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Architecture & The City

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum

Tricorn: Controversy in Concrete is a brand new exhibition commemorating 10 years since the demolition of this distinct and controversial building that between 1966 and 2004 was a fundamental part of the Portsmouth skyline. The exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum goes far beyond documenting the building from an architectural perspective, although for the first time many, many original drawings, plans and photographs are on display from the building’s architects, much of it for the first time ever. Where this exhibition explores beyond the groundbreaking and (for many) iconic Brutalist architectural design is documenting how it was experienced and used by the people of Portsmouth. The exhibition opened on the 15th and formally had its opening celebration to a capacity crowd on Saturday 22nd.

The exhibition on the ground floor of the museum is loosely arranged in to two areas, with the first section detailing the origins of the building from concept to design and build. As you enter this space the striking architectural plans on the wall are what first catch the eye. The lines and form of the concrete structure can almost take you back in time to the exciting and economically optimistic early 1960s, with the original and then cutting edge design still feeling strangely fresh even now. This is reinforced with the many original pamphlets, magazines and books that show the enthusiasm the project launched with. This part of the exhibition also establishes where the Tricorn sat within the Brutalist movement and also with some other buildings in the city such as Portsdown Park and Portsmouth Central Library, both of which are in the exhibition in the form of architect sketches and models.

The second section focuses on how the people of Portsmouth experienced the structure over the years it stood in the city centre. Part of this section is an incredible collection of posters and artwork from the nightclub but there is also related music, photos and even period clothing giving a sense of how the building was, for a time, a hub for the community. This section also looks at how the building was a creative inspiration for many, including artwork, skateboard decks and in particular, photography. It is in this section the Strong Island community photo panel is located, with over 100 photos capturing the structure in artistic angles and light. This area is also home to some striking work by Jon King and James Earle, both of who explored the building with their cameras throughout it’s demolition. Both areas also contain oral history, with interviews, opinions and memories on the Tricorn from both architect and members of the public. Also in both areas of the exhibition are feedback walls, which welcome comments from people visiting the exhibition. Despite the exhibition only being open for a week these are already full with amazing contributions.

On Saturday 22nd the exhibition was formally opened including attendance by VIPs such as Owen Luder, one of the original architects, plus many people associated with the Tricorn from right back to it’s design and construction through to its final demolition. The event included speeches by Owen Luder, Celia Clark and Councillor Lee Hunt, possibly the most interesting was the story of the Tricorn told by Owen Luder himself. It was fascinating to see how for him the aspirations for the building were in many ways dashed due to an economic turndown happening with an extended delay in securing contracts with key business tenants. Of particular note were his thoughts on how the space itself has been used “54 years on it is back to how it was when I first saw it in 1960, a carpark”.

The exhibition runs through to the 29th June.

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (1)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (2)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (3)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (4)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (5)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (6)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (7)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (8)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (9)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (11)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (12)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (13)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (14)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (15)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (16)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (17)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (18)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (19)

Tricorn Exhibition Opens at Portsmouth City Museum

Love it or hate it, one thing is undeniable, The Tricorn was a distinctive building and helped shape for many years the skyline of Portsmouth. Another undeniable fact is that everyone had an opinion on the structure, from its design through to its use and this exhibition, entitled Tricorn: Controversy in Concrete at Portsmouth City Museum, is sure to remind people that even after 10 years since it’s demolition the Tricorn can still instil passion in the people of Portsmouth and further afield.

The exhibition itself explores the architectural roots of both the Tricorn in the Brutalist movement, its construction in 1966 & all the way through to the Tricorn’s demise in 2004. The exhibition also explores how the Tricorn formed a part of the community, with it home to businesses, a place to work, explore and play through the years. For the first time all of these aspects of this distinctly Portsmouth building will be on display.

As part of the exhibition will be a display of over 100 photos submitted to Strong Island by over 30 photographers that will form the community photography panel. The photographs show the Tricorn in many different ways, with it forming not just a backdrop but a clear, creative inspiration to many students and people of Portsmouth. We’re really excited to share the work and the display.

We are also working with a group of artists and photographers on a series of prints that will be on sale at the Portsmouth City Museum during the exhibition and on display within the exhibition. We’ll have more details on these and some other Tricorn related events and activities soon!

The exhibition opens on the 15th March and runs through to the 29th June.

Below is the official flyer plus a very small selection of images submitted to us to form the community photography panel.

