The foundation stone of St. George’s Church was laid at 5.30am on a May morning in 1753 by William Johnson, a shipwright. The church is knows as the shipwrights’ church having been built by 15 shipwrights from the dockyard overseen by Nicholas Vass. They were joined in the construction by “three gentlemen, one carpenter, one tallow chandler and one grocer.” Together they completed the building of the church in six months, after which it was dedicated to St. George.
St. George’s Church was a “proprietary chapel” attached to St. Mary’s until 27 November 1875, after which it became a parish church permitted to carry out the occasional offices – baptisms, weddings and funerals.
More recently, during the Second World War, the area of Portsea suffered badly from bombing raids. The old Georgian houses in the square almost entirely disappeared, and St. George’s was badly damaged. The church was closed for ten years from 1941 – 1951 until a preliminary restoration in 1952 followed by further works twenty years later. The restored church became a daughter church of Portsmouth Cathedral in the adjacent parish, until 1981 when once again the church had its own priest.
Today, St. George’s Church continues to be a centre within the community committed to serving the pastoral, practical and spiritual needs of the people of Portsea, and beyond.