Gosport is a town and district in Hampshire with around 79,000 resident inhabitants (including Lee-on-the-Solent), with a further 5-10,000 during the summer months, situated on the south coast of England. Part of the South Hampshire conurbation, it lies on a peninsula on the western side of Portsmouth Harbour opposite the city of Portsmouth, to which it is linked by a pedestrian ferry.

Until the last quarter of the 20th century it was a major naval and military centre associated with the defence and supply infrastructure of Portsmouth Harbour. With the decline of these activities, many of its fortifications and installations, such as Fort Blockhouse and Palmerston Forts like Fort Brockhurst, have been opened to the public as tourism and heritage sites, with extensive redevelopment of the harbour area as a marina. Stokes Bay and the Solent are popular areas for yachting. Other tourism sites in Gosport include the Royal Navy Submarine Museum based just outside of Fort Blockhouse, the Explosion! exhibition, the Gosport museum and Little Woodham. The Oakleaf Brewery is based in Gosport. The DARA site at Fleetlands remains,but has controversially been sold to Vector Aerospace (along with its counterpart at Almondbank).


The Rowner area of the peninsula was known to have been settled in Saxon times, mentioned in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles as Rughenor (Rough bank or slope). [ [http://www.hants.gov.uk/hampshiretreasures/vol12/page001.html Hampshire Treasures - Alverstoke and Rowner] Hantsweb] Both Rowner and Alverstoke (a village now within the boundaries of Gosport), the name coming from the original point where the River Alver entered the Solent at Stokes Bay, were included in the Domesday Book. [ [http://www.hants.gov.uk/hampshiretreasures/vol12/page007.html Hampshire Treasures - Anglesey] Hantsweb] ] Settlements in the wider region date back much earlier. [ [http://www.hants.gov.uk/hampshiretreasures/vol10/page005.html Hampshire Treasures - Fareham] Hantsweb] ] Rowner is recorded as being the earliest settlement of the peninsula with many Mesolithic finds and a hunting camp (presently sealed under the reclamation site) being found, tumulii are located on the peninsula (all investigated). Bronze Age items found during a 1960's construction in HMS Sultan included a hoard of axe heads and torcs (presently stored by Portsmouth museum services). A 3 celled dwelling unearthed during construction of the Rowner Estate in the 1970s points to a settled landscape. Adjacent to the River Alver which passes the southern and western edges of Rowner can be found a Norman motte and bailey, the first fortification of the peninsula, giving a high vantage point of the Solent, Stokes Bay, Lee-on-the-Solent and the Isle of Wight. The Rowner estate and HMS Sultan are situated upon the former Naval air station, first known as RAF Gosport and later as HMS Siskin and gives its name to the local infant and junior schools. The barracks at Browndown (Stokes Bay) were used in the first series of Bad Lads Army.

The borough's name - an early name was "Goseport" - is believed to derive from "goose". An alternative etymology "gorse" (from the bushes growing on local heathland) is not supported by the regional name for the plant, "furze". A third, found in the "Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales" and used in the town's motto, "God's Port Our Haven", claims a derivation from "God's Port", King Stephen's thanks in 1144 for safe landing in a storm. This, however, is a 19th century invention. [ [http://www3.hants.gov.uk/gosport-dc/gosport-dc-local-studies/local-history-online/place-names-of-gosport.htm The Place Names of Gosport] , Philip Eley, Local studies online, Hantsweb]

Royal Hospital Haslar, formally the last military hospital of the U.K. was closed as a military site in March 2007. Opened in 1753, serving military personnel and their families, later to also serve the community of Gosport. The hospital will now be used by the N.H.S. until the completion of the ongoing redevelopment of Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, Portsmouth at which time the site will be closed. Within the grounds, situated next to Haslar wall on the Solent can be found graves of Turkish prisoners of war in tranquil settings overlooking the busy waterways between the mainland and the Isle of Wight. These graves have led to the disparaging nickname of Gosport (especially by those living in Portsmouth) as "Turktown".



Gosport is an eclectic area with many business sectors, light manufacturing, marine and retail being the most prominent. The primary business organisation in the Borough is the Gosport Business Initiative.

