Famous people from Portsmouth


The Portsmouth Hall of Fame displays the details of some of Portsmouth's famous residents, some of who were born in Portsmouth and others who lived and worked in the City.

Portsmouth has a wealth of famous people both present and in the past, these include writers, politicians, sports personalties and muscians.

If you know of someone who you feel should be included on these pages, but is missing, then please send us an email to info@welcometoportsmouth.co.uk and let us know the details.

Thank you for your interest.

Admiral George Anson.


One of the most decorated men of the Royal Navy, joined the Navy at 15, became an officer at 21 and by 27 was a Captain and commanded his own ship. Anson made a round the world journey that lasted nearly 4 years, he was promoted to rear-admiral, in 1744. In 1747 he led the fleet that defeated the French at Cape Finisterre and was made promoted to vice-admiral. In 1748 he became a full admiral, first lord of the admiralty.

Sir Francis Austen.


Sir Francis Austen (1774 - 1865) a British officer who spent most of his long life on active duty in the Royal Navy, rising to the position of Admiral of the Fleet. In October 1805, as commander of the HMS Canopus, a captured French ship of the line, Austen was temporarily detached from Admiral Nelson's fleet for duties in the Mediterranean and missed fighting in the Battle of Trafalgar. Austen was brother to novelist Jane Austen, and likely the model for the character William Price in the novel Mansfield Park. Austen's rapid early promotions were largely due to the patronage of the powerful Warren Hastings, who was a friend of the Austen family and was alleged to be the actual father of Frank's cousin (and later sister-in-law), Eliza de Feuillide. Francis Austen is buried at St Peter and St Paul church, Wymering.

Sir Henry Ayers born in Portsmouth


Sir Henry Ayers (1 May 1821 - 11 June 1897) was a Premier of South Australia and is best remembered for having Ayers Rock (now Uluru) named for him, by the explorer WC Gosse. Henry Ayers was born in the the Portsea area of Portsmouth, England, on 1 May 1821, youngest child of shipwright and docker William Ayers and his wife, Elizabeth. On leaving school he entered a law office, he emigrated to South Australia in 1840, with his wife Anne, on a free passage.

Hertha Ayrton scientist from Portsmouth


One of the first female students to be accepted to Cambridge University at Girton College. Born in 1854 as Sarah Marks, at 6 Queen Street, Portsea, the third child of a Polish Jewish watchmaker. She married Professor William Ayrton in 1885, he was her lecturer at Finsbury Technical College where she was studying at the time. Her scientific work led to great improvements to the arc lamp, widely used for street lighting. Hertha was proposed but turned down as a Fellow of the Royal Society, the institute stating that "married women are not eligible as Fellows of the Royal Society."

Sir Walter Besant of Portsmouth


Walter Besant 1836 -1901, born in Portsmouth, English novelist and humanitarian, graduated from Christ's College, Cambridge, 1859. Many of Besant's novels, dealt with social problems; among them were All Sorts and Conditions of Men (1882) and Children of Gibeon (1886). Besant was one of the most widely read novelists of the late 19th century. He was knighted in 1895.

Actress Denise Black, born in Portsmouth


Actress Denise Black, real name Denise Nixon, was born in 1959 in Portsmouth, to mother Stella, a bank teller and Lieutenant Don Nixon, an engineering officer in the Royal Navy. Her first professional drama role was as a cat in Miniatures at Sheffield's Crucible Theatre. In 1992, Denise appeared in The Bill, A Touch of Frost and as a Police woman in Between The Lines before joining Coronation Street as hair dresser Denise Osbourne, a role she played until February 1996, she returned for another 6 months in Coronation Street at the end of 1992.

Athlete Roger Black MBE, who was born in Portsmouth


Born March 31st 1966, in Portsmouth, Roger Black is a former Olympic athlete and can now be regularly seen on TV as a sports presenter. He attended Portsmouth Grammar School, where he was Head Boy in 1983 - 1984. He set the national 400 metre record of 44.37 seconds on 3 July 1996 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Roger won the following Olympic medals:
Atlanta 1996 : Silver : 400m
Atlanta 1996 : Silver : 4 x 400m Relay
Barcelona 1992 : 400m
Barcelona 1992 : Bronze : 4 x 400m Relay