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Geography Investigates Urban Change in Portsmouth


3 November 2017

This week Oratory GCSE Geographers visited Portsmouth, Britain’s only ‘Island City’. Here they set out to investigate social, economic and environmental change associated with the decline of the British Empire and it’s maritime home. Gunwharf Quays has transformed from militarism to consumerism in a huge multi-use redevelopment. Conserving heritage features amongst the state of the art coastal re-development has created an incredible modern space. Where once was HMS Vernon dockyard and the Naval Torpedo School, there is now an architecturally and visually stimulating urban waterfront.

Pupils enjoyed undertaking their fieldwork primary analysis of this unique place. Rising at 4m per second to the top of the Spinnaker Tower was a highlight of the trip from which we acquired a birds-eye view. Literary greats such as Wells, Kipling and Dickens all lived in Portsmouth and it’s historical importance as the home of the Royal Navy was clear to see. Once the worlds largest manufacturing site and most fortified city, Portsmouth is now looking to a new future.

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