Tricorn Exhibition Poster

Tricorn by Nick Moore

Tricorn by Dave Sanderson

Tricorn by Jon King

Tricorn by Allister Lewis

Tricorn by Paul Duffy

Deadline for Tricorn Photos is Friday 7th

As we mentioned recently (you can find out the full details HERE) we have been collecting submissions of people’s photos of Portsmouth’s iconic Tricorn for the upcoming Tricorn exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum. The submitted photos will form a community panel within the exhibition itself, helping to show the creative inspiration to local people the structure became. We have been overwhelmed with the response so far, receiving over 300 photos and some of them are quite simply stunning. Many people who have submitted photos took them whilst studying art and photography and the quality of the images is incredible.

The deadline for all submissions is now next Friday, the 7th February. If you could please dig out your negatives, dive through your old prints and look in old hard-drives for your photos and send them over that would be great. To find out how to submit give me a shout on paul@strong-island.co.uk.

We’re also hoping to organise a few more Tricorn related events and activities throughout 2014, the 10th anniversary of it being demolished.

Tricorn by Russell Squires
Photo by Russell Squires

We Want Your Tricorn Photos For the Museum Exhibition!

Portsmouth City Museum in March will be home to an incredible new exhibition dedicated to Portsmouth’s iconic Tricorn. The exhibition will not only look at the building from an architectural perspective but will also explore it’s place as part of the fabric of the Portsmouth community, ten years after it was demolished. Love it or hate it, the structure certainly made people passionate about Portsmouth and it was a key part of the skyline of the city for decades.

We are working with the museum on a range of events and activities that tie in with this exhibition and one of which is asking local people to donate or lend for copying their photos and videos of the Tricorn for a display to form part of the exhibition itself. If you would like to submit your photos please get in touch by emailing paul@strong-island.co.uk. We would love to get as many photos of Tricorn together as possible so if you could share the details of this submission with your friends and family both in person and online via Facebook, Twitter, etc it would be really appreciated!

We will be announcing more details of some of the other things we will be doing in parallel with the Tricorn exhibition soon.

The photo below is one of a selection of striking photos of the Tricorn taken at night submitted by Paul Organ, used with permission:

Tricorn Garage by Paul Organ

University of Portsmouth Eldon Building Extension Now Open

The University of Portsmouth’s £14m Eldon Building extension opens this week and for the first time provides both the Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries with brand new purpose-built facilities. The building of the new wing has been a few years in the making but it does seem like only the other week the ground was broken (and old brick cellars discovered in Middle Street) but now the new structure and facilities are finished. The building itself replaces some of the old facilities in the old art college era wing such as the old Space Gallery but the new building will be home to far larger and more diverse exhibition spaces open to not only students of the University but also the public. Already there are a series of exhibitions lined up for the coming months.

You can read more about the development HERE and also see a short statement by Faculty Dean, Professor Catherine Harper:

University of Portsmouth's Eldon Building

The South Parade Trust & Community Ownership in Portsmouth

The South Parade Trust (once the People’s Pier) are, as you may know, a social enterprise made up of a group of Portsmouth people from all walks of life who are working together to purchase South Parade Pier with the aim to restore it and bring it back to wider public use. Today sees the positive news that after a year of seemingly a Mexican stand off regarding repairs between the owners and Portsmouth City Council, the owners are now in negotiations with The South Parade Trust regarding selling of the pier after agreeing to sell to the Trust in writing. It is early days and it also seems at the moment there is no legal compulsion for the sale but Strong Island, like many other city residents, watch on with fingers crossed.

Only a few years ago such a proposition of a community group taking on such a project in Portsmouth might have been difficult to imagine. It is clear that the Pompey Supporters Trust’s successful takeover of Portsmouth FC at Fratton Park has been a catalyst within the city (and possibly further afield), creating a template for other community groups to adopt and develop. Despite many, many hurdles from financial to legal with many stakeholders not (excuse the pun) playing ball…it was the drive, determination & dedication of PST with the incredible support of both Pompey fans here & all over the World and Portsmouth residents that made it happen in the end. Not to mention the support of Portsmouth City Council and The News too.

With the hopeful successful sale of the pier it will see Portsmouth with another large community owned city asset, with the community at the heart of the organisation’s ethos. On top of this the city also has smaller but just as important charities and social enterprises also striving to create commercially successful but community driven projects. These include, but just a small tip of the iceberg, such organisations as Southsea Greenhouse & Wymering Manor Trust, but there are many, many more.

