|HCC Site ID:||1973||Parish:||Portsea|
|Designations:||Lodge II*||Area:||0.4 ha|
|Access:||Public Access. See opening times||Ownership:||Portsmouth Historic Dockyard Ltd (PHDL) a registered charity|
Location and site
The Porter’s Lodge Garden is situated within the Historic Naval Dockyard in Portsmouth, just inside the Victory Gate at the corner of Queen’s Street and The Hard.
In 1496 a Royal Dockyard was established on waste ground to the north of the town walls in Portsmouth. The government of William lll instigated a major building programme in the Dockyard between 1704 and1711 with the boundary wall and the Victory Gate being the first brick structures to be built. The Porter’s Lodge, originally built of wood was constructed just inside the gate in 1708 on a long triangle of land which became the garden. Rebuilt as a two-storey Georgian brick house, now rendered and painted with cornice, parapet and slate roof it became the centre of Police Security for the Dockyard. By 1723 a stable building has been built in the garden. A plan of 1815 shows the garden divided into two squares, but by 1867 the 1st OD survey map shows a garden that is laid out with paths and circular beds and includes a coach house as well as stables. By 1874 the stables and coach house were replaced by Police cells and in 1907 a new police superintendant’s house was built on part of the original garden. By 1939 the remaining garden had disappeared under an air-raid shelter.
In 1998 Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust commissioned landscape architects Camlin Lonsdale to design a new garden on the site of the 1754 garden. HGT and local residents were consulted and in 2000 a Friends Committee was set up to create the garden. As well as HGT, advice was given by Brian Kidd, Portsmouth Parks Environmental Officer, Petersfield Physics Garden and Staunton Country Park.
Digging up the car park began in 2000 by volunteers and the vibrant garden created is now flourishing and well maintained by the Friends of Porter’s Garden (see website below). Membership, donations and plants sales help with funding. The garden is free and open all year round.
Four walnut trees, yew and box hedges form the garden’s main features. The Royal Navy has contributed two statues. At the entrance is Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s statue sculpted by Kathleen Lady Scott in 1915. It commemorates his heroic attempt to reach the South Pole and death in 1912. To the east is William III ‘finished in the manner of the Cæsars,’ sculpted by van Ost and presented by Richard Norton in 1718. William’s wars against Louis XIV led to the expansion of Portsmouth dockyard in the 1690s. He was also an enthusiastic gardener. Beyond is the stone found lodged in the hull of HMS Pique which ran aground in Labrador, but successfully crossed the Atlantic in 1835.
Summary and Significance
The Porter’s Lodge (1708) was the first building within the newly created Royal Naval Dockyard in Portsmouth and although the original garden was lost to further buildings, a new garden has been recreated on the site by The Friends of Porters Garden.
Their object is to recreate the historical, educational and recreational value of the Porter’s Garden, to create a garden which is relaxing for dockyard personnel and visitors, accessible to the local community, with an intimate atmosphere, and links Portsmouth Historic Dockyard with outside communities.
HGT research 1997; update March 2018
Friends of Porter’s Garden www.portersgarden.org.uk – click here to visit their website