This film is part of Free

Portsmouth's Charlotte Street Market

The colourful bustle of Portsmouth's oldest street market features in this 1977 film – where traders and shoppers mix under the brooding presence of the infamous Tricorn Centre.

Amateur film 1977 6 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Wessex Film and Sound Archive


Charlotte Street and the area around it features in this affectionate look at Portsmouth's oldest market and the people who work and shop there. We see a higgledy-piggledy streetscape, full of independent shops and stalls, rather than the big retail chains. We see traders, many stripped to the waist and wearing seventies ‘shades’, selling their wares to large numbers of shoppers. However, a mass of concrete broods over the area – the notorious and ‘brutal’ Tricorn Centre.

Dating from the mid 18th century, but far older in origin, Charlotte Street market still serves Portsmouth’s shoppers. In 1966, the Tricorn Centre, designed in the ‘New Brutalist’ idiom, was built. It never attracted the big retailers as was hoped, being located away from the city’s main shopping area. Shops that did set up were generally independent or marginal traders though one of Virgin's first Megastores was located there. Gradually the Centre became seedy and run down and was eventually abandoned by 2002. Despite attempts to get the building listed, calls for its demolition grew, and after being voted 'Britain's Most Hated Building' in a Radio 4 poll, the Tricorn Centre was demolished in March 2004.