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

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

Friday, 5th October 2018, 5:03 pm
Updated Saturday, 6th October 2018, 4:34 am
The giant Ultrasaurus erected on Southsea Common. Picture: Steve Reid

The popular sculpture was destroyed eight years ago this week, so we've had a look back at when Southsea's seafront had its own scary stranger:

Luna Park

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.

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The giant Ultrasaurus erected on Southsea Common. Picture: Steve Reid

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

Interestingly, the dinosaur that the sculpture represents never existed '“ it was thought to be the largest dinosaur until scientists realised the bones discovered were from two different species.

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.

The dinosaur was destroyed eight years ago this week. Picture: Scott Clarke

'˜It is different'

For its opening hundreds of local residents gathered around the underbelly of the dinosaur to get a better look.

An editorial by The News said: '˜The reason the dinosaur works is that it is different '“ a temporary feature to complement the permanent attractions along the seafront.

'˜To a large degree, this one landed in Portsmouth's lap, and such prizes are not always easy to come by. But we do hope that it spurs the city council into investigating other possibilities for temporary attractions along the seafront to enhance what is one of Britain's most glorious seascapes.'

The remainders of the dinosaur on Southsea Common being removed. Picture: Sarah Standing

Arson or an accident?

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

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'˜Dinosaur is an invaluable addition to our seafront'

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

The remains of the dinosaur were cleared away from the site a few days later.

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

Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson said he was pleased that no-one from the city was to blame for the dinosaur's demise.

What are your memories of the dinosaur? Let us know by emailing [email protected] or commenting on our Facebook page.