Gosport Borough Council in conjunction with local schools, St Vincent College, University of Portsmouth and business support organisations such as South Hants Enterprise Agency and Business Link, have set up [http://www.impact-gosport.co.uk Impact] with the help of funding from SEEDA (South East England Development Agency). Impact is designed to engage with businesses that either do not normally access mainstream business support or have issues within their organisation that need addressing. The project provides assistance to overcome these potential barriers to success by brokering in the most appropriate specialist support, and therefore release the company to grow.


Gosport is sometimes claimed to be the largest town in Britain without an operational railway station [ [http://www.hants.gov.uk/press/2004/pr1660.html Revised tram scheme bid submitted to Government] Hantsweb] though definitions differ (see List of British towns with no railway station for Corby and others) and the Gosport Ferry provides quick access to Portsmouth Harbour railway station, terminus of the Portsmouth Direct Line to London. Ironically, Gosport received its railway before Portsmouth, but it closed to passengers in 1953.

In 1841 a railway opened between the London and Southampton Railway at Eastleigh via Fareham to Gosport, where a terminus was built to an Italianate design of Sir William Tite. Gosport railway station was intended to serve Portsmouth across the water, but was sited at Gosport away from the harbour because the railway company was not permitted to breach either the Hilsea Lines, defences at the northern end of Portsea Island protecting Portsmouth, or the Gosport Lines protecting depots such as Royal Clarence Yard.

An extension to Royal Clarence Yard was opened in 1846, and branch lines to Stokes Bay (open from 1863 to 1915); and to Lee-on-the-Solent (open to passengers 1894 to 1931). Due to declining traffic, the connection to Fareham was closed for passenger services in 1953 and to freight traffic in 1969, although trains to the armament depot in Frater ran until the late 1970s.

The trackbed of the former Gosport–Fareham railway is now a pedestrian walkway and cycle track. Tite's station building has been retained for its historical and architectural value but is presently inaccessible and in poor condition. Proposals now exist to convert the platforms and buildings into a small number of residential properties and offices with the main gate in Spring Garden Lane opened up for vehicle access. A development of six terraced homes is also proposed for the North Western end of the site linking with George Street.

Being a peninsula town without a railway system Gosport relies heavily upon the major A32 road in and out of the town. In the 1970s there were plans to widen the road to accommodate expected increases in traffic flow but this did not take place. In the early 1990s a computerised system controlling traffic lights along the route was installed to improve the rate of flow of traffic but this failed to work and had to be switched off since it could not cope with the traffic volumes. Now, in the 21st century, the A32 is much the same as it was thirty years ago and the traffic using it has increased to such an extent that the journey time to the nearby M27, about 5 miles, can routinely take anything up to 45 minutes and sometimes longer at peak times.

The station site was linked with the South Hampshire Rapid Transit scheme, which would have made use of the former railway route, however due to Government refusal to fund the scheme it was formally abandoned in November 2006. [ [http://www.hants.gov.uk/press/2006/pr3190.html Tram scheme to be formally abandoned] Hantsweb]

Present day

Not only has Gosport got the lowest house prices in Hampshire but according to the BBC the only other area in the south east of England with lower property prices is Luton. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/spl/hi/in_depth/uk_house_prices/regions/html/region9.stm UK House Prices] BBC Online - Thursday, 21 February 2008, 09:30 GMT.]

Many people who live in Gosport use it as a dormitory town. According to Gosport Borough Council, the number of people commuting out of the town each day in 2001 was 18,200 compared to 7,600 people commuting in. In addition the number commuting out is increasing at a faster rate than that coming in. [ [http://www.gosport.gov.uk/files/localplan/chapter6.pdf Gosport Borough Local Plan Review - May 2006.] ] As part of the "Renaissance of Portsmouth Harbour" Millennium project, a large sundial, known as the Millennium Timespace, was installed on the harbour front in 2000. [ [http://www.millennium.gov.uk/cgi-bin/item.cgi?id=1159&d=11&h=24&f=46&dateformat=%25o-%25B-%25Y New Lottery Funded "millennium Timespace" Sundial Unveiled] Millennium Commmision.] Its timekeeping is partially restricted each day by shadowing caused by large tower blocks either side of the "timespace". [ [http://archive.thisishampshire.net/2001/1/22/79559.html Tower blocks put sundial in shade] This is Hampshire - 22 January 2001.] The International Festival Of The Sea drew over 250,000 tourists to the Portsmouth Harbour area in 1998, 2001 and 2005. [ [http://www.festivalofthesea.co.uk/ Four Amazing Days in Summer] The International Festival of the Sea 2005.] The most recent festival took place in 2007.


