Southsea Common, Portsmouth
Southsea Common is located in the Southsea area of Portsmouth, this area was once part of Froddington (Fratton) Manor, became part of the Hospital of St Nicholas the Domus Dei, the Royal Garrison Church, eventually it was surrendered to King Henry VIII as part of his programme to strengthen defences along the south coast. It was during this time that Southsea Castle was constructed.
The area remained an open space, during Southsea's development in the 1810's, as it was mostly waste ground.
During the early 1830's parties of convicts were employed to level the area, this may have been for the benefit of the garrison for military purposes but is more likely to have been carried at the request of the wealthy, influential residents of Southsea to allow them somewhere to enjoy a drive in their carriages and excercise their horses.
Large areas of Southsea Common were covered by marshy wetland known as the Great Morass and the Little Morass, these were drained during Southsea's development by TE Owen the architect and developer.
Southsea Common was still owned by the military until it was bought by Portsmouth Corporation from the War Department in 1922.
The HMS Victory anchor, sited beside the Hovercraft slipway near Clarence pier is an interesting relic. It was originally sited on the other side of the pier and marked the spot where Nelson left the Portsmouth before the Battle of Trafalgar.
Many military monuments can be found around the area of Southsea Common, the Naval War Memorial is identical to those in Chatham and Plymouth, both also being Royal Naval ports. The Naval Memorial was designed by Sir Robert Lorimer with sculptures by Henry Poole, it was unveiled on 15th October 1924 by the Duke of York who later became King George VI. it commemorates 10,000 sailors of the First World War and 15,000 of the Second World War.
The Southsea Common area is also home to various attractions such as the Rock Gardens, the Pyramid Centre built on the former site of the Rock Gardens Pavillion, Southsea Castle, Southsea Skate Park, the D-Day Story, Blue Reef Aquarium and other facilities such as Tennis Courts, Bowls and gardens. You can read more about Southsea Seafront here. In 2010 Southsea Common was home to a 16 metre high Ultrasaurus Dinosaur.
You can find details of other Parks and Open Spaces in Portsmouth here.