Queens Hotel

Portsmouth, United Kingdom | C.1865

Photo Credit: Tom Benjamin

The Queens Hotel in Portsmouth began life as a private mansion. Local architect Augustus Livesay built the house, christened the “Southsea House,” in 1861 for Sir John and Lady Morris. But just four years later, Southsea experienced a boom in construction and tourism and William Kemp Junior bought the house and converted into a hotel.

The Queens Hotel became one of the first hotels in Portsmouth. It was a grand building, focusing on leisure and relaxation for the upper classes. But a disastrous and fatal fire occurred in December, 1891. Aided by strong winds, the fire raged until the whole hotel was completely gutted, leaving only two outside walls and killing two chambermaids. 

The old structure was cleared, and in early 1902 plans were submitted for a new hotel covering an identical footprint. The New Queens Hotel was to be a much grander, purpose-built hotel with rooms for 63 guests and 33 staff, designed by London based architect Thomas William Cutler.

The new hotel was so popular that it was extended once again just 7 years later. Sir Arthur Blomfield and Sons were hired to take on the extension work, nearly doubling the hotel’s capacity while preserving the overall style of the building and putting their own “stamp” on it.

Over the years the hotel has changed ownership several times. In 2018, a multi-million pound restoration and redevelopment began, hoping to restore the building to its former glory. Celebrating its 115th anniversary in 2018, the Queens Hotel has continued to remain a local landmark in Portsmouth since its reconstruction in 1903.

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