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www.portsmouthvideos.co.uk 2021

The Round and Square Towers Video

Photo Gallery (Square Tower)
Photo Gallery (Round Tower)

Associated Web Link: www.squaretower.co.uk
Associated Web Link: www.portsmouthmuseums.co.uk/museum-service/The-Round-Tower

Transcript Of Narration
The Square Tower at the bottom of the High Street is believed to date from the time of Edward III, who first ordered the town enclosed. In the early Tudor days it served as a residence for the Governor, and after that the Governor was provided quarters in the old "Domus Dei" and the tower was then converted into a powder magazine. In the early 1800s there was an introduction of a semaphore on top of the square tower, but with the introduction of the electric telegraph the semaphore was no longer needed and was demolished in 1848. The Royal Yacht Squadron then tried to secure the Tower for a Club House but without success.

Who ever controlled the point controlled Portsmouth Harbour so it was here that the first permanent defences were erected, in 1418 the Round Tower was erected but on plans of the time it is seen as King Edwards Tower. The long vaulted casemates that today face the parade were known as Eighteen Gun Battery. Henry VIII first established a battery here during the invasion crisis of 1545. The outer wall which can be seen today dates from the late 1680s and is the work of King Charles II's chief engineer Sir Bernard de Gomme.

Originally the 18-gun battery was a single story building and much narrower than it is today, backing on to a row of houses where the parade ground now is. To gain access to the beach de Gomme built a small "s" shaped sally port in the wall at the south end of the battery, where the moat ran across the road.

Between 1847 and 1850 the buildings between the battery and Broad Street were demolished and the ground used to build Point Artillery Barracks. The Round Tower was heightened and another tier added to the flanking battery to house 32 pounder cannons, while the rest of the battery was rearmed with 68pdr carronades on traversing mounts. In the early 1960s Point Battery and Barracks were sold to the City when the Coast Artillery was abolished.

Now during the summer there are local artists who sell their paintings under the arches. There is a monument called The Bonds of Friendship by Australian sculptor John Robinson. It is there to show the bonds between Portsmouth and Australia. It was from Portsmouth in May 1787 the first ship set sail to Australia. The Fleet sailed from Portsmouth to Botany Bay. The Bonds of Friendship monument is similar to one that can be found in Australia and was unveiled by the Queen in July 1980.