City of Portsmouth
|City & unitary authority area|
|Motto: Heaven's Light Our Guide|
Location within Hampshire
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Region||South East England|
|Admin HQ||Portsmouth City Centre|
|• Type||Unitary authority, City|
|• Governing body||Portsmouth City Council|
|• Leadership||Leader & Cabinet|
|• City & unitary authority area||15.54 sq mi (40.25 km2)|
|Population (2011 est.)|
|• City & unitary authority area||205,400 (Ranked 76th)|
| • Ethnicity
(United Kingdom Census 2006 Estimate)
2.5% Chinese and other
|Time zone||GMT (UTC0)|
|• Summer (DST)||BST (UTC+1)|
|Website||Portsmouth City Council|
Portsmouth (i//) is the second largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Located mainly on Portsea Island, it is the United Kingdom's only island city. Portsmouth is 64 miles (103 km) south west of London and 19 miles (31 km) south east of Southampton. The city has a population of 205,400 and is the only city in the United Kingdom with a greater population density than London. The City of Portsmouth and Portsmouth Football Club are both nicknamed "Pompey".
As a significant naval port for centuries, Portsmouth has the world's oldest dry dock and is home to some famous ships, including HMS Warrior, the Tudor carrack Mary Rose and Lord Nelson's flagship, HMS Victory (the world's oldest naval ship still in commission). Although smaller than in its heyday, the naval base remains a major dockyard with the headquarters of the Royal Marine Commandos. There is also a thriving commercial cruise ship and ferry port serving destinations on the continent for freight and passenger traffic. The waterfront area is dominated by the Spinnaker Tower, a 170m landmark located in the former Vernon naval shore establishment, since redeveloped as an area of retail outlets, restaurants, clubs and bars known as Gunwharf Quays.
Portsmouth forms part of the South Hampshire built-up area which also covers Southampton, Havant, Waterlooville, Eastleigh, Fareham and Gosport. With an estimated 860,000 residents, it is the 6th largest urban area in England and the largest in South East England., forming the centre of one of the United Kingdom's most populous metropolitan areas with a population in excess of one million.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography and climate
- 3 Demographics
- 4 Government and politics
- 5 Economy
- 6 Culture
- 7 Media
- 8 Sport
- 9 Crime
- 10 Education
- 11 Tourist attractions
- 12 Southsea
- 13 Places of worship
- 14 Transport and communications
- 15 Future developments
- 16 Notable residents
- 17 See also
- 18 References
- 19 External links
There have been settlements in the area since before Roman times, mostly being offshoots of Portchester, which was a Roman base (Portus Adurni) and possible home port of the Classis Britannica. Some sources maintain the town was founded in 1180 by the Anglo-Norman merchant Jean de Gisors. Most early records of Portsmouth are thought to have been destroyed by Norman invaders following the Norman conquest of England. The earliest detailed references to Portsmouth can be found in the Southwick Cartularies. However, there are records of "Portesmūða" from the late 9th century, meaning "mouth of the Portus harbour". The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry for 501 claims that "Portesmuða" was founded by a Saxon warrior called Port,. Although Winston Churchill in his A History of the English-Speaking Peoples also states that Portsmouth was founded in 501 by Port, the pirate, most historians do not accept that origin of the name. The Chronicle states that:
- Her cwom Port on Bretene ⁊ his .ii. suna Bieda ⁊ Mægla mid .ii. scipum on þære stowe þe is gecueden Portesmuþa ⁊ ofslogon anne giongne brettiscmonnan, swiþe æþelne monnan. (Here Port and his 2 sons Bieda and Mægla came to Britain with 2 ships to the place which is called Portsmouth and slew a young British man, a very noble man.)
In the Domesday Book (1086) there is no mention of Portsmouth, although settlements that were later to form part of Portsmouth are included. It is estimated that the Portsmouth area at the time had a population no greater than two or three hundred. While Portsea had a small church prior to 1166, Portsmouth's first real church was built in 1181, when a chapel dedicated to Thomas Becket was erected by Augustinian monks; it was run by the monks of Southwick Priory until the Reformation. The modern Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral is built on the original location of the chapel.
In 1194 King Richard The Lionheart returned from being held captive in Austria, and set about summoning a fleet and an army to Portsmouth, which Richard had taken over from Jean de Gisors. On 2 May 1194, the King gave Portsmouth its first Royal Charter granting permission for the borough to hold a fifteen-day annual "Free Market Fair", weekly markets, and a local court to deal with minor matters. The borough was also exempted from paying the annual tax, with the result that the money could be used for local matters. King Richard later went on to build a number of houses and a hall in Portsmouth. The hall is thought to have been at the current location of the Clarence Barracks (the area was previously known as Kingshall Green). Some believe that the crescent and eight-point star found on the 13th century common seal of the borough were derived from the arms of William de Longchamp, Lord Chancellor to Richard I, at the time of the charter. It was, however, Richard himself who granted the town the arms of Isaac Komnenos of Cyprus whom he had defeated. (After Isaac had held Richard's fiancée and sister captive, the king responded by conquering Cyprus during the Third Crusade. His awarding of the arms could possibly reflect a significant involvement of Portsmouth soldiers, sailors or vessels in that operation.) The crescent and star, in gold on a blue shield, were subsequently recorded by the College of Arms as the coat of arms of the borough.
In 1200 King John reaffirmed the rights and privileges awarded by King Richard. King John's desire to invade Normandy resulted in the establishment of Portsmouth as a permanent naval base. Shortly afterwards, construction began on the first docks, and the Hospital of St Nicholas, which performed its duties as an almshouse and hospice. During the 13th century Portsmouth was commonly used by Henry III and Edward I as a base for attacks against France. By the 14th century commercial interests had grown considerably. Common imports included wool, grain, wheat, woad, wax and iron, however the port's largest trade was in wine from Bayonne and Bordeaux.
