Southwick House

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Southwick House
Southwick House showing the colonnade
Southwick House is located in Hampshire
Southwick House
General information
Architectural styleGeorgian style
Town or cityHampshire
Coordinates50°52′29″N 1°06′07″W / 50.8748°N 1.1019°W / 50.8748; -1.1019Coordinates: 50°52′29″N 1°06′07″W / 50.8748°N 1.1019°W / 50.8748; -1.1019
Technical details
Floor count3
Listed Building – Grade II
Official nameHMS Dryad (Southwick House)
Designated24 September 1987
Reference no.1096247

Southwick House is a Grade II listed 19th-century manor house of the Southwick Estate in Hampshire, England, about 5 miles (8 km) north of Portsmouth. It is home to the Defence School of Policing and Guarding, and related military police capabilities.


Early history[edit]

The house was built in 1800 in the late Georgian style, to replace Southwick Park house. The three-storey house is distinct for its two-storey foyer lit from a cupola, and a series of elliptical rooms. A semi-circular portico is centered on the house's colonnade of paired Ionic columns.[1]

World War II[edit]

The house became important during World War II. In 1940, the estate owners allowed the Royal Navy to use the house to accommodate overnight pupils of the Royal Navy School of Navigation, HMS Dryad, which was based in Portsmouth Naval Dockyard. In 1941, after heavy bombing of the dockyard, the house was requisitioned and became the new home of HMS Dryad.[2]

In 1943, with the planning for D-Day already underway, the house was chosen to be the location of the advance or forward command post (Sharpener Camp) of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. Because of this, HMS Dryad was moved out of the house onto further land requisitioned from the estate.[2]

D-day preparation[edit]

D-Day map in map room, 2019, with markers for positions of forces at the 6 June 1944 landings
Drawing showing map room in operation, 1944

In 1944, in the months leading up to D-Day, the house became the headquarters of the main allied commanders, including Allied Supreme Commander General Eisenhower, Naval Commander-in-Chief Admiral Ramsay and Army Commander-in-Chief General Montgomery.[3]

The large wall maps that were used on D-Day are still in place in the house in the main map room.[4]

Area of the map showing D-day departure routes from the south coast of England; Isle of Wight in centre
Area of the map showing arrival routes at the Normandy beaches around Arromanches
Former US president Eisenhower (right) re-visited the map room in 1963, and was interviewed by Walter Cronkite

After HMS Dryad[edit]

In 2004 the functions of HMS Dryad were transferred to HMS Collingwood in Fareham and the site reverted to its original name of Southwick Park.[5]

Since 2005 it has been home to the tri-Service Defence School of Policing and Guarding (formerly the Defence College of Policing and Guarding).[6]

Military site closure[edit]

In November 2016 the Ministry of Defence announced that the site would close in 2025.[7] This was later extended to 2031.[8]


In 1987, the house was recorded as Grade II listed on the National Heritage List for England.[9] The following year, the detached clock tower – a three-stage Italianate structure with a slate roof – was also Grade II listed.[1]


  1. ^ a b Historic England (19 May 1988). "Clock Tower at HMS Dryad (Southwick House) (Grade II) (1096185)". National Heritage List for England.
  2. ^ a b "H.M.S. "Dryad"". Hansard. 14 May 1962. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  3. ^ Beevor, p. 1.
  4. ^ "Wall Map". Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  5. ^ "Maritime Warfare School". Royal Navy. Retrieved 9 July 2016.
  6. ^ "Family fights homes plan for Southwick Park estate". BBC. 13 September 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2019.
  7. ^ "A Better Defence Estate" (PDF). Ministry of Defence. November 2016. p. 23. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  8. ^ "MOD Confirms Changes To Base Closure Plans". Forces News. 19 November 2020. Retrieved 27 November 2020.
  9. ^ Historic England (24 September 1987). "HMS Dryad (Southwick House) (Grade II) (1096247)". National Heritage List for England.


External links[edit]