Measured drawing of Police Barrack and Guard House
Police Barrack and Guard House. Measured Drawing c.1856 © Historic England
Police Barrack and Guard House. Measured Drawing c.1856 © Historic England

Grant Funding Set to Revive Former Police Barracks in Gosport

Historic England has awarded the Hornet Services Sailing Club (HSSC) a grant of £399,983 to kick-start essential repairs to the former Police Barracks building in Gosport’s historic Haslar Gunboat Yard.

External works will make the building water-tight, safe-guarding it from further deterioration and allowing owners HSSC time to develop plans for the building’s reuse.

This grant is the latest in a string of funding for Gosport from Historic England totalling over £1 million to better understand, protect and celebrate Gosport’s rich and unique military heritage and its legacy, through the Heritage Action Zone.

The Police Barracks, built in 1861 by William Scamp, is Grade II* listed and is one of two guardhouses to the former Haslar Gunboat Yard. It currently has scaffold and a temporary roof to protect the building from wind and rain whilst also allowing the timbers and internal walls to dry-out. The new funding will cover 80% of the projected cost of external repairs, with HSSC covering the remainder. Works are due to start on site in May.

I’m delighted that this building, which has lain unused for so many years, is set to have a second lease of life while retaining its link to the seafaring history of Gosport. By investing in Gosport via the Heritage Action Zone and working closely with partners, we are using the rich historic environment as an anchor to support the town’s regeneration to benefit the local community.

Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive Historic England

The former Police Barracks are a unique feature in the history and heritage of this important site in Gosport. Hornet Services Sailing Club is proud to be involved in the conservation of the Police Barracks and we are extremely grateful to Historic England for placing their trust in the Club and awarding a significant grant towards the repair and restoration of the roof and external building structures that will pave the way to bring the building back into use.

Rear Admiral Richard Stokes CBE, Club Commodore


The Barracks is a priority site within the Gosport Heritage Action Zone, a project focused on the reuse of former defence sites and buildings in what is an important national centre of naval history and development. It is one of a pair of buildings flanking the main gateway within the gunboat yard and a key part of a unique facility built to house the gunboat fleet found so invaluable during the Crimean War.

The yard was used to house and repair British gunboats between 1856 and 1906, and subsequently for the gunboats' successors and other naval craft. The importance of the vessels was reflected by the fortification of the site, with its high brick walls, sentry look-outs, police barracks and guard house. The police barracks had accommodation space for an inspector and three sergeants, with a dormitory for constables.

Next steps

HSSC plan to reuse this building and its sister guardhouse (also listed at Grade II*) to provide facilities and storage for both its sailing club members and local charitable groups such as the sea cadets. HSSC will develop a business plan that will secure the future of the building through further restoration and subsequent use as a community and business resource.

The building has been on the Heritage at Risk Register since 1996. Historic England previously supported the creation of a conservation management plan, temporary roof and feasibility study – key tools in securing a sustainable new use for this important building.