1850 - Nelson & Wellington Statues on Southsea Common
18th June. Lieut. Governor, Lord Frederick Fitzclarence, before giving up command of the Garrison, said he would like to present two statues as a token of regard and good feeling to the town and its inhabitants; the statues were of the England’s national heroes, one of Lord Nelson and the other of the Duke of Wellington to be mounted on Southsea Common near where Lord Nelson embarked to win and die at the Battle of Trafalgar and the Duke of Wellington sailed from Portsmouth to conduct the War in the Spanish Peninsula. The statues were unveiled on the 18th June amidst a concourse of 50.000 spectators.
Other events on the Common at that time were the presentation of colours to the 28th Regiment and the passage of the Queen along the sea front in the Royal Yacht Fairy. The fate of the statues is a mystery; they were carved of soft limestone and soon showed signs of decay. We are told the finishing touches were applied by some mischievous person who painted the faces with tar. One morning the inhabitants of the town awoke to find that the statues had disappeared. It was said that, by order of a well known naval officer, a party of bluejackets landed from a ship under the cover of darkness and dragged the statues from their pedestals and dropped them in the sea.