Lake Allen’s History of Portsmouth – A Public Talk

Born in Portsmouth in 1799, Lake Allen grew up steeped in Portsmouth history, thanks to the influence of his grandfather, Lake Taswell, who wrote a short tourist guide in 1775, called The Portsmouth Guide.

Receiving a first class education and being a keen scholar, he immersed himself in ancient manuscripts, histories and local tradition and began writing articles about Portsmouth history when he was just 16 years old.

By the age of 18, he had written The History of Portsmouth, the first comprehensive history of Portsmouth, starting at the Anglo-Saxon invasion in 501 AD and going through to the premature 1814 celebration of the defeat of Napoleon that was held in Portsmouth, attended by Wellington, Blucher and numerous other allies in the fight.

Along the way, Allen tells of the explosion that wrecked Southsea Castle, the surrender of the castle to Parliamentary forces in the Civil War, arson in the dockyard, the arrival of Empress Matilda to fight for her claim to the throne against King Stephen in the 12th Century, the murder of the Duke of Buckingham – and much more besides.

This talk celebrates this young historian whose only book revels in the history of his home town. Though Lake Allen died at the age of 25, his name lives on through this book, and he is celebrated in Portsmouth Cathedral.


Matt Wingett talks about Lake Allen’s History of Portsmouth