The Spinnaker town is found in Portsmouth city that’s located in the county of Hampshire in
England’s south coast. Portsmouth is an island that lies about 103 kilometers south west of
London and 31 kilometers from Southampton. Its population density matches that of London. It
houses the headquarters of the Royal naval forces and serves as a major dockyard for British
ships. Portsmouth suffered a lot of bombardment during the First and the Second World War. A
lot of people lost their lives during the two wars and the city was extensively destroyed. The city
lies in Portsea Island and it’s the only island city in the UK. The city is low-lying and its highest
point above the sea level is about 21 feet only. The old Portsmouth was known as the Spice
Island and it’s more popular for its entertainment establishments that attracted a lot of sailors in
its early years (Portsmouth, England, n.d).
The economy of Portsmouth is driven by Portsmouth Naval Dockyard that employs almost 10%
of the city’s workforce. The head-offices of BAE, IBM and Northrop Grumman are also located
in the city (Portsmouth, England, n.d).
British Culture 2
The culture of the British people is largely portrayed in the architectural designs of the buildings
in the island. Portsmouth has three theaters; the two old ones were designed by the legendary
Victorian architect while the new one specializes on modern classical among other theaters. Live
orchestra from the theaters and other bands characterize the evening’s sounds in Portsmouth. The
two churches, the Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral and the Roman Catholic Cathedral together
with the three Salvation Army churches reflect the deep religious beliefs that the British residents
in the Island have (Portsmouth, England, n.d).
The remains of Henry VII flagship known as the Mary Rose and the Royal Naval Museum serve
as great tourist attractions. The other tourist attraction is the Spinnaker tower which attracts the
largest crowds in Portsmouth (Portsmouth, England, n.d).
The Spinnaker tower originally known as the Portsmouth millennium tower was originally built
to mark the millennium celebrations but as fate would have, it was completed six years after its
original opening schedule. The total cost of the tower alone amounted to £35.6 million and
which was partly funded by the City Council of Portsmouth. The official figure that was
contributed by the Portsmouth City Council stands at £11.1 million notwithstanding that the tax
payers were not meant to fund the project. The tower which is located at the Gunwharf Quays,
Portsmouth in Hampshire PO1 3TT, UK opens at 10 am and closes at 6 pm. Most of the visitors
are British nationals who visit the tower on various occasions like during birth parties and
wedding photo sessions. Other visitors enjoy the serene heights of the tower that overlooks the
sea while enjoying the cool breeze that surrounds the structure. From the tower, the Portsmouth
Cathedral is very visible together with the plush green lawns that lie behind it.
British Culture 3
Looking at the beautiful structure that occupies most of the harbors skyline especially at night
when its blue silhouette is hinged against the dark sea while standing in its full majesty, it’s
difficult to imagine the pain that its construction must have costed the people of Portsmouth
especially its elected leaders (The Daily Telegraph, 2006). Before the completion of the project,
the leader of the Portsmouth council, Councilor Leo Madden had to resign due to poor handling
of the project while its legal advisor Barry Smith was also retired after several controversies
emerged over the project’s contract and its contractors. The design of the tower that was done by
HGP Greentree and Allchurch Evens Architects had its own challenges after its completion but
which have since been rectified (Staff writers, 2005).
However, there are other historical structures in Portsmouth like the Round house that draws a
lot of attraction from the British people. The city of Portsmouth has a rich history beginning
with its near complete destruction by the French fleet in 1338 and which was revisited in 1369,
1377 and 1380. King Edward III had to exempt the city from the payment of taxes to help
rebuild the city initially after the first attack but consequently a wooden round house was built to
shield the city from future attacks by King Henry V. The current stone round house was rebuilt
by King Henry VIII to fortify the city in 1497 together with the first world’s dry dock.
Most of the population around this city is made up of white people who make up to 90% of the
population while the rest shares the remaining 10%.
The only comparison that I can relate with my home district of Guang Dong in China is the cool
breeze and the high population density in the city. Though Guang Dong is heavily populated
than Portsmouth, the people there seem to be more in a hurry than the British citizens in
Portsmouth. Guang Dong has a population of about 80 million people in an area of 179,800 km
squared compared Portsmouth that has less than 250,000 in an area of 40.25 km squared
British Culture 4
(Guangdong Province , 2013). The Chinese people in Guang Dong appear more traditional
probably because of their traditional Chinese attire compared to the formal British suits and
women’s blouses and skirts. The presence of a church in a the neighborhood of a busy
environment in Portsmouth speaks volumes about the faith of the British citizens in the city
compared to the Chinese residents in Guang Dong whose attachment to any faith is difficult to
relate as majority do not have any religious events besides their traditional beliefs in the Taoist
rites and ancestors veneration (He Liu, 1995). About 90% of the Chinese population is non
religious compared to Britons who are mostly Anglicans.
The people of Portsmouth are greatly attached to their football team, Portsmouth F.C. who
mostly play at the Fratton Park during their home matches. The team won the 2008 FA cup
however in 2012 the team was relegated from the English football Premier league championship
to League one and later to fourth tier football. Other sports activities available in Portsmouth are
cricket, rugby, hockey and aquatics (Portsmouth, England, n.d)
Finally to conclude, the culture of the British people are quite different from other cultures as
religious beliefs play a big role in shaping the overall traditional practices and customs. Church
weddings and baptisms are associated with the British customs and they have a big influence in
their lives. Unlike other cultures that are greatly influenced by traditions like the Chinese culture
it’s difficult to compare the cultures.
British Culture 5
Guangdong Province (2013) Economic News and Statistics for Guangdong’s Economy, The
china perspective.com. Retrieved 08 Jan 2015.
He Liu, L. (1995) Translingual practice: literature, national culture, and translated
modernity—China, 1900–1937 , Stanford University Press.
Portsmouth, England (n.d) The History of Portsmouth, retrieved on 08 January 2015 from
Staff writers (2005) Council boss trapped in Spinnaker, BBC News, Retrieved, 08 Jan 2015.
The Daily Telegraph (2006) Red faces over Portsmouth’s showcase project, The Daily
Telegraph. 19 October 2005, Retrieved 08 April.