Boathouse 4

Boathouse 4 Located in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Wooden boatbuilding college, historic boat collection, restaurant and interactive exhibition. Boatbuilding and activity centre in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
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Operating as usual

IBTC Portsmouth
21/10/2020

IBTC Portsmouth

The restoration of Armed Steam Cutter 26 is now getting some assistance from our boatbuilding students. Sabrina is measuring up for the deck beams and Ed for the floor.
Built around 1911, ASC 26 was assigned to HMS Falmouth and was present for the battles of Heligoland Blight, Dogger and Jutland. When HMS Falmouth was sunk by enemy action in 1916, ASC 26 towed the lifeboats to safety. Salvaged in 1972 she's in the process of undergoing a full restoration to her original, working condition.

20/10/2020

Day 2 of sea trials begin.

F8 on the Boathouse 4 pontoons in Portsmouth Harbour. These shots, by volunteer Mike Evans, are from this morning, prior...
20/10/2020

F8 on the Boathouse 4 pontoons in Portsmouth Harbour. These shots, by volunteer Mike Evans, are from this morning, prior to day 2 of sea trials.
#shipshapenetworksouth
#shipshapenetworksoutheast

All quiet on F8 before today's first sea trials. Tom and Elizabeth from Landau UK sorting out final preps last Friday. B...
19/10/2020

All quiet on F8 before today's first sea trials. Tom and Elizabeth from Landau UK sorting out final preps last Friday. By contrast, it will be an audio-visual assault later.
#shipshapenetworksouth
#shipshapenetworksoutheast

Thanks to yesterday's Cultural Recovery Fund award to Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, IBTC Portsmouth, based in Bo...
10/10/2020

Thanks to yesterday's Cultural Recovery Fund award to Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust, IBTC Portsmouth, based in Boathouse 4, is able to offer bursary funding to support retraining opportunities. The new bursaries are for those who have been made redundant or who have lost their source of income as a result of COVID-19 and are available for the one year courses beginning in March 2021 and September 2021.
https://ibtcportsmouth.co.uk/pages/bursary-information

#HereForCulture
#CultureRecoveryFund
#shipshapenetworksouth
#shipshapenetworksoutheast

09/10/2020
Landau UK

Vroom! Vroom! Exciting stuff.

An enormous amount of hard work, care and dedication from some very exceptional individuals has brought us to this point! Sheโ€™s alive!!! ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ™Œ
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#refit #yachtrefit #boatrefit #restoration #boatrestoration #boatlife #ibtc #portsmouthhistoricdockyard #portsmouth #portsmouthdockyard #lovemyjob #marineengineers #marineengineering #historicvessel #navy #landingcraft

The Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust (PNBPT) a ยฃ700,...
09/10/2020

The Historic England and National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust (PNBPT) a ยฃ700,000 grant from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage. PNBPT runs Boathouse 4 operations, comprising the restoration and preservation of its renowned collection of historic naval boats and the IBTC boat-building courses.

The grant will create several opportunities, including the employment of a professional shipwright for 6 months to develop further the skills of the largely volunteer workforce engaged in the restoration work and a number of bursaries for those wishing to retrain as boat-builders, having lost their livelihoods as a result of the pandemic.

#HereForCulture
#CultureRecoveryFund
#shipshapenetworksouth
#shipshapenetworksoutheast

Here VIC 56 is being given a bit of tlc by Carl, Linden and Chris in the autumn sunshine under the guiding eye of previo...
24/09/2020

Here VIC 56 is being given a bit of tlc by Carl, Linden and Chris in the autumn sunshine under the guiding eye of previous owner, Henry (behind the camera).

Linden and his team are testing our new covid protocols by working as a closed "pod", dedicated to one boat. They are in the vanguard of getting more Boathouse 4 volunteers back to maintaining the boat collection soon. So far, so good.

This picture of F8 was taken during "Northern Wedding" off the Shetlands in 1978. Northern Wedding was a NATO Cold War n...
11/09/2020

This picture of F8 was taken during "Northern Wedding" off the Shetlands in 1978. Northern Wedding was a NATO Cold War naval exercise held every 4 years. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Wedding)

Thanks to Geof Haywood for the photo.

