D-Day landing craft slipways set for archaeological survey before £1bn Tipner West development

PEOPLE are being invited to document Portsmouth’s history by taking part in an archaeological survey ahead of a £1bn development near wartime slipways.

Wednesday, 11th March 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 11th March 2020, 5:52 pm

Around 45 D-Day landing craft slipways are at Horsea Island near where Portsmouth City Council hopes to build a 4,000-home car-free super peninsula at Tipner West.

Planners working on the Portsmouth City Council are trying to find out more about the maritime heritage that may be affected by the development.

More than 800 landing craft tanks were used in the Normandy Landings in 1944, with the slipways housing the vessels. They were also used for repairs.

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Volunteers are needed for a non-intrusive archaeological survey of the D-Day landing craft repair slipways on Horsea Island. Picture: Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network (CITiZAN).

Experts at the Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network want volunteers to join them in fieldwork next month when the organisation plans to clear up and then record information about the site.

No decision has been made about their future in the development. The council will look at the results of the survey.

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Therese Kearns, CITiZAN discovery programme officer, said: ‘D-Day on June 6, 1944 remains one of the most significant dates in modern history, marking as it did the start of the final phase of Second World War.

Volunteers are needed for a non-intrusive archaeological survey of the D-Day landing craft repair slipways on Horsea Island. Picture: Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeological Network (CITiZAN).

‘It’s important that we record these remains which, until now, have not been the subject of any detailed study, although similar sites are situated on the rivers Dart in Devon, and the Fal and Tamar in Cornwall.

‘We’re keen to involve local people in surveying the location so that we can capture this data and add it to the archaeological records for the area.’

At Horsea the five sets of nine parallel concrete slipways were built in 1943. It comes as a landing craft, LCT7074, is set to be moved outside the D-Day Story in Southsea.

Megan Carter, senior regeneration manager for Portsmouth City Council, said: ‘Throughout the Tipner West project we have made a commitment to speak with as many interested parties as possible.

‘Working with CITiZAN is another example of us gathering information to help us make appropriate and responsible decisions going forward.’

The sessions run in low-tide windows between April 13-19.

Anyone interested can sign up for an introductory talk at 2pm at the D-Day Story on March 21.

Booking is essential. See citizan.org.uk/events or e-mail [email protected]