The temporary tin church which lasted for 90 years

The garrison church, Military Road, Gosport
The garrison church, Military Road, Gosport

Saint Roger's halo didn't slip when he gave me interview

0
Have your say

Many of you will doubtless find the aerial photograph of Fort Rowner, Gosport, (right) of great interest in itself.

But it is the far smaller building across Military Road and backing on to the old railway line which is held in deep affection by Anne Allen.

For it is the tin Garrison Church which served the nearby Gosport Advanced Line forts where she went to Sunday school and was later married as a 19-year-old.

It was only ever intended to be a temporary church when it was built in 1872 to serve those forts strung along Military Road.

It was built of wood and corrugated iron sheets and was expected to last 50 years, but was still in use in the 1960s. Behind it was Brockhurst station.

Anne, of Blackbrook Road, Fareham, lived as a child in police quarters off Cambridge Road. They were attached to the then HMS Siskin, which is now HMS Sultan.

She says: ‘My dad was a Royal Marine policeman and one of his jobs was to patrol the forts on the Grange airfield .

‘As a girl I used to go with him sometimes, crossing the footbridge to the forts and going into the dungeons. It was quite scary.’

On Sunday mornings when she was older, Anne helped with the Sunday school in the tin church. ‘It was a lovely church and it was attended by all servicemen living in the area. They found it quite comforting in times of trouble.’

Born in 1938, Anne married a Royal Marine bandsman in 1957 in the tin church.

‘Our reception was held in the church hut. With the help of friends and workmates I did all the catering and even bought a barrel of beer for the lunchtime wedding breakfast.

‘Because we never had much money this was the only way we could get married and I so wanted to get married in church for my mother’s and father’s sake.’

Anne also recalls the Saturday night dances in an aircraft hangar at Fort Grange.

‘There always seemed to be a top band playing and lots of people on the dance floor.’

The tin church was finally demolished at the end of the 1960s.