It must be extraordinary being a resident of Portsmouth. This city, located about 100 km south west of London, is distinguished for being the only island city in the United Kingdom and the second largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire.
It is also the proud home of the oldest dry dock still in use and boasts famous ships such as the HMS Warrior, Mary Rose and Lord Nelson’s HMS Victory. Portsmouth was founded in 1180 by Anglo-Norman Lord Jean de Gisors. However, it is believed that there were settlers in the area before his discovery, although most of the city’s records are thought to have been destroyed by Norman invaders. De Gisors owned a fleet of ships and land on Portsea Island. He encouraged the building of houses in the area by dividing his land into plots, where merchants built houses. He also started a market.
In 1181, Portsmouth had its first real church and a chapel. In 1194, the same year that King Richard returned from captivity in Austria, Portsmouth was granted a charter, which gave various rights, including the right to hold a 15-day annual “Free Market Fair” and weekly markets. King Richard built a number of houses in the area, along with a hall. Six years later King John was to reaffirm Portsmouth’s rights. However, he also wanted to establish the area as a permanent naval base, as a result of his undying wish to invade Normandy. Docks were constructed and the Hospital of St Nicholas was built. It performed various functions including that of a hospice.
By the 14th century, trade was booming, with the import of items such as grain, wool, wheat, wax and iron.
In 1338, a French fleet raided the town. Only the hospital and the church were spared. The French were to follow with further attacks in 1377 and 1380. In 1418, Henry VII ordered the first permanent fortification of Portsmouth. A Round Tower was built at the mouth of the Tower and completed in 1426. In 1527, Henry VIII built South Sea castle and decreed Portsmouth the home of the Royal Navy he founded.
Portsmouth developed further in the Elizabethan period, as people moved to the little peninsula known as “Point”. The 17th century saw Portsmouth slide into poverty and depravation, but it regained its strength between 1625 and 1649 under Charles I. A civil war between the King and Parliament saw the navy blockade the town in 1642. Following the civil war, the town prospered and in 1650 Portsmouth had its first ship to be built in 100 years; the “Portsmouth”. It was to be followed by 12 other ships within the same year. A wharf was built in 1663, used only by the navy and the dockyard. Expansion continued into the 18th century.
By 1900 the population had grown to nearly 200 000. The first council houses were built in 1911 in Portsea. During the Second World War, Portsmouth was targeted by the Germans and homes were destroyed in the bombings. Rebuilding began after the war, with more houses and estates mushrooming. While the dockyard was the main employer, other industries such as brewing and corset making developed in years to follow. Later, the electrical and engineering sectors took over the economy and tourism also became a major industry. Today, the birthplace of Charles Dickens has a flourishing tourism sector and remains a proud Island in the United Kingdom. After all, that sightseeing make sure you go home to a Hypnia memory foam mattress and pillow.
Ease away those aches of tired joints and muscles. Let the mattress work on the pressure points and the pillow on the neck, and you will soon wake feeling refreshed. The Hypnia collection is very much recommended to help with painful back injuries.