|HCC Site ID:||1731||Parish:||Copnor Ward, Portsmouth|
|Access:||Public Access||Ownership:||Portsmouth City Council|
Location and Site
College Park is located in Copnor on Portsea Island on Copnor Road, one of the principal north-south roads on the island. It is bounded by Copnor Road to the east, Kensington Road to the west, Kirby Road to the south and Mayfield Road to the north and is surrounded by densely built-up housing on all sides, with Mayfield School to its northwest.
Portsea Island is a uniformly flat coastal plain, and Copnor was largely farmland until the beginning of the 20th century.
Copnor is one of the oldest settlements on Portsea Island, mentioned in 1086 in the Domesday Book, remaining largely rural until the end of the nineteenth century. The OS 25″ map of 1896 shows the area to be fields, with the L&SWR railway line running a short distance to the east. By 1905 the area where the park now stands was used as allotments and the urbanisation of Copnor was beginning.
The park is built on land that was a gift of the Wardens of Winchester College, granted in 1915, and is named after the College. Since July 1543 Winchester College had owned much of the area that was developed into the area known as North End. Located at the western end of the park, the College Park Bowls Green opened in 1930, with the College Park Bowls Club being founded two years later in 1932.
The OS 25″ map of 1931 shows the park divided into three sections, with tennis courts, a putting green and a bowling green to the west, a large open area bounded by trees in the centre, and to the east two square areas with paths and trees, with a pumping station in between, owned by the Portsmouth Corporation.
Current DescriptionThe park still retains its original layout, with the two square areas on the eastern side laid to grass with beds of perennials and shrub borders: a quiet area for sitting on the benches or the grass. In between and mainly hidden by fencing and greenery are the pumping station, a children’s nursery and a house accessed from Copnor Road by a private entrance. The central area of the park comprises a large open grassed play area for informal games and a children’s playground with a variety of play equipment, a picnic area with tables and a small kiosk selling refreshments nearby. On the western side are a basketball court surrounded by high fencing, the bowling green and clubhouse, still in use today, and the children’s zoo with a variety of small animals – goats, rabbits, guinea pigs and chickens. The perimeter of the park is lined with mature ornamental trees and there are more trees dotted around as well as a good number of shrub borders; these soften the hard landscaped areas and create a relaxed and sheltered environment. On a visit in 2021 most areas of the park were busy with people from all age groups enjoying the facilities.
Summary & Significance
College Park fulfils its function perfectly as a popular neighbourhood green space offering a variety of activities to appeal to different sections of the local population.
HGT Research, Urban Park Survey: April 2021
OS 25″ Maps 1896-98; 1905-1910; 1931-33
National Library of Scotland: Map Images – https://maps.nls.uk/view/ – accessed March 2021
The Portsmouth Encyclopaedia – https://www.portsmouth.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/lib-portsmouth-encyclopaedia-2011.pdf – accessed March 2021
Welcome to Portsmouth – https://www.welcometoportsmouth.co.uk/college%20park%20portsmouth.html – accessed March 2021
Click here to visit Portsmouth’s College Park web page