GOSPORT – FLAG SHIP SALUTING

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GOSPORT, of which our engraving represents a view, is a small, but important
town, adjoining Portsmouth, from which it is separated by a wide channel, forming part
of the extensive basin known as Portsmouth Harbour, and containing a large number
of our “wooden walls” some in a condition ready to put to sea at a few hours’ notice,
others lying in ordinary, as it is termed, that is, without rigging, sails, or other fittings
requisite to render them complete and efficient for service, but which are speedily
provided when required. Portsmouth, Gosport, and the neighbouring towns — including
Portsea and Landport — form one extensive fortified position, protected at every joint
from the attacks of an enemy ; they are enclosed by broad earthworks, along the extent
of which are mounted heavy guns, commanding the various drawbridges which cross
the moat surrounding the works. At a short distance from the town is a large range of
barracks for the marines, capable of accommodating upwards of a thousand men — a
portion of the building, including the house of the commandant, has but recently been
completed. Near this is a new prison, devoted entirely to military occupation ; it is a
substantial building of red brick, and well adapted for the accommodation of its inmates
consistent with its character as a penal establishment.

Close to the harbour, and within the fortifications, is an immense pile of imposing
appearance, called the Clarence Victualling-yard; the most interesting feature of which
is, the admirable but simple steam-machinery employed in making biscuits for the navy.
In the precincts of this immense depository are also included a cooperage, brew house,
and slaughterhouse, which supply the navy with the stores requisite for their various
destinations, including wines and spirits, of which a large stock is constantly kept here.
The quay at which her Majesty embarks for her private residence, Osborne House, in
the Isle of Wight, is situated in this yard, which is connected with the main line of the
South-Western Railway, by a small branch running from the terminus, devoted solely
to the use of her Majesty and the Lords of the Admiralty. ‘I here are two churches in
the town, St. Mathew’s, near the entrance to the Clarence-yard, and Trinity; the former
consists entirely of free sittings, the latter is a chapel of ease to the parish church,
situated at Alverstoke, a small village, at a distance of little more than a mile from the
town. There are also a Catholic chapel, two Wesleyan chapels, and two Congregational
chapels in the town.

Of late years the neighbourhood of Gosport has much improved; many
handsome and commodious villas, and other residences, having been erected at

various times. Anglesea, which adjoins Alverstoke, is quite a new neighbourhood, and
has but recently come into existence, consisting principally of residences for the gentry
during the summer months. The town of Ryde, in the Isle of Wight, is situated opposite
to this spot, and between them lies the Solent, which at times is enlivened by the
appearance of some ships of war lying at anchor, and frequently of large fleets of
merchant ships detained here from stress of weather, or waiting a favourable wind to
convey them to their respective destinations. At the mouth of the harbour, on the
Gosport side, is situated Blockhouse Fort, opposite to a similar one on the Portsmouth
side, embrasure with heavy guns for protecting the entrance to the harbour, which is
approached only by a circuitous channel, commanded on the one side by the guns of
Southsea Castle, and on the other by those of Fort Monckton, at a short distance from
which has recently been erected another fort, to protect the entrance to the
Southampton Water. Adjoining Blockhouse Fort are barracks for the Royal Artillery, and
at Fort Monckton, barracks for infantry. Near the latter is Haslar Hospital, devoted to the
reception of sick members of the navy and marines, it is a handsome quadrangular
building of red brick, and affords accommodation for a large number of patients; within
its walls arc included a church, and a Museum of Natural History, which is well supplied
with specimens, and to which additions are being continually made by the officers and
gentlemen connected with the service. At the foot of the High-street, Gosport is the
landing-place for passengers by the steam ferry, or floating bridge, as it is called, which
plies between Gosport and Portsmouth every half-hour, and forms the only means of
communication for carriages and vehicles of all kinds. In addition to the steam ferry is a
staff of watermen, busily plying; their calling during the absence of the bridge, and
securing the stray passengers that may prefer their mode of transport, or have arrived
too late for the other conveyance. During certain states of the weather, the danger and
difficulty of managing their boats entitle the watermen to increased fares, which are
indicated by certain coloured flags hoisted conspicuously over the town hall, near the
beach, and regulated by a person appointed by the licensing magistrates. The climate
of this part Is healthy, and well adapted for persons with weak lungs, or affections to
which a cold, keen, air would be unfavourable.

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