The Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, which is open to the public and is located within HM Naval Base Portsmouth, is home to a number of historic structures as well as ships. The Mary Rose Trust, the National Museum of the Royal Navy at Portsmouth, and the Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust are all managed by the same organisation, which is the National Museum of the Royal Navy.
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In 1194, King Richard I of England granted the city of Portsmouth its first Royal Charter and instructed the construction of a dockyard at the same time. Three hundred years later, in response to a directive from King Henry VII, the first dry dock in the world was constructed in the city of Portsmouth in England. This event marked a significant turning point in the evolution of the navy.
In the year 1497, a warship known as the Sweepstake was built on this site, and in the year 1509, a carrack known as the Mary Rose was built. Ships from Portsmouth were instrumental in the overall effort that was successful in 1588 in defeating the Spanish Armada.
The growing military danger posed by France to England led to an increase in the importance of Portsmouth as a strategic location. In the year 1689, Parliament issued an order for the construction of a new dry dock in the region, and it was intended to be able to accommodate both first- and second-rate ships of the line (which were too big for the existing docks).
In spite of the many wars that were common during the Age of Revolution, Portsmouth's dockyard experienced a period of prosperity between the years 1750 and 1860. During this time period, many buildings, such as residences, storage sheds, and the rope house, were constructed at the dockyard. In the year 1802, a factory known as the block mills opened its doors with the purpose of mass-producing ship pulley blocks. Isambard Kingdom Brunel's father, Marc Brunel, was the inventor of the technique that is used in the block mills.
At the turn of the 19th century, the Royal Navy possessed a total of 684 ships, and its Dockyard was the largest industrial complex in the whole wide world. Admiral Horatio Nelson took a tour of the recently opened block mills in 1805, right before he embarked on his final voyage from Portsmouth aboard the HMS Victory and left Britain for ever.
Since that time, Portsmouth has continued to serve as an important naval port for the United Kingdom. Throughout both World Wars, the naval installation served as the nerve centre of Britain's naval defence against invasion from foreign countries. The site was used as the principal staging point for the military and naval personnel that were heading to Sword Beach on the Normandy coast as part of Operation Overlord and the D-Day landings on June 6, 1944. Sword Beach is located on the Normandy coast.
During World War II, the city of Portsmouth served as the home port for the Royal Navy, making it a major target for bombardment. In 1984, the Royal Dockyard changed its name to the Naval Base it is known as today. Previously, it had been known as the Royal Dockyard. It is possible to gain a comprehensive understanding of the history of the British navy as well as its current activities by visiting the Royal Navy Museum, which is located at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, which is still in use today as a naval base.