The History of Action Stations, Boathouse 6.

I thought it would be interesting to do some research into the history of the Grade II Listed building, currently called “Action Stations” at the Historic Dockyard, Portsmouth where we are hosting our exhibition.

The building was originally built between 1845 and 1848 and called Boathouse 6.   It was used for the building, repair and storage of small boats.  Some of the rings used to help pull boats out of the mast pond are still in-situ at the front of the building.

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It was used as a boathouse until the Blitz of 1941, when a bomb destroyed much of the rear of the building, the temporary repair done at the time wasn’t replaced until nearly the millennium, when it was beautifully restored to provide a modern building whilst retaining all of the history and interest of the old building.

Queen Victoria visited the Dockyard in 1848 and there is a painting by local watercolour artist Richard Ubsdell depicting the workers raising their tankards at a banquet within the boathouse.

The main structure of the boathouse is made up of cast iron girders called Truss Girders, they are each unique and were fitted warm so that they locked together as they cooled.  It was one of the first examples of a brick building erected around a metal frame.

I wonder if in their 170 year life the girders have ever had some fine art hanging from them?!

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The rear of the building now hosts the wonderful independent cinema with a huge screen – No.6 Cinema.

It’s an honour to be exhibiting in such a historic building, watch this space for our progress!

With thanks to the leaflet available at Action Stations called “Welcome to Boathouse 6 and Action Stations”.

Historic Dockyard website.
Action Stations website.

Our exhibition runs at Action Stations from August 20th until September 2nd, 10am till 5pm and admission is free.

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