As well as these community driven projects mentioned above and also a few ambitious projects also starting up behind the scenes in Portsmouth at the moment too it looks like Portsmouth could be becoming a city where companies driven by community engagement and even owned by the community itself can make the city stand proud from other cities in the South and in the UK as a whole. We might not be the only Waterfront City but just maybe we are the city where the community can take ownership and make a significant difference.

Find out more about South Parade Trust at: www.SouthParadeTrust.org

South Parade Pier

ARTches Development Gets Planning Approval

Today sees the first of many big steps in the creation of the ARTches project, the cultural quarter of Portsmouth to be located at The Round Tower and the Hotwalls in Old Portsmouth, with planning approval given for the plans. You can read what looks like the press release from Portsmouth City Council on a few local websites for more details and quotes. But what now?

Over the last few months the application for this project saw a real spike in engagement by local people in the planning process. This engagement in itself is a positive thing, more than ever it is important for people to have their say in what happens in their city. On a not so positive note, this application became a particularly contentious issue with first an opposing petition on the popular social activism website 38 Degrees, swiftly followed by a pro-development petition. As the weeks went on the issue polarised local opinion, seemingly splitting the local community in two, which can only be a bad thing. With the dust settled, hopefully both sides can come together again and find a way where the residents around the development can feel engaged and that in other ways their opinions may be aired too…because in many ways the success of the project must depend in part on the involvement (and hopefully acceptance and approval) of the people who live and work around it.

The next step from here seems to be the application for significant funding for the project, beyond that a not-for-profit business must be created that will oversee the development and the running of the entity once complete. Personally, the part of the plan for the project that hasn’t yet been gone in to detail is the business plan. We know that artists will be able to rent the studio spaces but as of now the details of the selection process, the residency duration, the type of art & craft to be showcased and how these studios will be sustainable and even profitable isn’t clear. Likewise the business(es) who will provide the eating and drinking facilities, etc. Hopefully in the next weeks and months the details will be released.

Personally, I back the creation of a cultural quarter in the city (you can read my thoughts in a previous article on Strong Island HERE) and I hope that moving ahead a split community can come together and back a sustainable business that will not only support arts and crafts in the city but also become a new tourist destination and attraction for Portsmouth.

ARTches Proposal Consultation (3)

ARTches Proposal Consultation (5)

ARTches Proposal Consultation (1)

The Island City, A Day in the Life of Portsmouth

Strong Island Media put together this short film entitled ‘The Island City’ that was screened at the recent Shaping the Future of Portsmouth conference. The film gives a stylised view of a day in the life of the city, touching on its geography, landmarks, people and places.

The Island City by Strong Island Media

Make a Difference and Vote For Wymering Manor Trust Today to Win £50,000

Wymering Manor is a historic Grade II* listed building near Cosham in north Portsmouth first built in the 16th century with parts of the current building also contain medieval and roman materials. In January 2013 the council officially handed Wymering Manor over to the Wymering Manor Trust and since then the Trust have worked quickly in their efforts to not only bring Portsmouth’s oldest house back to it’s past glory but also make it an open, welcoming community space for local people.

The Wymering Manor Trust “Mind Your Manor” project aims to renovate and refurbish this historic Portsmouth building’s music room, kitchen and chapel areas to be used as a community hub for local events and activities as well as a learning centre for training and volunteering opportunities. The trust could receive up to £50,000 from the People’s Millions to make this happen, BUT, they need votes TODAY!

Between 9am and midnight today simply call 0871 626 8871 and vote for Wymering Manor Trust to win the £50,000 they need to bring the house back to public use. It is as simple as that. PLUS you can vote up to 10 times. Once you have voted then share that telephone number on Facebook and Twitter to all your friends and let them know they too can take an active role in both ensuring this historic building is kept for future generations and the local community have an exciting, new resource available.

Also today a short film about “Mind Your Manor” will be broadcast on Meridian News highlighting in detail all that the trust aim to achieve for both the Manor and the local community. Everything from essential repairs to make the Manor safe for community use and providing disabled access to the Victorian Wing to the provision of gardening equipment for our volunteer gardeners, and computer equipment for training programmes.

HERE is the link to the trust’s project page on The People’s Millions website for more information and for you to register if you wish and comment on the project.

To find out more about Wymering Manor check their Website, Facebook or Twitter.

www.wymeringmanortrust.com

Wymering Manor (1)

Wymering Manor (2)

Wymering Manor (3)

Wymering Manor (4)

Wymering Manor (5)

Wymering Manor (6)

New Tourist Information Signs in Portsmouth

You will no doubt be aware that new tourist information signs have been in the process of being rolled out around the city for some time. The panels in the floor with their ‘coming soon’ like slots at the designated locations have caused some controversy but the new signs now reside in these slots and really catch the eye.

