Portsmouth was: ‘one huge cesspool’

Demolition of White's Row, Portsea, in 1910.
Demolition of White's Row, Portsea, in 1910.
Opening of the new school by the home secretary in October 1927. The headmaster, Canon Barton, is on the lowest step, on the left. Dorothea Barton is possibly there, somewhere. (PGS Archive)

NOSTALGIA: A red bluestocking at Portsmouth Grammar School

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Demolition of White’s Row, Portsea, in 1910.

In 1850 government inspector Robert Rawlinson described Portsmouth as ‘one huge cesspool’, adding: ‘Soldiers’ wives and families inhabit one of the most wretched, crowded and unhealthy quarters of the town. The usual haunts of the sailor when on shore are dens so vile...language cannot describe them.’