Southsea is a seaside resort located in Portsmouth at the southern end of Portsea Island in the county of Hampshire in England. Southsea is within a mile of Portsmouth's city centre. Southsea has a thriving commercial area which includes two national department stores and many other well-known high street chains. It combines these large stores with numerous independent traders which includes charity shops, food retailers and furniture/household goods shops.
Southsea also has a vibrant social scene with numerous bars and eateries which cater for a range of budgets and tastes.
In 1809 a new suburb began to grow. It became known as Southsea after the castle. The first houses were built for skilled workers in the 'mineral' streets (Silver Street, Nickel Street etc.). These mineral streets were the most bombed areas of Portsmouth in the Second World War.
Around 1810 Hampshire Terrace, Landport Terrace, King's Terrace, Jubilee Terrace and Bellevue Terrace were built adjacent to the town walls. Nowadays they form an almost continuous road between the City Centre and the beach.
Southsea remained small until 1835. The area between Castle Road and Victoria Road South was built up between 1835 and 1860 as housing for middle-class families. A prominent architect during this period was Thomas Ellis Owen who built properties in Kent Road, Queen's Terrace, Sussex Terrace, Beach Road, Grove Road South, Clarendon Road, Osborne Road and Portland Terrace.
By the 1860s the suburb of Southsea had grown along Clarendon Road as far as Granada Road. In 1857 Southsea gained its own Improvement Commissioners responsible for paving, cleaning and lighting the streets. After the 1870s, east of Victoria Road, there was new building in the Campbell Road / Outram Road area. As building proceeded most was put up in the cramped manner typical of much of Portsmouth, a city where space is at a premium.
Southsea suffered badly from bombing in World War II. In particular the main shopping centre, Palmerston Road, was almost completely destroyed.
On 6 June 1994 a drumhead service was held on Southsea Common in front of the War Memorial to commemorate the 50th anniversary of D-Day. The service was attended by all the heads of the states which had participated in the allied landings, notably HM Queen Elizabeth II, US President Bill Clinton, and most notably, several members of the American Secret Service. The service was also witnessed by over 100,000 members of the public. Historically, a blessing before battle was offered during a drumhead service which is conducted in the field with the drums forming the altar and the colours serving as the altar cloth.
In 15 September 2000 parts of Southsea were flooded when the pumping station which pumps surface water out to sea was itself flooded during a particularly heavy storm.
On 28 June 2005 Southsea Common was used as a venue for the Trafalgar 200 celebrations. Southsea seafront was an ideal point from which to witness the International Fleet Review and evening fire work display.
On 9 August 2011 a fire broke out at the old Joanna's nightclub, a derelict building situated opposite South Parade Pier. Police sectioned off most of the area and guests at the nearby Best Western Royal Beach Hotel were evacuated as a precaution. Despite rumours circulating on social network sites, the incident was reportedly not linked to the riots taking place. The building was demolished a few days later.