Boathouse 4's cover photo
07/09/2020

Boathouse 4's cover photo

Much coffee is consumed in researching the boats in Boathouse 4. At the Boathouse (Gosport Marina) this morning, (L-R) J...
07/09/2020

Much coffee is consumed in researching the boats in Boathouse 4. At the Boathouse (Gosport Marina) this morning, (L-R) John West and Tim Deacon (Boathouse 4 volunteers), Colin Baxter, popular Gosport-based marine artist) and Richard Bloom [Camper & Nicholsons Gosport archivist] pore over copies of C&N drawings for WWII dories and surf boats. Early days yet, but it is possible our newly acquired SOE dory is a model CN1.

These chaps meant business! They turned up with briefcases and tablets full of books, folders, drawings and images. To capture everything they know about early 20th Century boats and boat-building around Portsmouth Harbour would run into several volumes. Steve Dawson just took the photo . . . and paid for the coffees.

During lockdown, we have welcomed many new friends to this page and in the last few months, we have shared with...
06/09/2020

During lockdown, we have welcomed many new friends to this page and in the last few months, we have shared with you information about some of our historic boats. You will possibly be aware that the building, restoration and maintenance of these craft is undertaken by a community of enthusiastic volunteers from all walks of life, and occasionally, commercial boat-builders.

However, perhaps not everyone is aware that, in Boathouse 4, there is a thriving programme of boat-building training, run by IBTC Portsmouth (https://ibtcportsmouth.co.uk/), part of the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust.

After a lot of preparatory work by staff (see last post), the current intake of students has restarted, joined by a new cohort. Together, there are now some 15 students in the boathouse.

If you support a new generation of young and not-so-young boat-builders continuing the traditional skills of working with wood, do follow them on the IBTC Portsmouth page.

Life returns to Boathouse 4.
04/09/2020

Life returns to Boathouse 4.

Getting the team back together & getting ready for next week!
L-R: Jared, Olly, Head of College Abi, Matt, Sophie, James and Fran. Not in the picture, Bob and Mark

This holiday snap was taken from the quayside at Lake Yard Marina (ex-Dorset Lake Shipyard), Hamworthy, Poole. Nearly 60...
02/09/2020

This holiday snap was taken from the quayside at Lake Yard Marina (ex-Dorset Lake Shipyard), Hamworthy, Poole. Nearly 60 years ago, eight LCA2s including F7 and F8 came off the slips here, to be commissioned by ATURM Poole (behind the fence on the right).

About the same time, US Navy WWII barge B.C. 6206 was moored in the Wareham Channel trots (in the middle ground to the right). Today B.C. 6206 is the Harbour Tours pontoon in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

23/08/2020
National Museum of the Royal Navy

We have been closely following the planning of this highly complex and impressive move from HMNB Portsmouth to the D Day Museum in Southsea, via crane, towed barge on the spring tide, special self-propelled bogies for the 500m road journey and, for the last 10m, rollers - all specialised equipment, requiring skilled teams. Hats off to all involved. Better luck next time (yes sometimes a bit of luck is needed!)

As some of you may have seen we attempted to move D-Day hero LCT 7074 to her new home outside The D-Day Story early this morning.

However just like D-Day this historic move had to be delayed due to the weather conditions.

In the small hours, LCT was moved out of Portsmouth Naval Base and floated towards Southsea, but the tug boats that accompanied her were unable to safely manoeuvre her into position to gently dock on the beach due to the high winds.

We will now be closely watching the weather and will attempt to move LCT again over the next 48 hours, so make sure to check back soon.

Take a look at the video below which shows LCTโ€™s journey before it was aborted.

F8 (Foxtrot 8) - an updateFollowers of the F8 story may recall, in episode 4 (14 July), an aerial photograph of Dorset L...
21/08/2020

F8 (Foxtrot 8) - an update

Followers of the F8 story may recall, in episode 4 (14 July), an aerial photograph of Dorset Lake Shipyard. That picture was incorrectly dated 1959; it should have read "circa 1953/4".

