The army barracks that became a housing estate

The sprawling Hilsea Barracks about 1923
The sprawling Hilsea Barracks about 1923
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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Until relatively recently, Portsmouth had been a major army base as well as the home of the Royal Navy.

It’s hard to believe today that one of the city’s main barracks was at Hilsea, now partially covered by the Gatcombe Park housing estate.

Military Tournament winners at Hilsea Barracks in 1902

Military Tournament winners at Hilsea Barracks in 1902

Sections of the site’s imposing walls still remain.

This aerial picture was taken about 1923. The main entrance was on London Road (bottom) while Copnor Road (top) defined its eastern boundary.

In 1921 the Royal Field Artillery left the barracks and it became the principal Ordnance Depot.

The site was self-contained and included regimental institutes, schools, a church and a gymnasium.

Hilsea Barracks about 1950

Hilsea Barracks about 1950

The Ministry of Defence declared it surplus to requirements in 1965.

The horsemen pictured were men of the 102nd Battalion of the Royal Field Artillery. They had just won the horse jumping competition at the annual Military Tournament staged in London.

Like the Royal Tournament which followed, it was a popular show aimed as promoting recruitment to the different branches of the armed forces.

In the background is a rare view of farmland and farm buildings at a rural-looking Hilsea.

The Hallford lorry, pictured at the barracks in about 1950, was used to transport munitions during the First World War.

It used to take them from the factories to ports and also travelled to France and Belgium to carry shells to men who were fighting at the front.