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In the late 19th, early 20th century the rapid expansion of Portsmouth saw the original village engulfed. The west of the district is now a predominantly residential area of 1930s housing. The east of the district is an industrial and commercial area.
It was originally intended to have a railway station; the intermediate station between Havant and Portsmouth Town stations when the line opened. However, this never materialised, in spite of the large gap between stations, and the existence of a signalled level crossing for many years, now a bridge. A road, "Station Road" was laid out, and still exists, however construction on the station never began.
Portsmouth Airport was located in the north east of the district. After a number of accidents, the airport was closed in 1972. The land has subsequently been used for further commercial development and a housing development called Anchorage Park.
Not to be mistaken as a part of Hilsea, another Portsmouth district, Copnor Road leads through Hilsea as well as leading through Copnor itself. Copnor is one of the smaller districts of Portsmouth.
James Callaghan, who served as prime minister of the United Kingdom from 1976 until 1979 and was in parliament from 1945 until 1987, was born at 38 Funtington Road in Copnor on 27 March 1912. He lived there until around 1930, and at the time of his death in March 2005 was living in Ringmer, East Sussex.
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