Portsmouth was always a dockyard belonging to the Crown

retro sept 2017

Chuck Berry - Chuck Berry on stage at Portsmouth Guildhall

THIS WEEK IN 1983: Rocking the night away with the king

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I see that MPs have been calling Portsmouth Naval Base a shipyard. I don’t think so.

A shipyard like John Browns is where liners and such were built. Portsmouth was always a dockyard belonging to the Crown and called HM Dockyard.

It’s amazing to think that people congratulate each other about a

couple of ships coming off the stocks, as the phrase went, over a two-year period. But in the late 19th century two ships in that time span would have been a mere trifle.

Between 1890 and 1900 no fewer than 15 ships were sent down the stocks in the dockyard excluding six 268-ton gunboats.

The battleships were all pre-dreadnoughts of course and the largest were the two 15,000-ton battleships Formidable (torpedoed and sunk 1915 )and London (broken up in 1920).

Several other battleships were constructed in the same decade of just under 15,000 tons including the Royal Sovereign Canopus of 13,000 tons. The remainder were all about 10,000 tons.