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Gosport Heritage Open Days are under way

With its tours, talks and displays, Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas finds Gosport Heritage Open Days has much to offer and it is all for free.,.

Gosport Heritage Open Days got underway yesterday and, with so many aspects of the borough’s history and traditions on show, this year’s celebration is spread over ten consecutive days.

As reported in The Globe (read the report here), there are more than 70 different things to do – about half of which are new – and the Vice-Chair of GHOD Peter Cardy OBE said the aim is, “to enable people to see local heritage close up.”

Most of the events are repeated and as they are spread over ten days, the organisers hope that people will be able to avoid clashes and get to all the events that interest them.

Many require pre-booking but are already full.

Unsurprisingly, there is a waiting list for places on tours of (event 68) Haslar Hospital and – also unsurprisingly but for different reasons – there are no places left for the illustrated talk on the ‘naughty but nice’ (event 23) Comic Postcards – comedy and social comment in war and peace.

However, there are places still available for some events – such as, (event 3 in the programme) the Funerary and Flora tour of Ann’s Hill Cemetery, (event 4) Walking Past: Diving in to Stanley Park, and (event 21) Gob Stoppers & Blue Lollies.

GHOD’s booking page has details of the places still available and of the waiting lists for those fully booked.

That still leaves 35 events which are open to all-comers at the scheduled time(s).

One of these is also a new entrant in the GHOD’s programme – (event 67) Across the Creek: 21 years of Gosport’s Millennium Bridge.

Joint organiser Kathy Azopardi said she, “saw how important [the bridge] was for people as a place where they went for a piece of sanity during lockdown.

“We could not do the 20th anniversary, so we can now mark the 21st anniversary.”

There will be a display showing the history of the bridges over Forton Lake which linked the naval bases of Clarence Yard and Priddy’s Hard – and some people who go to the bridge between 10am and 4pm today (September 11) or Sunday may find themselves being filmed for posterity.

Kathy told The Globe: “We want to hear about why it is important to people and we are planning to make a documentary about the bridge in conjunction with Fareham College students.”

GHOD may focus on Gosport’s past but it readily employs 21st century technology in (event 66) Discover Digital Gosport to stream videos and image galleries throughout the ten days.

Details of all the events are on the GHOD website and there is a leaflet available in various outlets across the borough. It lists the programme with dates and times though it does not include five events which have been added since the leaflet was published.

The Tourist Information Centre in Gosport bus station will also offer assistance – it is open Monday to Saturday 09.30 to 17.00. Or people can telephone 02392 522 944 or 07849 399 823 for information.

As the website and leaflet state, GHOD is made possible by the many volunteers who, “give of their time, skills and enthusiasm”, plus some funding from Hampshire County Council and HMS Sultan Charities Fund, with Gosport Borough Council supporting the publicity.

Photo (top): The Millennium Bridge, Forton Lake