Craneswater Avenue

I chose to look at Craneswater Avenue because of its ease of access, its short walking distance of my school; it’s positioning close to the sea and the C.B.D. Additionally, because it is part of an inner suburb which are generally interesting, easy to collect data about and has a variety of architecture. Craneswater Avenue contains houses ranging from Victorian, to modern, so it gives a good insight into many different styles, ages and conditions of buildings and the materials used to build them. It is a residential area, so it is also possible to request the residents to complete questionnaires enabling a look at the characteristics of the residents who live in and around Craneswater Avenue.

Portsmouth dates back to 286 AD when it started as a small naval station that was developed by the Romans. In 897 AD King Alfred sent a fleet of ships out to meet the Danes from Portsmouth and it was such a resounding victory, that ever since then Portsmouth established it’s self as the chief home of the navy. Years later, in 1545 Henry VIII watched his fleet set sail from Portsmouth only to witness the sinking of the ‘Mary Rose’ which capsized due her guns not being secured correctly and the ship being overloaded with soldiers. In 1982 the wreck of this ship was reclaimed from the sea and is housed in the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth.

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A Town Hall was opened on 9th August 1890 by the Prince and Princess of Wales. The prince said, “You have every reason to feel proud of this fine building, worthy of the largest naval port in the United Kingdom, and of the architectural beauties which it displays.”

Portsmouth played a vital role in World War I and World War II because it is a naval base, and at the end of World War two, 27000 workers were employed there. Unfortunately it also made it a prime target and much of the Portsmouth dockyard area was destroyed in the Second World War.

An award winning but controversial concrete development, named the Tricorn was opened in March 1966. It consisted of a large multistory car park, a wholesale market area, commercial shops, warehouses and residential flats. It lasted until very recently when it was demolished to the pleasure of the Portsmouth citizens. It is a large area which is currently car parking space serving the Commercial Road and Cascades shopping. The long term plan is for a large John Lewis store to be built.

Craneswater Avenue is located in Southsea, Portsmouth, which is in the county of Hampshire, in southern England. Its grid reference in the OS map (number 196) is 654 985, and the page number is Fig. 1 is a map of Hampshire and the surrounding area, Portsea Island (where Portsmouth is situated) is highlighted in red. This map is useful because it shows you that Portsmouth is on the south coast, and has close neighboring cities such as Southampton and Chichester. The map also shows that cities are built along the coast.

Fig. 2 is a map of part of Portsmouth, mainly Southsea. Southsea is roughly highlighted in blue. This map is useful because it tells you that Southsea is right on the edge of Portsmouth, next to the sea.

Fig. 3 is a map of part of Southsea showing Craneswater Avenue. You can see the sea in the bottom right-hand corner. This map is useful because it tells you that Craneswater Avenue is near the sea and several major roads.

The theory of suburbs is that when cities get more people coming to them they grow in size, and need more housing space, so they build outward. Look at figure 4. It is a Concentric Model Burgess, which shows the general structure of the typical city. Number 1 is the CBD. This is the very centre of the city and it has buildings that are used for shops, council buildings, businesses and restaurants. Number 2. Is the inner city, this is where the low-cost 19th century homes were built for the workers to live in. Being close to the CBD and all the industry meant it was close to work, this was a major issue because few of the workers owned cars. It was very densely populated, had narrow streets and there were very few green parks.

Councils have knocked a lot of this type of area down now, and put modern high-rise flats in their place because it gets a lot of people into a very small land space. Number 3. Is the inner-suburbs. This is where Craneswater Avenue is situated in Portsmouth. This would be made up of some bigger 19th century houses, and towards the outside of this ring, there will be lots of inter-war houses too. There was much more room here, so they put in things like parks, trees along the pavement, and the streets were generally built wider. Number 4, this is the last ring, and as such is the newest. It is compiled of some inter-war residential houses, but mainly modern ones. These typically are even bigger, with more open space for things like gardens and many of the houses will have garages too. The further out from the centre of the city you go, the newer and the bigger the buildings are.

Hypothetically, a typical suburb is meant have a good landscape quality. It is meant to have things like tree-lined roads and areas of public open space nearby. It is supposed to have no industry, very little pollution and noise and very little through traffic. The houses should date from the late 19th century (inner suburbs) to the 1990’s (outer suburbs). The houses should be quite large, mainly detached and semi detached, and the housing should be low density too. There ought to have amenities such as inside toilets, running hot water and central heating.

Around 85% of the houses should have garages due to the very high level of car ownership; and around 96% households should have less that 1 person per room. Most households should also have front and back gardens. A suburban population should be well educated, affluent, middle class people with 27% professional/managerial; 36% non-manual; 27% skilled manual; 9% semi-skilled; 1% unskilled and 7% should be unemployed. The population should be mainly middle aged adults with children of school age, families. 30% should be 0-14 years old; 16% should be 15-34 years old; 46% should be 35-39 years old, and just 8% should be 60+.

From this coursework, I am trying to establish if Craneswater Avenue is a typical suburb, what exactly is a typical suburb and investigate the theory behind that statement. I will look at the type of people who live here, if they are old, young, families etc. and if they are the typical suburban population. I will also be investigating why they particularly chose to live here, instead of another area in Portsmouth. I will be reviewing the different types of housing and I have carried out an environmental survey to find out about things such as industrial premises and landscape quality, and an index of decay, which will show me the physical condition of the buildings. I have done some field sketches of examples of the housing there, to find out the typical attributes of, for example, a Victorian/Edwardian house, and I have completed a landuse map to show use, style and age of the buildings there. This fieldwork is to find out if the hypotheses (1. If Craneswater Avenue is a high-quality residential area 2. If the characteristics of the population of Craneswater Avenue are those of a typical suburb) are true in measure.