In 1338 a French fleet led by Nicholas Béhuchet raided Portsmouth, destroying much of the town, with only the local church and hospital surviving. Edward III gave the town exemption from national taxes to aid reconstruction. Only ten years later, the town was struck by the Black Death. To prevent the regrowth of Portsmouth as a threat, the French again sacked the town in 1369, 1377 and 1380. Henry V built the first permanent fortifications of Portsmouth. In 1418 he ordered a wooden Round Tower be built at the mouth of the harbour, which was completed in 1426. Henry VII rebuilt the fortifications with stone, raised a square tower, and assisted Robert Brygandine and Sir Reginald Bray in the construction of the world's first dry dock. Although King Alfred may have used Portsmouth to build ships as early as the 9th century, the first warship recorded as constructed in the town was the Sweepstake, built in the dry dock in 1497. In 1544, with money from the Dissolution of the Monasteries and in order to combat the growing expectation of an increased conflict with the French, Henry VIII built Southsea Castle and decreed that Portsmouth should be the home of the Royal Navy he had founded. In 1545, from Southsea castle he saw his vice-flagship Mary Rose sink with a loss of about 500 lives, while going into action against the French fleet. The Portsmouth suburb of Southsea later developed from the castle and naval dockyard. Over the years, Portsmouth's fortifications were rebuilt and improved by successive monarchs.
In 1628 the unpopular favourite of Charles I George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham was stabbed to death in an Old Portsmouth pub by a veteran of Villiers' most recent military folly, John Felton. The murder took place in the "Greyhound" (popularly known as "The Spotted Dog") on High Street. Now a private building called Buckingham House, it bears a commemorative plaque marking the event.
During the English Civil War the arsenal at the Square Tower was surrendered by its royalist commander in return for safe passage out of Portsmouth for himself and the garrison. During the war, the town became a major base for the Parliamentary Navy. Under the Commonwealth, Robert Blake, the father of the Royal Navy, used Portsmouth as his main base, during both the Anglo Dutch War and the Anglo Spanish War. He died within sight of the town after his final cruise off Cádiz.
On 13 May 1787, 11 ships sailed from Portsmouth to establish the first European colony in Australia, marking the beginning of prisoner transports to that continent. It is known today as the First Fleet in Australia.
Portsmouth has a long history of supporting the Royal Navy logistically, leading to its importance in the development of the Industrial Revolution. Marc Isambard Brunel, the father of famed Portsmouth engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, established in 1802 the world's first mass production line at the Portsmouth Block Mills, producing pulley blocks for rigging on the Royal Navy's ships. At its height the dockyard was the largest industrial site in the world.
The city's nickname Pompey is thought to have derived from the log entry "Pom. P." (meaning Portsmouth Point) made as ships entered Portsmouth Harbour. Navigational charts use this abbreviation. Another theory is that it is named after the harbour's guardship, Le Pompee, a 74-gun French battleship captured in 1793.
In 1818 John Pounds began teaching the working class children of Portsmouth in what became the country's first ragged school. The schools and the resulting movement aimed to provide education to all children regardless of their ability to pay. They were keenly supported by Charles Dickens who was born in Portsmouth in 1812.
Admiral Nelson left Portsmouth for the last time in 1805 to command the fleet that defeated the larger Franco-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar. The Royal Navy's reliance on Portsmouth led to the town becoming the most fortified in Europe, with a network of forts (a subset of "Palmerston's Follies") encircling the town. From 1808 the Royal Navy's West Africa Squadron, who were tasked to stop the slave trade, operated out of Portsmouth. On 21 December 1872 a major scientific expedition, the Challenger Expedition, was launched from Portsmouth.
In 1926 Portsmouth was granted city status, following a long campaign by the borough council. The application was made on the grounds that Portsmouth was the "first naval port of the kingdom". Two years later the city received the further honour of a lord mayoralty. In 1929 the city council added the motto "Heaven's Light Our Guide" to the medieval coat of arms. Apart from referring to the celestial objects in the arms, the motto was that of the Star of India. This recalled that troopships bound for the colony left from the port. Further changes were made to the arms in 1970, when the Portsmouth Museums Trust sponsored the grant of crest, supporters and heraldic badge. The crest and supporters are based on those of the royal arms, but altered to show the city's maritime connections: the lions and unicorn have been given fish tails, and a naval crown placed around the latter animal. Around the unicorn is wrapped a representation of "The Mighty Chain of Iron", a Tudor defensive boom across Portsmouth Harbour.
In 1916, the town experienced its first aerial bombardment when a Zeppelin airship bombed it during the First World War. During the Second World War, the city was bombed extensively destroying many houses and the Guildhall. The air raids caused the death of 930 people and injured nearly 3,000 more, many in the dockyard and the naval and military establishments. Portsmouth's status as a major port was the key factor in the Luftwaffe's decision to bomb it so heavily. While most of the city has since been rebuilt, developers still occasionally find unexploded bombs in the area. Southsea Beach and Portsmouth Harbour were vital military embarkation points for the D-Day landings on 6 June 1944. Southwick House, just to the north of Portsmouth, had been chosen as the headquarters for the Supreme Allied Commander, US General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
After the war, much of the city's housing stock was damaged and more was cleared in an attempt to improve the quality of housing. Those affected were moved out from the centre of the city to new developments such as Paulsgrove and Leigh Park. Post-war redevelopment throughout the country was characterised by utilitarian and brutalist architecture, with Portsmouth's Tricorn Centre one of the most famous examples. More recently, a new wave of redevelopment has seen Tricorn's demolition, the renewal of derelict industrial sites, and construction of the Spinnaker Tower.
Geography and climate
Most of the city of Portsmouth lies on Portsea Island, located where the Solent joins the English Channel. This makes Portsmouth the United Kingdom's only island city and the twelfth most densely populated place in Europe. It is the most densely populated place in the UK, even more so than Greater London. Portsea Island is separated from the mainland island of Great Britain to the north by a narrow creek, (locally known as 'Portsbridge Creek') which is bridged in several locations with road, railway and foot bridges. Maps sometimes illustrate Portsea Island as a peninsula of the island of Great Britain, which is incorrect. The sheltered Portsmouth Harbour lies to the west of Portsea island and the large tidal bay of Langstone Harbour is to the east.
Being a seaside city, it is low-lying: the majority of its surface area is only about ten feet above sea level. The highest natural point on Portsea Island is Kingston Cross (21 feet), although the road surface over Fratton railway bridge reaches 25. There are, therefore, dangers that rising sea levels as a result of global warming could cause serious damage to the city.
