Southwick House

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Southwick House
Southwick House showing the colonnade
Grid reference: SU63290875
Location: 50°52’29"N, 1°6’7"W
Built 1800
Country house
Owned by: Ministry of Defence

Southwick House is a Grade II listed 19th-century manor house of the Southwick Estate in Hampshire, about five miles north of Portsmouth. It is home to the Defence School of Policing and Guarding, and related military police capabilities.

The house is a Grade II listed building.[1] The detached clock tower, a three-stage Italianate structure with a slate roof, is also Grade II listed.[2]


Early history

The house was built in 1800 in the late Georgian style, to replace Southwick Park house. The three-storey house is distinct for its two-storey foyer lit from a cupola, and a series of elliptical rooms. A semi-circular portico is centred on the house's colonnade of paired Ionic columns

Second World War

The house became important during Second World War. In 1940, the estate owners allowed the Royal Navy to use the house to accommodate overnight pupils of the Royal Navy School of Navigation, HMS Dryad, which was based in Portsmouth Naval Dockyard. In 1941, after heavy bombing of the dockyard, the house was requisitioned and became the new home of HMS Dryad.[3]

In 1943, with the planning for D-Day already underway, the house was chosen to be the location of the advance or forward command post (Sharpener Camp) of the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force. Because of this, HMS Dryad was moved out of the house onto further land requisitioned from the estate.[3]

The map room in operation, 1944

D-day preparation

In 1944, in the months leading up to D-Day, the house became the headquarters of the main allied commanders, including Allied Supreme Commander General Eisenhower, Naval Commander-in-Chief Admiral Ramsay and Army Commander-in-Chief General Montgomery.[4]

The large wall maps that were used on D-Day are still in place in the house in the main map room.[5]

Area of D-day departure routes
Area of D-day departure routes
Map showing arrival routes around Arromanches

After HMS Dryad

In 2004 the functions of HMS Dryad were transferred to HMS Collingwood in Fareham and the site reverted to its original name of Southwick Park.[6]

Since 2005 it has been home to the tri-Service Defence School of Policing and Guarding (formerly the Defence College of Policing and Guarding).[7]

Outside links