Hundreds of Somerstown people work together to create name ideas for tower blocks site


More than 350 Somerstown residents worked together to create a mural of ideas as the local community started the search for a name for the brand new Portsmouth City Council-owned housing that will replace Horatia and Leamington Houses.

Click here to watch a two-minute video of the You Name It community event which saw hundreds of Somerstown people gather together for arts and crafts, coffee and cakes while local artist Emma Paxton used their name ideas to create a 3m long mural in the café at Somerstown Central (the Hub).

The You Name It mural will now be mounted on the wall of the Somerstown Central café until it can be moved into the new housing development that will replace the Earlsdon Street and Meriden Road blocks.

Mural creator Emma said: “We’ve had a lot of fun. There are so many people here – it’s really heart-warming to see. This place has been full of children and adults all day and we’ve been given the most amazing ideas.

“Some of the themes for the names have been based on local history, ‘city by the sea’ and our community. There’s a been a really positive atmosphere the whole time and we’ve had people creating fridge magnets, named photo frames and collage boxes that they will take home with them.”

Cllr Darren Sanders, Cabinet Member for Housing and Preventing Homelessness said: “This is what the Horatia and Leamington Houses project has been about right from the very beginning – bringing the local community together to lead a project that will make real improvements to Somerstown.”


Be part of this exciting opportunity to improve Somerstown

The project to carefully, and safely, bring down Horatia and Leamington Houses is progressing well and is due to be completed in the second half of this year.

Tearful former residents of Horatia House described their emotions at watching a crane lift the first panel from the block on Monday 29 November (click here to watch a video of them describing their reaction).

The council has also hosted a Forest of Somerstown community art session (click here to watch a two-min video from the event), a lighting workshop (click here to watch a two-min video from the event) and a play and plant event (click here to watch a video) in the area surrounding the blocks, to find out how people want the site improved. A community panel – made up of local residents, businesses, charities and former residents of the blocks – is helping the council and the design team to put together the plans.

The council and the Horatia and Leamington Houses Community Panel have said that they will create high quality, sustainable, mixed-use urban neighbourhoods. The community panel – which is at the centre of both the deconstruction and redevelopment projects – has been meeting every month since March 2021.

To join the community panel or ask any questions about the project; call Tim Raw on 07901 100537 or email