The west of the city is mainly council estates such as Buckland, Landport and Portsea. These were built to replace Victorian terraces destroyed by bombing in the Second World War. After the war the massive estate of Leigh Park (one of the largest housing developments of its kind in Europe) was built to solve the chronic housing shortage during the post-war reconstruction. Since the early 2000s the estate has been entirely under the jurisdiction of Havant Borough Council, but Portsmouth City Council remains the landlord for these properties, thus making it the biggest landowner in Havant Borough.
Old Portsmouth located in the south-west of the city is the oldest part of and includes the historic waterfront area known as Spice Island. Literally outside of the law once the city gates were closed, it was infamous for its pubs and other establishments, which attracted sailors on their "runs ashore". The south part of the city comprises the area known as Southsea and to the east, the area known as Eastney.
East facing aerial view of Portsmouth (with Gosport in the foreground)
View over Portsmouth from Portsdown Hill.
Aerial view of Portsmouth City Centre from Spinnaker Tower
The city centre is the main shopping area in Portsmouth, mainly sited around the shopping streets Commercial Road, Edinburgh Road, Arundel Street, Crasswell Street and Charlotte Street. The City Centre is home to the Cascades Shopping Centre and major high street stores including Debenhams, Wilkinson, The Body Shop, Next, Moss, H&M and supermarkets Tesco, Sainsburys and Iceland. To the north of the City Centre is the Victory Retail Park. Portsmouth and Southsea railway station (the city's central station) is located to the south of the city centre, close to the Guildhall and the Civic Offices. Just to the south of the Guildhall is Guildhall Walk, a street which is known for its bars and clubs, such as The Lyberry, SkyeBar, Astoria and POPworld. Located in Edinburgh Road is the Portsmouth Roman Catholic cathedral and Victoria Park, also to the west of the city centre is the home ground of Portsmouth's second football team United Services Portsmouth Football Club.
The most significant project is at the Northern Quarter, centred on the former Tricorn site, which will form a new regional shopping destination. The development will provide new shops, cafés and restaurants.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Portsmouth has a temperate oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb), similar to much of southern Britain. During winter frosts are light and short-lived and snow quite rare, with temperatures rarely droping below freezing, as the city is surrounded by water and densely populated, and Portsdown Hill protects the city from cold northerly winds. The average maximum temperature in January is 10 °C (50 °F) with the average minimum being 5 °C (41 °F). The lowest temperature recorded is −8 °C (18 °F). In summer a temperature of 30 °C (86 °F) can occasionally be attained, particularly in more sheltered spots, but temperatures rarely reach much more than that because of the cooling influence of the sea. The average maximum temperature in July is 22 °C (72 °F), with the average minimum being 15 °C (59 °F). The highest temperature recorded is 35 °C (95 °F). As it is located on the south coast, Portsmouth receives more sunshine per annum than most of the UK and much of western Europe. The city gets around 645 millimetres of rain a year, with a minimum of 1 mm (0 in) of rain reported on 103 days a year.
|Climate data for Southsea, Portsmouth 1976-2005|
|Average high °C (°F)||9.6
|Average low °C (°F)||5.1
|Precipitation mm (inches)||65
|Avg. rainy days||11.2||9.5||8.3||7.6||6.5||7.4||5.4||6.6||8.5||10.9||10.3||11.2||103.4|
|Mean monthly sunshine hours||67.9||89.6||132.7||200.5||240.8||247.6||261.8||240.7||172.9||121.8||82.3||60.5||1,919.1|
|Percent possible sunshine||26||31||36||49||51||51||54||54||46||38||31||25||41|
|Source #1: Met Office|
|Source #2: BADC|
Portsmouth is the most densely populated city in the United Kingdom and is the only city whose population density exceeds that of London. Only the individual London boroughs have a higher population density. As of the 2011 census, the city had 205,400 residents. This equates to 5,100 people living in every square kilometre, which is 11 times more than the regional average of 440 people per square kilometre and more than London, which has 4,900 people per square kilometre. The city used to be even more densely populated, with the 1951 census showing a population of 233,545. The population of the city declined in the late 20th century, as people moved out of the city into the surrounding South Hampshire commuter region. However since the 1990s the population of the city is now increasing once again.
The city is a predominantly white city in terms of ethnicity, with 90.9% of the population belonging to this ethnic group. Portsmouth's long association with the Royal Navy has meant that it represents one of the most diverse cities in terms of the peoples of the British Isles, with many demobilised sailors staying in the city, in particular, Scots, English from the Industrial North East and Northern Irish. Similarly, some of the largest and most established non-white communities have their roots with the Royal Navy, most notably the large Chinese community, principally from Hong Kong.
Portsmouth's long industrial history in support of the Royal Navy has seen many people from across the British Isles move to Portsmouth to work in the factories and docks, the largest of these groups being the Irish Catholics (Portsmouth is one of 34 UK towns and cities with a Catholic cathedral;) surnames like Doyle and Murphy are extremely common in Portsmouth. Portsmouth is the City with the highest number of emigrants, in the UK, particularly the most skilled. According to 2007 estimates, the ethnic breakdown of Portsmouth's population is as follows: 86.4% White British, 3.8% Other White, 1.7% Chinese, 1.6% Indian, 1.3% Mixed-Race, 1.2% Bangladeshi, 1.0% Other ethnic group, 0.9% Black African, 0.7% White Irish, 0.6% Other South Asian, 0.4% Pakistani, 0.3% Black Caribbean and 0.1% Other Black.
Government and politics
The city is administered by Portsmouth City Council, a unitary authority. Portsmouth was granted its first charter in 1194. In 1904 the boundaries were extended to finally include the whole of Portsea Island. The boundaries were further extended in 1920 and 1932, taking in areas of the mainland. Between 1 April 1974 and 1 April 1997 it formed the second tier of local government below Hampshire County Council. Portsmouth remains part of the ceremonial county of Hampshire for purposes such as lieutenancy and shrievalty. The city is divided into two parliamentary constituencies, Portsmouth South and Portsmouth North, represented in the House of Commons by, respectively, an independent Member of Parliament, Mike Hancock, and a Conservative MP, Penny Mordaunt.
