Portsmouth Guildhall sits opposite the Civic Offices and hosts events, conferences and weddings. You can find out what’s on at the Guildhall on the Guildhall website.

History of the Guildhall

The Portsmouth Guildhall stands on land that was formerly the residence of the Commanding Officer of Artillery. The site was acquired from the Government and in 1883 an Act of Parliament was passed authorising the expenditure of £120,000 for the erection of the Town Hall.

The Foundation Stone was laid by Mayor Alfred Starling Blake on 14 October 1886 and building was completed on 30 May 1889. The final payment to the contractors was £139,553-3s-8d. Which included amongst other extras the provision of the organ, considered to be amongst the finest in the South of England, and the clock and bells.

Their Royal Highnesses The Prince and Princess of Wales officially opened the Town Hall on 9 August 1890. On 21 April 1926 Portsmouth was raised to the dignity of a city and to mark the event the Town Hall was re-named The Guildhall.

The Guildhall was destroyed by enemy incendiary bombs on 10 January 1941 when the scene was one of complete destruction – only the outer walls being left standing. Reconstruction work began on 23 April 1955 at an estimated cost of £864,531. The first department to move into the new building was the Town Clerk’s Department on 11 August 1958 and the first Council meeting in the new Chamber was held on 9 September 1958.

The official opening of the reconstructed Guildhall took place on 8 June 1959 with the ceremony being performed by Her Majesty The Queen, accompanied by HRH Prince Phillip. The ceremony was watched by thousands of the city’s residents who had stood for several hours in driving rain awaiting the arrival of the Royal party.