October 31, 2023|Reports

“Harlots, Dung and Glory: History of Portsmouth Part 4” – Andrew Negus

Sixty-six members and guests of the Wickham History Society heard the concluding talk on Portsmouth’s history by Andrew Negus. Once again, it was an engaging and detailed talk done without notes: Andrew is a very accomplished speaker, and he knows his subject having been brought up in Paulsgrove.

The title for this talk is misleading: Andrew took out the ‘dung’ this time as by the 1930s Portsmouth had a functioning sewage system – doing better perhaps than today! We heard about Portsmouth’s moment of glory winning the FA Cup in 1939 and then how looking after the FA Cup nearly ended in disaster due to German bombing. Portsmouth suffered enormously during the Second World War, with some 40,000 buildings damaged or destroyed, including the Guildhall where the FA Cup was held. Despite the destruction, the Germans never succeeded in blowing up the enormous oil tanks buried under Portsdown Hill.

Andrew finished his talk looking to the future – thinking the unthinkable as to what could happen if the often threatened closure of the naval dockyard took place. We have now completed the history of Portsmouth and we hope to have Andrew back to talk about Southampton – who better than a Paulsgrove lad to give an unbiased view on that other place!

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