The city council is made up of 42 Councillors. After the May 2014 local elections, the Conservatives formed a minority administration with just 12 Councillors. The largest party within the council is the Liberal Democrats with 19 Councillors (including the Lord Mayor). The other parties represented in council are the UK Independence Party and Labour, with five and four Councillors respectively. There are also two independent Councillors, Cllr. Eleanor Scott (elected as a Liberal Democrat and Cllr. Paul Godier (elected as UKIP). Councillors are returned from 14 wards, each ward having three councillors. Councillors have a four-year term, with one seat being contested in each ward in three years out of four. The leader of the council is the Conservative Cllr. Donna Jones. The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth is a separate ceremonial position, elected and usually held for a one-year period of office.
The council is based in the Civic Offices, which houses all council rooms as well as tax offices, resident services and municipal functions. They are situated in Guildhall Square, along with Portsmouth Guildhall and Portsmouth Central Library. The Guildhall is a symbol of Portsmouth, serving principally as a cultural venue. It was designed in the neo-classical style and constructed in 1890.
|Year||Regional Gross Value Added||Agriculture||Industry||Services|
- Note 1. includes hunting and forestry
- Note 2. includes energy and construction
- Note 3. includes financial intermediation services indirectly measured
- Note 4. Components may not sum to totals due to rounding
A tenth of the city's workforce works at Portsmouth Naval Dockyard, which is directly linked to the city's biggest industry, defence, with the headquarters of BAE Systems Surface Ships located in the city. BAE's Portsmouth Shipyard has been awarded a share of the construction work on the two new Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers. This will create 3000 new jobs in the city. There is also a major ferry port which deals with both passengers and cargo. The city is also host to the European headquarters of IBM, and the UK headquarters of Zurich Financial Services, and of Northrop Grumman.
In the last decade the number of shops in Portsmouth has grown dramatically due to both the buoyancy of the local economy and improved transport links. In the city centre, shopping is centred on Commercial Road and the 1980s Cascades Shopping Centre, with over 100 high street shops between them. Recent redevelopment has created new shopping areas, including the upmarket Gunwharf Quays, containing fashion stores, restaurants, and a cinema; and the Historic Dockyard, which aims at the tourist sector and holds regular French markets, and an annual Christmas market. Large shopping areas include Ocean Retail Park, on the north-eastern side of Portsea Island, comprising shops requiring large floor space for selling consumer goods; and the Bridge Centre an 11,043 square metre shopping centre built in 1988, now dominated by the Asda store. There are also many smaller shopping areas throughout the city.
Portsmouth has three theatres, two of which were designed by the Victorian/Edwardian architect and entrepreneur Frank Matcham: the New Theatre Royal in Guildhall Walk, near to the City Centre, which specialises in classical, modern and avant-garde drama, and the newly restored Kings Theatre in Southsea's Albert Road, which has many amateur musicals as well an increasing number of national tours. The other theatre is The Groundlings Theatre, situated in The Old Beneficial School, Portsea. The Guildhall, which has a capacity of 2,000 and is Portsmouth's largest events venue, is also used for theatrical performances. Other theatrical venues include the Third Floor Arts Venue in the Central Library and the South Parade Pier.
The city has four established music venues: The Guildhall, The Wedgewood Rooms (which also includes a smaller venue, Edge of the Wedge), The Cellars At Eastney and Portsmouth Pyramids Centre. For many years a series of symphony concerts has been presented at the Guildhall by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. Outdoor performances by local acts also take place regularly at Southsea Bandstand.
In the past the city was host to a major international string quartet competition, held every three years between 1979 and 1991. In the 1970s the Portsmouth Sinfonia (1970–1979) approached classical music from a different angle.
The City hosts yearly remembrances of the D-Day landings to which veterans from the Allied nations travel to attend. The City played a major part in the 50th D-Day anniversary with then US President Bill Clinton visiting the city.
Portsmouth Point is an overture for orchestra by the English composer William Walton. The work was inspired by Rowlandson's print depicting Portsmouth Point. It was used as an opening for a Proms Concert in the 2007 season.
H.M.S. Pinafore is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert, which is set in Portsmouth Harbour. Using the operetta music of Sullivan (arranged by Charles Mackerras) and The Bumboat Woman's Story by Gilbert, John Cranko's 1951 ballet Pineapple Poll is set at the quayside in Portsmouth. In Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series, Portsmouth is most often the port from which Captain Jack Aubrey's ships sail, and Portsmouth is mentioned at least once in each of the twenty books of the series.
In literature, Portsmouth is the chief location for Jonathan Meades' novel Pompey, in which it is inhabited largely by vile, corrupt, flawed freaks. He has subsequently admitted that he had never actually visited the city at that time. Since then he has presented a TV programme about the Victorian architecture in Portsmouth Dockyard.
In Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park, Portsmouth is the hometown of the main character Fanny Price, and is the setting of most of the closing chapters of the book. In Charles Dickens' Nicholas Nickleby, Nicholas and Smike make their way to Portsmouth and get involved in a theatrical troupe.
Portsmouth is served predominantly with transmissions from the Rowridge Transmitter on the Isle of Wight, although signals from the Midhurst Transmitter can be picked up from the eastern side of the city (around Copnor, Eastney, Baffins, Anchorage Park areas) with the BBC and ITV regions being BBC South & ITV Meridian available from both transmitters.
Portsmouth was one of the second-tier of cities in the UK to get a local TV station, MyTV, in 2001. The station later rebranded to PortsmouthTV, but its limited availability in some parts of Portsmouth had restricted its growth, and the station later went off-air as a result of the parent company becoming insolvent. In November 2014, new local TV station That's Solent launched as part of a UK wide roll out of local Freeview channels, being broadcast from the Rowridge Transmitter .
The local commercial radio station is The Breeze (formerly The Quay) on 107.4FM, while the city also has a non-profit community radio station Express FM on 93.7FM. Other radio stations based outside of Portsmouth, but received there are Heart Solent, on 97.5FM, Wave 105 on 105.2FM, BBC Radio Solent on 96.1FM and Jack FM (formerly Original 106 & The Coast) on 106.6FM . Patients at Portsmouth's primary hospital Queen Alexandra and St Mary's hospital in Milton also have access to local programming from charity station Portsmouth Hospital Broadcasting, which is the oldest hospital radio service in the world commencing broadcasts in 1951. 
