Portsmouth in old picture postcards

Portsmouth in old picture postcards

:   Dr. D. Francis
:   Hampshire
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-3117-9
:   160
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Portsmouth in old picture postcards'

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The Domesday Book mentions three manors on Portsea Island in 1086, namely Buckland, Copnor and Froddington (Fratton). Any associated habitation would have been very small, and the first substantial permanent settlement (in the south-west corner of the island) occurred in the last quarter of the twelfth century. The importance of the harbour was apparent from earliest times, but it was not until the early eighteenth century th at development took place beyend what is now known as Old Portsmouth, on to Portsmouth Common. Portsea, as this new suburb came to be called officially in 1792, also grew rapidly and housing for workers in the ever expanding doekyard spread northwards and eastwards. Southsea had its beginnings in the early nineteenth century, first as an area where the better off could find more space than in the fortification-subscribed limits of Portsmouth and Portsea, and later as a sea-side resort. North End originally developed as a rural retreat for the more wealthy, but, by the early years of this century, most of Portsea Island was built on, apart from its northern and eastern extrernities. The borough and latterly city boundaries extended at various times to meet this expansion until they took in parts of the mainland as well.

The bombs of the Second Wor1d War made the biggest changes in the appearance of Portsmouth. The

demolition of the fortifications around 1870, some slum clearance in the 1930s, and post-war redevelopment and road construction have also contributed. This little book does not purport to tell the complete physical history of the city, but it is hoped that the detail in the text will make it more than simply an uncritical wallow in nostalgia.

The definitive history of Portsmouth has yet to be written, and none of the attempts at doing so at any length is now in print. The interested reader is referred to: B. Masters, The growth of Portsmouth, (3rd edition revised by N. Yates), Portsmouth City Records Office, 1979, which provides a brief, but well written and reliable, introduetion.

Portsmouth City Council is a major publisher in local history . lts 'Portsmouth Records Series' is a major contribution to scholarship, consisting of documents and bibliographies edited to the highest academie standard. The inexpensive series of 'Portsmouth Papers' are well researched, well illustrated and well produced booklets on specific topics such as railways, theatres, public houses and churches, and also more discursive aspects of Portsmouth's history . It also keeps in print the 'Records of the Corporation' series, year by year accounts of the major civic events from 1835 until 1965, and from 1966 to 1974 on a thematic arrangement.

The complete bibliography of Portsmouth will number many hundreds of items, and the few listed below are simply those which have been drawn on most heavily in compiling this book. The work done by their authors is acknowledged with thanks.

A. Corney: Fortifications in Old Portsmouth - a guide. Portsmouth City Museums, 1965.

E. Course: Portsmouth railways. (Portsmouth Papers no. 6). Portsmouth City Council, 1969.

W. Curtis: Southsea: its story. Bay Tree Publishing Co., 1978.

S.E. Harrison: The Tramways of Portsmouth. Light Railway Transport League, revised edition, 1963.

M. Hoad: The crigins of Portsmouth. pp. 1-30 in 'Hampshire Studies', Portsmouth City Records Office, 1981.

R. Hubbuck: Portsea Island churches. (Portsmouth Papers no. 8). Portsmouth City Council, revised edition, 1976.

R.C. Riley: The growth of Southsea as a naval satellite and Victorian resort. (Portsmouth Papers no. 16). Portsmouth City Council, 1972.

Mr. L. Bern must also be acknowledged for invaluable work on cinemas, road transport, and St. Mark's Church.

Our grateful thanks are also due to MI. J. Thorn, MI. A. King and the staff of the Portsmouth District

Central Library and to Miss S. Peacock and the staff of the Portsmouth City Records Office for their unfailingly patient help and advice; thanks to them, too, for permission to reproduce copyright material; similarly to The News, Portsmouth, Messrs. Lens of Sutton, Portsmouth City Council, Portsmouth City Museums, Peter Relf', and Bill Buckley and Pru Read of Point Collectors' Centre, Broad Street; illustrations which are acknowledged to these individuals or bodies remain their copyright; thanks also to MI. R. Allen, Mrs. P. Barker, MI. D. Jordan, Mr. D. Naylor, Mrs. B. Reeves, Mr. G.J. Rogers, Mrs. F.M. Savage and Mr. M. Southcott for making material available, and to Roger Macdonald, Angela Mitton and Dr. James Thomas for various help and encouragement.

