Hi, I am the first guest blogger for Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Well, if you haven't been to this place, you’re in for a treat.
If you’re a fan of ships and the sea, it’s brilliant and even if you’re not enthusiastic about boats, ships or cannons, I can almost guarantee that after a visit, you will be.
To see the tall masts of HMS Victory, even before you have set foot inside of the Dockyard, it’s enough to lift your heart. Then to actually walk into and on, those famous wooden decks, it’s a magic experience.
On board HMS Victory you can read all about the ship, you can maybe today get a ‘virtual tour,’ but nothing, and I mean nothing, can compare to actually being inside this wonderful vessel.
The cramped spaces, the low headroom of the gun decks, the massive, yes massive ropes, or rather ‘cables’, ropes, which are 12 inches diameter, to haul up the Anchor, the Iron Cannons, the capstan, all just massive pieces of history.
But before you even get to that, the ‘Block’ area, the exhibition of steam driven and iron machines which made all these things, on site, is a great experience, full of information and ‘hands on’ exhibits and you can then see why, with all this technology, even in the 18th Century, Britain really did rule the waves.
Outside, on the dockside, the sight of HMS Warrior, again, just too much to see in a few hours and wonderfully preserved, if that is the right word, but, brilliant iron and wood all coming together to make this a most impressive vessel.
I had originally only meant to spend an hour or two looking at the Victory but, I had, in all, over six, yes, six hours in that yard and even then, I hadn't covered everything, I didn’t even glance at the Mary Rose part of the yard, I didn’t have time left, so a day or even a week wouldn’t give you enough time to savour the delights of this wonderful place.
The staff were all helpful, cheery and full of information, all willing to help with any question that I fired at them.
Denis P Gibson. 04 July 2009.
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