Boathouse 4 - IBTC Portsmouth

Following an extensive renovation, Boathouse 4 has re-opened to the public as the Boatbuilding & Heritage Skills Centre.

Housed within an iconic building, constructed during the 1930s rearmament period and situated in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard, the Centre aims to ensure the ongoing preservation of traditional boatbuilding skills.

Students from the International Boatbuilding Training College (IBTC), Portsmouth and Highbury College will be using the extensive space to restore a wide range of vessels. 

IBTC will be offering many opportunities for people to get involved with and learn about our maritime heritage, including short courses and family weekend programmes, sessions with local schools, a summer festival, and an extended volunteer scheme offering mentoring and skills training.

Heritage Bursaries will offer local people currently unemployed or disengaged with education, the opportunity to undertake one year’s full-time traditional boatbuilding training, leading to a City and Guilds qualification and an IBTC Portsmouth Diploma. 

As well as housing the Skills Centre, Boathouse 4 is now open to the public, free of charge.  From Spring 2016, visitors will also be able to watch boatbuilding projects in progress from a new restaurant and bar providing views of the boatbuilding space and Portsmouth’s historic harbour.  Boathouse 4 will be making the restaurant area available for private bookings and corporate events.

Lively LadyThe visitor experience is enhanced by an exhibition on the mezzanine floor telling the stories of small boats that played a key role in the Royal Navy and a display of several craft from the Portsmouth Naval Trust’s collection.  These, along with vessels in need of conservation being used as training projects, include boats on the National Register of Historic Vessels and the National Historic Fleet:

Lively Lady – Famous yacht, built in 1948.  The vessel was used by Sir Alec Rose in his circumnavigation of the globe in 1968.  Lively Lady is to undergo an extensive re-fit at Boathouse 4.  The aim is to prepare her for another round-the-world voyage. 

Steam Pinnace 199 – Naval Pinnace, built in 1911.  Lovingly restored to operational condition by Group 199 volunteers, the National Historic Fleet vessel has been moved to Boathouse 4 so that she can be viewed by the public.

CyclopsCyclops – Pinnace built by the Admiralty in 1915 and undergoing restoration at Boathouse 4.  Read more about Cyclops on our First World War Surviving Vessels website.

Fandango – Bermudan sloop, built in 1949.  IBTC students at Boathouse 4 will be working on this vessel as a restoration project.

November 2015


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