Hardway is an ancient village with its origins dating back to the Roman conquest. Historical evidence points to a connection with Portchester Castle and trade between the villagers and occupying Romans. The village, originally known as WIDHAY, grew around St Swithin’s Priory Manor farm.
For centuries Forton Creek effectively isolated Hardway from Gosport Town Centre making it an ideal landing stage for smuggling contraband goods. Old maps indicate “hards” from which goods and passengers were loaded and unloaded. Goliath’s, Lower and Convicts Hard were busy places in the 18th century. The latter two have been replaced with piers, but unfortunate convicts bound for transportation ships in the harbour would have been all too familiar with Convicts Hard.
The residents of Old Portsmouth petitioned King George III requesting the removal of the Powder Magazine in Square Tower to a less densely populated area. As a result of this, in 1771, a Powder Magazine was built at Priddy’s Hard on land leased from Jane Pridhay. It grew in size and importance over the next 150 years and became one of the country's main armament supply depots. As Priddy’s Hard developed so did Hardway village. The thriving community included some fine Georgian and Victorian houses in Priory Road with its distinctive row of poplar trees. Chapel Street and Bucklers Road still retain the essence of the old fishing village, and although considerable infill development has taken place since World War II, a sense of the past still prevails.
In the two world wars the waters and foreshore of Hardway were heavily utilised for refueling and repairs to naval ships. Moby House, formerly the Old White Heather public house, became Gosport’s Air Sea rescue base in 1942. In the autumn of 1943 work began on the beach hardening process in preparation for the D-Day embarkations. Moby house was used in 1944 as the control station for all D-Day activities in the area. It is known that between 3 June and 16 November 1944 there were at least 759 embarkations of landing ships, tanks, and British and Canadian service personnel, together with 750,000 tons of materials as part of Operation Overlord.
WHO WE ARE
The Friends of Hardway is a society founded in 2019 to safeguard the environment of Hardway for present and future generations.
Our AIMS are to:-
Promote Hardway community involvement.
Maintain the neighbourhood of Hardway.
Engage with the community through events and projects.
Protect and improve the environment and appearance of Hardway.
Engage with similar groups that benefit the community.
Maintain the identity and history of Hardway.