Name: Barracks, Forts and Ramparts: Regeneration Challenges for Portsmouth Harbour’s Defence Heritage

Barracks, Forts and Ramparts. It is such an important piece of work, deep, intelligent and timely, with resonance and effect to help shape the future of Portsmouth - James Hamilton

Barracks, Forts and Ramparts: Regeneration Challenges for Portsmouth Harbour’s Defence Heritage
by Celia Clark and Martin Marks OBE
Tricorn Books 2020 £40 + £4 post and packing.  Orders to 8 Florence Road Southsea PO5 2NE or pages, illustrations, bibliographies, references, index           ISBN 9781912821648

Portsmouth Harbour has one of the densest concentrations of specialised defence establishments in the UK.  Its deep water, narrow entrance from Spithead within the shelter of the Isle of Wight and proximity to our rivals on the high seas made it ideal for the development of the dockyard.  For many centuries fleets and armies sailed from the country’s premier naval port to fight the French, Spanish, Dutch and latterly Germans and Russians, and to supply and garrison the global British empire. Military, naval and air force support facilities developed around the harbour: gunwharf, victualling and ordnance yards, airfields, hospitals, barracks for Royal Marines, navy and army, all defended by successive rings of fortifications, which until after WWI were guarded by a substantial army presence

As participants and observers inspired by living in Portsmouth and Gosport for fifty years, Celia Clark and Martin Marks document the redundancy of the physical survivors of the harbour’s rich military and naval past and the processes by which they move on to different futures. Over the past half-century, many former defence establishments have found new uses - or are in the process of doing so.  This book explores this complicated transition - with first-hand accounts by the participants.  As the wheel of time turns, it takes with it the living memory of how these extraordinary transformations from military to civilian life were achieved. The book offers a snapshot of the current condition of the dense historic defence properties around the harbour in the second decade of the twenty-first century.

The development of building conservation policy and practice at national level and the 1970 drivers of conservation locally are explored, with a focus on historic Ministry of Defence properties and their exceptional status. Gosport’s first Heritage Action Zone focusses on regenerating the town’s rich defence legacy. Heritage tourism developed in Portsmouth dockyard and in Gosport as the Mary Rose, HMS Warrior, M33 and HMS Alliance and historic boats were added to the attractions of the Heritage Area, for which the Naval Base Property Trust was given responsibility. The Royal Naval Museum developed into the National Museum of the Royal Navy.  Museums and galleries were developed in formerly military spaces. The differing fortunes of two hospitals, Haslar Naval Hospital and Queen Victoria Hospital, and two ordnance yards, HMS Vernon/Gunwharf are contrasted. A naval airfield, HMS Daedalus is now a civil airport.  The harbour’s twelve forts and batteries present particular challenges to reuse. Education, research, physical activities and civilian housing now occupy former defence buildings, while fields of fire, military lines and bastions offer welcome public open space.

As Portsmouth Harbour contains in microcosm both the challenges and varied examples of reuse of historic defence sites, the book ends with a research agenda for further dissemination of experience and good practice to other post-defence communities in different parts of the world.

This book is for people who enjoy living or working in or visiting the many historic defence sites around the harbour who wish to find out more about their history and how they came to be preserved and new uses found for them. Specialist interest groups who will find it useful include geographers, planners and other built environment professionals working on sustainable conversion and adaptation of these complex structures, local authorities responding to defence site disposals, people with interests in local and post-defence history - and those who remember what happened, as well as the participants in the transformation process at the time.


Poems, paintings and photos on Lockdown in Southsea.  40 page booklet £6 + £1 postage.

 What can one do with a historic dockyard?”  Sir Neil Cossons, Director of the Science Museum and chair of the Heritage Education Group at the Civic Trust set Celia Clark this challenge in the 1980s.  Her wide-ranging research since then has been attempts at answers, based on complex regeneration experience, both in Portsmouth and around the world.  

