Discover more about your Guildhall

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Discovering 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.

Memories we have had so far:

I’d led quite a sheltered life but then I saw Motorhead here at 15. I remember being quite nervous and then the manager came over the tannoy and said ‘The management take no responsibility for loss of life.’ And I was terrified but it was brilliant. It was the loudest concert I’ve ever seen.

Charlie Watts

Earliest memories of playing on the steps and trying to climb on the lions while waiting for a bus. Seeing the crashed war plane in the goods yard (now civic offices) while travelling on the top floor of the bus.

Amy Stilwell

One of my earliest memories was my Dad taking me down here to see the bombed out shell of the building

Malcolm Garlick

Exhibition Information

Our Exhibitions remain closed until further notice due to Covid-19, but it is our intention, with support from National Heritage Lottery Fund, to extend the original opening dates of our Discover the Guildhall Exhibition which were cut short due to the pandemic.

Please keep an eye on our website and social media for confirmation of re-opening dates.


The Discovering the Guildhall Exhibition will give a fascinating insight to the music, civic and social history of Portsmouth Guildhall including two 15 minute films, recorded memories, archive material and memorabilia.

Opening days/times will be subject to change due to the venue programme. Please check availability before your visit on 023 9387 0200.

The Discovering the Guildhall project has worked with The Portsmouth Music Experience, The University of Portsmouth and The Portsmouth History Centre, and engaged with over 40 local volunteers who have worked in a variety of roles including oral history interviewers, transcribers, archive researchers and assisted with exhibition and film making.

A digital archive of memories will be launched in Summer 2020. It’s not too late! You can still come forward and share your memories to be included in the archive. Submit your memory below, visit our Memory Booth in Portsmouth Guildhall or if you have items of memorabilia you would like to share please contact Discovering the Guildhall Project Manager, Nicola Peacock on 023 9387 0193.

Which legendary concerts at the Guildhall have you attended – The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who? Were you there when HM Queen Elizabeth II reopened the venue in 1959? Did you see the Guildhall after it was gutted in the Blitz in 1941? Have you ever performed on the stage or worked there? Did you meet your partner at the Guildhall? Do you have any tickets, programmes or merchandise you would be happy to loan, gift or that may be copied?

Memories in full

Read our Notice & Takedown Policy

About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. www.hlf.org.uk. Follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram and use #NationalLottery and #HLFsupported.

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