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Lee-on-the-Solent

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Lee-on-the-Solent, often referred to as Lee-on-Solent, is a small seaside district within the Borough of Gosport in Hampshire, England about five miles (8 km) west of Portsmouth. The area is located on the coast of the Solent. It is primarily a residential area, with an upsurge of mostly local visitors in summer, but is well known as the former home to the Royal Naval Air Station HMS Daedalus (renamed as HMS Ariel from 1959 to 1965).HistoryThe district gained its name in the 19th century, during attempts to develop the area into a seaside resort. The area had been referenced long before this, referred to as Lee and numerous variations, including Lebritan. Early impetus for the district's development came from Charles Edmund Newton Robinson, who persuaded his father, John Charles Robinson, art curator and collector, to fund the buying of land. Over the period 1884 to 1894 the district was established with the setting out of Marine Parade, a pier, railway connection along with a number of impressive red brick villas. The railway service was discontinued in the 1930s and the pier, unrepaired after breaching in aid of coastal defence in World War II, was demolished in 1958.Lee-on-the Solent has had a long association with aviation. Seaplane trials took place at Lee-on-the-Solent as early as 1915. A base for seaplane training was established in 1917 on the former RNAS Lee-on-Solent, formerly HMS Daedalus, site.In 1935 the Lee Tower complex was built on the seafront next to the old pier and railway station. It was designed by architects Yates, Cook & Derbyshire, and comprised a white v-shaped Art Deco building with a 120ft tower. The complex housed a cinema, ballroom and restaurant, as well as a viewing platform at the tower's peak. The complex was demolished in 1971 by Gosport Borough Council, with its land now used for the promenade and remembrance gardens.
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