Victoria Park Portsmouth

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Memorials mobile trail

Start here…

Start at the HMS Royal Sovereign memorial, a white obelisk close to Portsea Gate, numbered 1 on the map.

1
HMS Royal Sovereign, 1901

Seven men were killed, and fourteen seriously injured, when a gun on HMS Royal Sovereign misfired during a training exercise, off the coast of Greece.

2
HMS Active, 1877-79

A naval brigade from HMS Active fought on land alongside the British army in wars against the Khosa and Zulu people of southern Africa.

3
HMS Powerful, 1900

Sailors from HMS Powerful carried heavy guns over 100 miles from the coast of South Africa to Ladysmith to help break a long-running siege during the Boer Wars.

4
Admiral Charles Napier, 1863

This older memorial to Admiral Napier marks his efforts to improve everyday working conditions for ordinary sailors. The memorial originally stood on Edinburgh Road. It became a traffic hazard so was relocated here.

5
HMS Centurion, 1902

Centurion was part of an international expedition to counter an uprising against Western influence in China, which Westerners called the Boxer Rebellion. When Empress Cixi, the ruler of China, sided with the rebels, Britain and other foreign forces had to withdraw.

6
HMS Victoria, 1893

On 22 June 1893 HMS Victoria sank, close to Tripoli in Lebanon, after colliding with HMS Camperdown. The survivors had this memorial made for the 392 men who died in the accident.

7
HMS Orlando, 1902

Like HMS Centurion, Orlando was part of the campaign against the Boxer movement. The bell is a replica of the original, which was looted from Fort Dagu in Tianjin, China. The original was returned to Tianjin in 2005.

8
HMS Shah, 1879

HMS Shah transported men and military equipment to South Africa to support the war against the Zulu people.

9
Workers’ Memorial, 1987

Portsmouth Trades Union Council donated this memorial to Victoria Park in 2007. Every year on 28 April a ceremony is held here to remember people who have lost their lives or fallen ill working in dangerous conditions. The memorial is dedicated to anyone who has lost their life at work but is particularly poignant in Portsmouth, where thousands of workers became ill after working with asbestos in the dockyard. It is also focal point for commemorating key workers who died during the covid pandemic of 2020-21.

Memorials project

You can find out more about the memorials and explore different perspectives on their history through our wider project.

A memorial service

The photo shows a crowd gathered round the bandstand that used to stand in Victoria Park. The caption scrawled in the bottom right hand corner says this was a memorial service commemorating the Battle of Jutland, which took place in June 1916, during the First World War. Of 6,000 sailors who died during the battle, half were from Portsmouth.

Portsdown U3A (University of the Third Age) has built a digital map showing all the addresses in Portsmouth where men lost in the Battle of Jutland lived.