The Buildings Appreciation Group “does what it says on the tin”! We meet to discuss architectural styles through the ages, so that we can better appreciate the built environment around us, wherever we may be.

We tend to concentrate on buildings in Great Britain since these provide us with actual examples. After a year or two of going “quickly” through the architectural styles in a fairly general way, we’ve now embarked on a slightly different strategy. Each person in the group volunteers to do some research on an aspect of the style currently under discussion, e.g. doors, windows, arches, etc. When we meet, we ‘report back’ individually, by whatever means we choose (not obligatory – someone else can do this for you, if you wish).

We have just concluded our look at Gothic and are now starting on Tudor architecture.

We support our learning from the above, by visiting a local example of the period we’re studying. We have recently had interesting visits to Boxgrove Priory and Weald Outdoor Museum at Singleton. The members organise these, usually a fairly low-cost exercise. Occasionally, we have a guided tour of a place, where the same applies, plus contributing to the tour guide’s fee, of course.

We meet on the fourth Tuesday morning of each month, except August, from 10.30 to 12 noon, at members’ houses.

If you think you might enjoy this group, please get in touch with Lesley via the website, or better still, join Portsdown u3a!


27th June – Continuing our tour of the Tudor period

11th July – A visit to the refurbished Garrison Church Portsmouth

August – no meeting

September – A visit to The Vyne at Sherbourne

Group Leader: Lesley Almond



We have continued to work our way through Norman cathedrals (or remains of, in some cases!). Several people chose ones they knew well, or even revisited. We’ve been intrigued to find some of the cathedrals seem to have very similar designs, despite the distances.

We ended the term on a high note (see photo), with a pre-arranged tour of the architecture of Chichester Cathedral, conducted by our knowledgeable guide,Alan. Near the Lady Chapel, he pointed out four different styles of architecture in a relatively small space, proof of the adaptability of the masons. We ended with a short, but fascinating talk by the Clerk of Works, who spared us some time from his very busy schedule up on the roof, to tell us about the work being done up there (we could hear it!).

We have a varied programme for next term, when we will be embarking on the influential Gothic styles. In October, we hope to visit Winchester Cathedral and, taking advantage of the extra Tuesday, we will have a talk by a group member, David, on Portsmouth Cathedral, which we will follow up in December with a tour conducted by him, followed by tea and an invitation to attend Evensong. Our “Christmas lunch” will be at South Downs college in January 2020! Our February meeting will be a talk by a local architect, Martin Critchley, about his work , with specific reference to buildings in Havant. In March, David hopes to arrange for us to visit churches in the Meonstoke and Corhampton area.

As we meet in the Nugee Room at the church of Sts. Peter & Paul in Wymering, we could take one or two new members, if you would like to join us.

Visit to Chichester Cathedral