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.
Passing a ferry on The Solent.
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,
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 Duncan (D37), Seven Royal Navy ships have been named HMS Duncan, after Admiral Adam Duncan, hero of the Battle of Camperdown.
or Daring-class air defence destroyers.
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.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.
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!
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 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.