This particular sign on the prom by The Pyramid Centre was put in before the Great South Run and contains a great map, with walkable distances shown, places of interest and more. The signs also utilise QR codes on their side for quick access to website and mobile information for visitors too. As always, there will be conversations about costs in these economic times but do they do the job and are they well designed? Let us know what you think as a comment here or on our Facebook page and Twitter. We’ll add some comments to this article later today.

(Please excuse the clarity of the images, they are mobilephone photos).

New Tourist Information Signs in Portsmouth (1)

New Tourist Information Signs in Portsmouth (2)

New Tourist Information Signs in Portsmouth (3)

Features

Strong Island Calendar Exhibition

Last November saw the launch of our 2014 Calendar at an Exhibition at the Wine Vaults. You can read an article from Becki Partridge about the event HERE.

We cannot take all of the credit for the exhibition, the content was all provided by you, the Strong Island readers. Not to forget the exhibition was made possible by the team at Southsea Gallery who printed and framed the photographs. If you see a photo that you like you can purchase it in Southsea Gallery located at 51 Albert Road.

The exhibition can be found in ‘snug’ on the far right hand side of the Wine Vaults.

If you would like to know how to get involved in next years calendar then click HERE to find out more information.

Phil Tickner Calendar Exhibition 1

Phil Tickner Calendar Exhibition

Photos are by the awesome Phil Tickner, be sure to give him a follow on Flickr and on Twitter @HoldYourColour.

Strong Island Calendar Exhibition

A Kind of Conjuration at the Cellars

You would think witch trails a thing of the distant past. However, during the second world war a woman was tried and convicted under the ancient Witchcraft Act.

A play about the trial was performed at The Cellars at Eastney last week. Local theatre companies New Apollo and Cop The Needle brought audiences A Kind of Conjuration. This hour-long theatre piece, directed by Steve Pitt, featured a group of five actors, and was based on the real-life trial of Scottish medium Helen Duncan in 1944, for events that took place in Portsmouth.

The intimacy of the venue worked well for the subject matter, and enabled the performers and audience to connect in a way that isn’t possible in larger venues. When the judge, played by Christopher Marlowe, addressed the jury during the court scene, he spoke to the audience as if they were the jury, making them feel involved in the action.

Angie Lily was fantastic in the court scene, nipping backstage to change elements of costume in-between each character, resulting in a highly entertaining whirlwind of at least five different characters (and accents) testifying in quick succession. Henry Oastler was on comedic top form for his appearance in the court scene, displaying subtle character traits such as a tuck of the chin, transforming him completely from his other role in the play as a newspaper journalist. James Kirby and Tim Lowe also gave entertaining performances.

Writers Stuart Olesker and John Stanton incorporated excerpts from the original court transcript, adding authenticity to this brilliant piece. A highly refreshing and thought provoking performance.

A Kind of Conjuration will next be performed at the Square Tower on 25th June as part of Portsmouth Festivities. (Doors open at 7pm, performance starts at 8pm). On this occasion the play will be preceded by a monologue from the late Harry Price, ghostbuster extraordinary. Tickets from 023 9282 6249 or 023 9273 6288 or online: www.thecellars.co.uk.

Reviews:

Ashley Harley in Portsmouth News:
“a little gem”
“hauntingly good”
“not to be missed”
“solid direction”

Heather James in Portsmouth News:
“I was riveted”
“very witty and entertaining”

David Richards of Remote Goat:
“a sellout”
“a joy to watch”
“superb performances”
“a very high degree of professionalism”
“a very effective mix of the serious and the comedic”
“another triumph and a thoroughly enjoyable evening”

The original flyer for the show at The Cellars

Strong Island Calendar 2015 #SIC2015

Our 2014 Calendar was a huge success, the quality of images and huge amount interest it received really took us by surprise. We managed to double the sales of the 2013 Calendar, meaning we raised just over £600 for the Feel Yourself Campaign and the Alzheimer’s Society. We received over a thousand submissions by email and by use of the Instagram hashtag #sic2014.

We are excited to announce that we are taking submissions for our 2015 calendar. If you’ve taken a photo that you’d like to submit then you can email your submission via calendar@strong-island.co.uk. If you’ve taken a photo on Instagram that you’d like to submit for consideration you just need add the hashtag #SIC2015. There are no limits to how many you submit, the only rule is that the image must be relevant to Portsmouth.