The aerial photograph appended now is from 1963. Not only was it taken around the time F8 was built, it also shows an LCA Mk2 alongside a LCM Mk9 and two other LCA Mk2s alongside the pier of Amphibious Training Unit Royal Marines (ATURM) Poole. On the ATURM hard to the left are mainly WWII vintage LCA Mk1s (probably) awaiting scrapping. I wonder if F8 is in the photograph?

For boat-spotters, the boats moored on the pier are HMFT Aberdovey (1963-?), forward of MFV 80 (1944-1968).

Thank you to retired Royal Marines LCBSM Geof Haywood for correcting the date and providing this photograph and the supporting information.

F8 (Foxtrot 8) - episode 7
19/08/2020

F8 (Foxtrot 8) - episode 7

Up and over some beautiful historic craft and to the dock! And she floats! ๐Ÿ˜€ So much graft and hard work has gone into this project! Its a wonderful sight to see her bobbing about in the harbour swell in #boathouse4 dock! ๐Ÿ™‚๐Ÿพ
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#historicvessel #history #navy #portsmouth #portsmouthharbour #ibtc #portsmouthhistoricdockyard #lovemyjob #marineengineering #marineengineers #vesselrefit #landingcraft @ Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Boathouse 4 has just acquired a WWII 18 ft. wooden dory, generously donated by Vic Clouting of Suffolk.Dories have a dis...
19/08/2020

Boathouse 4 has just acquired a WWII 18 ft. wooden dory, generously donated by Vic Clouting of Suffolk.

Dories have a distinctive double-ended appearance with pointed bow and stern, high flared sides and a narrow, flat bottom. Easy to build because of their simple lines, they are lightweight, shallow-draft and seaworthy. For centuries, dories have been used for fishing in coastal and tidal waters. They can be rowed, engine-driven, or sailed.

With these attributes, dories were adopted during WWII by the British-based, Small Scale Raiding Force (SSRF) in support of covert operations along the Channel coast of enemy-occupied France. More of this in future posts.

For now, let us tell Vic's story. After 1945, many wartime vessels were put up for sale or auction by the government. Vic writes:

"A Suffolk fisherman purchased the dory and worked it off the beach at Shingle Street at the southern tip of Orford Ness, fishing for sole, plaice, skate and cod, and in the autumn, for herring and sprats.

In the early 1960s my brother and I purchased the boat (always just known as 'The Dory') and brought it to the River Deben, near Felixstowe Ferry, where it was again used for fishing.

In 1973 we replaced the (original) Austin engine with a Lister LD2 MGR2, replaced the propeller, raised the gunwale by 9โ€ amidships, tapering to 2โ€ fore and aft, and added a fore deck. In the 1980s, a capstan was fitted for hauling the trawl so the boat could be worked single-handedly."

In Boathouse 4, volunteers have already begun to research the dories of SSRF, in order that the restoration of this workboat to its wartime configuration can be undertaken sympathetically. We will keep you updated here.

Boathouse 4's cover photo
15/08/2020

Boathouse 4's cover photo

Boathouse No. 4 is closed and re-opens to the public in the autumn. Other attractions in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard ar...
12/08/2020
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Boathouse No. 4 is closed and re-opens to the public in the autumn. Other attractions in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard are open. For details and online booking of tickets with timed entry, go to https://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is once again open...and now when you buy an Ultimate Explorer ticket, it also includes a visit to the Mary Rose Museum. Pre-booking you visit day/time slot is essential. Buy online today!

#onthisday, 80 years ago on 12 August 1940, the recently completed Boathouse No. 4 was hit by a single 250 kg high explo...
12/08/2020

#onthisday, 80 years ago on 12 August 1940, the recently completed Boathouse No. 4 was hit by a single 250 kg high explosive (HE) bomb. Passing through the roof, just above the camber gates on the southern corner, it failed to explode, although the roof was set alight and a crane gantry was damaged. It was a lucky escape for Boathouse No. 4 but not for others.

There had been several desultory air raids on Portsmouth in the preceding weeks. However, this midday raid by 55 Ju88 bombers, accompanied by an escort of Bf109 fighters, presaged the Battle of Britain and is acknowledged in most accounts as the first large-scale air attack on urban England.

