Buckler's Hard is a hamlet situated on the banks of the Beaulieu River in the English county of Hampshire. With its Georgian cottages running down to the river, Buckler's Hard is part of the 9,000 acres (36 km2) Beaulieu Estate. The hamlet is located some 2 1⁄2 miles (4.0 km) south of the village of Beaulieu (where the 2011 Census population was included).
The hamlet, originally called Montagu Town, was built by the second Duke of Montagu, and was intended to be a free port for trade with the West Indies. Its geography also favoured the development of shipbuilding, as the hamlet possessed access to a sheltered but navigable waterway with gravel banks capable of supporting slipways for vessel construction and launch. Timber for hulls was also readily available from the New Forest adjacent to the hamlet.
Shipbuilding at Buckler's Hard commenced in the early eighteenth century, and grew to national prominence with the arrival of Henry Adams, the former Master Shipwright from Deptford Dockyard, in 1744. Adams set up a private shipyard adjoining the hamlet, and promptly won a series of Royal Navy contracts for vessel construction. Over the following sixty years he would supervise the building of 43 Royal Navy ships at Buckler's Hard, including HMS Euryalus, HMS Swiftsure and HMS Agamemnon, all of which fought at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
The shipbuilding industry declined in the nineteenth century. During World War II, the village was used to build motor torpedo boats and the river was a base for hundreds of landing craft for the Normandy invasion, Operation Overlord. Today the hamlet is given over to tourism, with a small maritime museum, and a modern yachting marina. Buckler's Hard was where Sir Francis Chichester began and finished his single-handed voyage around the world in Gipsy Moth IV.
- Marcus, G. J. (1975). Heart of Oak: A Survey of British Sea Power in the Georgian Era. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0192158120.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Buckler's Hard.|