A CENTURY-old seafront shelter looks set to be restored to its former glory thanks to cutting-edge naval technology.
Community leaders are joining forces with BAE Systems to reinstate an Edwardian shelter on Southsea seafront.
The shelter, dating from 1902, was originally taken down to make way for the Pyramids Centre in the 1980s.
Currently in storage at Gosport’s Explosion! Museum, it is now in hundreds of different pieces and a headache for even the historical experts to put back together.
But BAE Systems has stepped in to save the day.
The work will involve employing BAE Systems’ precision alignment team to ‘laser map’ a sister shelter near the Rock Gardens in Southsea.
This will allow the creation of a full three-dimensional model, which will be used as a template for creating a set of outline assembly drawings
The community project group will be able to use the drawings to map which of the hundreds of pieces of cast iron need to be repaired or replaced, allowing an accurate costing of the repair project and faster reinstatement of the shelter.
Leon Reis, chairman of the campaign group, called SouthseaShelter.co.uk, said: ‘They are going to use a laser scanner which is a really expensive bit of kit used to build warships.
‘We can use it to find out what’s missing, what’s damaged, and what we have to fix.
‘It’s probably saved us a year of work. It’s fantastic.’
It is hoped the Edwardian shelter will be put on the seafront near St George’s Road.
It would be the same spot where a concrete shelter was demolished several years ago.
Mr Reis added: ‘BAE Systems’ generosity and space-age skills mean we can predict this beautiful 100-year-old shelter will be restored and back on the prom, possibly as soon as summer 2014, sheltering thousands of walkers on what is currently a completely exposed 1.5 miles stretch of the seafront.’
The group launched a bid to raise £65,000 to restore the shelter and are confident they can raise this amount.
The project with BAE Systems will last up to eight months and be led by apprentices Millie Allen and Jack Mullen, together with engineering manager Paul Donaghy.
Tony Swateridge, head of design services, said: ‘Portsmouth has a rich heritage and we are delighted to be able to help bring the shelter back into working use.’