Along with Instagram this year we also recommend you check out the Faded App. I’ve had a play with this App and you can create images that surpass anything that Instagram can produce. I especially love the overlay function.

If you have been taking any photos during this extreme weather we would love for you to submit them!

You may be aware that unfortunately due to an error our end the original batch of calendars contained a couple of errors. To rectify this the problem with the calendar we re-printed all of the calendars and offered everyone who bought one a free replacement (with free P&P where required). We are confident that we have managed to replace the vast major because of the online ordering records, however if you bought one from Lou Lou’s, Southsea Gallery or the Victorian Market then we don’t have your details so we need you to contact us ASAP to arrange a replacement! Those unclaimed calendars by the end of the week are likely to be donated to the staff of the charities we are supporting

Strong Island Calendar 2015

Here are just a few of the submissions that we have already received that might give you some inspiration.

Charlie Thompson Fratton Park

Charlie Thompson 2
Both Charlie Thompson
Todd Lawton
Todd Lawton
Roberta Curxes
Roberta Fidora
Danny Miles
Danny Miles

Road To Blissfields 2014 by Sophie Perryer

It’s that time of year again, when Southsea’s finest traipse out on a Friday night to listen to some of our home-grown, burgeoning talent. This year was no exception, with the likes of Becky Jerams, Poppobowa, Sabre and the B of the Bang taking to the stage to fill our ears with a range of musical goodness.

The evening was held this year at the Cellars at Eastney, and certainly had a more relaxed atmosphere – Strong Island’s Stuart Barker was even spotted wandering around with a cup of tea at one point!

The relaxed atmosphere lent itself perfectly to Becky Jerams soulful, syrupy vocals, gliding effortlessly over lyrics and melodies alike. Becky has enjoyed considerable success over the last few years with her song writing: her track ‘La La Love’ was featured in a Mandy Moore movie, and she has written for the likes of Chesney Hawkes and Loz Bridge. These accomplishments certainly showed through in her music; her sound was very much grown up pop and polished, while still retaining a youthful, wishful quality in her lyrics. A great start to the evening.

Becky was followed by Popobawa, a Gosport based trio relatively new to the music scene – so much so that Road To Blissfields was their debut live show! To say the boys coped well would be an understatement; they delivered a strong set with some interesting melodic choices which made for a distinctive sound, and the combination of this with hazy vocals akin to Friendly Fires was very striking. The best part? You can download their EP for a ‘name your price’ on their SoundCloud page.

Also hailing from Gosport were SABRE – the fivesome delivered catchy synth beats and impressive vocals not dissimilar to the Maccabees or Bombay Bicycle Club, with a little Two Door Cinema Club thrown in for good measure. Their raucous sarcastic comedy appealed to the crowd, and the banter between the band members was enjoyable.

Last but certainly not least were the B Of The Bang. The contrast of the almost gravelly voice of the lead singer and the Roxanne on keyboard’s ethereal vocals lent an almost eerie sense. The band delivered well thought-out tracks which were both directional and abstract, and conveyed a sense of their musical versatility and talent. Without a doubt a well deserved victory.

Congratulations to the B Of The Bang“>B of the Bang on their slot at Blissfields, and thank you also to the other artists for once again showcasing to us the quality of our local talent! Thank you too to Bellyeyesmile, Joel Ransom, the Cellars at Eastney, Strong Island, and all those others who had a hand in organising a top evening.

By Sophie Perryer

*We will be giving away a pair of tickets to Blissfields over the next six weeks so be sure to keep an eye out.*

Becky Jerams
Becky Jerams

Becky Jerams
Popobawa
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SABRE
SABRE

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SABRE
B Of The Bang
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B Of The Bang
Bellyeyesmile
Bellyeyesmile

Bellyeyesmile
All photo’s by Daniel O’Neill

Victorious Festival 2014

In January the Victorious Festival team announced that the festival will be moving to Southsea Seafront. The team appear to have planned a bigger and better event building upon the success of previous years.

Last week saw the second wave of artists confirmed to perform live. The line up already consisted of awesome headliners Dizzie Rascal, Seasick Steve but they have now been joined by Razorlight, British Sea Power, Slow Club, Foy Vance, Mark Morriss of The Bluetones and The Bog Rolling Stones. There will be DJ sets from Alt J, Terry Hall of the Specials, 2manyDJs and COR. Not to forget some of the best local talent such as Matt Jarvis, Eloise Keating and our favourites the Southsea Alternative Choir are also performing.