When the first local commercial radio stations were licensed in the 1970s by the IBA, Radio Victory was the radio service for Portsmouth, however in 1986, due to transmission area changes (to formally include Southampton) by the IBA it was replaced by a new company and service called Ocean Sound, later renamed as Ocean FM. It is now known as Heart. From 1994 (the city's 800th birthday) Victory FM broadcast for three 28 day periods over an 18-month period. This service, relaunched on the channel listings guide and 'cable radio' of the South East Hampshire area's cable television network, was renamed Radio Victory. The station went on to win a Radio Authority small scale licence, launching on the 107.4FM frequency, on 19 September 1999. It was purchased from the founders by TLRC, who, due to poor RAJAR figures, relaunched the service in 2001 as The Quay, with Portsmouth Football Club purchasing a stake in the station during 2007 and selling in 2009. The station was taken over by Celador and rebranded The Breeze.
The city currently has one daily local newspaper known as The News, which was previously known as the Portsmouth Evening News, together with a free weekly newspaper, from the same publisher, Johnston Press, called The Journal.
The city is home to professional football team, Portsmouth F.C., who play their home games at Fratton Park. They have two Football League titles (from 1949 and 1950) to their name. They are also previous holders of the FA Cup, having won the 2008 competition. Their other FA Cup triumph came in 1939. They returned to the top flight of English football (Premier League) in 2003, having previously been relegated in 1988 after just one season following an exile from the top flight that had stretched back some 30 years. However, in April 2012 they were relegated from the Championship to League One amid serious financial difficulties. In 2013 Portsmouth were relegated again, this time placing them in the fourth tier of English Football. In April 2013 Portsmouth FC were purchased by the Pompey Supporters Trust (PST) becoming largest fan owned football club in English Football History. Guy Whittingham was appointed as new Portsmouth FC manager starting in the 2013-14 season but was sacked following a run of poor results. Former Crawley manager Riche Barker took over. He was eventually sacked in March to leave caretaker manager Andy Awford in charge Andy was later appointed manager after all his games went unbeaten. Notable current and former players of the club include David James, Hermann Hreidarsson, Jermain Defoe, Sol Campbell, Peter Crouch, Robert Prosinečki, Alan Knight, Paul Walsh, Darren Anderton, Guy Whittingham, Micky Quinn, Mark Hateley and Jimmy Dickinson, who played more than 800 times for his only club and was never booked or sent off, earning him the sobriquet Gentleman Jim.
There are other football teams including: Moneyfields FC play in the Wessex League Premier Division, and are based at Dover Road on the corner with Moneyfields Avenue; and United Services Portsmouth F.C., who play in the Wessex League.
Like many port cities on the English south coast, watersports are popular, particularly sailing and yachting. The city's rowing club is located in Southsea at the seafront near the Hovercraft Terminal.
The city hosted first-class cricket at the United Services Recreation Ground in Burnaby Road from 1882, while from 1895 to 2000 County Championship matches were played there. This arrangement came to an end in 2000 when Hampshire moved all their home matches to their newly built Rose Bowl home.
The city is currently home to four hockey clubs: City of Portsmouth Hockey Club who are based at the University's Langstone Campus; Portsmouth & Southsea Hockey Club who are based at Admiral Lord Nelson School; Portsmouth Sharks Hockey Club who are also based at Admiral Lord Nelson School; and United Services Portsmouth Hockey Club who are based at Temeraire on Burnaby Road.
In the British crime survey of 2001, Portsmouth did not have a distinctly different profile from the other cities in its basic command unit profile. However, for that period it did have a large number of sexual assaults and rapes. A BBC News report in May 2006 reported that it was Britain's worst city for sexual assaults and rapes, based on the 2001 British crime survey by the think tank Reform. Police officers responded by saying "Police in Portsmouth have worked closely with partner agencies and the city council to develop a climate where victims feel confident to report rape, which is generally an under-reported crime" and that this could be the reason for the increased number of reported sexual assaults. However, in a subsequent government survey, the number of reported sexual assaults and rapes had decreased by 22.8% bringing the rate below most large UK cities.
The city's post-1992 university, the University of Portsmouth, previously known as Portsmouth Polytechnic, has notable achievements in law, mathematics and biological sciences. Several local colleges also have the power to award HNDs, including Highbury College, the largest, which specialises in vocational education; and Portsmouth College, which offers a mixture of academic and vocational courses in the city. Additionally there are several colleges in the surrounding area, all of which offer a varying range of academic and vocational courses. Post-16 education in Portsmouth, unlike many areas, is carried at these colleges rather than at secondary schools.
In 2007 for the first time in over a decade, no school in Portsmouth was below the government's minimum standards and thus none of them was in special measures; nevertheless many still counted among the worst performing schools in the country.
Before being taken over by ARK Schools and becoming Charter Academy, St Luke's Secondary School was, in terms of GCSE achievement, one of the worst schools in the country. It has improved considerably in recent years. 21% of students achieved five GCSEs at grades A* – C including English and mathematics in 2009. The new academy's aim is that at least 80% will achieve this benchmark by 2014. Charter Academy operates its intake policy as a standard comprehensive taking from its catchment area rather than selecting on religious background. This is the opposite of its nearby rival St Edmund's Catholic School. Both Admiral Lord Nelson School and Miltoncross Academy were built in the 1990s to meet the demand of a growing school age population.
Portsmouth's secondary schools were to undergo a major redevelopment, with three being totally demolished and rebuilt, (St Edmund's, City Boys and King Richard's) and the remainder receiving major renovation work. However this is now unlikely to proceed with the new coalition government's cancellation of the national building programme for schools.
There is also a cohort of independent schools within the city – the oldest, founded in 1732, is the Portsmouth Grammar School which has been rated as one of the top private schools in the country. There is also the Portsmouth High School, a member of the Girls Day School Trust, ranked one of the top private schools for girls in the UK, as well as Mayville High School and St. John's College.
