The functions and capabilities of the 20th Century Dockyard evolved from centuries of development. As the requirements and technology of the Royal Navy progresssed from sail to steam to diesel and gas-turbine propulsion, so to did the Dockyard crafts develop - frequently blazing the trail of industrial revolution. But the Dockyards also furnished logistic support to the ships - both naval stores (ropes, sails, pumps, weaponry, etc) and victualling stores - food, beer, water, etc. So, in addition to great storehouses, the Dockyard established Slaughter Houses, Breweries, etc, and a Cooperage to supply the storage barrels.

On this page we aim to provide an insight as to how these various functions developed.

In the mid- 1950's, Mr Edward Curphey, CBE, RCNC, wrote a series of articles for the Royal Corps of Naval Constructors' Journal entitled "Chips from a Portsmouth Basket". He had recently retired from the position of Deputy Director (Dockyards), having previously served at Portsmouth Dockyard during World War II as a Chief Constructor. The articles are based both on extensive research of historical documents and his personal experience, proving in total a comprehensive view of the Dockard from a mid- 20th century perspective.

They have been recently digitised and are available at the following links:

Chips 1 - Origin of the term "Chips"

Chips 2 - Beer

Chips 3 - Dogs in the Yard

Chips 4 - The Dockyard Regiment

Chips 5 - Royalty and Portsmouth

Chips 6 - Payment of Wages

Chips 7 - Cycling and Smoking in the Yard

Chips 8 - Visitors to the Yard

Chips 9 - Outside Associations

Chips 10 - Guarding and Policing the Yard

Chips 11 - Dockyard Pensions

Chips 12 - Master Attendants and their Successors -

Chips 13 - Whitleyism and Petitions -

Chips 14 - Armament Supply

Chips 15 - Electrics

Chips 16 - Storekeepers

Chips 17 - The Civil Engineers

Chips 18 - Torpedo Depots

Chips 19 - Admiralty Chemist

Chips 20 - Master Shipwrights and their Staffs

Chips 21 - The Engineers

Chips 22 - Commissioners and Superintendents

Chips 23 - Other Yard Officers

Chips 24 - Royal Naval Academy