The Solent Forum
Working in partnership for the future
- Samuel Bentham – A naval architect and engineer, Inspector General of the Naval Works at Portsmouth. Bentham’s contribution to Portsmouth Dockyard was substantial.
- Noel Pemberton Billing – Founded the original “Supermarine” in 1931, the PB1 at Woolston, Southampton.
- Marc Isambard Brunel – Father of the more prolific engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, who was born in Portsmouth. Invented a machine that produced pulley blocks at Portsmouth Dockyard.
- Flt Lt. John Boothman – Air force officer who won the Schneider Trophy on the Solent in 1931 in the Supermarine S6B, averaging 340mph on a triangular course around Spithead. This win entitled Britain to remain eternal holders of the accolade.
- King Henry VII – The King built the worlds first dry dock in Portsmouth in 1495.
- King Henry VIII – HRH established a permanent navy at Portsmouth from 1509 and extensively fortified the Solent with forts, castles and blockhouses. He later strengthened the fortification by building the castles at Southsea, Sandown, Yarmouth, Netley and St. Andrew’s.
- Reginald Joseph Mitchell – Chief aircraft designer for Supermarine Aviation, Mitchell designed the 3 Schneider Trophy winning seaplanes, winning Britain the title forever. The technology Mitchell developed led to his Masterpiece, the Supermarine Spitfire fighter, which he designed and built on the banks of the River Itchen at Woolston.
- Horatio Nelson – A heroic naval officer under whose command in the battle of Trafalgar, the English fleet defeated the combined French and Spanish fleets. Nelson fell at the height of battle, but continued his duty as Admiral through a slow, painful death, living just long enough to learn that his fleet were victorious.
- Hubert Scott-Paine – Acquired Supermarine Aviation during WWI and pushed the company to internationally recognised heights of seaplane and fighter manufacture on the Solent.
- Sir Edwin Alliot Verdon Roe – Roe was an important pioneer in aviation based on Southampton Water, he amalgamated with Samuel Edgar Saunders to form the Saunders-Roe (Saro) company.
- Samuel Edgar Saunders – Saunders established the Westland company in Cowes by building boats, lifeboats and craft for the admiralty. He expanded into Aircraft before becoming partners with A.V. Roe to form Saunders-Roe (Saro).
- Sir Thomas Sopwith – A great pioneer in aviation, Sopwith founded the H. G. Hawker Engineering Company with Fred Sigrist and his pilot Harry Hawker. The company produced the Hawker Hurricane fighter plane for the Battle of Britain and developed into the Hawker Siddeley group in 1935.
- Henry John Temple (Lord Palmerston) – Convinced Queen Victoria to build a massive Ring Fortress to protect Portsmouth and the Isle of White from invasion. Most of the guns were never used leading to the insulting branding of “Palmerston’s Follies”.
- John Samuel White – J. S. White is a most famous Cowes name in shipbuilding and repair on the River Medina.
- Uffa Fox - A designer, racer and yachtsman born on the Isle of Wight in 1898. Designed the planing dinghy and his International 14 Avenger won many races. Created the Flying Fifteen class after the War which is still sailed today.