Doreen Fay was living in Malta when her Father was working on rebuilding the Guildhall.

Discovering the Guildhall is an exciting heritage project, supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund, that will bring to life the memories and historic events that surround Portsmouth Guildhall. Culminating in the production of a digital archive, two short documentary films and a major exhibition, the project seeks to preserve people’s memories for future generations. To read more about the Discover the Guildhall project, or get involved with a memory of your own, click here.

Below is an oral contribution of Doreen Fay (nee Hicks) memory of the Guildhall:

This is not a memory of falling in love or of rocking at the Guildhall but of the bond between a father a daughter and a beautiful building

When the Guildhall was being re-built after the devastating damage done to it, by a bombing raid in 1941, my dad, Albert (Bert) Hicks was a bricklayer foreman working on the project.  It was 1956 and I was living in Malta with my husband who was in the Royal Navy.  At that time the only means of communication we had between Malta and England was by written letters.  We did not even have landline communication.

One night I dreamed that my dad had had an accident but put this to the back of my mind as just a bad dream.  Four days later a letter arrived to say that dad had had an accident – he had fallen down a lift shaft on the Guildhall site.  My brother John, who was about 12 years old at the time, remembers that dad had been testing a plank placed across the lift shaft when it collapsed under him causing him to fall over 10 ft.  John remembers that dad was off work for many weeks.

In 1959, at the grand re-opening of the restored Guildhall, dad stood proudly in the crowd on the steps while the dignitaries filed in for the celebrations.

As for me I never see the guildhall without remembering dad.


Albert (Bert) Hicks
1911 – 1990

Albert (Bert) Hicks

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