Gosport has 10 each of infants and junior schools, 7 primary schools, 3 secondary schools and a sixth form college. [ [http://www.hants.gov.uk/education/schools/schools.php?type=area2 Hampshire Area 2 Schools] Hantsweb] The secondary schools include Bay House School which is a former grammar school, located near the coast, in Stanley Park. Bay House School also includes a sixth-form. Currently there are 2100 pupils and 370 sixth-form students enrolled (correct as of September 2008). It was within the top 200 state schools in the country, as judged by the The Times.Fact|date=September 2007 Gosport is also home to Bridgemary Community Sports College, located in Bridgemary. It used to be a failing school but in recent years the introduction of new teaching techniques have turned the school's fortunes around. Bridgemary is also the only school in the UK to have adopted a "vertical learning" curriculum, where children are put in classes based on ability, not age. Bridgemary will also be starting a 24/7 timetable and a virtual learning window in the near future. Brune Park Community College is also situated in Gosport. Brockhurst Junior School and the associated Infants School in Avery Lane are thriving examples of schools that are excelling in their fields.


The town of Gosport has many sports clubs and organisations including Boxing, judo, angling, rugby, cricket, football and hockey.

Gosport Borough F.C. [http://www.gosportboroughfc.co.uk] play their home games at Privett Park and cater for players of either sex from age six upwards. The club play in the Southern Football League Division One South & West and represent the town at a national level in the FA Cup and FA Trophy. RMLI Gosport F.C. were a former team to represent the town winning the 1910 FA Amateur Cup.

Gosport and Fareham Rugby Football Club [http://www.gosportandfarehamrfc.co.uk] has 6 senior sides, a Ladies team, 10 youth sides and a number of girls' teams in development.

Gosport Borough Hockey Club [http://www.gbhc.org.uk/] Gives young people the opportunity to take part in and enjoy the sport of hockey. Gosport has 3 Mens teams, a Ladies team and Junior teams, home games are played at St Vincent college.


The Gosport peninsula has 17 miles (27km) of waterfront on Portsmouth Harbour and The Solent and is a maritime playground for all. The pebble beach at Stokes Bay slopes steeply into the sea and offers fine views of the shipping going in and out of Portsmouth and Southampton and the many pleasure craft from the many marinas along The Solent and the Isle of Wight.

The town also has a strong military history - notably with the Royal Navy. The Royal Navy Submarine Museum is home to the world's first submarine (Holland 1) and HMS Alliance - a World War Two submarine one can explore.

Explosion! tells the story of naval firepower from gunpowder to modern missiles. This modern, interactive museum is housed in historic buildings at Priddy's Hard, the Navy's former armaments depot, with views across Portsmouth Harbour.

Fort Brockhurst is one of the "Palmerston's Follies", built in the 1850s to defend Portsmouth Harbour against threats of a French invasion. A central exhibition explains Palmerston's plans to defend the key naval port. Nearby is the Gosport Aviation Heritage Museum, dedicated to the development of the Royal Air Force. The fort is owned by English Heritage.

Gosport is also home to Little Woodham, aka "The 1642 Living History Village". The village exists to educate both children and adults about 17th century life at the outbreak of the English Civil War and is open for the public to meet the villagers at certain times throughout the year.

