Duke of Lancaster being an honorary title of the Sovereign. She is also known as The Red Rose Frigate, after the emblem of Lancashire.

HMS Duncan (D37), Seven Royal Navy ships have been named HMS Duncan, after Admiral Adam Duncan, hero of the Battle of Camperdown.
HMS Dauntless (D33) and Diamond (34), Type 45 or Daring-class air defence destroyers.

HMS Bristol (D23), a Type 82 destroyer, the only vessel of her class to be built for the Royal Navy.  Originally intended as the first of a class of new large destroyers to escort the CVA-01 aircraft carriers projected to come into service in the early 1970s, Bristol turned out to be a unique ship. The rest of the class were cancelled when the CVA-01 carriers fell victim to the 1966 Strategic Defence Review.

HMS Endurance (A171), MV Polar Circle was built in Norway in 1990, chartered by the Royal Navy as HMS Polar Circle, and finally purchased as HMS Endurance. She is a former Antarctic ice patrol ship, and is a class 1A1 icebreaker.
HMS Richmond (F239) is a Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy.   She was launched on 6 April 1993 by Lady Hill-Norton, wife of the late Admiral of the Fleet the Lord Hill-Norton,  and was the last warship to be built by Swan Hunter shipbuilders.  The ship behind the Richmond is HMS St Albans (F83), another Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy. She is the sixth ship to bear the name and is the sixteenth and final ship in the 'Duke' class of frigates. She is based in Portsmouth. I don't know the name of the third ship in the line up.
HMS Westminster (F237), a Type 23 frigate of the Royal Navy, and the second ship to bear the name. She was launched on 4 February 1992. Westminster was used for the interior shots in the 1997 James Bond film Tomorrow Never Dies in three different roles - as HMS Chester, HMS Devonshire and HMS Bedford. For the exterior shots a model was constructed.
HMS Ark Royal  a decommissioned light aircraft carrier and former flagship of the Royal Navy She was the third and final vessel of Invincible-class. Affectionately known as The Mighty Ark, she is the fifth Royal Navy ship to have borne the name of the 1587 flagship that defeated the Spanish Armada in 1588. Originally intended to be named Indomitable to match the rest of the class, this was changed due to the public reaction to the loss of the Ark Royal name after the scrapping of the previous Ark Royal in 1980, after 30 years' service.
The Araguari (P122) The Brazilian Navy's third and final BAE Systems-built Amazonas-class ocean patrol vessel (OPV).

A Fyffes Banana boat.   Fyffes Line was the name given to the fleet of passenger-carrying banana boats owned and operated by the UK banana importer Elders & Fyffes Limited.

This next shot shows where Commander Lionel Kenneth (Buster) Crabb OBE, GM (28th January 1909 - presumed dead 19th April 1956), who was a British Royal Navy frogman and MI6 diver who vanished during a reconnaissance mission around a Soviet cruiser berthed at Portsmouth Dockyard in 1956.  Apparently he was diving round the Soviet cruiser and never surfaced.  A headless and handless corpse was found some time later which couldn't be identified but someone recognised a distinguishing feature on the corpse so it was presumed to be Crabb. The ship berthed there in this photo is the Illustrious.

I had a sobering thought whilst touring the dockyards - if some foreign leader had decided to bomb Portsmouth dockyards that day they would have destroyed half our fleet!

As we headed out of the dockyard we saw Domus Dei, now also known as the Royal Garrison Church, it was an almshouse and hospice established in 1212 in Portsmouth and is an English Heritage property and a listed Ancient Monument.  On 10 January 1941 the buildings of Domus Dei were partially destroyed in an attack by German bombers. The Garrison church remains, albeit roofless, as a popular tourist attraction.  It was also used as the set for Horatio Hornblower's wedding in Hornblower:Duty, 2003.
Sailing back to the IOW we spotted Norris Castle, located on the Isle of Wight it can be seen from the Solent, standing on the northeast point of East Cowes. The castle was designed by James Wyatt for Lord Henry Seymour. It has a galleted facade with crenellations, but all of this is for show as the castle has no defensive fortifications. The building's original function was entertaining. Despite its size, it has only four bedrooms. The illusion of size is created by the fact that most of the building is occupied by only one room, and a passageway.  Wyatt also designed the farmyard buildings that are further inland. They have the same design.King George IV visited the castle in 1819, and the future Queen Victoria with her mother the Duchess of Kent in 1831. Queen Victoria later purchased Osborne House, which is the next estate to the east.   In the second half of the twentieth century the castle was opened to the public; it is now closed.

