Life before Action Stations

Action Stations at the dockyard

Action Stations at the dockyard

Kevin Porter

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Have you ever wondered what Boathouse No.6 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard was used for, before it was transformed into Action Stations?

A new tour is being offered for those curious about its interesting history, outlining the key events from its construction in 1848 until the installation of the present Action Station attraction in 2001.

The building was designed by Lieutenant Roger Beatson, Royal Engineers, Portsmouth Dockyard’s Superintendent of Civil Engineering Work, and built between 1845 and 1848.

It was used for the building, repair and storage of small ships’ boats. These were pulled up one of the three slipways outside the front of the building from the Mast Pond by hand using block and tackle, then brought into the building through large wooden doors.

Some of the rings used still survive along the front of the building and are set into the ground floor. The building was in use as a boathouse until the Portsmouth Blitz in March 1941, when a bomb destroyed much of the rear part. A temporary patch was added to make the building serviceable and was not replaced until the conversion into Action Stations in the late 1990s.

This specialist tour will encourage visitors to view Action Stations in a way they have never done before.

Tours will begin in either Boathouse No.7 or the Mezzanine Café. For full details of times and prices, visit historicdockyard.co.uk

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