Portsmouth Harbour contains a microcosm of all the challenges thrown up by finding new life for historic defence sites: the dockyard, Priddy’s Hard, Haslar Hospital, Cambridge, Eastney and St. George Barracks, Horsea Island, Forts Widley, Purbrook, Nelson, Spitbank, NoMansland, Horse Sands… so Celia Clark and Martin Marks are writing a book about what’s happened to them in the last fifty years.  A small section of Portsmouth dockyard within the active naval base was leased by the MOD to Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust.  This lecture explores what has happened there since the 1970s.

Sustainable Regeneration of Former Military Sties is the first book to analyse the search for sustainable futures for property formerly dedicated to national defence.  Arsenals, airforce and naval bases, military towns and defence lines in the US, China, Europe and the UK are finding new life, but the transition from military to civilian life from these contaminated, isolated, heritage laden and often contested sites in locations ranging from urban to remote is far from easy.  With twelve case studies drawn from different countries, many written by those involved, this book enables the diverse stakeholders in these projects to discover unique opportunities for reuse and learn from others' experience of successful regeneration. 

1. Framing military brownfields as a catalyst for urban regeneration - Samer Bagaeen
 2. From Crown to commons? A UK perspective –
Julian Dobson
 3. Democracy, military bases, and marshmallows - Connor Ryan
 4. Make art not war: Defence sites find new life as centres of creativity - Celia Clark
 5. A parable: The emergence of ruderal ‘communities’ on former military bases in the UK - Fen B. Kipley
 6. Communities old and new: Military brownfields
 and the Aldershot Urban Extension - Robert Adam
 7. Twelve miles, eighteen years, and worlds apart:
The cases of the Philadelphia Navy Yard and the Frankford Arsenal - Christopher A. Preble
 8. Military sites conserva1on and regenera1on in Taiwan - Yi-Jen Tseng
9. Military brownfields in the Netherlands: The revitaliza1ons of the New Dutch Waterline (1980-2014) - Gerdy A. Verschuure-Stuip
10. The Regenera1on of disused military airfields in
China - Tang Yan and Yang Dong
11. Redeveloping Naval Air Sta1on Brunswick: From a navy base to a great new place! - Steven Levesque
12. The Brooklyn Navy Yard revived: A defense conversion case study in the United States - Christopher A. Preble and Celia Clark
13. Conclusion: Diversity in the transforma1on of defense sites to new civilian life - Celia Clark

This pioneering book was launched on 22 June 2016 on Governors' Island, New York's key new park created on a military and coast guard base. 'Three of the authors were present...'

Dr. Celia Clark is an expert on the transition of former defence sites to civilian uses and was editor of the publication in the image

She initiated a series of conferences organised by the Wessex Institute of Technology: Defence Sites: Heritage and Future held in Portsmouth in 2012, Venice Arsenale in 2014, Alicante in 2016.
She is a committee member of the international Naval Dockyards Society.

Celia Clark lives in Portsmouth and was a founder member of the
Portsmouth Society , a voluntary group which campaigns to preserve the best of the city's environment: buildings, streets, open spaces, harbour and seashore and to encourage design excellence in new buildings and urban spaces.

Her dissertation for the MSc. Historic Conservation at Oxford Brookes University in 1994 explored The Future of Dockyard Heritage: Conservation, Community and Economic Aspects of the Transition of Naval and Military Sites to Civilian use in four former dockyard towns: Chatham, Portsmouth, Plymouth and Venezia.  Her PhD thesis at the University of Portsmouth in 2002 examined 'White Holes: decision-making in disposal of Ministry of Defence heritage sites’.  Her report  ‘Vintage Ports or Deserted Dockyards: differing futures for naval heritage across Europe’ was published by the University of the West of England in 2000.  In 2006 she led the bid to inscribe Portsmouth Harbour, the Isle of Wight and Spithead on the World Heritage list - currently in abeyance.