Personally I’m really excited about the Sunday line up, I’ve been a huge fan of Seasick Steve for years and I even went to Bestival dressed as him for the Under the Sea fancy dress theme. Sunday also see’s British Sea Power performing, they have been regular visitors to the Wedgewood Rooms during their tours in the past, most recently in April 2013. They are easily one of the best live acts you could ever have the pleasure of seeing. The Saturday headliner Dizzie Rascal isn’t too shabby. I caught him at Bestival in 2010 and I can promise you, he knows how to put on a show and get you dancing!

There will be more artists announced closer to the time. You can find out first by following Victorious on Facebook and Twitter @VictoriousFest, or by signing up to the mailing list HERE.

The event is more than just a music festival, there will be lots going on in the Kids Arena as well a Real Ale Festival featuring many local breweries. For the weekend local seafront attractions will be FREE, these include Southsea Castle, Blue Reef Aquarium, D-Day Museum and Southsea Skate Park. If you would like to be involved in the boutique market then drop the team an email on traders@victoriousfestival.co.uk.

The festival will be held on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th August. There are limited early bird tickets available but hurry as they are only available at the reduced price for the next ten days! Adult Day tickets are currently available for £15 per day and will be £20 after. You can pick one up via the website HERE, or directly at Little Johnny Russells or either of the Belle Isle restaurants. Kids tickets will cost £6 but those under the age of five can enter the festival for free.

Over the next five months we will try and keep you up to date on announcements and preview the performers and attractions that you can look forward to.

Victorious Festival 2014

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum

Tricorn: Controversy in Concrete is a brand new exhibition commemorating 10 years since the demolition of this distinct and controversial building that between 1966 and 2004 was a fundamental part of the Portsmouth skyline. The exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum goes far beyond documenting the building from an architectural perspective, although for the first time many, many original drawings, plans and photographs are on display from the building’s architects, much of it for the first time ever. Where this exhibition explores beyond the groundbreaking and (for many) iconic Brutalist architectural design is documenting how it was experienced and used by the people of Portsmouth. The exhibition opened on the 15th and formally had its opening celebration to a capacity crowd on Saturday 22nd.

The exhibition on the ground floor of the museum is loosely arranged in to two areas, with the first section detailing the origins of the building from concept to design and build. As you enter this space the striking architectural plans on the wall are what first catch the eye. The lines and form of the concrete structure can almost take you back in time to the exciting and economically optimistic early 1960s, with the original and then cutting edge design still feeling strangely fresh even now. This is reinforced with the many original pamphlets, magazines and books that show the enthusiasm the project launched with. This part of the exhibition also establishes where the Tricorn sat within the Brutalist movement and also with some other buildings in the city such as Portsdown Park and Portsmouth Central Library, both of which are in the exhibition in the form of architect sketches and models.

The second section focuses on how the people of Portsmouth experienced the structure over the years it stood in the city centre. Part of this section is an incredible collection of posters and artwork from the nightclub but there is also related music, photos and even period clothing giving a sense of how the building was, for a time, a hub for the community. This section also looks at how the building was a creative inspiration for many, including artwork, skateboard decks and in particular, photography. It is in this section the Strong Island community photo panel is located, with over 100 photos capturing the structure in artistic angles and light. This area is also home to some striking work by Jon King and James Earle, both of who explored the building with their cameras throughout it’s demolition. Both areas also contain oral history, with interviews, opinions and memories on the Tricorn from both architect and members of the public. Also in both areas of the exhibition are feedback walls, which welcome comments from people visiting the exhibition. Despite the exhibition only being open for a week these are already full with amazing contributions.

On Saturday 22nd the exhibition was formally opened including attendance by VIPs such as Owen Luder, one of the original architects, plus many people associated with the Tricorn from right back to it’s design and construction through to its final demolition. The event included speeches by Owen Luder, Celia Clark and Councillor Lee Hunt, possibly the most interesting was the story of the Tricorn told by Owen Luder himself. It was fascinating to see how for him the aspirations for the building were in many ways dashed due to an economic turndown happening with an extended delay in securing contracts with key business tenants. Of particular note were his thoughts on how the space itself has been used “54 years on it is back to how it was when I first saw it in 1960, a carpark”.

The exhibition runs through to the 29th June.

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (1)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (2)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (3)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (4)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (5)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (6)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (7)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (8)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (9)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (11)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (12)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (13)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (14)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (15)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (16)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (17)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (18)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (19)