Hampshire Architecture – Portsmouth: Portsea and Gunwharf

Portsea was Old Portsmouth’s first suburb, outside of the defensive walls of the old town and of the naval base. Formerly known as Portsmouth Common, the area quickly outgrew Old Portsmouth. It was heavily bombed in WWII but dotted among the C20 and C21 redevelopments are a few C19 town houses, St George’s church in the New England Colonial style, and The George Inn. In Bishop Street there’s the old ironworks and warehouses of the Treadgold company, an interesting mix of former houses and C19 warehouses. A couple of the houses-turned-workshop hint at the former slums in this area. The university to the East has acquired the former barracks at Mildam, next to the registry office.

Just to the south is Gunwharf, the former HMS Vernon and ordnance site for the Royal Navy. Sold privately, some of the historic naval buildings have been very well restored: the impressive Vulcan Block, the infirmary and the Old Customs House, once the ordnance offices. Nearby is the former gated entrance and King James Gate, removed from Broad Street, Old Portsmouth.

Portsea Buildings

Today I walked around Portsea, between Gunwharf, the university and the naval base. The area has a much less genteel, more rugged feeling than Old Portsmouth but in amongst the council housing and blocks are some interesting old buildings. The area being right next to the naval base was heavily bombed in WWII and before that, the old slums and buildings were cleared. These photos largely focus on those buildings prior to 1900, including St George’s Square, Burnaby Terrace, Queens Street and Bonfire Corner, up against the barbed-wire walls. I didn’t get as far as The Hard, nor the base itself.

This page has some interesting history and photos of Portsea in the c19, including areas cleared of decaying houses.