‘Tower’s platform views show the naval presence across Portsmouth’

September 2, 2020

SEEING DOUBLE: These are the two aircraft carriers moored up in Portsmouth Harbour, the HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. They have been sitting there since November. Currently they don’t have fighter jets on board but the Queen Elizabeth went to the US for a three-month deployment to test out its F-35B Lightning jets.

NAVAL PRESENCE: Gosport on the West side of Portsmouth Harbour is home to HMS Sultan, a naval armament supply facility and a helicopter repair base and has as a regular ferry service every 15 minutes between itself and Portsmouth.

BOOKING ESSENTIAL: The HMS Victory can now be visited again with the re-opening of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard but all visits have to be booked on-line.

OUTSIDE VIEW: This is a ground level of the Spinnaker Tower up towards the sky. It is highest, it is 170 metres high.

A TOWER constructed to celebrate the Millennium has been become Portsmouth’s most recognizable landmark.

The Emirates Spinnaker Tower was part of a project to celebrate the Millennium in 2000 but political, logistical, constructural and contractural problems delayed its emergence until 2005, and now has been successfully taking visitors to see the panoramic views of the Harbour since then.

The tower was one of three design proposals put to the city’s residents and the tower was chosen over two others called the Globe and the Triple Tower.

The concrete used to build the tower would fill five and a half Olympic-size swimming pools and the tower is founded on 84 piles, the longest that runs 50m into the ground – the equivalent of Nelson’s Column.

Due to Covid restrictions and the absorption of queues the waiting was cumbersome, but the internal lift used travels at four metres per second and gets to the View Decks in 30 seconds.

The total weight of the tower is in excess of 30,000 tonnes and its 27 metre spire weighing 14 tonnes was carefully put into place via crane.

It consists of 1,200 tonnes of structural steel to form the tower’s distinctive bows and is the equivalent of 12 blue whales. It is 115 metres tall and in high winds, the tower can “flex” approximately 150mm. There are 560 steps from the base up to View Deck 3, the Sky Deck.

When you reach the platform and which was my first visit there, you have a panoramic view from there of up to 23 miles away on a clear day.

The tower overlooks the city’s harbour, Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, all of Portsmouth and its surrounding towns and suburbs, particularly Gosport, which runs a daily ferry service across the harbour.

Gosport is on the peninsula of the west side of the harbour and is a major naval town linked to Her Majesty’s Naval Base Portsmouth. It is home to HMS Sultan, a naval armament supply facility and a helicopter repair base.

The UK’s two aircraft carriers, The Queen Elizabeth and its sister ship, The Prince of Wales, have been moored in the harbour since December of last year and are waiting to be deployed. Both flight decks have no aircraft on them right now.

From the platform can be seen the HMS Victory, the Royal Navy’s most famous warship that was used in the Battle of Trafalgar.

HMS Victory has a dual role as the Flagship of the First Sea Lord and as a living museum to the Georgian Navy.

The attraction has been under lockdown since the pandemic took hold but as from last week, the historic dockyard re-opened but it can only visited through booking on-line.

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