Portsmouth dockyard's new giant crane is reminder of '˜good old days' '“ Nostalgia

I see plans are in place to build a mega crane in Portsmouth Naval Base. It is to be half the height of the Spinnaker Tower and capable of lifting 250 tonnes.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 18th December 2018, 11:44 am
Updated Thursday, 10th January 2019, 10:03 am
The massive 240-ton Portsmouth dockyard crane built in 1912 and taken down in 1984. Picture: PRDHS.
The massive 240-ton Portsmouth dockyard crane built in 1912 and taken down in 1984. Picture: PRDHS.

Work is expected to begin next summer. It will be 236ft (72 metres) high and is part of the BAE Systems' £600m contract of works to improve the military hub and maintain the Royal Navy's fleet of warships.

How sad it is then that  the original 240-ton crane was demolished in 1984. It had been constructed in 1912 to build Dreadnought battleships,  although the first had been launched six years earlier.

The new crane is be constructed over numbers 14 and 15 docks whereas the 1912 crane was on the promontory of  No3 basin some distance away.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

An aerial view of Tipner dog track and surrounding district in the early 1970s. Note the submarine in the top left-hand corner. Picture: Mike Nolan Collection.

'¢ Looking across the northern end of Portsmouth harbour in the early 1970s, below right, we see the old greyhound racing track at Tipner in the bottom left-hand corner. In the top right-hand corner the M275 is under construction.

Top centre is Horsea Island with the original torpedo testing site running down the centre.

One of the most interesting items in the photograph is the submarine in the mud, top left.

Mike Nolan tells me the submarine was built in America for its navy as USS S29 in 1919. She was transferred to the Royal Navy under the Second World War lease/lend scheme and renumbered P556. She was to be returned but age was against her and she was scrapped and sent to Harry Pounds' Yard at Portchester in 1947. She lay in the mud with many thinking she was a German U-boat.

VE-Day street party. Does anyone recognise the street? In the background is a brick-built air raid shelter.

When Harry Pounds moved his yard across to Tipner the boat was re-floated and taken in to be broken up.

'¢ I am hoping the person who sent me the photograph of the street party knows the location because I don't recognise it. There is no information on the reverse .

By the dress of the women with their smock aprons I believe it's  a VE-Day celebration. The chairs all look the same so they might have been borrowed from a church hall. The children would all be about 80 now but I am hoping someone might recognise themselves and the street where the event was held.

'¢ Seen in Fratton yard some  time in the 1960s we see two A1X Terrier class locomotives used on the Hayling Island branch line.

Two Billys

However, because of the state of these two engines, covered in rust, I believe they are due to be towed away, but not for scrap. They still survive today.

If anyone can let me know more I would like to hear from them.

The photograph was taken by railwayman Eric Grace but was part of the late Michael J Harvey's collection.