Writing the wikipedia article on southsea castle

Yes I’m going to witter on about some article I mostly wrote.

When I first arrived it was a start class article although a large chunk of it was a copyvio (taken from the most haunted TV show of all places). Still even with that removed there was a fair amount left. I like to think I’ve now got it up to somewhere between C and B class. While obviously there is further work to be done the articles is at least fairly reasonable now.

As a subject the castle suffers from a lower profile than might be expected from a largely intact castle. This is in part because it saw only limited action. While it was involved in the civil war it’s involvement was rather brief and the first time it turned it’s guns on a French warship (what it had original been designed for) was in 1940 during the tense period after the fall of France. It also suffers from the designer being less interested in impressing people than might traditionally be the case with the design almost exclusively focused on killing people. In fact the name southsea castle is somewhat misleading. Constructed after the main era of castle building it is closer to what would later be described as a fort or even a shore battery. Still it is probably one of Portsmouth’s more notable fortifications.

Its also not the easiest of castles to take photos of. It’s set low in the ground and there are a lack of convenient nearby high points to take photos to counter that. On the plus side the castle and the area around it are open to the public.

Describing it’s shape is another problem (technically it’s an irregular decagon but that’s not very useful)and in the end I traced an SVG outline of it’s shape from a 1577 plan of the castle. I still need to get hold of some plans of it’s shape after latter rebuilding but that should be doable.

Sourcing has been pretty easy other than sources disagreeing with each other over some dates. Still the castles low profile means that most of the article is based around just two sources (Southsea Castle by Arthur Corney and Southsea Past by Sarah Quail) with additions from various others. There’s also the problem that while the author clearly knows what they are talking about it somewhat questionable if The Ordnance of Southsea Castle by A.L Boxell (a book that provides some decent background info on what is otherwise Southsea castle;’s very random selection of guns) meets wikipedia’s reliable sourcing guidelines. In the end I’ve kept it’s use to a minimum and it now provides some colour in the section on the castle’s current use as a museum.

It’s still not finished and it’s still well short of even good article status but at least its sourced no longer cringe worthy. It also adds to the slowly growing set of decent articles on the fortifications of Portsmouth that I’m trying to put together.

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