Portsmouth music scene

The Portsmouth Music Scene

The Town Hall and The Guildhall

Portsmouth Guildhall is the biggest events venue in the Hampshire city of Portsmouth in England. The original building at this location, completed in 1890, was designed in the neo-classical style by architect William Hill, who had earlier been responsible for the design of the town hall in Bolton. Local Architect Charles Bevis in partnership with Hill directed the construction, Hill died before the completion of the building with Bevis adding to the design. The building was originally called the Town Hall, but on 21 April 1926 it was announced that Portsmouth would be raised to the status of a city and the town hall was renamed the Guildhall. The building had a capacity of up to 2000. It was located in the city centre of Portsmouth, very close to the Portsmouth and Southsea railway station.

The original Town Hall


Members of Portsmouth City Council, some Top Brass and Guests witness the laying of the
Foundation Stone for The Town Hall. 14th October 1886

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23-12-1895 at the old Town Hall




Debenhams Southsea Gathering 30-6-1900







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29th January 1909: Victor Grayson MP was attending the ninth annual national Labour Party Conference at Portsmouth Town Hall, alongside the socialist playwright George Bernard Shaw.

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12th November 1926 ----------------- 13th November 1926


23rd April 1931


Newman at the Guildhall 18th November 1932

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The Melody Maker South Coast Championships held at the Guildhall in 1934


The Melody Makers played at the Guildhall in 1934


Primrose Ball Portsmouth Guildhall April 1934




Southern Grammar School Prize giving 1935


6th January 1939

at the 1941 christmas party

At the 1941 Christmas party

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On 10th January, 1941, during the Second World War, the building was hit by incendiary bombs and was gutted. The interior and roof were totally destroyed, with just the outer walls and tower remaining, albit fire-damaged. The building was rebuilt after the war for 1.5 million, using war compensation funds, and on 8 June 1959 Her Majesty the Queen performed the re-opening ceremony. However, the interior was changed from the original and the external style is missing much of its original ornateness, especially the dome above the clock and the finials atop the balustrades around the roof.

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Rebuilding starts

Known events at the original Town/Guildhall

1886 October 14th laying of the Foundation Stone for The Town Hall.
1897 July 2nd A Ball to comemorate 60 years of Her Majesty's reign
1900 June 30th Debenhams Southsea gathering
1901 May 21st Banquet for Officers and Men of the Imperial Forces.

1909 January 29th The ninth annual national Labour Party Conference the socialist playwright George Bernard Shaw was present.
1909 Aprilll 28th Whist Drive & Ball, Mayor's Hospital Fund

1910 May 20th Memorial Service
1911 February 10th Portsmouth Teachers Whist dive
1911 June 27th Banquet for the Officers of the Combined Fleet for the Coronation of King Geirge V, The band of the Roayal Garrison Artillery played

1912 Janusry 24th Muster of the National Reserve
1912 March 12th Free Church Council 'At Home'
1912 May 27th/29th 44th Annual Co-operative Congress
1913 February 24th Mayor's Banqueting Room, Installation of Bro Alfred Dore WM, Portsmouth Temperance Lodge.

1914 February 23rd Mayor's Banqueting Room, Installatiuon of Bro Charles Covens WM, Portsmouth Temperance Lodge.
1919 October 17th North End Bowling Club Annual Dinner and entertainment Mayor's Banqueting Room Town Hall
1919 October 30th Portsmouth Unionist Asociation dinner and entertainment at the Town Hall
1919 December 19th National Union of Teachers dance at the town Hall

1920 January 27th Mrs Hampson's Fancy Dress Ball
1920 February 26th Concert for H M Forces
1920 Match 11th Pink & Sons Re-Union Supper
1920 November 25th The Gondoliers, North End Choral Society

1921 November 25th Tom Jones, North End Choral Society
1922 April 14th, The National Federation of Merchant Tailors A nnual Dinner
1922 November 8th The Mikado, North End Choral Society
1922 December 9th, The Orpheus Singers, Miss Edythe Kinch, Miss Sylvia Waide, Mr Albert Selby, Mr Price Stedman. The Soutsea Instrumantal Trio Mr W H Heoghtway violin, Mr C W Harding cello, Miss D Atree piano, Mr L Steyre Harding organ.
1922 December 16th, London Road Temerance Choral Society, Mr David Walters bass baritone, Mr Roy Ellett piano, Mr Norman Long piano, Mr A Adams organ.

1923 March 22nd Portsmouth Choral Society Grand Concert, performance of 'May Queen' in the Town Hall
1923 April 18th The Gondoliers, North End Choral Society
1923 November 17th String Band of the Royal Marines
1923 Novcmber 24th Specil "Sullivan" Evening, The Oorphus Singers, Miss Edythe Kinch, Miss Sylvia Waide, Mr Al;bert Selby, Mr Price Stedman.
1924 February 2nd Municipal Saturday Concerts, String Band of the Royal Marines, The Orpheus Singers(Edith Kinch, Albert Selby, Sylvia Waide, Price Stedman)in the Town Hall
1924 February 9th Municipal Saturday Concerts, Mrgaret Champneys (contralto)
1924 September 27th The Rt Hon David Lloyd George MP is presentesd with the Freedom of the Borough by Mayor Alderman Corbin at the Town Hall
1926 November 12th British Legion Armistace Celebration Ball
18/10/1927 October 18th Portsmouth Football Club Dinner, enterainment from W G Shotter, F Cole, T Clark, Miss M Collins, A Martin, C Wassell.
1928 August 26th Rev. Edmund Potts Popular Sunday Service
1931 April 23rd Elgars 'Apostles'
1931 April 30th The Jackdaw of Rheims
1931 May 1st Special Orchestral Night
1931 May 2nd Hiawatha
1931 November 27th Chareman's Association H M Dockyard Annual Dinner musical items by Miss Beryl Cannaway.

1932 January 20th Presentation to Councillor and Mrs J E Smith, former Lord Mayor and Lady Mayress.
1932 January 26th Portsmouth, Gosport and South Hants Grocers Provident and Protection Association Dinner
1932 February 26th Civic reception for the 2nd Batt Hampsshire Regiment.
1932 February 29th Portsmouth & District Cymmrodorion Society Annual Dinner.
1932 March 2nd Portsmouth and District Master Butchers and Cattle Dealers Association Dinner
1932 May 9th Annual Conference of Police Superintendants luncheon with the Lord Mayor
1932 June 24th Society of City and Borough Clerks of the Peace Dinner.
1932 October 18th Southern Secondary School for Girls Speech day.
1932 November 18th Newman and his Dance Band

1934 November 22nd Portsmouth Haspital Ball The Dance Band iof HM Royal Marines
1935 September 22nd, Garrison and Naval Port Methodist Mission 1564th harvest festival service
1936 July 29th Municipal Organ Recital, by John H Jackson (City organist)
1939 January 6th De Beer and his Famous Band present a Grand Variety Concert
1939 March 1st Moiseiwitsch pianoforte
1941 January 10th the building was hit by incendiary bombs and was gutted.

Click here for Guildhall 1959 to date
Click here for Guildhall 1959 opening
Click here for Guildhall Tickets and Posters
Click here for the Guildhall Organs


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