7 inventions from Portsmouth and Hampshire that changed the world

Many of these innovations are either still in use today or have changed the world as we know it.

The course of some of the most important historical events has been altered from ideas that have arisen in and around Portsmouth.

We have selected seven of the most remarkable inventions. How many do you already know?

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February 17, 1906: The world’s most powerful battleship, HMS ‘Dreadnought’ when launched by the King at Portsmouth. (Photo by Hulton Archive / Getty Images)

Dry dock

The world’s first dry dock was built in Portsmouth in 1495.

Sir Reginald Bray, treasurer and chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – and architect – designed the quay on the orders of King Henry VII.

Saunders Roe SRN-1 hovercraft on display at Cowes, Isle of Wight. (Photo by George Hales / Getty Images)

The wharf was used to house ships and had an area to rebuild and dismantle them, as creating wooden ships from old parts was common practice.

Its first use took place a year after its construction, with the pride of the fleet of kings – the Sovereign – entering the quay on May 25, 1496.

The dry dock employed hundreds of men at different times, and its revolutionary design became the model for how shipyards were laid out and became the hotbed of new developments in shipbuilding.

Pulley block machines

Pulley Block Machinery was invented and first used in the Portsmouth Shipyard in 1805 to make wooden blocks for the navy.

The patents were designed by Marc Isambard Brunel, a French engineer and Royalist sympathizer who fled to the UK in 1799 via American, to save his life after the French Revolution.

Pulley Block Machinery was one of the first major examples of machine tools used for mass production in Britain.

The steam network allowed ten workers to do the same work as 111 artisans, and it is estimated that the Navy used 100,000 of these blocks each year for shipbuilding.

This innovation laid the foundation for the developments of mass production during the industrial revolution, as well as modern factory production lines.

HMS Dreadnought

Launched from Portsmouth Shipyard in 1906 by King Edward VII, HMS Dreadnought would become one of the most destructive and impactful warships in British history.

It was built in just four months and its design was attributed to Admiral Sir John Fisher.

It was the first large-gun battleship ever created, carrying ten 12-inch guns that supposedly weighed as much as a small car, which could fire HE shells over 4 feet high.

Former Royal Navy chief Admiral Lord West described the ship at the time as “the most devastating weapon of war, the most powerful thing in the world.”

The revolutionary firepower of the Dreadnought directly won World War I, as Britain won the “naval arms race” that followed the creation of the ships.

The original HMS was sold for scrap in the 1920s, but its legacy and legacy lives on to this day.

‘Gosport Talking Tube’

One of the most influential inventions in communication was created in Gosport on Grange airfield in 1917.

Flight instructor Robert Smith-Barry was baffled by the poor teaching methods of trainee pilots, with previous inventions such as the “audiophone” being so primitive that cadets could not hear their instructors over the engine.

The innovative “Gosport” variant consisted of a thicker rubber tube with a slot in one end that attached to metal tubes mounted in the cadet helmet.

A rubber mouthpiece was installed on the instructors side as well, and the whole system was routed to the instructors side through the aircraft dashboard, and it worked.

It was the first time that the two crew members could communicate directly in the air, and after the first successful test on June 20, 1917 on the Solent, the equipment was used by air forces around the world until 1950s.

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Mulberry Ports

Portable harbors dubbed ‘Mulberries’ were designed at Portsmouth and Southampton shipyards in 1944 and played a vital role in the D-Day landings.

Two Mulberry ports, both the size of Dover, were built as part of Operation Overlord so that one of the largest invasions in history could be launched.

The two ports consisted of 73 concrete blocks, each weighing between 1,500 and 7,000 tonnes.

When brought together, they created the harbors, breakwaters and pontoons needed for ships to be moored so their cargo could be unloaded.

The invasion began on June 6 and the ports allowed hundreds of thousands of soldiers and millions of tons of supplies to land on the beaches of Normandy.

Subsequently, Allied forces turned the tide of World War II.

Spitfire Supermarine

The famous fighter plane that defeated the German Luftwaffe in WWII was developed at Woolston, Southampton, in 1934.

Designed by inventor Reginald Mitchell, the single-seat combat post was an integral part of the Battle of Britain victory in 1940-1941.

The mobility and speed of the aircraft was due to its Merlin engine, which produced the 1,030 horsepower needed to destroy many German equivalents.

They were also used in important ways as a photo reconnaissance aircraft, as the performance of aircraft at high altitudes made them almost insensitive to detection.

The information from these flights was crucial for future bombings and attacks on strategic Nazi positions.

Hovercraft SR.N1

The designs of the modern hovercraft were created by Christopher Cockerell in the 1950s.

Under the direction of the natives of the Isle of Wight, the Saunders Roe Nautical 1 (SR.N1) crossed the Channel on July 25, 1959.

He received a knight’s title for his achievement ten years later.

Although the four-ton craft could only carry a crew of three, the design was the ancestor of air-cushion transport vehicles.

Hovercraft carried passengers across the Channel from Dover to Calais until 2000 and are still used to transport people to the Isle of Wight.

The original SR.N1 is on display at the Hovercraft Museum in Lee-on-the-Solent.

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron

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