The merest hints of the former villages of Milton, Fratton and Hilsea before they were swallowed by the rapid Victorian expansion of Portsmouth east and north, with a few old houses (including the TE Owen former vicarage opposite the impressive St Mary’s church, Gatcombe and Great Saltern houses). Otherwise, the listed buildings among the dense terraced houses are institutional: the former workhouse of St Mary’s House north of the hospital, cemetery chapels, C20 churches, the prison, Carnegie Library, and St James Hospital. Here I present the listed buildings in these areas. All photos taken in Feb 2014 by myself.
A 19th Century dairy depot, a converted 20th Century church, a couple of pubs, a smart row of townhouses reminiscent of Southsea, and that’s pretty much it for listed buildings in this area. The rest of west Portsmouth near the Motorway is row upon row of victorian terraces and post-war developments, among which these old and distinctive buildings can be found.
There’s little pocket of Georgian and Victorian buildings hiding a few meters from the end of the motorway as you arrive in Portsmouth. 393 Old Commercial Road (the south end of Mile End Terrace) was the birthplace of Charles Dickens. Also nearby is All Saints Church next to the very busy roundabout and the former Market Tavern, remodelled as accommodation for the ferry port just to the west.
Heavily bombed in the Second World War (and by a Zeppelin in the First) not so many Victorian or older buildings remain in this area of southern Landport. The photos below cover the University Quarter, Guildhall Walk and Square, Commercial Road (South) and West towards HMS Nelson. Mainly Victorian, the listed buildings are pubs, a former cinema, a theatre, assurance offices, banks, military and religious. Seemingly politics (Guildhall), finance (Prudential and Pearl), religion (the RC Cathedral and St Agathas), education (Park Building) and the military (Wardroom) compete for dominance of scale here. (Note that Park Building, behind the Guildhall, was covered in scaffolding today, so I used pictures I’d taken previously.)
Eastney is at the south east corner of Portsea Island, meeting Southsea to the west and Milton to the north. Mainly residential with its late Victorian and early C20 terraces, the area near the coast is dominated by the large barracks built in the 1860s. These impressive military buildings are now apartments and the Royal Marines Museum. They were Designed by William Scamp of the Admiralty Works Department and include a water/clock tower, and the longest barrack block after Woolwich. DW Lloyd says:
The carefully laid-out site beside the seashore reflects its use by Marines; it is also probably the last large defensible barracks built in the country. Part of the best and most complete barracks of the post-Crimean War period.
Immediately to the east and west are the Eastney forts. Just to the north is the Portsmouth Pumping Station with its Beam Engine House and associated boiler room and other listed buildings on the site. Also included here, although really in Southsea, are the Eastfield Hotel (by pub architect AE Cogswell) and St Patrick’s church (a most unusual and appealing church by GE Smith). Being so different to the municipal and military architecture, these are shown first and then all of the listed buildings of Eastney (apart from Fort Cumberland.)
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.
In the 19th Century Southsea spread eastwards from the initial building east of the Portsmouth walls. This growth was slow at first, from around 1830-60, with the creation of the villa suburbs around Kent Road, Sussex Road, Queens Crescent, Portland Road, Grove Road South, The Vale and Villers Road. These roads were planned and built for the most part by TE Owen, who gave them a spacious feel with walled gardens, curved roads and gentrified villas, lodges and terraces. It’s some kind of leafy, expensive, stucco heaven. He centred this new suburb on St Jude’s Church (1851). To the south are Netley and Clifton Terraces, by Gauntlett.
Thank you to all the owners who allowed me on their property to get better views. Here I present the listed buildings of central Southsea, along with some general views, starting with my favourite today, 3 Queens Place:
In the early Nineteenth Century, building spread outside of the city’s defensive walls with their moats and vast ravelins. Facing the battlements to the west, running north to south, several terraces were established, beginning around 1809. Southsea meets Portsmouth here and the space offered must have been very appealing compared to the cramped conditions of Old Portsmouth and Portsea. From the north, the terraces are named Hampshire, Landport, King’s, Jubilee and Bellevue. Much of the area was bombed in WWII and since modified, but many of the early C19 houses survive, with the characteristic maritime bay windows seen in Old Portsmouth. Behind the terraces, small streets were established by skilled tradesmen: the ‘mineral streets’ of Croxton Town – but were all bombed. Just further east are Great Southsea Street and Castle Street, with many plain but stylish town houses, my favourite designs, and a couple of older villas, along with early 1900s pubs and antique shops. Southsea Lodge was built in the C18, before there really was a Southsea, and before it was a resort, in what must have been a fairly rural area. To the north are a couple of other pockets of C19 houses, in King Street and Gloucester View and Mews. Gloucester View is a well kept secret, a superb terrace of identical houses in a cul-de-sac. Gloucester Mews in Norfolk Street hints at Owen’s Southsea to come. Park Lodge may have been built by T. E. Owen’s father. Further west towards the old city are the former Clarence Barracks, now Portsmouth Museum, a quite spectacular affair built for officers, and the Victorian lower school of the grammar school.
