Deceptively demure from the street, this Victorian villa is set within a distinctive terrace decked with ornate porches and bound by gable-ended pavilions in the heart of Southsea, Portsmouth. On entering, it reveals itself as a spacious four-storey townhouse, rich with carefully conserved original features. Each room has a distinct character, from the grand first-floor drawing room that stretches the full width of the house, to the scullery-style kitchen divided from a bright workshop by a spacious larder. Both front and rear gardens are well-structured with mature plantings, including a hydrangea petiolaris that climbs up the rear façade, entangling itself across the elegant stucco outrigger.
Setting the Scene
Situated on the wide, tree-lined Campbell Road, this terrace is one of three designed as accommodation for naval officers by Godwin and Bulter Architects in the late 19th century. The houses were a part of the first stages of a broader plan to develop the area, then known as Havelock Park, which included the construction of St Bartholomew’s Church to serve the community. The terraces’ delicate detailing and ornate porches are refined examples of the contemporary Victorian seaside sensibility. For more information, please see the History section.
Painted in a light cream, the elegant and decidedly cheerful front façade displays white scrolled corbels beneath the eaves, broad chamfered stucco mouldings and a zinc veranda. It is set back from the road by a low brick wall backed by pleached lime trees and gate pillars through which a brick path leads to the front door.
The layout of the lower ground floor remains much unchanged since its construction. The kitchen occupies the lion’s share of the plan: a serene space with teak block flooring reclaimed from Southsea cinema, built-in storage and high-level windows that look onto the garden. An extensive and well-lit pantry with a rugged quarry tile floor divides the room from the workshop, where a now-defunct coal hole provides plenty of additional storage. A hallway leads to the upper ground floor, where a convenient bathroom is located on the half landing.
The upper ground floor is rich with original details; high skirtings, dado rails, and cornices lend the well-proportioned rooms an elegance grounded by the timber floorboards that run throughout. To the front is a sunny library lined with bookshelves. Here, a broad chimney breast hosts an ornate Victorian marble fireplace with a working open fire. At the rear of the plan is a reception/sitting room with views out over the garden, used by the current owners as a peaceful study. Its walls are painted a bright vermillion, offset against the dark tones of another handsome marble fireplace.
Stretching across the full width of the building, the first floor living room is painted a deep British racing green. Two large sash windows light the space, while an ornate fireplace centres the room. To the rear is a well-proportioned bedroom with a black marble fireplace, built-in storage and a large window overlooking the garden.
The top floor accommodates two further quiet, cosy bedrooms in the back and in the front, the latter with views across the rooftops of Southsea.
Located in a slate-clad outrigger extension, a second bathroom offers an additional amenity not found in neighbouring properties.
Bordered by low brick walls, the south-facing front garden is well-structured with a covered porch suited to sunny afternoons reading in the shade.
The rear garden is home to a number of mature trees: a large sycamore sits at the back, while a bountiful apple tree and a young ash tree each bring their own character to the space. A mixture of quarry tiles and bricks line the patio area closest to the house, creating plenty of space for cooking and dining. The paving continues, stepping up slightly towards the end of the garden and bordered by mature shrubs and planting.
Out and About
Campbell Road is located in the heart of Southsea. Within 5 minutes’ walk you can reach Albert Road, lined with restaurants, the fantastic Southsea Deli, antique shops, and pubs. At its heart is the wonderfully restored Kings Theatre, an Edwardian gem rescued from conversion into a pub.
To the south, the pedestrianised Palmerston Road has key amenities such as the local library, a monthly farmer’s market and a supermarket. This area links Albert Road to Castle Road, another fiercely independent street with great restaurants and pubs.
One of Southsea’s greatest assets is its expansive Common, stretching along the southern seafront. This broad, open green space was created by the military in the early 19th century to ensure a clear range of fire from the harbour defences to protect Portsmouth and its dockyard. Today it’s a fantastic asset to the community, and it is possible to walk uninterrupted along the esplanade for miles.
The broad shingle banks of Southsea Beach are a twenty-minute walk away, and the South Parade Pier has all the amusements and fish and chips one would expect.
From Campbell Road, buses take you to Portsmouth Harbour in 20 minutes, and trains from nearby Fratton reach London Waterloo in just over 90 minutes. Proximity to the M27 affords Southsea easy access to the rest of the motorway network, whilst the A3 runs straight into the centre of the surrounding South Downs National Park,
Proximity to the M27 connects Southsea to the rest of the motorway network, and the A3 runs straight into the centre of the surrounding South Downs National Park in 20 minutes, offering easy access to a diverse and distinctive landscape with endless country walks.
Council Tax Band: E
Originally known as Havelock Park, the Campbell Road area was developed from 1858 onwards as a residential suburb of Southsea. The three formal terraces that line the road were designed by Godwin and Bulter Architects in the late 19th century as part of a wider plan, and the surrounding streets followed soon after. The area now falls under the Campbell Road conservation area, created in the 1970s, and has a leafy character very distinct from the picturesque layout of Thomas Ellis Owen’s Southsea to the south.
The neighbourhood faced significant challenges during World War II, suffering bomb damage that led to the demolition of the community church, St. Bartholomew’s. Today, Southsea presents an architectural mosaic where the historic and contemporary sit comfortably side by side. Its streetscape incorporates a rich tapestry of architectural styles, from Victorian and Edwardian grandeur to post-war reconstruction and modern innovations, creating a diverse and visually captivating architectural heritage.
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