Most of Portsmouth's tourist attractions are related to its naval history. In the last decade Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard has been given a much needed face-lift. Among the attractions are the D-Day museum (which holds the Overlord embroidery) and, in the dockyard, HMS Victory, the remains of Henry VIII's flagship, the Mary Rose (raised from the seabed in 1982), HMS Warrior (Britain's first iron-hulled warship) and the Royal Naval Museum. The last weekend of November each year the Historic Dockyard host the Victorian Festival of Christmas, which is the largest event of its kind in the UK.
Many of the city's former defences now host museums or events. Several of the Victorian era forts on Portsdown Hill are now tourist attractions. Fort Nelson is now home to the Royal Armouries museum. The Tudor era Southsea Castle has a small museum, and much of the seafront defences up to the Round Tower are open to the public. The southern part of the once large Royal Marines Eastney Barracks is now the Royal Marines Museum. There are also many buildings in the city that occasionally host open days particularly those on the D-Day walk which are seen on signs around the city which note sites of particular importance in the city to Operation Overlord.
Portsmouth's long association with the armed forces means it has a large number of war memorials around the city, including several at the Royal Marines Museum, at the dockyards and in Victoria Park. In the city centre, the Guildhall Square Cenotaph displays the names of the fallen, and is guarded by stone sculptures of machine gunners carved by the sculptor:
|“||THIS MEMORIAL WAS ERECTED BY THE PEOPLE OF PORTSMOUTH IN PROUD AND LOVING MEMORY OF THOSE WHO IN THE GLORIOUS MORNING OF THEIR DAYS FOR ENGLAND'S SAKE LOST ALL BUT ENGLAND'S PRAISE. MAY LIGHT PERPETUAL SHINE UPON THEM.||”|
Other tourist attractions include the birthplace of Charles Dickens, the Blue Reef Aquarium (formerly the Sea Life Centre), Cumberland House (a natural history museum), The Royal Marines Museum and Southsea Castle. Southsea's seafront is also home to Clarence Pier Amusement Park and Canoe Lake.
The former HMS Vernon naval shore establishment was redeveloped at the start of the 21st century into the area known as Gunwharf Quays. Gunwharf is a mixed residential and outlet retail destination with 90 outlet stores and 30 restaurants, bars and cafés. Gunwharf Quays plays host to a 14-screen Vue cinema, 26-lane Bowlplex Bowling Alley, Aspex art gallery, Grovenor casino, a Holiday Inn Express and a Tiger Tiger nightclub. The millennium project to build the Spinnaker Tower at Gunwharf Quays was completed in 2005. The tower is 170 m (560 ft) tall and features several viewing platforms giving views across the Solent and Hampshire.
Southsea is a seaside resort and residential area, located in Portsmouth at the southern end of Portsea Island. It originally developed as Victorian seaside resort in the 19th century and grew into a dense residential suburb and large distinct commercial and entertainment area, separate from the main city centre. Southsea originates from Southsea Castle; a fort, located on the seafront and constructed in 1544 to help defend the Solent and approaches to Portsmouth Harbour.
Southsea is dominated by Southsea Common, a large expanse of mown grassland parallel to the shore from Clarence Pier to Southsea Castle. The Common owes its existence to the demands of the military in the early nineteenth century for a clear range of fire. The Common is a popular recreation ground, and also serves as the venue for a number of annual events, including the Southsea Show, Para Spectacular, Military Vehicle Show, Kite Festival and a variety of circuses including the Moscow State Circus and Chinese State Circus. The Common is home to a remarkable collection of mature elm trees, believed to be the oldest and largest surviving in Hampshire, which have escaped Dutch elm disease owing to their isolation. Other plants include the semi-mature Canary Island Date Palms Phoenix canariensis, which are some of the largest in the UK and for the last few years have fruited and produced viable seed, the first time this species of palm has been recorded doing so in the UK.
Places of worship
Portsmouth is among only a few British cities that have two cathedrals; the Anglican cathedral of St Thomas, in Old Portsmouth and the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St John the Evangelist, in Edinburgh Road, Portsea.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portsmouth was founded in 1882 by Pope Leo XIII. Vatican policy in England at the time was to found sees in locations other than those used for Anglican cathedrals and the Ecclesiastical Titles Act forbade a Roman Catholic bishop from bearing the same title as one in the established church. Accordingly, Portsmouth was chosen in preference to Winchester.
In 1927 the Church of England diocese of Winchester was divided and St Thomas's Church became the cathedral for the newly created Diocese of Portsmouth. When St Mary's Church, Portsea, was rebuilt in Victorian times, it had been envisaged that it might be the cathedral if Portsmouth became the seat of a bishop, but St Thomas's was given the honour because of its historic status.
Another historic old Portsmouth church, the Garrison Church, was bombed during the Second World War with the nave kept roofless as a memorial. Of more modern buildings, St Philip's Cosham is cited as a fine example of Ninian Comper's work. There are numerous other active churches and places of worship throughout the city. There are some mosques, a synagogue called Portsmouth and Southsea Hebrew Congregation and a Jewish cemetery in the city.
The city also has three Salvation Army churches: Portsmouth Citadel, Portsmouth North and Southsea.
Transport and communications
- Bus services
Local bus services are provided by First Hampshire & Dorset and Stagecoach, serving the city of Portsmouth and the surroundings of Havant, Leigh Park, Waterlooville, Fareham, Petersfield and long-distance service 700 to Chichester, Worthing and Brighton. Hovertravel and Stagecoach run the Hoverbus from the City Centre to Southsea Hovercraft Terminal and The Hard Interchange. Countryliner run a Saturday service to Midhurst. Xelea Bus operate a Sunday open-top seafront summer service as of 2012; its number is X25. National Express services from Portsmouth run mainly from The Hard Interchange to London, Cornwall, Bradford, Birkenhead and Eastbourne. Many bus services also stop at The Hard Interchange. Other bus services run from the City Centre, from Commercial Road North or Commercial Road South other bus stops are on Station Street, Isambard Brunell Road and Edinbrough road. A new bus station has been proposed next to Portsmouth & Southsea Station, replacing Commercial Road South bus stops and new bus stops and taxi ranks on Andrew Bell Street are to replace the Commercial Road North bus stops when the Northern Quarter Development is built.
