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Pictures of Southsea Castle

in the town of Southsea, in the county of Hampshire

Southsea Castle & Lightbeacon

About Southsea Castle

This is one of the fortresses built around the English coast on the orders of King Henry VIII to protect the country against invaders. Southsea Castle dates to around 1545, and no sooner was the castle completed than Henry's flagship, the Mary-Rose, floundered and sank in the sea water fronting the mighty castle.

The castle led a fairly peaceful existence, the only period of capture recorded came one hundred years after it was built, this was when it fell to Parliamentarian troops during the English Civil War.

Throughout its long history the castle has been strengthened and improved, most latterly was during the 19th century when a tunnel was built to defend the then, castle moat. The moat has long disappeared, but visitors to the castle may explore the tunnel, which gives an idea of what a daunting place it would seem to any would-be invader. The castle has an impressive entrance and many other fine 19th century features are retained.

Today, the castle is a fascinating museum celebrating England's seafaring history and war-time exploits. One of it's greatest treasures is the Overlord Tapestry, 272 ft long and five years in the weaving. This commemorates the D-Day invasion.

Prior to becoming a museum the castle had many other uses. It was used for a time as a military prison and a lighthouse was built there in the 1820's, this is still used by shipping today. In the 1960's the castle was released from military occupation, it was then that it was acquired by Portsmouth City Council to be restored to its former historic appearance and turned into the fine visitor attraction we see today.

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