The Guildhall, originally called the Town Hall, was completed in 1890. Designed by Leeds architect, William Hill, who was inspired to improve upon the almost identical Bolton Town Hall that he had designed in 1873.
On 21st April 1926 it was announced that Portsmouth was to be raised to the status of a city and the Town Hall was renamed the Guildhall.
Unfortunately, Hill’s Guildhall was to last not even a century as on 10th January 1941 a series of WWII incendiary bombs rained down onto the building and city, completely destroying the building’s interior and roof, leaving only the outer walls and tower, which suffered enormous fire damage.
The spirit of Portsmouth that survived the Blitz also ensured the survival of the Guildhall which was rebuilt after the war and re-opened by HM The Queen on 8th June 1959, standing as a memorial to the spirit and determination of Portsmouth and her people ever since.
Today the Guildhall is a leading concert and conference venue and home to some of Portsmouth’s most historic treasures including the city’s Civic Plate and the Council Chamber.