This film is part of Free

Portsmouth Guildhall Square

All sorts of building styles sit cheek-by-jowl in Portsmouth's redeveloped Guildhall Square - as George Sloane's mid 1970s film shows

Amateur film 1976 4 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Wessex Film and Sound Archive


George Sloane's film starts by looking at the glass façade of the Civic Offices, built in the International Style, before moving to the city’s neo-classical Guildhall with its tall clock tower - famous for ringing out the Pompey Chimes. We next see the Cenotaph and War Memorial and then return to the recently redeveloped square. After visiting Queen Victoria's statue, the Central Library is seen in all its New Brutalist glory before we end with a final look at the Clock Tower.

The redevelopment of Portsmouth's Guildhall Square took place in the mid 1970s, though a complete redesign of the area was planned as early as 1941 following the Blitz. Several schemes were proposed before work finally began on a 1970 plan devised by the firm of Brett & Pollen. This called for the clearance of some buildings that had survived the war, the pedestrianisation of the 38 acre site and the construction of several new buildings. One of these was the Central Library, designed by Ken Norrish, the deputy city architect. Completed in 1976 it has since been renamed the Norrish Central Library and being in a conservation area, won't suffer the fate of the city's other Brutalist building - the Tricorn Centre.