Portsmouth Guildhall

Portsmouth Guildhall

Portsmouth Guildhall

Portsmouth’s original Town Hall was located in the heart of the old town, in the High Street. However, with the growth of the Town in importance and size, a new Town Hall was urgently required towards the end of the Nineteenth Century.

Land was acquired from the War Department, partly from demolished fortifications. Its official opening was in 1890. Prior to the second world war busses and trams ran along the road in front, and the immediate area was made up of shops, and cafes, such as the Verrechias Ice Cream Parlour.

Portsmouth’s Guildhall bears a stark resemblance to that of Bolton. This is probably down to the fact that the same architect designed both buildings: Bolton’s Town Hall looks remarkably like a proptotype for that of Portsmouth, with the same colonnaded frontage and passant Lions.

Initially known as the Town Hall, in 1926 when Portsmouth was given the status of a city it was renamed as the Guildhall. Unlike modern times, when the Guildhall is the civic showpiece and most departments are based in the civic offices opposite, a mnuch smaller council meant that most workers were based in the Guildhall.

In January 1941, during a particularly heavy air raid, an incendiary bomb found its way into a ventilation shaft and before firefighters could deal with it, the whole building was ablaze. Still on fire the next day, by the time the flames were dampened the Guildhall was a smouldering shell. Happily, The reinforced safe in the basement was found to have kept many historic and priceless items intact.

Reconstruction could not begin for many years, and the building stood empty. When it was finally rebuilt, the Guildhall was placed at the centre of a new, pedestrianised Square, with the civic offices creating an arena effect to the north and east, and Guildhall Walk and the Central Library to the south. A perfect location for big oustide events, the only dampener is probably that a City Museum was not located nearby when the opportunity existed. When being rebuilt one councillor pressed the Architect to rebuild the dome on top of the tower. The architect, thankfully, refused – the original dome does appear to have been ‘top-heavy’.

The main auditorium seats 2,200 people, and has seen all manner of acts, from Motorhead to the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. It is also the venue for the annual mayormaking ceremony, as well as the University of Portsmouth’s Graduation ceremonies. The Lord Mayor and Lady Mayoress both have grand parlours in the Guildhall for entertaining guests, as well as a Banqueting Room. There is a very nice restaurant on the Ground Floor, the Harlequin. In the Council Chambers the City Council meets to discuss and debate business. The walls of the Chamber are panelled with the names of previous Mayors and Lord Mayor’s of Portsmouth.

The first floor reception room – the Star Chamber – is a real hidden gem. With the theme “Heaven’s Light Our Guide”, the huge mural which covers the north wall depicts many historical scenes of Portsmouth’s past and is made of glass and mirrors. In the Crystal Constellations the 12 signs of the Zodiac can be seen.

Happily, earlier this year the Bells were restored after years of inactivity, and once again the famous Pompey Chimes can be heard all around the city centre.

As someone who has worked in an office in the Guildhall, it really is a unique building. It is definitely showing its age and in need of a serious overhaul. In addition, it would benefit from more positive management who might like to book bigger and more interesting acts, and make more use of the building and what it offers.

However, compare it to Southampton Guildhall, from inside and outside, and there really is no contest. From the grand steps, the lions, and Neptune atop the Columns, it encapsulates the spirit of Portsmouth.


Filed under Architecture, Local History, out and about

40 responses to “Portsmouth Guildhall

  1. When I initially commented I clicked tthe “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbbox and now each time a comment is added I get severfal emails
    with the samne comment. Is there any way you can remove people from
    that service? Thank you!

  2. I have learn a few just right stuff here.
    Definitely value bookmarking forr revisiting. I surprise how a lot effort you set to create onee
    of these fantastic informative site.

  3. I’ve observed in the world the present moment, video games will be the latest fad with kids of
    all ages. Occasionally it may be out of the question to drag your family away from the
    games. If you want the very best of both worlds,
    there are various educational video games for kids.
    Thanks for your post.

  4. Excellent post. I usrd to bbe checking constantly
    this blog and I’m inspired! Very useful information specially the closing
    section 🙂 I handle such information much. I used to be
    looking for this particular info for a long time. Thanks aand
    best of luck.

  5. Thhis ԝebsite was…how ԁօ I say іt? Relevant!!
    Finally I haave fߋսnd something that Һelped me.

    Appreciate it!

  6. you are truly a just right webmaster. The web
    site loading velocity is incredible. It kind of feels that you are doing any unique trick.
    In addition, The contents are masterpiece.
    you have performed a great activity on this topic!

  7. I went with them to think about the new telephones with a
    focus of two new types. Some of the other people that I’ve used do not.
    You can also copy picture information from your pc to the Iphone.

  8. If you have not viewed it yet, be certain you download
    it. If you can’t wait to see-the show for another two weeks, then you have to check out the
    movie. Different movies then become rather repetitive.

  9. I know using the telephone when driving is not suggested,
    but who doesn’t? Though there are numerous to choose from but frequently
    1 may get puzzled which one is appropriate. At first that does not audio very special, does it?

