Facts, History

Why is Portsmouth called Pompey? The theories…

why is portsmouth called Pompey

Why is Portsmouth called Pompey? Actually, no one knows. The current theories are…

  • The original colour of Portsmouth Football Club was pink so this led to references to Madame Pompdadour who often wore pink.


  • Bombay was part of the wedding gift of Catherine of Braganza to Charles II. Portuguese seaman saw a resemblance between the two ports and may have called Portsmouth “Bom Bhia” which to English ears sounds like Pompey.


  • Dame Agnes Weston was describing the murder of the Roman general Pompey at a lecture to a naval audience. A member of the audience exclaimed “Poor old Pompey!” and this phrase stuck.


  • A drunkard’s slurred pronunciation of Portsmouth Point (where there are many taverns popular with sailors)


  • Ships entering Portsmouth harbour make an entry in the ship’s log “Pom. P.” – a reference to Portsmouth Point (this being too long). Navigational charts also use this abbreviation.


  • La Pompee was a captured French ship moored in Portsmouth and used for accommodation. (Captured 1793 and broken up 1817). There is a Yorkshire term “pompey” for prison or house of correction.


  • Volunteer firemen in the eighteenth century (known as pompiers) exercised on Southsea Common.


  • In 1781, some Portsmouth sailors climbed Pompey’s pillar near Alexandria and became known as the “Pompey boys”.


  • The pomp and ceremony connected with the Royal Navy at Portsmouth led to the adoption of the nickname, “Pompey”.


We are going for the buoy one but you decide…

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