The school magazine The Portsmouthian was launched in 1883 and superseded The Record and Portsmouth Grammar School Chronicle, which was also produced by some of the older pupils. The idea is thought to have originated with C P F O’Dwyer, a scholarship boy who left in 1884 having obtained an Open Exhibition for Classics at Wadham College, Oxford. The aim of the new bi-monthly publication was stated in its first editorial: “We ask you to support The Portsmouthian, because it may be a means of spreading useful information, of suggestings (sic), improvements, of ventilating ideas, of encouraging good deeds and censuring bad ones”. In 1894 the name was changed to The Portmuthian.
Following the First World War, in which the magazine played a role in keeping pupils informed of Old Portmuthian casualties, the magazine was published once a term.The first photograph, a formal portrait of the First XI Cricket Team, appeared in 1898, but it was to be several decades before pupils’ photographs and artwork were to appear.
The Portmuthian archive offers us is a unique and valuable record of life at PGS, a treasure trove of facts, arcane, trivial and fascinating. Its references are sometimes obscure, the history bitty and incoherent, but each edition reflects the time it was written, both in content and in design.