From Serbia to Southsea: Remember when Portsmouth had its own dinosaur sculpture?

The dinosaur on Southsea Common - 

Picture: Malcolm Wells
The dinosaur on Southsea Common - Picture: Malcolm Wells
Looking down London Road circa 1903. The Horndean Light Railway tracks are on the right.  Picture: Barry Cox Collection

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Remember when Portsmouth had its own dinosaur sculpture on its seafront?

Following the news that the Natural History Museum’s Dippy the Diplodocus skeleton replica is to go on display on the south coast in 2018, we’ve had a look back at when Southsea’s seafront had its own scary stranger:

In July 2010 a new 53ft high dinosaur was unveiled on Southsea Common, with hundreds of people turning up for the opening to mingle underneath the giant structure.

The dinosaur was meant to be a life-size ultrasaurus, with a steel skeleton and hard polyester shell.

It took three months to make in a Serbian car factory, and had to be transported in six pieces 2,000 miles by ship and lorry from Serbia to Southsea.

Its makers hoped to leave it on the Common until October, where it would travel around the UK to places including Cardiff and Colchester.

So there was shock when residents woke up on October 1 to find a fire had destroyed their sculpture.

Firefighters were called in the middle of the night, and suggested that the cause could have been arson.

Investigators later said that the blaze was most likely an accident caused by an electrical fault.

What are your memories of the dinosaur? Let us know by emailing newsdesk@thenews.co.uk or commenting on our Facebook page.