The history of Portsmouth in 50 of its most eye-catching buildings

The former Palace Cinema, now the Astoria  nightclub in Guildhall Walk.  It was designed by local architect AE Cogswell and, given that he apparently served with the Artists Rifles in the Indian Army during the First World War, it has a wonderful, eclectic and oriental style, like a miniature Mogul palace.
The former Palace Cinema, now the Astoria nightclub in Guildhall Walk. It was designed by local architect AE Cogswell and, given that he apparently served with the Artists Rifles in the Indian Army during the First World War, it has a wonderful, eclectic and oriental style, like a miniature Mogul palace.
Craig David

Craig David was Born To Do It at Mayflower Theatre

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The 20th century was not kind to Portsmouth.

Much of the historic High Street, once said to be one of the most attractive in the country, was destroyed during the Second World War and sadly few buildings survived.

The clapboard building known as Quebec House in Bath Square, Old Portsmouth, was built by public subscription in 1754 as a sea-bathing establishment.  									          All pictures: Garth Groombridge

The clapboard building known as Quebec House in Bath Square, Old Portsmouth, was built by public subscription in 1754 as a sea-bathing establishment. All pictures: Garth Groombridge

As elsewhere, the post-war architecture was abysmal and bland.German bombs and post-war town planning transformed much of the heart of 19th century Old Portsmouth and Landport.

Although many interesting and historic buildings were lost, Southsea still retains an interesting mixture of late-Regency and Edwardian seaside resort: with elegant back streets of large 19th century middle-class houses, its own secluded shopping area, but leading into the more working-class districts around Albert Road and Fratton.

However, while there is little from before the 15th century, there are many good examples of the sheer variety of English architecturural styles, changing commercial fortunes and social history to be seen since then.

In his book Portsmouth In 50 Buildings (Amberley £14.99) Garth Groombridge explores Portsmouth’s rich history through some of its best architectural treasures.

As Portsea Islands population grew throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, so too did the apparent urgent need for spiritual and religious salavation.
Numerous churches appeared at this time and many have disappeared again, destroyed in the Second World War, deconsecrated and demolished by an indifferent city council, or  perhaps the lucky few  able to survive in a new role.
One of these is the Mission Chapel of St Patrick in Eastfield Road, Southsea, off Winter Road. It ceased to be a church in 1992 and has now been converted into homes.

As Portsea Islands population grew throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, so too did the apparent urgent need for spiritual and religious salavation. Numerous churches appeared at this time and many have disappeared again, destroyed in the Second World War, deconsecrated and demolished by an indifferent city council, or  perhaps the lucky few  able to survive in a new role. One of these is the Mission Chapel of St Patrick in Eastfield Road, Southsea, off Winter Road. It ceased to be a church in 1992 and has now been converted into homes.

A contemporary of The Seagull in Old Portsmouth, is the Clock Tower at the junction of Great Southsea Street and Castle Road. 
For 108 years, until 2015, it was the home of antiques dealers A Fleming (Southsea) Ltd.
Apparently this site was bought by Gales Brewery in 1902 and the building constructed about 1903 by architect WJ Walmsley. The builder was James Cockerill, of Victoria Road, Southsea.
In lieu of clock numerals are the letters ERNEST SMITH, the name of the original antiques dealer who first leased the property until his death in 1922.

A contemporary of The Seagull in Old Portsmouth, is the Clock Tower at the junction of Great Southsea Street and Castle Road. For 108 years, until 2015, it was the home of antiques dealers A Fleming (Southsea) Ltd. Apparently this site was bought by Gales Brewery in 1902 and the building constructed about 1903 by architect WJ Walmsley. The builder was James Cockerill, of Victoria Road, Southsea. In lieu of clock numerals are the letters ERNEST SMITH, the name of the original antiques dealer who first leased the property until his death in 1922.