Boathouse No 4 opens to the public

The cathedral-like space of Boathouse 4 will be home to the International Boat building College Portsmouth (IBTC) as of November 2015, offering training to a new generation of students in the techniques of traditional boatbuilding and other related skills that are still very much required today to build and conserve wooden boats.

The original Second World War boathouse has been transformed by Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust (PNBPT). The trust has funded the £5.7M project with the help of grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund (£3.75M), the government’s Regional Growth Fund (£479K) and several charitable foundations.

Built within this magnificent historical building, overlooking the boat building college is an exciting new exhibition for visitors to come and discover the fascinating world of small boats, which were the backbone of the Royal Navy.

This exciting new exhibition tells the story of small craft from wooden cutters that ferried Lord Nelson to and from his flagship, to powerful motorboats that helped to win the First World War. It features a range of innovative interactive exhibits which bring these small craft to life, including an activity boat and rowing challenge.

Visitors will be able to learn the heroic exploits of the Coastal Forces and daring missions of the Second World War motor boats in the boat theatre. A ‘Mast & Rigging’ experience allows visitors to try to climb to the top of the crow’s nest*. A mezzanine floor area overlooks the college trainees busy at work, on a fleet of historic ships, made available for restoration and repair.

*A small charge applies