By all accounts it looks like very soon BAE will announce the news that boat building will be halted in Portsmouth, possibly the worst news for the city in a long, long time. The history of boat building in this area extends back to King Alfred and even as far back as the Romans but in relatively modern terms, this will see the final end to over 500 years of boat building at Portsmouth. Beyond the awful job cuts at BAE and the likely terrible damage to the local economy from the supply chain being destroyed too, this also sees a fundamental facet to the heritage, culture and identity of the city ending possibly forever.
It was only a few weeks back there was the good news of traditional boat building skills being taught at Boathouse 4 in the Dockyard from funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund…it seems a terribly cruel irony that now a stones throw away some of the most technically advanced boat building in the world will now end.
The damage to Portsmouth might at this point be impossible to calculate on all sorts of levels and to be honest I’m in no mood to speculate or be a ghoul and predict the harm caused, that’s for another time maybe. Needless to say, to the many, many Portsmouth people who are directly and indirectly effected by this news our thoughts are with you.
It is important to remember that pretty much every person in this city has either worked there, has a family member or friend who has worked there or is indirectly employed in the supply chain for the dockyard…ultimately this news effects every single person who lives in this city.