THIS WEEK IN 1981: 19th Century dry dock is buried out of sight

The 19th century dry dock was to be filled in. However, it would not be irretrievable for excavation (ABCDE PPP-171001-162351001)
The 19th century dry dock was to be filled in. However, it would not be irretrievable for excavation (ABCDE PPP-171001-162351001)
Dressed in their best Number 8s working dress and black armbands are Jacky Jackson, Paddy Jordan, Tom Coleman and Stokes with Eddie Wardle kneeling in front. They were serving in HMS Ark Royal.

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More than 7,000 cubic metres of dredged shingle were set to be used to fill in the 19th Century dry dock of Gunwharf Road, pictured page 21, which was used by a fleet of colliers supplying coal to the former Old Portsmouth power station. And, 6,000 cubic metres of chalk would also be laid across the dock and its surrounding two-and-three-quarter-acre site to a depth of several feet.

This was the be the first phase of Portsmouth Corporation’s £3m scheme for a new car ferry terminal to serve Sealink ships on the busy Isle of Wight crossing.

But the old dock, designed and built to the same standard and style as the original berthing facilities in Portsmouth Dockyard, would not be irretrievable.

Corporation officials said that it would remain in a good state of preservation under its chalk ‘blanket’, should archaeologists ever wish to excavate it in the distant future.

At the time of the dry dock’s burial, progress was being made on a new terminal complex which was vitally needed to clear a midsummer clutter of traffic from Broad Street on the approach to the existing car ferry ramp at The Camber.