41 HE bombs fell in the harbour or on the dockyard (3 deaths), 72 fell on RAF Ventnor Chain Home Radar on the Isle of Wight (no deaths) and 58 fell in Portsea, Old Portsmouth, Southsea (13 deaths) and Gosport (10 RAF personnel + 2 RN personnel + 4 civilian deaths). Portsmouth Harbour Station received a direct hit and was badly damaged by fire.

In a letter on 14 August, Admiral, Sir W. M. James, Commander-in-Chief Portsmouth, wrote of this raid: โ€œOur raid took place on the 12th. About 200 planes were reported approaching but only 50 attacked Portsmouth. They dropped some very large bombs, but the damage is all easily repairable. The Barracks, Whale Island, Hornet were hit . . . (and) you will be amused to hear that one of first bombs sank my barge." [In the South Camber, where the BH4 pontoons are today].

This album has been created to show all of the photos that have been previously posted about F8 (Foxtrot 8) Aug 2015 - O...
04/08/2020

This album has been created to show all of the photos that have been previously posted about F8 (Foxtrot 8) Aug 2015 - Oct 2019.

I'm running out of angles to photograph the inside of Boathouse 4. This shot, taken today, has Tom Sherrin, Poole pilot ...
02/08/2020

I'm running out of angles to photograph the inside of Boathouse 4. This shot, taken today, has Tom Sherrin, Poole pilot cutter from 1970 to 1988, waiting patiently centre stage.

F8 (Foxtrot 8) - episode 6During the recent overhaul of F8, the removable metal fittings were shot-blasted before respra...
25/07/2020

F8 (Foxtrot 8) - episode 6

During the recent overhaul of F8, the removable metal fittings were shot-blasted before respraying. During this process, over 100 port and starboard components were found to have been stamped "FP7" and "FS7". Not one was stamped "FP8" and "FS8". Why not?

To try to find out, I pored over Jane's Fighting Ships 1957-1989 annuals and wrote to authors of the books I had read, receiving helpful and valuable leads. I also spoke at length to a retired RM WO1 who was a coxswain on F8 in the 1970's. Finally, I exchanged extensive emails with a trustee of the Royal Marines Historical Society. Mention F8 and the goodwill is apparent.

What's the explanation? Well, I have a working hypothesis, yet to be fully proven, but hopefully a useful guide to more research.

During planned maintenance, e.g. refits, ships like HMS Fearless, kept their own boats by default. However, if an LCVP required unplanned maintenance, e.g. major repairs, it would be replaced as soon as possible with another LCVP, usually from RM Poole. This was not a frequent occurrence but did happen. For operational continuity, the incoming LCVP would take the callsign of the offloaded one. In the early 1970s, for example, I was told that there was a problem with welds on the Mills release gear for the lifting slings and several LCVPs were taken ashore in rotation, to be returned later.

It is plausible, therefore, that the LCVP(2), callsign F7, was offloaded for such remedial works at that time, to be returned to HMS Fearless and re-assigned callsign F8 ("our F8"). By then the callsign F7, presumably had been taken by the LCVP(2) now awaiting restoration at Fort Cumberland, Southsea by the Royal Marines Museum team.

What are the next steps? It would be really helpful to find the pennant number of "our F8". No builder's plate has been found. I anticipate that it will be one of the numbers in the sequence L142-L144. The Janes annuals indicate that these were listed first in 1965, upgraded in 1968 and phased out in the mid-1980s. F8 came to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard around 1990. When the archives in the National Museum of the Royal Navy reopen in 2021, hopefully we will also get further insights from the considerable object file they have for F7. After all, F7 and F8 are identical siblings, working alongside each other throughout their operational service, including as part of the Falklands Amphibious Task Group.

As always, your contributions are welcomed.

F8 (Foxtrot 8) - episode 5I was stumped for a photo for this post. As it's all bit dry, I thought the least I could do w...
17/07/2020

F8 (Foxtrot 8) - episode 5

I was stumped for a photo for this post. As it's all bit dry, I thought the least I could do was pop into Boathouse 4 and give you a picture of Foxtrot 8 waiting for work to restart. Not finished but looking good.

