Portsdown Park

Not being a born and bred native and only knowing Portsmouth and Southsea from the mid 90s I was unaware of Portsdown Park until recently flicking through some old photos in a book on Portsmouth. Portsdown Park was a site of 17.5 acres comprising a concrete housing estate of 520 dwellings, on the lower slopes of Portsdown Hill, on the northern boundary of the City. The estate was intended to be a showcase of the city council’s housing program but was ultimately destined to become an embarrassment. Work began in 1968 but with construction and contractor issues it wasn’t finished until 1975. Right from the start there were serious water penetration and condensation issues for almost half of the tenants, ‘condensation ran down the walls and dripped from light sockets, carpets became like wet sponges and clothes left inside wardrobes became mouldy’. On top of that due to its inherent architectural design problems there were serious issues of access and ultimately vandalism and gangs (empty underground carparks are never a good idea). By 1987 the whole estate was set for demolition.

For more information on the estate check the council’s information sheet (PDF file).

From the Air

More photos:

Harlequin Pub

Portsdown Park

Portsdown Park Construction



  1. Julie

    24 May

    Thank you for posting the story and comments. I lived there until the early 80’s but unbelievably have very fond memories of living there. I’d love to see more info and photos from Portsdown Park.

  2. Paul Gonella

    24 May

    Hi Julie thanks for getting in touch! Sadly it seems there isn’t too much info online or many photos available but it is a fascinating place architecturally, it seems impossible to imagine that view now with those buildings in the picture.

    If you wanted to many write down some interesting memories of your time living there we would love to do a new post, maybe try and find some more photos too.

    Thanks again!

  3. Vikki Hughes

    18 May

    There is a group on facebook called I remember Portsdown Park, loads of ex residents with photos & stories to share.

  4. Duncan Toms

    12 January

    Thanks for the article, Paul! I moved to Portsmouth two years after it was demolished and it was a bit of a legendary place. Have just been reading up on the history of Paulsgrove and Wymering after Friday’s walk – a 1920s housing estate called Wymering Garden Village! Do you know where Portsdown Park was? To the east of the hospital I think – Orkney Road etc?

  5. Paul Gonella

    13 January

    Yep to the East I think, up near the cliffs. THe third picture gives you a bit of a visual reference as it is the road in to Cosham past the bridge

  6. Joanne

    16 November

    My family left Portsdown Park in 86. I spent a good few happy years there. I was 16/17 when we left

  7. Lee Davis

    23 February

    I lived in Portsdown park from 1977 until I was 7 or 8, i had some great times good friends and great memories. Would like to see some photos if anyone’s got some

  8. Spencer

    21 March

    On the very first Red Nose Day back in 88 I scived of school with a few comics and about 2 quids worth of pick n mix (a lot back then) and lay in the tall grass on the hill watching them demolish the place – they were enjoying themselves! I can remember they had The Primitives album (cassette presumably) playing loud enough for me to hear about 3-400ft away.

  9. Maria bamford

    3 September

    Me and my sister lived ther in 1984 wiv our mum Toni Parker/bamford ,it would be nice to hear from anyone who might of known her as we were put into care not long after living there an never saw her again

  10. Peter Walsh

    3 January

    Have been trying to find out if PCC ever claimed compensation from builders/architects…? Cannot find any articles that give that information. Does anyone know if the Council sued the constructors or whatever..?

  11. Sharon

    20 May

    My uncle his first wife and 2 cousins lived in a lower house ?? Used to love running down the rabbit warrens to the shop / shops

  12. […] The quotation comes from Strong Island, ‘Portsdown Park’. See also, Glendinning and Muthesius, Tower Block: Modern Public Housing in England, Scotland, […]

  13. Catherine Muray

    8 October

    I moved to portsdown park in 1979 lived there for roughly 3 years. I was 177 portsdown park 3rd floor of the middle block, hated every minute of it. The underfloor heating turned off in march back on in October no way of controlling the temperature, the bin shute was next to my kitchen window so couldn’t have that open.

  14. Don Gibson

    10 September

    I worked at QA Hospital from early 1960s until 2005 and witnessed the building and demolishing of the site.
    The joke was, when the rising damp met the falling damp the buildings would all fall down and save the council the job.
    What was astonishing was that it had a building award ‘don’t know why ! As many of the occupants worked at QA I was told about the place first hand.

  15. Mr and Mrs steve place

    3 August

    My wife and i were one of the early residents there in middle tower block.. 13th floor flat 211… i was happy with my flat as it was always warm and we had no problems with damp or rising damp… only hazard was when lift broke down and had to climb 13 flights of stairs.. Not Fun

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