Crowd gathers to see off centuries of shipbuilding in Portsmouth

The final piece of the HMS Prince of Wales to be built in Portsmouth leaves the city
The final piece of the HMS Prince of Wales to be built in Portsmouth leaves the city
Detail from an exact replica of Lord Nelson's diamond Chelengk jewels. Picture:Andrew Matthews/Press Association

Replica of Nelson’s stolen jewel on display

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THE last piece of work by Portsmouth naval shipbuilders has now left the city.

A small crowd gathered on the Round Tower to wave goodbye to the final piece of HMS Prince of Wales to be built in Portsmouth. It is also the last work that BAE Systems’ shipbuilding division will carry out before the company heads to Scotland.

The aircraft carrier is making its way to Rosyth in Scotland, where it will be assembled.

When completed, it is due to return to the city in 2020, along with HMS Queen Elizabeth.

The move marks a poignant moment that many will see as the end of a long history of building naval ships in the city.

Alison Wright, 42, of Pembroke Park, Old Portsmouth, said: ‘My husband serves in the navy and he thought it would be interesting to come and see.

‘A lot of people have been laid off because the shipbuilding is moving, so it’s important to show as much interest in what has been achieved already.

‘It was extremely impressive to see the ship block go by.’

In November last year, BAE Systems announced the shipbuilding yard in Portsmouth would close in favour of moving operations to Scotland.

But despite the sombre news hanging over the heads of dockyard workers, the 6,000-tonne Lower Block 02 part of the ship, was completed on time.