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28 October 2014

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You are in: Hampshire > Coast > Point 3 - Spur Redoubt

HMS Victory

HMS Victory

Point 3 - Spur Redoubt

You're standing on one of the outer fortifications of Portsmouth, the tunnel you can see through the ramparts is the route Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson took on his way to board HMS Victory for the Battle of Trafalgar on 14th September 1805.

The statue of Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson - wearing the uniform he wore when leaving Portsmouth for Trafalgar stands on the spot where the Vice-Admiral took his last steps on dry land on his way to board the battleship, HMS Victory.

Naval superstar, Horatio Nelson took an unusual route to the beach that day to avoid the huge crowds that had gathered in the High Street to see their hero off to battle.

Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson

Vice Admiral Lord Viscount Nelson

Leaving via the back door from The George Hotel in the High Street, where he'd spent the night,  Nelson headed along Pembroke Road, and cut across the green past the Garrison Church through to the ramparts.

The crowds soon realised the route he'd taken and came down to the Spur Redoubt to wish him farewell.  It's believed that he commented to one of his aids that he wished he had two arms to shake them all by the hand (of course he only had the one!)

Nelson headed through the narrow passage or 'Sally Port' that you can see which runs through the wall.  When he emerged,  the seafront would have been a sea of faces all jostling to catch a glimpse of him before he headed off to battle.

The Spur Redoubt

The Spur Redoubt

This part of the seafront would also have been lined with bathing machines, small walled, wooded carts which were rolled out into the sea so people could take a dip without being seen.

Nelson may well have caught a glimpse of a scantily clad lady as the oarsmen rowed him past in the small boat which took him to St Helen's off the Isle of Wight where the Victory was waiting for her admiral.

A month later, on 21st October 1805, at the height of the Battle of Trafalgar where the British fleet defeated the French and the Spanish he was struck by a French sniper's bullet on the frigate Redoubtable and later died.

Portsmouth was the last dry land Lord Nelson stepped on and the last English city he ever saw.

Continue the walk to the large paved area with lots of benches where thousands of people gathered to welcome the Royal Navy back after the Falklands...

last updated: 29/02/2008 at 09:51
created: 09/06/2005

You are in: Hampshire > Coast > Point 3 - Spur Redoubt

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