Re-connecting Portsmouth to World War 1: spies, sea and the city

In the minds of most people in Portsmouth (and around the UK), WW1 was solely a land based war, which obscures major naval conflicts such as Jutland and the Dardanelles. These conflicts are especially relevant to Portsmouth, being both the main UK naval port and the city most affected by these battles. This project has engaged different cross-sections of local people (primary school children/students/senior citizens) to learn from their own research and help build a picture of the personal experiences of those involved in these conflicts and the wider impact on civilians in Portsmouth. The project has also revealed the relatively unknown account of how enemy agents were used to spy on naval movements in Portsmouth. The product of this research was a major free public exhibition from the 26th - 31st May at the Portsmouth Guildhall (Portsmouth room) Guildhall Square. The majority of material from the exhibition is available here to download for free, but please pay attention to copyright where relevant.

The material is organised in five broad sections:

  1. Spies
  2. Sea
  3. City
  4. Songs and tunes
  5. Western front

This project was funded by a grant awarded through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s First World War: Then and Now programme, which is awarding numerous grants to mark the centenary of the 1914-18 war.