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The Portsmouth Story


Modern Portsmouth is a dynamic, vibrant city with a rich maritime history stretching back almost 2000 years. Its destiny has been shaped by the will of monarchs to defend and expand their kingdoms, the need to safeguard ships in harbour, the fear of invasion and the desire to build empires, and every stage of its long and illustrious history has left its mark.

But ordinary people have also played their part; the shipwrights, the dockers, the wives, the mothers, the navvies and the soldiers and sailors; every single one has made their contribution.

More than 200,000 people now live within the boundaries of the modern city and this is their story; the story of how they came to be here, and how the place they inhabit came to be as it is.

This remarkable tale begins around 10,000 years ago when rising sea levels formed the creeks, harbours and islands that would become Portsmouth, and follows the area’s fascinating transformation into a thriving waterfront city.