Dry Docks at Portsmouth Dockyard form a historic and significant complex of structures dating from the mid-18th to early 19th centuries. Overseen by General Samuel Bentham from 1796 onwards, these docks played a pivotal role in naval construction and maintenance.

The dry docks feature stepped sides with flights of steps and haulage slides, constructed primarily of stone and concrete, with later additions and repairs. Bollards, fairleads, and mooring rings are essential elements of the docking facilities.

Dry Dock No. 1, completed in 1801, underwent modifications in the 20th century, including an extension in 1909. It sustained damage during the Second World War and was eventually closed in 1984.

Dry Dock No. 2, also completed in 1802, remains largely unaltered due to its use as a berth for HMS Victory since 1922. HMS Victory is positioned on a cradle that matches her height with that of the quayside, which also allows the pattern of the stone steps on the dock floor to remain visible.

Dry Dock No. 3 stands out as the first dry dock to utilize Samuel Bentham’s innovative inverted stone arch principle. This technique, introduced in the entrance to the adjacent basin, revolutionized dry dock engineering. Dry Dock No. 3 later became the resting place for the remains of the historic vessel, the Mary Rose, in 1982.