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VICTORIA PARK AT PORTSMOUTH CITY CENTRE

Victoria Park in Portsmouth City centre

Victoria Park was the first public park to be opened in Portsmouth. When the fortifications around Portsea were levelled, 12½ acres of land was obtained by the Corporation from the War Office for a "peoples park". Victoria Park was designed by Alexander McKenzie and was opened on 25th May, 1878.

Victoria Park is situated just to the north of Portsmouth Guildhall, across the railway lines, the park covers almost 15 acres and is planted with trees, shrubs and flowers.

The park is flanked to the West by the towering glass clad ex Zurich Insurance building, now a student accommodation building. To the south is the Guildhall and University buildings formerly the Municipal College. To the east, across Anglesea Road are more University buildings and Naval establishments and finally to the north on Edinburgh Road is the Roman Catholic Cathedral of St John.

At the centre of the park is an enclosed area containing an aviary with peacocks, parrots and other exotic birds. An adjacent area contains small mammals such as rabbits and guinea pigs which children enjoy feeding.

A view of St John's Cathedral as seen from Victoria Park in Portsmouth

Contained within the park but primarily towards the eastern entrance there is a large collection of memorials and monuments connected to the Royal Navy.

This collection includes a Chinese bell in a miniature pagoda, erected by the crew of HMS Orlando in honour of their fallen shipmates, lost during the campaign to relieve Peking in 1900. The original bell was returned to China in 2005 and a replica bell now hangs in the pagoda.

Another memorial honours the officers and men of HMS Powerful who lost their lives in the Boer War. There are a number of other obelisks and memorials situated in this area of the park. Occasionally events are held in Victoria Park such as the Green Fair and Proms in the Park.

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