A Product of Interwar Innovation

Boathouse 4 was constructed in the rapid rearmament efforts leading up to the Second World War, and was designed to support the construction and maintenance of small naval vessels. The boathouse was originally intended to extend as far as Victory Gate to the South, but was only partially constructed when war broke out. To speed the building’s completion, a corrugated iron wall was swiftly erected. Though intended to be temporary, this feature remains in place to this day.

During the Second World War, Boathouse 4 played an important role in supporting military efforts. The Boathouse hosted the secret construction of the X4 midget submarine, designed to place mines beneath German battleships. On 30 September 1942 George VI visited the Dockyard to inspect the three-man and other small submarines under construction.

Heritage Preserved

Following its renovation in 2015, with generous support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Regional Growth Fund, Boathouse 4 has been repurposed as a Heritage Skills and Boatbuilding Centre. Today, it serves as a venue where enthusiasts can engage with maritime heritage preservation and craftsmanship.

Exploring Maritime History

Visitors to Boathouse 4 can immerse themselves in the rich history of naval engineering and craftsmanship. From its architectural design to its bustling workshops, BH4 offers a reminder of Naval ingenuity and resilience, and a glimpse into living maritime heritage.

Visitors to the Boathouse can also enjoy the stunning Boathouse 4 restaurant, offering seasonal menus, and views of our vessels afloat on their pontoons and out across Portsmouth Harbour.