  10. You’ll be able to impress your pals and relatives. After obtaining the massive
    popularity of this series, Samsung has standout the queue of
    best mobiles. Fortunately, this comedy survived past a first and second year.

  11. You-can’t fight about anything if you don’t let
    your voice be heard. You may also change to various stereo while driving or flying.
    Grand Theft Auto is really a game that’s synonymous with enjoyment and
    both dispute.

  12. You then could have enough money to flee to the movies.
    When I first bought a pedometer, I was exercising everyday.
    Aimee explained what had happened and called up Jaime.

  13. You can also use a website like FlipSwap to promote your
    used Iphone. The downloads are extremely
    quick with no restrictions. This situation constructe from easy, handled silicone that
    resists grime and stains.

  14. In the Apple Store, the shipping and delivery time for the Iphone five is now two to 3 weeks.
    You can do this more than 3G as well, but it is recommended to use Wi-Fi.
    This Apple iphone case is priced at $29.95.

  15. Hello, I read your new stuff regularly. Your writing style is witty, keep it up!

  16. Very good write-up. I absolutely love this site. Stick with

  17. It is not my first time to pay a quick visit this web site, i am browsing this web page dailly and obtain fastidious information from here

  18. I am really loving the theme/design of your weblog.

    Do you ever run into any internet browser compatibility issues?

    A small number of my blog readers have complained about my blog not working correctly in Explorer
    but looks great in Safari. Do you have any tips to help fix this issue?

  19. Exceptional post but I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this subject?
    I’d be very grateful if you could elaborate a little bit further.

    Bless you!

  20. Hey I am so happy I found your site, I really found you by error, while I
    was browsing on Aol for something else, Anyways
    I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a tremendous post and a all round exciting blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through it all at the moment but I have saved it and also included your RSS feeds, so
    when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more,
    Please do keep up the fantastic work.

  21. This is the right website for everyone who hopes
    to understand this topic. You understand so much its almost tough to
    argue with you (not that I really will need to…HaHa).
    You certainly put a brand new spin on a topic that has been discussed for a long time.
    Wonderful stuff, just excellent!

  22. I do not know if it’s jhst me or if everybody else encountering problems with your blog.
    It seems like some of the written text on your posts are running off the
    screen. Can somebody else pleasae provde feedback and let me know if
    this is happening to them as well? This might be a problem
    with my browser because I’ve had this haopen before.


  23. Mai la obiect, să mențină o comunicare deschisă cu privire la satisfactia
    sexuala comun . Pentru mine , erotica este transmiterea unui ton senzual sau dispoziție
    , printr-o lucrare . Avand o femeie fierbinte pe aspectul său
    este într-adevăr altceva .

  24. I’m not that much of a internet reader to be
    honest but your sites really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back later on. Many thanks

  25. Hey there! I know this is kinda off topic but I’d
    figured I’d ask. Would you be interested in trading links or maybe
    guest writing a blog article or vice-versa? My blog covers
    a lot of the same topics as yours and I believe we could greatly benefit from each other.
    If you happen to be interested feel free to shoot me an e-mail.
    I look forward to hearing from you! Terrific blog by the way!

  26. Every weekend i used to pay a quick visit this site, for the reason that i wish for enjoyment, for the
    reason that this this web page conations really fastidious funny stuff too.

  27. If you are going for most excellent contents like me, only pay a quick visit this site everyday because it provides feature contents, thanks

  28. Helpful info. Fortunate me I found your web site by chance,
    and I’m shocked why this coincidence did not happened earlier!
    I bookmarked it.

  29. Hi there it’s me, I am also visiting this
    web page on a regular basis, this website is truly fastidious and the users are
    truly sharing nice thoughts.

  30. Hello this is kinda of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs
    use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML.

    I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding experience so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience.

    Any help would be enormously appreciated!

  31. Every weekend i used to pay a visit this website, because i want
    enjoyment, since this this web page conations truly nice funny stuff too.

  32. It’s in point of fact a great and helpful piece of information. I’m
    satisfied that you simply shared this useful information with us.
    Please keep us informed like this. Thank you
    for sharing.

  33. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I really enjoyed reading it,
    you might be a great author. I will always bookmark your blog and definitely
    will come back very soon. I want to encourage one to continue your great posts, have a nice day!

  34. Amazing! Its really amazing paragraph, I have got much clear idea on the topic of from this piece
    of writing.

  35. Great delivery. Sound arguments. Keeep up the amazing work.

  36. First off I want to say excellent blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to
    ask if you don’t mind. I was curious to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing.
    I have had a hard time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out there.
    I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first
    10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted simply just trying to figure out
    how to begin. Any ideas or hints? Many thanks!

  37. If you waant too get a great deal from this post then you have to
    apply these methods to your won weblog.

  38. Probieren Sie unser Produkt – im Falle von nicht zufrieden stellenden Resultaten geben wir Ihnen das Geld
    direkt auf Ihr Konto zurück!

  39. Pingback: The hardest night of the Portsmouth Blitz – Friday 10 January 1941 – volunteer london blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s