- Light rapid transit and monorail
There is an ongoing debate on the development of public transport structure, with monorails and light rail both being considered. A light rail link to Gosport has been authorised but is unlikely to go ahead following the refusal of funding by the Department for Transport in November 2005. In April 2011, an article appeared in The News suggesting a new scheme could be in the offering by running a light rapid transit system over the line to Southampton via Fareham Bursuldon and Sholimg replacing the existing heavy rail services. Two of the operators FGR and Southern are in the process of rerouting their Southampton services beyond Fareham to serve Eastleigh and Southampton Airport Parkway leaving just the SWT hourly service on the current route The monorail scheme is unlikely to proceed following the withdrawal of official support for the proposal by Portsmouth City Council, after the development's promoters failed to progress the scheme to agreed timetables.
There are three main road links to the mainland, signposted as "Out of City" from the City Centre. These are the M275, A3 (London Road) and A2030 (Eastern Road). The M27 has a junction connecting to the M275 into Portsmouth. The A27 has a westbound exit onto the A3 (London Road) and a junction onto the A2030 (Eastern Road). The A3(M) road is a short section of motorway which runs from Bedhampton north to Horndean. There is a fourth link out of the city for cycles and motor-cycles, linking Hilsea and Cosham via Peronne Road with a bridge crossing the A27.
The city has several mainline railway stations, on two different direct South West Trains routes to London Waterloo, via Guildford and via Basingstoke. There is also a South West Trains stopping service to Southampton Central (providing connections to Crosscountry services to Birmingham and Manchester), and a service by First Great Western to Cardiff Central via Southampton, Salisbury, Bath and Bristol. Southern also offer services to Brighton, Gatwick Airport, Croydon and London Victoria.
Portsmouth Harbour has passenger / motorbike ferry links to Gosport and the Isle of Wight from the Portsmouth International Port. A car ferry service to the Isle of Wight operated by Wightlink is nearby. Britain's longest-standing commercial hovercraft service, begun in the 1960s, still runs (for foot passengers) from near Clarence Pier to Ryde, Isle of Wight, operated by Hovertravel.
Portsmouth Continental Ferry Port has links to Caen, Cherbourg-Octeville, St Malo and Le Havre in France, and Santander, Cantabria, and Bilbao, Spain and the Channel Islands. Ferry services from the port are operated by Brittany Ferries, Condor Ferries and LD Lines. On 18 May 2006, Acciona Trasmediterranea started a service to Bilbao in competition with P&O's then existing service. This service got off to a bad start when the ferry Fortuny was detained in Portsmouth by the MCA for numerous safety breaches. The faults were quickly corrected by Acciona and the service took its first passengers from Portsmouth on 25 May 2006. During 2007, AT Ferries withdrew the Bilbao service at short notice, citing the need to deploy the Fortuny elsewhere. P&O Ferries ceased their service to Bilbao on 27 September 2010. The port is the second-busiest ferry port in the UK after Dover, handling around three million passengers a year, and has direct access to the M275.
The nearest airport is Southampton, situated in the Borough of Eastleigh, which is approximately 20–30 minutes away by motorway, with an indirect South West Trains rail connection requiring a change at Southampton Central or Eastleigh.
Heathrow and Gatwick are both about 60–90 minutes away by motorway. Gatwick is directly linked by Southern services to London Victoria, while Heathrow is linked by coach to Woking, which is on both rail lines to London Waterloo, or by tube to either Victoria or Waterloo. Heathrow is directly linked to Portsmouth by National Express coaches.
Portsmouth uses the telephone area code 023 in conjunction with eight-digit local numbers. Local numbers usually begin with '9', with numbers beginning '92' being the most common. As Southampton shares the same 023 area code, landline calls between the two cities can be made using just the eight-digit local number, despite their not being adjacent.
Prior to April 2000, Portsmouth used the area code 01705 with six-digit local numbers. The 01705 area code itself replaced the older 0705 code in 1995.
Portsmouth will help build and be the home port of the two new Royal Navy aircraft carriers ordered in 2008, HMS Queen Elizabeth and HMS Prince of Wales. This has secured the base future for the next 40 years and will revitalise shipbuilding in the city.
Development at Gunwharf Quays continued until 2007 with the completion of the 29-storey 'No. 1 Gunwharf Quays' residential tower (nicknamed 'Lipstick Tower'). The development of the former Whitbread Brewery site included the construction of a 22-storey tower known as the Admiralty Quarter Tower, the tallest in a complex of mostly low-rise residential buildings. A new 25-storey tower named 'Number One Portsmouth', was made public at the end of October 2008, which has been proposed at a height of 100 m (330 ft), or 82m without the spire, and will stand opposite Portsmouth & Southsea Station on Surrey Street. As of August 2009, internal demolition has started on the building that currently occupies the site. A new student accommodation tower, nicknamed 'The Blade' has started construction on the site of the old Victoria swimming baths on Anglesea Road, on the edge of Victoria Park. The 33-storey tower will house 600 University of Portsmouth students, and will stand at 101m, becoming Portsmouth's second tallest structure after the Spinnaker Tower.
Northern Quarter redevelopment
Portsmouth's regeneration is being continued in the city centre with the demolition of the Tricorn Centre, a car park and shopping centre and housing development and a prominent but unpopular example of Brutalist architecture. The site was due to be transformed by 2010 to include shops, cafés and restaurants, a four-star 150-bed hotel, 200 residential apartments, and a 2,300-space car park. However after numerous delays and having not begun construction at the time originally proposed, it will likely see a completion date after 2015.
Portsmouth is in the midst of a continuing housing boom with many former commercial, industrial and military sites being converted into residential properties particularly large blocks of flats, leading to an increasing population. If demand upon services such as water and transport infrastructure continues to increase at the current rate demand will surpass maximum capacity in under 5 years.
Portsmouth F.C. Stadium plans
In April 2007 Portsmouth F.C. announced plans to move away from Fratton Park, their home for 109 years, to a new stadium situated on a piece of reclaimed land on The Hard beside the Historic Dockyard. The £600 million mixed use development, designed by world-renowned architects Herzog & de Meuron, would also include 1,500 harbourside apartments as well as shops and offices. The scheme has attracted considerable criticism due to its huge size and location. It also involves moving HMS Warrior from her current permanent mooring. The HMS Warrior trust is refusing to move. In Autumn 2007 Portsmouth's local paper 'The News' published that the plans had been turned down as the supercarriers to be situated in Portsmouth dockyard sight lines would be blocked.