Twin Town

*Flagicon|FRA Royan in France

Famous connections

*James Alms, naval officer, born here"Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, 2004]
*Roger Black - Olympic Silver Medal winner, brought up in Gosport [ [http://www.southwesttrains.co.uk/SWTrains/Emotion/CelebrityInterview/RogerBlackP1.htm Roger Black, Mr Motivator] , South West Trains e-motion magazine]
*Henry Cort, the Industrial Revolution iron founder - based in Gosport.
*Richard Dawson - actor & TV Host, born in Gosport. Married Diana Dors.
*Spike Edney - musician who frequently toured with stadium-rock band Queen, and subsequently played with Roger Taylor's band The Cross at a couple of Gosport Festivals in the early 1990s.Fact|date=September 2007
*Nat Gonella - jazz trumpeter and bandleader, lived in Gosport from 1977
*The Rev. James Hackman, a native of Gosport, was hanged in 1779 for the murder of Martha Ray, mistress of the Earl of Sandwich. [Rawlings, Philip, "Hackman, James (bap. 1752, d. 1779)", in "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography" (Oxford University Press, 2004) and online at " [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/11842 Hackman, James] " (subscription required), accessed 16 March 2008]
*Edward Hargraves, gold prospector, born here
*Mike Hugg - co-founder of Manfred Mann, born in Andover, was brought up in Gosport. His family founded the well-known Hug Jewellers in Gosport High Street. [ [http://www.gosport.info/People_of_Gosport/Famous_People/Famous_People_2/famous_people_2.html Famous People of Gosport] ]
*Joe Jackson the musician born David Ian Jackson on August 11, 1954 in Burton-upon-Trent, Staffordshire, England, best known for the song "Is She Really Going Out With Him?" grew up in Portsmouth and Gosport. ["A Cure for Gravity", autobiography, Joe Jackson, Da Capo Press, 2000]
*Alexander Bryan Johnson - philosopher, born in Gosport. [ [http://www.bartleby.net/65/jo/JohnsonAB.html Johnson, Alexander Bryan] , "The Columbia Encyclopedia", Sixth Edition. 2001-05.]
*Jessie White Mario, advocate of Italian unity, born here
*Joseph Ellison Portlock, surveyor, soldier and geologist, born here
*Sir Stuart Alan Ransom Rose, the Chief Executive of the British retailer Marks & Spencer, born here
*Martin Snape, artist [* [http://web.archive.org/web/20060128111021/http://www.discoverycentres.co.uk/gosport/localstudies/snape.html Martin Snape 1853-1930] , Gosport Discovery Centre, 27 January 2006 (Internet Archive)]
*Cyril Tawney, the singer-songwriter, was born here. [Cyril Tawney - Obituary, "The Times", April 29, 2005]
*Arthur Upfield - author (creator of the Australian detective "Bony") - born in Gosport
*Bishop Samuel Wilberforce, liberal Victorian clergyman, was made Rector of Alverstoke in 1840.


*In the BBC radio series the Navy Lark (set on a ship based at HMNB Portsmouth), one of the catchphrases was 'You carry on on that course, and you'll be doing 50 knots up Gosport high street!'
*The first series of TV show Bad Lads Army was filmed at Browndown Training centre, between Gosport and neighbouring Lee-on-the-Solent.
*A Gosport Tube was a voice tube used by flight instructors in the early days of military aviation to give instructions and directions to their students. It was invented by flying instructor Robert Raymond Smith-Barry at the School of Special Flying he opened at Gosport in 1917. [Vincent Orange, "Barry, Robert Raymond Smith- (1886–1949)", "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", Oxford University Press, 2004 [http://www.oxforddnb.com/view/article/72242 accessed 12 September 2007] ]
*A portion of one Taggart episode was shot in Ann's Hill Cemetery in the early 1990s.
*Several scenes in the 1955 film, Cockleshell Heroes, were shot on the streets and beaches of Gosport.


* [http://www.gosport.info/History/Gosport_Railway_History/gosport_railway_history.html Gosport Railway History] by Peter Keat, Gosport Railway Society
* [http://estatespractice.hants.gov.uk/GosportRaillwayStationDevelopmentBrief.pdf Gosport Railway Station Development Brief]
* [http://www.qaranc.co.uk/haslarroyalnavalhospital.php History of Gosport Haslar Hospital]
* [http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=50986#s1 A Topographical Dictionary of England - 1848]

External links

* [http://www.gosport.gov.uk Gosport Borough Council]
* [http://www.gosportboroughfc.co.uk Gosport Borough Football Club] official website
* [http://www.gosportandfarehamrfc.co.uk Gosport & Fareham Rugby Football Club] official website
* [http://www.gbhc.org.uk/ Gosport Borough Hockey Club website]
* [http://www.gosportroadrunners.org.uk/ Gosport Road Runners club website]

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  • Gosport, IN — U.S. town in Indiana Population (2000): 715 Housing Units (2000): 301 Land area (2000): 0.382632 sq. miles (0.991013 sq. km) Water area (2000): 0.000000 sq. miles (0.000000 sq. km) Total area (2000): 0.382632 sq. miles (0.991013 sq. km) FIPS code …   StarDict's U.S. Gazetteer Places

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