History of Boathouse 4

Boathouse 4 is acknowledged to be an interesting example of industrial architecture in the International Modernist style and stands in contrast to the Georgian and Victorian architecture around it. Constructed 1938 - 40, it was only boathouse to be built in a home dockyard during the rapid rearmament period of the 1930s.

The building was originally to be built in two phases, extending overall to Victory Gate. It was intended for Phase 1 to be fully operational before Phase 2 commenced. This required a temporary corrugated steel wall on the southern side. However the Second World War broke out before Phase 1 was complete. As a result, Phase 2 was never built and the temporary wall became permanent, still to be seen today.

In 1941-43 it is believed that the building was involved in the construction of the secret prototype three-man midget submarine X4 and later X-craft developments. King George VI noted in his diaries that he secretly visited the Dockyard to view the X4 project. X-Craft were deployed to neutralise the German battleship Tirpitz in 1943. 

 

Boathouse 4 is the last boathouse built for the Royal Navy. However to this day the building continues to fulfil its intended role perfectly, something that its current occupants are enormously proud of.

 
 
 
Boathouse 4
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Victory Gate
HM Naval Base
Portsmouth
PO1 3LJ

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