Portsmouth International Port names its game-changing berth after Portsea scientist and suffragette Hertha Ayrton
IT’S set to be a stepping-off point for hundreds of thousands of passengers every year – and now Portsmouth International Port’s game-changing berth has a name linked to a Portsea pioneer.
Portsmouth International Port’s £6.2m extension and upgrade of Berth 2 allowed mega cruise liners like the 277-metre Scarlet Lady to visit the city for the first time earlier this year.
To mark the berth’s transformational impact, the stepping-off point was awarded a ceremonial name by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Frank Jonas, on Sunday.
Now cruise passengers will enter and leave the city via the Hertha Ayrton Berth, named after a scientist and suffragette born in Portsea in 1854.
The naming ceremony follows more than 50 suggestions from the public, with Ayrton’s name making an appearance several times.
The ‘Hertha berth’ will bring ‘amazing’ opportunities to the city, as the port will now be able to accommodate 90 per cent of the 570 cruise ships in operation around the world, according to head of operations Ian Diaper.
He said: ‘Pre-pandemic, 38 cruise ships visited – the smaller, 600-passenger ships.
‘This year, we have had 135 ship calls and they have all been bigger ships – about 2,000 passengers.
‘Forty different cruise ships have already visited the berth.’
And giant ships like Virgin’s Scarlet Lady will not just have a big impact on the city’s skyline around the port.
Ian added: ‘A visit like that would see £1.5m generated for the local economy here in Portsmouth.
Janet Martin was one of those who suggested Hertha Ayrton as a name for the berth, and following a prize draw, the Cosham resident received a luxury Fortnum & Mason hamper courtesy of Noble Caledonia, whose ship Island Sky was alongside the berth for the naming ceremony.
Janet said: ‘I was delighted to win the hamper, and the name that I chose was picked as the ceremonial name of the berth. Hertha Ayrton was a remarkable woman, and I think she’d approve of such a feat of engineering being named after her.’
The port is due to begin works to improve its terminal buildings this November.