We also spotted Osbourne House, the former royal residence of Queen Victoria.   Queen Victoria died at Osborne House in January 1901. Following her death, the house became surplus to royal requirements and was given to the state with a few rooms retained as a private royal museum dedicated to Queen Victoria. From 1903 until 1921 it was used as a junior officer training college for the Royal Navy known as the Royal Naval College, Osbourne. Today it is fully open to the public, unfortunately for us it didn't open to the public this year until the day after we left the IOW or we would have taken a tour of it.

We got back to our hotel about 1.30 p.m. and had a quick lunch in a cafe before having a walk around Sandown, when we found, yes you've guessed it, a nice pub (The Castle), with a real roaring log fire,  where we enjoyed a pint of real ale.
We enjoyed another delicious dinner at the hotel and some good entertainment then it was time to retire for the night, as we had an early start the next morning to catch the 9.30 a.m. ferry from Fishboure for our journey home.

We thoroughly enjoyed our few days in the IOW and would like to go back in the summer to enjoy the beaches and see the Mary Rose Museum and Osbourne House.

I hope you've enjoyed our IOW tour.


Valerie said...

So many well known names there, Pearl. You know me and ships, I can't see enough of them so this post made me very happy.

Banker Chick said...

I'm glad there was protest when they wanted to name The Ark Royal something else. It would be a shame to let the name go. I enjoyed this trip.

Daryl said...

fascinating .. makes me look forward to Fleet Week here in NYC

Akelamalu said...

I thought you'd enjoy that one Valerie. :)

Me too BankerChick, such a great name for a ship. Glad you enjoyed it.

I'll look forward to reading all about fleet week on your blog Daryl. Glad you enjoyed my post.

MorningAJ said...

I remember sitting outside the Spice Island pub some years ago, watching the boats go in and out of the harbour. It was a business trip and I had to stay overnight. Lovely spot on a sunny summer evening.
Thanks for bringing back such a pleasant memory!

Cloudia said...

Smashing! So many famous names And sights!

Your navy stirs the imagination still.

Why not rename post 'Portsmouth Waterside" so there might find and enjoy it for years (and find it in Google searches :)
Aloha-bet we look smashing in our swimming Costumes:-)

Akelamalu said...

I'm pleased the post brought back a nice memory for you AJ. :)

We have a great navy Cloudia. I would rename the post but as it's one of four I'd probably forget I'd given it a different name and not be able to find it again. LOL Swimming costumes maybe but certainly not bikinis in my case. x

Maggie May said...

I enjoyed going to Osbourne House.
When we holidayed at the IOW, Harry went on a trip all round the navy ships etc and he had a good time.
I chose to go to the tiger sanctuary at Sandown.
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Ron said...

Outstanding tour post!

I love the design of the Spinnaker Tower. It's so cool-looking!

And I loved seeing all the photos of ships (which I viewed enlarged) because like trains, I also have a fascination with old ships. We have a shipyard here in Philly, down by the Delaware River, and I love walking by them.

Great photo of the castle!

One again, thank you m'dear! Thoroughly enjoyed this!


Akelamalu said...

I was so disappointed that Osborne House wasn't open whilst we were there Maggie. I didn't know there was a tiger sactuary in Sandown.

I had a feeling you'd like boats as well as trains Ron, glad you enjoyed it. x

Flowerpot said...

I feel like I was there!

Akelamalu said...

Why thankyou Flowerpot, I'll take that as a compliment. x

Beach Bum said...

Always liked how the Royal Navy named their ships. Names like "Ark Royal", "Endurance", "Dauntless", and "Defender" sound better than ships named after some obscure congressman or retired admiral.

Akelamalu said...

I suppose they do sound more like war ships don't they Beach?

Anonymous said...

Amazing photos. The history that surrounds the harbour is incredible. My mum and her partner went last year and were simply in awe. Thanks for sharing these photos.

CJ x

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

i love ships like mym loves trains!!

smiles, bee

Akelamalu said...

I'd love to go back just to visit Portsmouth CJ, there's so much to see there, but we were just on a trip from the IOW.

Well I guess you enjoyed this post then Bee? :)

A Lady's Life said...

These were beautiful ships.
A Sailors' life for me lol

A Lady's Life said...

These were beautiful ships.
A sailors' life for me. :)

Gledwood said...

That tower in portsmouth harbour looks distinctly unbritish!

All those pictures of big boats reminded me of the royal yacht britannia. How stingy of the british people, forcing the queen to scrap it. I don't want a rowing boat queen! I want to give her britannia back! ;-)

Secret Agent Woman said...

Catching up on the Isle of Wight posts. My Dad would love all those ships.

Akelamalu said...

Indeed they are Lady's Life :)

I was sad when they scrapped Britannia too Gleds :(

Seeing all the ships, especially Edinburgh, was the highlight of the trip for us SAW :)

Travis Cody said...

More fantastic history!