No Place Like Pompey

What makes Portsmouth unique? Is it one particular place, the city’s geography, its past, or its people? How is it different to live here rather than anywhere else in the country?

This gallery explores those things that make our city just that little bit special and mean we have different challenges to many other places.

It is sometimes forgotten that most of Portsmouth lies on an island. We look at some of the ways that being an island city affects Portsmouth, from the risk of flooding to traffic congestion to the special benefits for wildlife of the local environment.

Portsmouth is famous for its dockyard and the city’s association with the Royal Navy. The exhibition tries to move beyond the stereotypes, telling the stories of some who served in both. It also considers the risk of loss of life at sea, and what life was like for sailors’ families in Portsmouth while their men were on duty.

Another often-forgotten aspect of local history is large number of fortifications that were built around the city, many of which still survive today. For several centuries, Portsmouth was one of the most heavily defended areas in the country, and had a large army garrison to defend it.

‘Pompey’ is a local name for the city of Portsmouth, and is also used for Portsmouth Football Club. There are many stories about where the name came from, but the true origin is not certain.