The current building


Monumental Inscriptions of New Lane Cemetery, Havant. We receive many enquiries about persons who were buried in this cemetery and so to help satisfy the enquiries we have produced this new book to our collection. It is divided into three parts: The Old Part (1848 to1962) and the New Part (1893 to 1977) is a listing of the graves and, if the inscriptions can be read on the headstones, they are stated complete with dates. The third part in a listing of the Dissenters graves which states the date of death, the date of burial and the age of the person named in the register from 1832 to 1970. The book is on sale from our Centre or online for £7.50.




Commonwealth War Graves Series, all in size A4:

War Graves in Hampshire North £4

War Graves in Portsmouth South £5

War Graves in the Isle of Wight £3

War Graves in the Channel Islands £3

The current building was commissioned to replace an earlier town hall located in the High Street.[2] The site selected for the new building had been o

ccupied by the home of the Commanding Officer of Artillery.[2] The foundation stone was laid by the mayor, Alfred Starling Blake, on 14 October 1886.[3] The building, which was designed by William Hill in the Neo-classical style, was officially opened by the Prince and Princess of Wales on 9 August 1890.[3]

The external design involved a main frontage with 17 bays separated by Corinthian order columns and a large portico with a pediment above.[1] The pediment was designed by the sculptor, Henry Thomas Margetson, and was intended to depict "Britannia receiving the trades of the world".[4] Above the crown of the pediment a statue of Neptune sitting a chariot pulled by three seahorses was installed.[1] At roof level a three-tier bell tower with clocks on each face was erected.[1] Internally, the principal rooms were the main concert hall, the council chamber and a room now known as the "star chamber": the latter room now displays a huge mural known as "Heaven's Light Our Guide" which depicts local scenes.[5]

After Portsmouth was raised to the status of a city on 21 April 1926, the building which had previously been referred to as the "Town Hall" was renamed the "Guildhall".[5]

On 10 January 1941, during the Second World War, it was hit by enemy incendiary bombs. The resultant fire gutted the building, completely destroying the interior and roof. Just the outer walls and tower remained standing, and those were fire-damaged.[6]

The guildhall was entirely rebuilt at a cost of £1.5 million, over a four-year period, starting in 1955, to the designs of the architect, Ernest Berry Webber. The interior was altered from the original and the external style is missing much of its original detail, especially the dome above the clock and the finials atop the balustrades around the roof.[6] It was reopened by Queen Elizabeth II, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, on 8 June 1959.[7]

The council chamber in the guildhall was the home of the county borough of Portsmouth for much of the 20th century and continued to be the local seat of government after the enlarged Portsmouth City Council was formed in 1974.[8][5] The civic buildings, built to the east of the guildhall to accommodate the increasing needs of council officers and their departments, were completed in 1976.[9]








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