Portsmouth Guildhall is a majestic building at the heart of the city, with a standing capacity of 2,228 and a venue for first-class entertainment, conferences, weddings, and events.
The venue has a fantastic range of meeting rooms, conference halls, state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, and a range of break-out areas allowing for flexibility in capacity, catering and adapting to delegate and guest numbers. The main hall accommodates up to 2,000 people, theatre-style, with seven smaller rooms surrounding it available for hire for exhibitions, lunches, presentations, and seminars.
From an infrastructure standpoint, Guildhall succeeds again, with a multi-line railway station and multi-storey car park both within a two minute walk.
The Guildhall also leases out serviced office spaces, with the highly flexible agreements including services such as heating and electricity, cleaning, reception services, post collection and delivery, and even discounts on meeting room prices.
Office spaces at the Guildhall also come with the benefit of being within two minutes of city centre shopping, cafés, bars, and the Central Library, and ten minutes away from Gunwharf Quays and the seafront.
Aside from hosting an endless succession of gigs by global chart-toppers, Portsmouth Guildhall also puts on hugely popular art exhibitions, such as the Storm Thorgerson show during which the iconic album artwork designer sadly passed away.
Their Access All Areas gallery space launched in the middle of 2013, making way for a new series of musically-themed art shows, starting with Rip This Joint, which showcased renowned photographer Jim Marshall’s intimate shots of The Rolling Stones during their 1972 tour.
The venue, which has been managed by the Portsmouth Cultural Trust since April 2011, has quite a fascinating history. Whilst it’s known primarily nowadays as a premier entertainment and events venue, many intriguing things have happened within the walls of the building since its construction in 1890.
Lead architect William Hill designed the Guildhall after being inspired to improve upon an almost identical model that he had designed as Bolton Town Hall in 1873. Hill’s Guildhall didn’t even last a century before it was largely destroyed by incendiary bombs during the Second World War on 10th January 1941. The interior and roof were completely destroyed, with only the outer walls and tower surviving.
Though the bombings rocked the city with 930 civilian deaths and 1,216 hospitalisations, Portsmouth rose up with their spirit of determination and the Guildhall was rebuilt, and was reopened by HM The Queen on 8th June 1959. To this day, the building has stood as a reminder of Portsmouth people’s unrelenting spirit.