Primary school pupils in Gosport have been invited to take part in a unique competition to name roads and apartment buildings on the new Daedalus Waterfront development.
The competition was kick-started with an assembly at Lee-on-the-Solent Junior School yesterday, with 340 pupils, aged between eight and 11, learning about the site’s significant history as a Royal Navy Air Station.
The session, which was led by Bob Wealthy from The Gosport Aviation Society, took the children on a journey exploring 100 years of history of the Daedalus base. The Gosport Aviation Society gifted the school some original colour magazines to help the children with their own local research.
The children will now have the February half term to get creative and submit their entries. Name ideas could include relevant historical figures, buildings, aircraft or seaplanes.
Chloe, a pupil at the school, said: “The assembly this morning was great, I didn’t know that Dunkirk was filmed here. Over the half term, I will be researching the old buildings and the people who were famous for flying the planes at Daedalus. I am hoping that one of my names will be selected, so that I can be part of history.”
Members of Gosport Aviation Society and Lee Residents Association have also been asked by developer Wates Residential to submit names for the four new roads, two closes and five apartment buildings. Neptune House and Fortitude House are two suggestions already submitted, based on code names for the Normandy D-Day landings.
The national developer, which is building 200 homes for local people on the site, is committed to ensuring the history of Daedalus is not lost and is passed to future generations. The winning entries will be a true reflection of the area’s rich history with marks awarded for their relevance and connection to the local area.
A panel from Gosport Borough Council will chose the winning names after a shortlist is submitted at the end of the month. Submissions must comply with Royal Mail requirements and cannot clash with any existing names in the area.
Daedalus originally served as a seaplane base in 1917 during the First World War and later became the main training establishment and administrative centre of the Fleet Air Arm. During the Second World War a number of Naval Air Squadrons were posted to the base. Following its decommissioning in 1996, the site fell into disrepair and was subsequently acquired by Homes England.
Wates Residential was chosen by Homes England – the Government’s housing delivery agency – last year to act as the trusted delivery partner for the scheme.
The project will dramatically increase the number of new homes available in Gosport, with 120 private homes and 80 affordable homes being built a double the pace of the industry standard.
The ‘naming competition’ comes after a time capsule was buried by Wates Residential and members of the local community to mark the start of work in November.
The capsule, which will remain underground until 2043, included family photographs from two veterans who met while working at Daedalus and went on to get married, a fidget spinner, examples of current Maths and English books, a Wates Residential team photograph and a blueprint of the site.
Richard Manville, Construction Manager at Wates Residential, said:
“It’s such a pleasure to see the brilliant pupils of Lee-on-the-Solent Junior School celebrate the rich history of the Daedalus site alongside The Gosport Aviation Society. We are really excited to see the names that the children, society and Lee Residents Association come up with, and can’t wait to start looking at submissions later in the month.
“The Daedalus Waterfront development is not just about building hundreds of new homes for local people, but also about maintaining the area’s rich history. We can’t thank the community enough for the support they have shown so far and look forward to continuing our important work in 2019.”
Bob Wealthy from The Gosport Aviation Society commented:
“Gosport Aviation Society is pleased to support Wates Residential’s initiative to recognise the history and heritage of the Daedalus site as a key aspect of its building project. The involvement of the local community, particularly young people, is most welcome and will be of great benefit to the local area.”