Many will know that Jane's Fighting Ships is an annual publication on all the world's warships. Until it was mentioned in a comment under episode 3, I did not realise that landing craft are included. Short of seeing original evidence, the reputation of this book is so great that I would regard its information as almost a primary reference. Yesterday I visited Portsmouth Central Library and consulted 11 editions of Jane's from 1965-1986, more-or-less the period between the construction of F8 until just after the Falklands Campaign.

FINDINGS

(1) Names of LCAs/LCVPs, e.g. F8, are not recorded. The primary identifier for a vessel in Jane's is the pennant number, e.g. L103, L142, etc. Unfortunately, there are no plates or stamps on our F8, giving the pennant number

(2) For 1965-1986, there were never fewer than 22 LCVPs listed. Fearless and Intrepid carried 4 each.

(3) In 1966, when all LCAs were reclassified as LCVPs (adopting the NATO naming convention), the 2 WWII LCA(1)s still in use became LCVP(1)s and the 38 LCA(2)s became LCVP(2)s. There were no engineering modifications with this change.

(4) In 1968-70, there were many changes. (1) the last 2 LCVP(1)s and 13 LCVP(2)s were disposed of. (2) of the remaining 25 LCVP(2)s, 15 were reclassified as LCVP(1)s and 10 retained the LCVP(2) classification. (3) 4 new LCVP(2)s L147 - L150 are listed. (4) it is likely that these 14 "new" LCVP(2)s (L137-L150) were given an engineering upgrade, as discussed in episode 2.

(5) In 1975, L137-L150 are all still listed and 9 Mark 3s were introduced: L150 was an upgraded LCVP(2) and L151-L158 (new builds).

(6) In 1981, just before the Falklands Campaign, there were 8 Mark 2s (L142-L149, one of which was our F8) and 9 Mark 3s (L150-L158) in the active pool of LCVPs.

How were the others deployed, I wonder? I know RM Poole always seemed to have several around.

CONCLUSIONS

Our F8 is a LCVP Mark 2. We know it was not a WWII LCVP(1) and, from inspection, that it is not a post-1975 LCVP(3) with underwater exhausts.

The 8 LCVP(2)s on Fearless and Intrepid were drawn from a pool of 14, possibly rotated for servicing and repairs. Our F8 would have been subject to that rotation.

Our F8 probably had a pennant number between L142 and L149. At the earliest, it would have been built at Dorset Lake Shipyard in Poole in 1965 with a pennant number between L142 and L145. At the latest it would have been built at an unknown yard about 1968 and have a pennant number between L146 and L149.

As ever, we're always delighted to receive your contributions.

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Boathouse 4, HM Naval Base
Portsmouth
PO1 3LJ

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Comments

F8 about to go for a dip from her parent ship, HMS Fearless. Image from the IWM photo archive, although no date mentioned. Unless somebody knows? โš“๏ธโš“๏ธโš“๏ธ
Some photos of F8 for your interest. I was ship's company in HMS Fearless from July '76 to December '78. All the best with the restoration and preservation of this great little craft.
Thank you to everyone for making the trip round the Harbour memorable.
A very good set of instructional videos relevant to our work - I found the timber selection series in particular helpful.
Amazing support that will really make a difference.
The Swedish version of "Boats Afloat" :
Lovely view and a meal to match. Thank you.
A cracking visit to Boathouse 4 with Aussie relatives. Especially loved the displays and films covering the evolution of the Motor Gun Boats / Motor Torpedo Boats / Steam Gun Boats and clandestine visits to France during WW2 including the antics of my friend Carenza Wilton's grandfather Robert Hichens. Also to see traditional boatbuilding courses alive and kicking.
What an enjoyable visit to Boathouse 4 Restaurant. The meal was excellent and the service could not be faulted. Next time I visit I will bring Don Wilkinson with me (if he can tear himself away from the Golf Course)
Thanks to all the staff at Boathouse 4 and Russell, for making the Wedding Photography a whole lot easier on Saturday. Here are a few of the wedding day pictures for you.
Steam pinnace 199 in a bottle ! Just painted ready for the Gosport Marine Festival on the 27th May ........all that smoke and steam in an enclosed space cant be good for the crew .....