In answer to the Navy's objections regarding the supercarriers, Portsmouth FC have planned a similar stadium in Horsea Island near Port Solent. If this plan ever goes ahead, it will involve building a 36,000 seat stadium and around 1,500 apartments as single standing structures, not around the stadium as had been previously proposed. Yet the new plan also involves improving and saving land for the Royal Navy's diver training centre by the proposed site and buying a fair amount of land from the UK Ministry of Defence. A new £7 million railway station is to be built at Paulsgrove in Racecourse Lane near the site where there was originally a station. Along with these new roads towards the stadium, it has been proposed to build a new bridge from Tipner alongside the motorway for people walking to the stadium. Park and Ride schemes would also be introduced. The development would have a link road to the Port Solent area which would neighbour the new stadium.
If the new proposals are accepted, the club's previous stadium site at Fratton Park would also be redeveloped once the new stadium is completed. Make Architects has been commissioned to draw up designs for 750 new apartments on the site. Due to the overall economic climate and other factors including relegation of the club, plans are currently on hold.
Notable people who either hail from Portsmouth or who have lived in the city include: famous authors Charles Dickens – famous for such works as Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and the Pickwick Papers was born in Portsmouth, Arthur Conan Doyle, Author of the Sherlock Holmes Novels. Sir Walter Besant, a novelist and historian was born in Portsmouth, Christopher Hitchens author, journalist and literary critic was born in Portsmouth, Rudyard Kipling, poet and author of the Jungle Book, Michelle Magorian, author of Goodnight Mr Tom and H. G. Wells author, lived in Portsmouth during the 1880s. and actresses and actors Emma Barton (who appeared as Honey Mitchell in EastEnders), Jack Edwards-Eddie Willis, (West End Actor) Born and raised in Wymering, Geeta Basra, Bollywood Actress born and raised in Portsmouth., Stephen Marcus, actor, born in Portsmouth, Marcus Patric, actor on Hollyoaks, was born in Portsmouth, Peter Sellers, comedian, actor, and performer was born in Southsea, Nicola Duffett, actress, best known for her role on Family Affairs and Alison Owen, film director, and her son Alfie Owen-Allen, actor, who were both born in Portsmouth. Ian Darke, football and boxing commentator currently working for BT Sport and previously one of Sky Sports' 'Big Four' football commentators, was born in Portsmouth. As well as music writer for the popular British television show "Doctor Who" Murray Gold. William Swinden Barber, a Victorian Arts and Crafts and Gothic Revival architect, lived out his retirement in Southsea from 1898 to 1908.
Sir Barry Cunliffe CBE, one of Britain's leading archaeologists and Emeritus Professor of European Archaeology at Oxford University, grew up in Portsmouth and attended Portsmouth Northern Grammar School (now the Mayfield School).
Sir John Armitt, CBE, FREng the Chairman of the London 2012 Olympic Delivery Authority, grew up in Portsmouth and attended Portsmouth Northern Grammar School. He graduated in Civil Engineering from the Portsmouth College of Technology in 1966.
Other notable people include Sir Isambard Kingdom Brunel Famous Engineer of the Industrial Revolution, was born in Portsmouth., Sir Francis Austen (brother of Jane Austen) briefly lived in the area, James Callaghan (British prime minister 1976–1979) was born in Portsmouth, John Pounds the founder of the Ragged school, which provide free education to working class children, lived in Portsmouth and replica of his workshop and first school exists in Old Portsmouth, Hertha Ayrton, a scientist and Suffragette was born in Portsea. Jonathan Downes, cryptozoologist is known for living in Portsmouth, William Tucker, trader in human heads, Otago settler, New Zealand's first art dealer was born in Portsmouth, David Wells, medium and astrologer, Helen Duncan, last woman imprisoned under the 1735 Witchcraft Act in the UK was arrested in Portsmouth and Arnold Schwarzenegger, lived in Portsmouth for a short time.
Famous musicians and songwriters include Simon Heartfield, Techno musician, Ian Hicks, aka hardcore artist DJ Hixxy, electronic music artist Christopher Reeves, better known as The Gasman, Roger Hodgson of Supertramp was born in Portsmouth, Brian Howe, vocalist of Bad Company, was born in Portsmouth, Mick Jones (guitarist) founder of Foreigner, was born in Portsmouth, Joe Jackson, musician and singer–songwriter born in Gosport, Paul Jones, vocalist of Manfred Mann, Dillie Keane, songwriter, entertainer, founder of the popular comedy trio Fascinating Aida, was born in Southsea and Roland Orzabal musician (Tears for Fears), Bessie Cursons, 14-year-old musical theatre performer, who appeared on Britain's Got Talent in 2007 came from Portchester, Nevil Shute, also known as Nevil Shute Norway, novelist and aeronautical engineer and Ben Falinski, singer in British rock band Ivyrise was born and raised in Portsmouth, Brothers Phil, Ray and Derek Shulman although not born in Portsmouth, grew up there and this is where they transformed for Simon Dupree and the Big Sound to the Gentle Giants.
Notable people famous in sports known for being born in Portsmouth such as Michael East, a Commonwealth Games gold medal winning athlete, Richard Harwood cellist, was born in Portsmouth, Rob Hayles, cyclist and Olympic Games medal winner, Tony Oakey, Former British light-heavyweight boxing champion, Alan Pascoe, Olympic medallist, was born in Portsmouth, Sir Alec Rose, famous single-handed yachtsman, Katy Sexton, former world champion swimmer, Roger Black (Olympic medallist) was also born in Portsmouth and attended the Portsmouth Grammar School, Robert Styles, an FA Premier League Referee,Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who is currently playing for Arsenal F.C was born and lived in Portsmouth. Sir Arthur Young, policeman and police reformer was born in the area. Also famous people notable in the media are known for coming from Portsmouth such as Kate Edmondson, presenter on MTV and TMF, Matt Edmondson, Radio 1 and Channel 4 presenter, Kim Woodburn of How Clean is Your House? was born in Portsmouth.
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