In the past Gosport has been home to many well known persons including Queen Victoria's son Prince Alfred, Lord Ashburton, Henry Cort the iron-maker, Captain Cunningham the inventor of the self-reefing Topsail and John Deane the co-inventor of the diving helmet. Queen Victoria often boarded her train at Gosport when travelling from her nearby Island home at Osborne. Nat Gonella the Jazz musician spent his final days at Gosport. Local artist Martin Snape was born in Spring Garden Lane at Gosport in 1852.
There are many beautiful buildings in Gosport, some built for the rich or famous such as Bay House, others more functional like Priddy's Hard powder magazine, the Royal Naval Hospital Haslar and Haslar gunboat yard. Forton was home to the Royal Marines Light Infantry whilst Gosport Barracks was home to hundreds of troops throughout the Victorian period and beyond. There are many old military buildings such as the great land front forts of the Gosport Advanced Lines, the De Gomme fortifications around the old town and the old Fort Monckton at Stokes Bay. Robert Cruickshank built the famous Crescent at Alverstoke. Gosport is now home to Explosion Museum at Priddy's Hard, The Submarine Museum at Haslar and the Diving Museum at Stokes Bay..
Gosport has witnessed many events throughout its history. England's last duel was fought at Browndown in 1845. Great Naval demonstrations took place at Stokes Bay during the Victorian period. Grange airfield was the first home to the Royal Flying Corps, the RAF and the Royal Naval Air Service. Phoenix caissons for the D-Day harbours in Normandy were constructed at Stokes Bay, Gosport.
The Gosport Society has commissioned a memorial to the D-Day landings at Stokes Bay.
Who we are: The Gosport Society is a nonpolitical Civic Amenity Society which is concerned with conservation, planning and Gosport's important history.
To promote high standards of planning and architecture affecting our area.
To educate the public in Gosport's history and architecture.
To secure the preservation and protection of features of historic or public interest.
What we do
- A Planning sub-committee meets regularly to study plans, provided by the Gosport Borough Council, of planning applications in conservation areas of the Borough. Members of the committee also attend planning meetings at the Town Hall.
- The annual Green Plaque award is made to recognise, and to stimulate public interest in, the restoration of historic buildings and structures in the Borough. The Green Plaque will be presented for the best project. Nominations for the award may be made by anyone and forms are available from the Gosport Society or downloaded from this website.
If you love your town and care about its future the Gosport Society invites you to become a Member with a current subscription of just £11.00 per person.
The 2016 RSA Heritage Index places Gosport 7th in the Top 10 Heritage places in England.
Gosport is located in the south of England, on the western side of Portsmouth Harbour, with extensive views over Portsmouth, north to Portchester and beyond, to the chalk hills of the south downs and south, across the Solent, to the Isle of Wight.
Gosport began as small fortified seaport on the west side of Portsmouth Harbour and for many years served as an important Garrison Town with connections to the Royal Navy.
Many of its military buildings still survive, although some have been converted to modern usage.
Gosport Old and New Seals
Gosport Town Origins
Bishop Godfrey de Lucy's endowment charter of 1204 gave Winchester Cathedral "all the profit that reasonably results from the newly built town at the haven in the Manor of Alverstoke...." In 1922 the parish of Alverstoke was united with Gosport. King George V granted a Municipal Borough Charter to Gosport and Alverstoke on 4th November 1922.
The origin of the name, Gosport, is still to this day rather vague. Legend tells of the landing in mid 12th century of Henry de Blois, the Bishop of Winchester, caught in a fierce storm when returning from Normandy and brought ashore by local fishermen. He decreed that the place be called God's Port, these words 'God's Port Our Haven' are shown on the Gosport crest designed by local artist Martin Snape in 1922. Another derivation, Goss Port, is based on the gorse or goss that prevailed on the shores of creeks in the area. Finally Goose Port is another possibility. The earliest absolute fact is that a place called Goseport existed it 1241.
(God's Port the Origins of Gosport by Philip Eley)
Gosport Town today.
Gosport is now home to Explosion Museum at Priddy's Hard, The Submarine Museum at Haslar and the Diving Museum at Stokes Bay.
There are some beautiful buildings such as the old St. George Barracks and Clarence Yard with the Victorian Gosport station nearby. It has fine churches such as Holy Trinity church in the town centre with its Handel organ and St. Mary's church at Alverstoke.
It has a sheltered beach at Stokes Bay with many opportunities for water sports and superb views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. Gosport has a cross harbour ferry connecting it with Portsmouth city.