49 Facts About Portsmouth


Portsmouth is a port and city in the county of Hampshire in southern England.

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The city of Portsmouth is a unitary authority, which is administered by Portsmouth City Council.

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Portsmouth is located 70 miles south-west of London and 19 miles south-east of Southampton.

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Portsmouth is mostly located on Portsea Island; the only English city not on the mainland of Great Britain.

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Portsmouth is one of the world's best known ports, its history can be traced to Roman times and has been a significant Royal Navy dockyard and base for centuries.

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Portsmouth was England's first line of defence during an attempted French invasion in 1545 at the Battle of the Solent, famously notable for the sinking of the carrack Mary Rose and witnessed by King Henry VIII of England from Southsea Castle.

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Portsmouth has the world's oldest dry dock, "The Great Stone Dock"; originally built in 1698, rebuilt in 1769 and presently known as "No 5 Dock".

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HMNB Portsmouth is an operational Royal Navy base and is home to two-thirds of the UK's surface fleet.

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Portsmouth is among the few British cities with two cathedrals: the Anglican Cathedral of St Thomas and the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St John the Evangelist.

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The waterfront and Portsmouth Harbour are dominated by the Spinnaker Tower, one of the United Kingdom's tallest structures at 560 feet .

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Portsmouth International Port is a commercial cruise ship and ferry port for international destinations.

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Portsmouth is the birthplace of notable people such as author Charles Dickens, engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, former Prime Minister James Callaghan, actor Peter Sellers and author-journalist Christopher Hitchens.

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Portsmouth granted the town the coat of arms of Isaac Komnenos of Cyprus, whom he had defeated during the Third Crusade in 1191: "a crescent of gold on a shade of azure, with a blazing star of eight points", reflecting significant involvement of local soldiers, sailors, and vessels in the holy war.

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Edward II ordered all ports on the south coast to assemble their largest vessels at Portsmouth to carry soldiers and horses to the Duchy of Aquitaine in 1324 to strengthen defences.

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Two years later, a French fleet led by Nicholas Behuchet raided Portsmouth and destroyed most of the town; only the stone-built church and hospital survived.

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Portsmouth made Portsmouth a Royal Dockyard, England's only dockyard considered "national".

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Portsmouth died within sight of the town, returning from Cadiz.

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In 1684, a list of ships docked in Portsmouth was evidence of its increasing national importance.

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The Royal Navy's reliance on Portsmouth led to its becoming the most fortified city in the world.

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Portsmouth's boundaries were extended onto the mainland of Great Britain between 1920 and 1932 by incorporating Paulsgrove, Wymering, Cosham, Drayton and Farlington into Portsmouth.

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Portsmouth was granted city status in 1926 after a long campaign by the borough council.

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Many of the city's houses were damaged, and areas of Landport and Old Portsmouth destroyed; the future site of Gunwharf Quays was razed to the ground.

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Portsmouth Harbour was a vital military embarkation point for the 6 June 1944 D-Day landings.

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Portsmouth was affected by the decline of the British Empire in the second half of the 20th century.

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Portsmouth celebrated the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar in 2005, with Queen Elizabeth II present at a fleet review and a mock battle.

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Portsmouth Harbour has a series of lakes, including Fountain Lake, Portchester Lake, Paulsgrove Lake, Brick Kiln Lake and Tipner, and Bombketch and Spider Lakes .

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Portsmouth has a mild oceanic climate, with more sunshine than most of the British Isles.

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Portsmouth is the only city in the United Kingdom whose population density exceeds that of London.

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The Guildhall, a symbol of Portsmouth, is a cultural venue.

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Ten per cent of Portsmouth's workforce is employed at Portsmouth Naval Dockyard, which is linked to the city's biggest industry, defence; the headquarters of BAE Systems Surface Ships is in the city.

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City is host to IBM's UK headquarters and Portsmouth was the UK headquarters of Zurich Financial Services until 2007.

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The Portsmouth Sinfonia approached classical music from a different angle during the 1970s, recruiting players with no musical training or who played an instrument new to them.

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Portsmouth is frequently used as a filming location for television and film productions.

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In 2005, Portsmouth featured in the first series of ITV's Britain's Toughest Towns.

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Portsmouth is the hometown of Fanny Price, the main character of Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park, and most of its closing chapters are set there.

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Portsmouth is most often the port from which Captain Jack Aubrey's ships sail in Patrick O'Brian's seafaring historical Aubrey-Maturin series.

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Portsmouth is the main setting of Jonathan Meades's 1993 novel Pompey.

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The collection, set around Portsmouth, includes stories by crime novelists William Sutton and Diana Bretherick.

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Portsmouth's was raised and brought to a purpose-built structure in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in 1982.

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Portsmouth has two cathedrals: the Anglican Cathedral of St Thomas in Old Portsmouth and the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St John the Evangelist.

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Cathedral of St John the Evangelist was built in 1882 to accommodate Portsmouth's increasing Roman Catholic population, and replaced a chapel built in 1796 to the west.

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Portsmouth began hosting first-class cricket at the United Services Recreation Ground in 1882, and Hampshire County Cricket Club matches were played there from 1895 to 2000.

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Portsmouth Harbour has passenger-ferry links to Gosport and the Isle of Wight, with car-ferry service to the Isle of Wight nearby.

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Portsmouth previously had additional stations at Southsea, Farlington and Paulsgrove, but these were closed during at various periods of the twentieth century.

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City of Portsmouth is on two direct South Western Railway routes to London Waterloo, via Guildford and via Basingstoke.

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Portsmouth was one of the first cities in the UK to have a local TV station, although the Isle of Wight began local television broadcasting in 1998.

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Portsmouth has been home to a number of famed authors; Charles Dickens, whose works include A Christmas Carol, Great Expectations, Oliver Twist and A Tale of Two Cities, was born there.

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Novelist and historian Walter Besant, author of By Celia's Arbour, A Tale of Portsmouth Town, was born in Portsmouth.

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Portsmouth'storian Frances Yates, known for her work on Renaissance esotericism, was born in the city.

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