Celebrating the history and heritage of Victoria Park is central to the revival of Victoria Park. The project is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and we share its belief that understanding, valuing and sharing our heritage brings people together, inspires pride in communities and boosts investment in local economies.
Victoria Park has a long and rich history. Created in 1878 after the old naval city walls were demolished, it turned farmland into an open green space for those living in cramped conditions in Landport and Portsea. The park became a symbol of Portsmouth’s transformation from a garrison town into a modern Victorian city.
You can explore Victoria Park’s past on this page and see the heritage tour of the park on Portsmouth City Council’s Facebook page.
Did you know?
The site of Victoria Park lies outside of the two historic centres of Portsmouth; the old town of Portsmouth and the naval dockyard. For that reason, we know much of the park has never been built on and the shale bed of the tidal creek is just below the surface. Within Victoria Park we have some of the oldest and uninhabited land in the city.
Exploring our history through the project
Our goal is to restore, uncover, respect and celebrate the park’s heritage. We want to preserve, understand, interpret and learn from Victoria Park’s past. There are many aspects of the park’s history that individuals, groups and schools might find interesting, for example:
- What did the opening of the park mean to local people in 1878?
- What does the design of the fountain tell us about the Arts and Crafts movement?
- What are the stories behind the people remembered by the memorials? Can we trace individual servicemen to the streets of Portsea and Landport?
- What do the monuments tell us about why those places were visited? What did that mean to people in those places?
- What was it like to use the British Restaurant in the park which provided hot food for bombed out families during the Second World War?
An interpretation scheme will help us tell the story of the park using modern and traditional methods.
Click the tabs below to learn more about different aspects of the park’s heritage.
Two World Wars
The Centenary Fountain
Route of the old city fortifications
Memorials in Victoria Park
Did you know?
The bandstand in Victoria Park was an original feature of the park but audiences were not allowed to dance while enjoying the music. At one time they even considered removing the bandstand as it encouraged too many high spirits among the ‘larrikins’ and plain clothes police were sent in to monitor the crowd. In 1922 dancing was finally allowed, 44 years after the park first opened – just in time for the Charleston craze which swept the world from 1923.
Image courtesy of Portsmouth Museums