Heritage100

Dockyard Worker’s Bicycle

Dockyard Worker’s Bicycle

He rode it to work from Cosham every day until he retired...

Hundreds of dockyard workers riding bicycles during Portsmouth’s rush hour were a feature of daily life up to the late 1960s.

This particular bicycle belonged to Arthur Merrit, known as Ray. He worked as a ship keeper at the Dockyard from around 1947.

He rode it to work from Cosham every day until he retired in 1981.

For many years a large number of people in Portsmouth depended on the Dockyard for their jobs.

Boys took the Dockyard exam while still at school and would often work all of their lives there.

In 1711 Portsmouth Dockyard had a workforce of around 2000 and was the largest manufacturer in the country.

During the Second World War the Dockyard employed 27,000 people including many women. Jobs at the Dockyard have declined over the years but it is still a big local employer.

Quick Facts

  • Accession number 2000/43/1
  • Made in 1946
  • Made in England
  • Used from 1947 to 1981
  • Ridden by Arthur 'Ray' Merrit

Facts

  • In 1495, Henry VII built the world’s first dry dock in Portsmouth and in 1509 Henry VIII had his flagship, the Mary Rose, built there. The king granted Portsmouth the official status of ‘Naval Dockyard’ in 1540.
  • This sign can be see as part of the 'No Place like Pompey' exhibtion at Portsmouth City Museum.

Did you know?

The Dockyard dates back to the start of the 1200s when it was opened under King Richard I. However the local maritime connections go much further back and the remains of a Saxon logboat recovered from Langstone Harbour can also be seen on display in Portsmouth City Museum

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