By Sarah Foster
01 October 2010
It's a tale of two cities, divided by the Atlantic Ocean and separated by thousands of miles.
They share the same name, a seaside location and even a proud naval history.
Now the gap between the American city of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and our own city could be closed.
'There's an appetite to pursue stronger links,' said Valerie Rochon, tourism manager in Portsmouth, New Hampshire.
'It makes so much sense as we have so much in common.
'I have asked the city government here what steps need to be taken to initiate the process from our end.
'I'm sure there will be interest in helping to build some form of special relationship.'
Pompey is already twinned with two European cities - Duisburg, in Germany and Caen, in France - and the arrangement sees councillors and residents taking part in exchange visits each year.
Portsmouth, New Hampshire, now hopes to replicate the success of those schemes by forging a similar relationship.
The Portsmouth across the pond has its own naval dockyard and Royal Navy captain John Mason founded the first settlement there.
Captain Mason was buried at Westminster Abbey and there's a plaque in his memory at the Royal Garrison Church, Old Portsmouth.
Captain Andrew Cole, who runs Portsmouth Harbour Cruises in New Hampshire, believes the two cities have much in common.
'I get a fair number of people over from the UK's Portsmouth and they find a lot of similarities - the water, the shipping, the yards and docks, the big naval presence and, above all, an attitude and tradition that looks to the sea,' he said.
Former News columnist, Lars Trodson, who wrote about life in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, said: 'What our two cities share most distinctly is a generosity of spirit. I think that comes out of our commonality as a port city.'
He added: 'Twins often know another just like them exists even if, through happen stance, they have never met.
'When they do meet, as both our cities should take the pains to do, the benefits and joys will be great and lasting and deep.'
Portsmouth City Council currently only has 'friendship' status with Portsmouth, New Hampshire - plus 'sister' status with the other American Portsmouth, in the state of Virginia.
City councillor for culture Lee Hunt is to raise the matter of twinning at his next portfolio meeting.
He added: 'We would welcome it. It seems to make sense. We would be very interested and could send our exhibitions over there.'