The two oldest parts of our city, Old Portsmouth and Port se a, are covered first in this book. Southsea and Landport/Fratton grew roughly in parallel during the nineteenth century and, arbitrarily, the former is treated next, with Milton and Copnor added. Landport and Fratton give way to North End and Hilsea as we move northwards up and off Portsea Island. After a few scenes of mainland Portsmouth in the past, we conclude with a look at some bygone forms of public transport.


The Paristi Church. -

1. In spite of claims for Henry land Richard I as founders ofPortsmouth, the honour should really go to John de Gisors, who by the 1170s owned a lot of land on Portsea Island. Reputedly a Norman shipowner, he was attracted by the natural advantages of the Camber as a harbour and set about founding a borough in the area in or about 1180. He provided the land for a church, in an area known as Sudwede. The church, consecrated in 1185, was the first in England to be dedicated to St. Thomas à Beckett. It was a daughter church of St. Mary's, Portsea, until 1320, and served simply as a parish church until 1927, when it became the cathedral of the new Anglican diocese of Portsmouth. It has since been considerably enlarged.

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2. The original church had a low tower between the transepts. This and the nave were seriously damaged in the civil war. On 3rd September 1642, Roundhead forces in Gosport fired on the tower because it was being used as a look-out by the still royalist garrison. The church was repaired by 1693 with a new tower at the west end. This view shows some of the interior before the extensions of 1927·1939. The nave became the choir of the new cathedral. The gallery was built in 1708 and extended all round the transepts by 1750. It was reduced in size in 1904, and again, to its present position, in 1938.

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3. This view of the oldest part of Portsmouth from around the turn of the century shows how crowded and cluttered it must have been, with barracks (visible bottom left) jostling with the premises of fishermen, stevedores and others who made their living from the sea, houses, pubs (there were nearly fifty in the eighteenth century), pawn-shops and numerous places of entertainment (to put it politely) for the soldiers and sailors who thronged the area. This district used to be known as Spiee Island, apparently from the bad smell of the mud in the Camber at low tide - although other explanations have been suggested!

Tho C ?.? mb or, o: Ismouth, showing St, Thornas's Church

4. It was the Camber's potential as a haven that most attracted John de Gisors, and indeed Richard I when he gave Portsmouth its first charter in 1194. The first buildings were round its south and east sides. The Camber was formerly much wider than it is today, and there was a ford at low tide between Smock Alley, (now East Street), to the Town Quay on the other side. The Camber has long been a commercial port. In 1842-43, improvements were made; the inner Camber was deepened, and a swing bridge provided. There were more irnprovements in 1874, and the swing bridge was replaced by that illustrated in 1906. This lasted untill927.

5. Portsmouth's ancient Camber docks in 1915 showed imagination and great enterprise when Messrs. Fraser and White installed massive handling and storage plant to facilitate the off-loading of seaborne coal. The storage structure of re-inforced concrete, involving many innovative building methods, was 240 feet long by 97 feet wide and could contain 15,000 tons of coal.

6. The Garrison Church is a descendant of the chapel of the Domus Dei hospital founded about 1212 by Peter de Rupibus, Bishop of Winchester. The hospital was dedicated to Saint Nicholas, the chapel to Saint John the Baptist. As a monastery, it was dissolved in 1540, but as late as 1588 the hospital admitted seamen injured in the action against the Spanish Armada. It was subsequently extended into a house for the Governor of Portsmouth, and it was there (not, as is sometimes stated, in the church) that Charles II married Catherine of Braganza in 1662. In the 1860s the church was restored to serve the garrison, and many a spectacular parade took place, Bombed on 10th January 1941, it now stands roofless, an ancient monument.

7. Many of the fumishings and fittings of the church were memorials. 23 memorial windows, the lectern, (a memorial to Queen Victoria), the pulpit and many benehes in the nave were destroyed. Fortunately, memorial stalls to twelve chaplains who died in the Crimea campaign were saved, King George III presented a prayer book to the church in 1770, Queen Victoria gave six service books in 1875, and each succeeding monarch also donated books for devotional use. These were all removed for safe keeping at the outbreak of the war and so survived the blitz.

8. England's links with Normandy in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries optimised the advantages of the town as a port. This in turn made it an attractive point of attack from France in time of war and in 1338, 1369, 1377 and possibly 1380 the town was sacked. This led to it being fortified, increasingly extensively, so by 1687 it was surrounded by a complicated series of walls, moats, bastions and ramp arts. The main entrance was the Landport Gate, serving the road to London. The gate shown here was built in 1760. It gave on to Warblington Street, not High Street, as the diverted road now does, perhaps to leave the tewn's principal road defensible even if the gate itself were taken. It is the on1y gate surviving in its original position.

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