Skip to content
Recruiting now.Explore navy careers

Heritage collection opens its doors to Gosport Men’s Shed

13 February 2017
The Heritage Collection at HMS Collingwood welcomed eleven members of the Gosport Men’s Shed recently for a visit.

The Members were shown around the collection which houses wireless, sonar and navigation equipment taken from ships and establishments across the fleet, alongside many other interesting artefacts.

The history of the objects was brought to life for the Members by Honorary Curator of the Collection, Clive Kidd.

The Collection originated in a building near the Base piggeries in 1953 but now, housed over two floors in Marlborough Building, it boasts 1800 different items and over 2000 photographs, together with approximately 500 linear feet of archive material including system handbooks and pamphlets. 

It’s nice for the Navy lads to come back and have a look. We’re very grateful

Bill Willetts

The artefacts have been acquired through various means; some are redundant pieces of teaching equipment, some were donations from the private collections of deceased enthusiasts and some were acquired through close liaison with other MOD staff.

Gosport Men’s Shed was founded in 2013 to provide a social network for retired men from the area and with approximately 35% of the 134 members coming from a Forces background, the visit to HMS Collingwood was welcomed.

In September 2016, members of the Gosport Men’s Shed provided invaluable assistance restoring the replica 32 Pounder cannon that now stands outside Lewin Building in HMS Collingwood.

They have also just completed a "Parish Council" style notice board to be placed outside the Woodentots Nursery on the Base.

Their latest project is to recreate a Tudor stool that once graced the kitchen of the Mary Rose.

Further information about the Shed can be found at

Bill Willetts the Social Secretary of the Shed said of the visit, “It’s nice for the Navy lads to come back and have a look. We’re very grateful - it’s just what we want to do.”

Jim Godfrey the Treasurer added, “It’s also very interesting for non-veterans to see what goes on here.”

The Curator of the Heritage Collection welcomes donations of old and unusual documents and equipment relating to Naval Weapons Systems.

The Collection can be viewed by interested civilians by prior arrangement and by serving personnel whenever the building is open, providing a valuable teaching aid for all levels of staff. 

The Collection will also be open to the public on Gosport Heritage Days in September and at the Establishment Open Day in June.

Related articles

Navy News Magazine

We bring you the latest news, features and award-winning photographs from the front-line. Navy News has been reporting on all that happens in the Royal Navy and its wider community since 1954.