History of Boathouse 4

Boathouse 4 is 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 the 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. 

It is believed that from 1941-1943 the building hosted 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, and continues to fulfil its role as a Boathouse over 80 years later. 

Boathouse 4
Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
Victory Gate
HM Naval Base

General Enquiries T: 023 9289 3328                               E: bh4admin@pnbpt.com  

Restaurant and Venue Hire T: 023 9282 6077     E: boathouse4@baxterstorey.com




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