|This article needs additional citations for verification. (July 2008)|
Eastney started out as a small hamlet. In 1863-5 a barracks for the Royal Marines was built in the hamlet. The small hamlet and surrounding farmland were developed and absorbed into Portsmouth in the period 1890-1905, with a network of streets built to house Marines and their families which spread west from the barracks site. The streets were mostly named after famous military and naval engagements in which the Royal Marines had taken part. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there was and still remains a concentration of pubs in the area, two actually opposite the former barracks gate, one named the Royal Marines Artillery Tavern (since removed the "s" from its name). Other pubs in the area include the music venue "The Cellars At Eastney", The Eastney Tavern, The Sirloin of Beef, The Alma Arms and The Three Marines.
Due to the heavy bombing suffered by Portsmouth during the Second World War many displaced people found refuge along the north shore of Eastney Lake, living in makeshift houseboats, converted railway carriages and fisherman huts. Many of these homes lacked the basic amenities of electricity and plumbed water supplies. The community survived into the mid and late 1960s when the City Council finally began to relocate families to its newly built housing estates in Leigh Park and Paulsgrove.
Barracks and fortifications
The barracks, designed by William Scamp (assistant director, Admiralty Works Department), were built as headquarters for the Royal Marine Artillery, who moved in in 1867. After the amalgamation of the Royal Marine Light Infantry and RM Artillery in 1927, Eastney served as headquarters for the Portsmouth Division of the Corps (which also maintained a Depot at Deal in Kent). The series of seven linked blocks facing the sea forms the second longest barracks frontage in the country (after the Royal Artillery Barracks, Woolwich).
At the same time as the barracks, a pair of small artillery forts were built on the foreshore. Eastney Fort East is still extant (having remained in military use until 1989); Eastney Fort West has been converted into a walled garden.
The barracks still stand, having been sold by the MOD in 1995 and converted into private dwellings. The ensemble has been called 'the best and most complete barracks of the post-Crimean War period'. One building (the former officers' mess) was retained and currently houses the Royal Marines Museum (based at Eastney since 1958, but due to move to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in 2017). The area is also home to Eastney Beam Engine House,as well as a council swimming pool, a camping and caravan site, and an estate of homes occupied my personnel of the UK Armed Forces and their families.
Eastney is also home to an unofficial Naturist Beach, which may be under threat from property development.
- List of commandants, RM Museum
- Listed building description
- local guide
- news article
- Eastney Beach website - http://www.eastneybeach.org.uk
|This Hampshire location article is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.|