Programme for Gosport Heritage Open Days 2022 published

The programme of events is now available and Chief Correspondent Rob Thomas has been taking a look at the list of the free events available from September 9 to 18 …

FIFTY-EIGHT free events are lined-up for this year’s Gosport Heritage Open Days and most of them will be available more than once during the 10-day celebration of the borough’s rich history.

The organisers have ‘rung the changes’ from last year’s 69-event programme with 23 new events so that about half of 2021’s events are in this year’s list.

Walking into history

Last year, Vice-Chair Peter Cardy told The Globe that one of the aims was, “to wherever possible, get people into the outdoors”, and that remains the case with new walks including Haslar Gunboat Yard, In the Steps of Martin Snape, a self-guided walk to discover the Ghosts of Haslar, and – for adults only – the Dark Side of Gosport.

The feedback from 338 respondents last year indicated that 94 per cent of visitors were aged over 45 and the 2022 programme has twelve events which have been designed to appeal to children and families.

These include a chance to see WW2 model ships and military vehicles in action, explore Passageways and Alleyways of Gosport High Street, and a children’s walk at the Submarine Museum to see John Holland’s Incredible Invention.

And for the first time, GHOD will include a carnival – on Saturday September 17 – with a procession along Gosport High Street to Walpole Park where there will be, “music, dance and much merriment!”, plus opportunities to try a range of arts and crafts.

Old favourites still feature

While 40 per cent of the 2022 GHOD’s programme is new, that leaves plenty of what the organisers term, “old favourites”.

Haslar, of course, features in the events, and there are also opportunities to see behind the scenes at the Institute of Naval Medicine, HMS Sultan’s museums, the World’s only Hovercraft Museum, and Fort Blockhouse.

For those who like to learn about Gosport’s heritage while sitting on their sofa, the GHOD website will provide access to three videos – Post Boxes of Gosport, J-Class Yachts, and the story of Bob Anderson.

Programme now available and booking starts at 09.30am on August 20

GHOD Chair Terry Rhodes said: “Once again, we have a great range of events, most of which are led in-person by volunteers who have a wonderful passion for their heritage subject and greatly enjoy sharing their knowledge with visitors.

“A few are self-led and some digital, but all will reflect the rich and diverse cultural heritage of Gosport and its communities.”

Vice Chair Peter Cardy added that the smaller number of events this year is due to, “Covid and the lockdowns with people still catching up with things”, and also that, “we have concentrated on ensuring we have the best quality events.”

The programme – and Peter Cardy said that a few more events may yet be added – is available on the GHOD website and in hard copy from the Tourist Information Centre at Gosport bus station as well as at about 50 locations across the borough.

GHOD members will also be at various events in the borough during August including the Provincial Society Bus Rally at Stokes Bay on Sunday, August 7, and the FortonFest in Forton Park on Saturday, August 13.

However, there are 25 GHOD 2022 events for which a place(s) must be reserved and the booking page on the GHOD website is not open until 09.30am on Saturday, August 20.

Help is available for anyone who has difficulty booking online: either go to the Tourist Information Office or telephone 02392 522944 or 07849 399823 or 07531 001003

Access for people with limited mobility or sensory impairment

Peter Cardy told The Globe that whenever possible, “we have access for people with limited mobility or sensory impairment”, and the programme indicates which walks and other events are fully or partially wheelchair accessible, and whether there are accessible toilets.

Achieving this aim has been possible due to a grant of £4,700 from Hampshire & Isle of Wight Community Foundation for access equipment such as wearable voice amplifiers for speakers and guides on guided walks.

In addition, Royal National Institute for the Blind Penfriends and sound dots will give audio description at various points in venues, to assist people with visual impairment and different learning styles.

And there will be access ramps for wheelchair and scooter users, and for parents with prams or buggies to negotiate roadside kerbs or steps at a venue.

Photograph (top): screenshot of part of the GHOD’s 2022 programme. RT, reproduced with permission from GHOD