Milton, Portsmouth

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Milton is a primarily residential area of the city of Portsmouth, a unitary authority formerly in the English county of Hampshire. The area is located on the south eastern side of Portsea Island and is bordered on the east by Langstone Harbour. Eastney lies to the south.

A map of Milton in 1833

Milton was originally a small village on Portsea Island, surrounded by farmland until it was swallowed up by the city in the early years of the 20th century.

Environment[edit]

On the south eastern side of the city of Portsmouth, Milton still retains somewhat of a village ambience and can boast two large parks; Milton Park and Bransbury Park. Milton Park occupies land previously part of Milton Farm, which was owned by the Goldsmith family, after whom Goldsmith Avenue is named. Some members of the Goldsmith family are buried just across the road from the park in St James churchyard. One of the original farm buildings remains; the thatched barn, which has been extended and is now the home of the 'Portsmouth Players' amateur dramatic society. Bransbury Park, at the southern end of Milton, offers squash courts and netball pitches as well as several football pitches for local Sunday League clubs and schools football.

The parade of shops in Milton Road opposite Bransbury Park is popularly known as "Milton Market"; the local sub post office name is officially "Milton Market".

On the Langstone Harbour side there is the area now called Milton Common. This is reclaimed land, formed by tipping, in the large area of mudland that was called Milton Lake. The area has now settled and this extensive grassland forms a valuable wildlife habitat. The site has an informal network of footpaths with the eastern footpath running alongside Langstone Harbour forming part of The Solent Way. There are three freshwater lakes; 'Frog', 'Duck' and 'Swan', home to many aquatic and avian species.

Moorings Way - the road bounding the southern edge of the Common - was so called because of the large number of houseboats that were moored alongside the edge of the lake. Many people displaced in the 1940s Blitz found refuge along the north shore of Eastney Lake and round into Milton Lake, almost a shanty town. Mostly consisting of makeshift houseboats, converted railway carriages and fisherman huts, many of these homes, lacking the basic amenities of electricity and plumbed water supplies, survived into the 'Swinging Sixties'.

Reclamation of land was continued from the 1950s until 1970. The land is still settling and the cavities and nooks'n'crannies of Milton Common make ideal homes for foxes and other creatures.

In 1884 an infectious diseases hospital, 'Priorsdean', opened near the village, land now occupied by Miltoncross Academy and a small housing development. St Marys Hospital, one of the city's two hospitals, opened at Milton in 1898. St James Hospital, an institution for the treatment of mental health, first opened in 1874 in Locksway Road (originally Asylum Road) and until the 1960s possessed a small Home Farm, with orchards, cornfields and a piggery. Nowadays largely built on and with the former cornfields now occupied by QEQM halls of residence and playing fields for the University, the remaining hospital grounds are still quite extensive and include a cricket field complete with clubhouse. Another part of the grounds has been secured as a third public park for the area, "St James' Green", on which community events are held and further features such as a children's Nature Trail are to be incorporated.

Milton Locks, in the far east of Milton at the end of the eponymous Locksway Road, is located at the entrance of the old Portsmouth to London canal which began operations in 1822. Little now remains of the old lock gates, wooden as they were, although the infrastructure is still evident. There are several pubs dotted along the former canal path, partly delineating its route towards Landport. A trace of the canal survives further into central Portsmouth, as the railway line from Fratton to Portsmouth & Southsea, popularly known as the "Town Station", runs along the earlier canal bed. This can be most easily seen from a street called Canal Walk, just off Fratton Bridge.

Coordinates: 50°47′41″N 1°03′32″W / 50.794820°N 1.058790°W / 50.794820; -1.058790