Here I present the listed buildings of west Southsea, and Portsmouth east of the wall:
Here we have the central area of Old Portsmouth. High street runs from just inside the now flattened defensive town walls, down to the coast near to the Square Tower, where it meets Broad Street and Grand Parade, just past the cathedral. At the north eastern end are the former Cambridge Barracks, now the Portsmouth Grammar School. In between are many C18 and C19 town houses, pubs and a former bank. Grand Parade is next to the Royal Garrison Church, and Penny Street runs parallel with the High Street, with a few surviving pre-war buildings. The narrow Peacock lane joins the two streets. Pembroke Road joins Old Portsmouth to Southsea, where along with Landport, gentrified properties overspilled when the old town got too crowded. The Cathedral was started in the C13 and underwent many additions over the centuries, including a large extension to the south west in the 1990s. To the north is Landport Gate, redesigned in 1760 and remaining in its original location but without the earth banks of the walls either side. Here are all the listed buildings of this area and a couple of street views:
A map of Portsmouth in 1762, showing the defensive walls and extent of the old town:
This area of Old Portsmouth feels very nautical, with narrow town houses, usually three story, squeezed in to form non-uniform terraces, many with those characteristic maritime bays on the first floor. Lombard Street and St Thomas Street are just east of The Camber harbour, with The Point being on the west side: Broad Street and Bath Square leading towards the narrow entrance to Portsmouth Harbour. All of this area was within the old walled city. Apart from the town houses, one can find fortifications, an old savings bank, historic inns, a former bathing house (Quebec House), the Popinjays warehouse, the sailing club and an old customs watch house with an observation hut. Most of the buildings are C18, with some C17 and C19. The landmark former Seagull Restaurant is from the early C20.
The listed buildings of Lombard Street and St Thomas Street, Old Portsmouth:
Broad Street Portsmouth:
The listed buildings of The Point / Spice Island, Old Portsmouth:
Today I walked around the Landport area of Portsmouth, seeking out those buildings not destroyed in WWII. Landport was a development outside of the original city’s defences and dockyard. Being near to the naval base, it was heavily bombed in the 1940s meaning large areas were cleared of the existing buildings. After the war and into the 1950’s, more buildings were raised in slum clearance ahead of new housing projects in Landport and to the north of the city. The walk took a couple of hours, from Old Commercial Road to the north (with the home place of Charles Dickens) down to the city centre and the terraces east of the University, then past the museum and up the west side of the centre. Here are the photos I took of the architecture, the most unusual being the museum in French Château style.
I didn’t use this beforehand or while walking, but here is a Google map of the listed buildings of Portsmouth.
Continuing my hike along the Solent Way along the south coast of Hampshire, here are Stages 2 and 3, from Hilsea to Portsmouth Harbour, then yesterday from the Gosport side, along to Lee-on-the-Solent.
Stage 2: From Ports Creek in Hilsea down the east side of Portsea Island through Milton and Eastney to the seafront at Southsea. Then past South Parade pier (looking pretty shoddy these days) along to Clarence Pier and Old Portsmouth, with views of the Isle of Wight. Along the defences, past The Camber and Gunwharf to The Hard:
Stage 3, from the Gosport side of Portsmouth Harbour to Lee on Solent, via Haslar’s Naval Bases and Marina, former hospital and prison, forts Monckton and Gilkicker, Browndown, and the coastline of Stokes Bay at Alverstoke. Apologies for the wind noise – I’m working on a solution. Cotton wool over the mic helps somewhat. Apologies too for the dust into the sun – it’s not on the lens but inside…
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.