Councillors rescued from stench of old town hall

Portsmouth Town Hall 1906  Portsmouth town hall in all its Edwardian glory in 1906  Postcard dated April 17th 1906 showing Town Hall before changing to Guildhall.
Portsmouth Town Hall 1906 Portsmouth town hall in all its Edwardian glory in 1906 Postcard dated April 17th 1906 showing Town Hall before changing to Guildhall.
Super parents Cora and Gerry Watson

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Portsmouth’s magnificent town hall was a few months short of its 16th birthday when this postcard was sent on April 17, 1906.

The picture shows the heart of Portsmouth in all its Edwardian glory with trams crossing Commercial Road in front of the awe-inspiring building beating at the centre of the town’s civic heart.

The town hall was opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales (later Edward VII and Queen Alexandra) on August 9, 1890.

It replaced the old town hall in High Street, Old Portsmouth, which had numerous problems. These included noise from traffic in the street which was so great that councillors complained they could not hear proceedings.

Reports also suggest that the stench from the street permeated the council chamber which became almost unusable.

A suitable site for the new town hall was found at Landport, at what had formerly been the residence of Sir Thomas Ridge, but was at that time the official residence of the Commander of Artillery. The building was designed in the neo-classical style by architect William Hill, who had designed Bolton’s town hall.

On April 21, 1926, it was announced that Portsmouth would be raised to the status of a city and the town hall was renamed the Guildhall.

Both these postcards were sent to me by Terry Dominy and his second, dated September 5, 1907, shows HMS Victory still afloat in Portsmouth harbour and dressed overall.

In the background is what looks like the royal yacht, Victoria and Albert III.