Customers buying tickets and snacks at Wightlink’s new customer building at its car ferry terminal in Gunwharf Road, Portsmouth can now learn more about the history of Isle of Wight ferries and the heritage of the site – the former Camber Dock – for themselves.

The three storey building, part of Wightlink’s £45million investment in the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route, opens its doors to customers for the first time on Monday 8 January 2018.

Historian Dr Graham Heaney, who works at the University of Portsmouth, has been delving into the archives to find out more about the area’s rich heritage as the city grew in importance and prosperity over the centuries. He has also sourced maps and photographs to give modern travellers an idea of what today’s busy ferry port used to look like. One shows polar explorer Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s ship Discovery at the site.

Dr Heaney explains: “Wightlink’s present car ferry port, located between Gunwharf Quays (the Royal Navy’s former HMS Vernon base), the LandRover BAR headquarters and lively Spice Island, became a dry dock in 1863, following the passage of a special Act of Parliament. Later it was used as a quay for collier ships to supply the city’s coal-fired power station which was demolished in 1977. Isle of Wight car ferries first sailed from nearby Broad Street and moved to their present berth in 1982.”

Large granite blocks that originally lined the dry dock, discovered during Wightlink’s construction works in summer 2017, have been salvaged and placed around the site as seats.

“Wightlink and our predecessor ferry companies have a history of looking to the future,” says Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield. “Our new hybrid energy ship Victoria of Wight will be the most environmentally friendly on the Solent when she arrives this summer, but we are also proud of our long history of serving the Isle of Wight and transporting millions of people across the water for holidays and business. We hope customers will enjoy discovering more about our heritage at the port.”

Picture captions:

Historian Dr Graham Heaney at the Portsmouth History Centre, Portsmouth Central Library

Archive picture of Portsmouth Power Station and Camber Dock 1950 ©Historic England (please credit if used)

For more information, contact Karen Woods 07775 694266 karenwoods@wightlink.co.uk


Low vehicles (LV)

Up to 5.00m long
Up to 2.24m high
Cars, small vans and any other vehicle up to 5m long
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High vehicles (HV)

Up to 5.00m long
Over 2.24m to 4.2m high
Cars, small vans and any other vehicle up to 5m long
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Low passenger vehicles (LP)

5.01m to 15m long
Up to 2.24m high
Longer cars, pick-ups built on a car chassis, passenger vehicles with up to 7 seats and specially adapted disabled vehicles, 5.01m to 15m long.
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High passenger vehicles (HP)

5.01m to 15m long
Over 2.24m to 4.2m high
Longer cars, pick-ups built on a car chassis, passenger vehicles with up to 7 seats and specially adapted disabled vehicles, 5.01m to 15m long.
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Low motorhome (LM)

Recreational vehicle 5.01m to 15m long
Up to 2.24m high.
Recreational vehicles built or adapted for sleeping which include fitted seating and kitchen facilities.
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High motorhome (HM)

Recreational vehicle 5.01m to 15m long
Up to 4.2m high.
Recreational vehicles built or adapted for sleeping which include fitted seating and kitchen facilities.
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Low commercial vehicles (LF)

Commercial vehicle 5.01m to 7m long
Up to 2.24m high
Vans, pick-ups, trucks and other goods vehicles designed to carry heavy loads 5.1m and longer and have not been specifically constructed or adapted for the carriage of passengers.
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High commercial vehicles (HF)

Commercial vehicle 5.01m to 7m long
Over 2.24m to 4.2m high
Vans, pick-ups, trucks and other goods vehicles designed to carry heavy loads 5.1m and longer and have not been specifically constructed or adapted for the carriage of passengers.
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Freight rigid (FR)

Freight vehicle 7.01m to 12m long
Up to 4.2m high.
Single chassis freight vehicles designed to carry heavy loads.
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Freight artic (FA)

Freight vehicle over 12m to 19m long
Up to 4.2m high.
Tractor-trailer freight vehicle up to 44 tonne GVWR with a split chassis or separate unit designed to carry heavy loads.
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Minibus (MINI)

Passenger vehicles 5.01m to 8m long
Over 2.24m to 4.2m high
Passenger vehicles with 8-17 seats.
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Coaches

Because we need to know additional information for coach bookings such as loaded and empty passenger numbers, please visit our Coach page to make your booking
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Motorcycle/trike/quad (MC)

Vehicles up to 3.5m long.
Motorcycles, Motorcycles with sidecars, three or four wheeled personal powered tricycle, TWIZY or quad bike up to 3.5m long.
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Bicycles and mobility scooters

Mobility Scooters must be battery powered.
Electric bikes must retain the ability to be pedalled by the rider.
Pushbikes, e-bikes and battery powered Mobility scooters travel free of charge when a customer purchases a foot passenger ticket.
No need to book separately.
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