Strong Island Co.

Architecture & The City

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard Photography Walkshop

We’re working to continue to tie in some upcoming photography walkshops with different heritage venues around the city of Portsmouth after the success of our Southsea Castle walkshop last summer. We’re happy to announce that our walkshop at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard can now be booked online, for the 19th March.

We will be exploring the open access areas of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, looking at the recently restored and upgraded Boathouse 4, the old, historic buildings, the views of HMS Warrior, HMS Victory, HMS M.33 and more. Expect to capture lots of Portsmouth’s naval history, hidden reminders of the dockyard’s working history and views of the basin and harbour.

A big thank you to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for letting us as a group explore with our cameras.

You can now book the Portsmouth Dockyard walkshop HERE.

(All photos by Strong Island Media).

Hotwalls Studios – Applications For Studios Now Open

Since the early beginnings of Hotwalls Studios (once previously named the ARTches project) local creatives have been keen to find out more and to sign up for one of the studio spaces. The time has finally arrived and formal applications for Hotwalls Studios are now open!

The Hotwalls Studios is located in the unique and important heritage buildings, known collectively as Point Battery. Thirteen studios are available in total, ranging in size from 194 square feet (18 square metres) to 258 square feet (24 square metres). Hotwalls Studios can be used between 7am to 11pm, seven days a week and Portsmouth City Council expect the studios to be occupied for at least 30 hours a week during this period. You can apply to rent a whole studio or to share with another person/business.

Portsmouth City Council have produced a studio application pack which contains detailed information about the studios, including rents and terms, to request a pack get in touch with PCC by emailing:

The deadline for applications is the 25th March 2016, so get involved!

Hotwalls Studios is due to open mid-summer this year, we’re really looking forward to seeing this fantastic new creative hub in the city.

ARTches Proposal Consultation (3)

Creative Census Portsmouth 2015 is Now Closed

Creative Census Portsmouth 2015, a project run by Strong Island and Claire Sambrook with the support of Portsmouth City Council to take a snapshot of the many people & businesses in the Portsmouth area who work in the creative industries, has now closed for submissions. A huge thank you to everyone who took part!

We’re now in the process of collecting all the data together and in the coming months we’ll be creating a report which we aim to release to the public before the summer. The report will contain all of the interesting information drawn from the data and we’re working with award winning Portsmouth graphic designer Sam Barclay on its design.

We’ll let you know as things progress and visit the Creative Census website for more information:

Last Few Days to Take Part in Creative Census

We’re coming down to the last few days when people can get involved with the Creative Census, a project run by Strong Island and Claire Sambrook with the support of Portsmouth City Council. The project aims to try and engage with as many people & businesses in the Portsmouth area who work in the creative industries. We are also hoping people & businesses outside Portsmouth (but who work in the city often) will also get involved too.

To take part in the Creative Census you or your business/charity/organisation just need to work in the creative sector (e.g. photographer, illustrator, designer, craft, architect, songwriter, fashion designer, etc. – see the website for the full list) and be based and/or work in the city: from a volunteer all the way through to a large agency or organisation.

Deadline to take part is the end of January.

It takes a few minutes to complete and will go to help us build (for the first time) a snapshot of statistics and information that we hope can really show how Portsmouth and Southsea are on the national creative map.

To take part simply visit the website:

Creative Census Portsmouth – Measuring the creative temperature of the city of Portsmouth

Find Out More About Hotwalls Studios at Crafts in the Tower

The Hotwalls Studios project has continued at apace since the hoarding boards went up around the site at the start of Autumn last year. The work on site is set to continue until the mid summer when the studios and cafe will open to the public. If you wish to find out more about the studios you can speak to Dr Beverly Lucas and her team who are running the project at upcoming Crafts in the Tower craft markets at the Square Tower. The dates for these markets are:

– Sunday 21st February, 11am to 3pm
– Sunday 20th March, 11am to 4pm

Hotwalls Studios at Crafts in the Tower

Kings Theatre Family Open Day Tomorrow

The Kings Theatre Open Day returns on tomorrow (Saturday 16th January), to give the whole family a day out to remember and a behind the scenes experience of the beautiful Edwardian theatre. From 10am to 4pm you are welcomed to explore areas of the theatre you never usually get to see, with a technical tour of the stage house and a trip to the fly floor, or learn about the history of the theatre on one of the historical tours.

As well as exploring you can also try your hand at Ukulele ‘jamming’, take part in a stage workshop with the Kings Youth Theatre, or show them your best pose in our 80’s vs 90’s photo booth. Join Fareham College backstage in the dressing rooms for character make-up demonstrations, casualty special effects and character transformations with special wig and makeup techniques.

If you are interested in the history of the Kings, and the restoration of the building, an exhibition and information will be in the promenade with archivists to chat to. HMS Warrior will also have an archive exhibition and workshop taking place within the Matcham Bar.

At 3pm, a showcase of performances will take place on the stage with some sneak previews of upcoming shows this year. A day not to be missed!

Tickets are £5 single and £15 family and can be bought at the box office (phone 02392 828282) and online at the Kings Theatre website:

Kings Theatre

Strong Island Photo of The Year Competition Week 29-32 Winner and Runners Up

Argghh, later again, sorry, again. We’re going to look at easier ways of taking submissions and managing them next year as it takes quite a while to get all the photos together. Anyway, this is the PENULTIMATE weekly winner for our Photo of the Year competition, meaning we have one last week (next week) to get in your photos before we go to the public vote at the start of January. As you can see from the shortlist below, we had lots of beautiful winter light in many images plus some great textures too.

To submit photos yourself via Instagram & Twitter for the Strong Island Photo of the Year Competition use the hashtag #SIPhotoComp2015 and you can always email photos in too to

The weekly winner for week 29-32 is Owen Davies with a striking mix of geometric architectural lines and atmospheric natural forms and tones, all in monochrome.

Photo by Owen Davies
Photo by Owen Davies.

This weekly winner will now be entered into the finals of the competition which will happen in December where everyone can vote for their favourite weekly winning photos. This image will now become our Strong Island Facebook header image for the next 7(ish) days until next week’s winner.

Below are some of the runners up for this week. A huge thanks to everyone who submitted a photograph. Don’t worry if your photo didn’t win or make the shortlist… you can enter photos every week until the we ask you all to pick a winner in January! You can now submit photos for this week’s weekly winner selection which will be chosen and shown next week. To enter simply email, Tweet or Instagram your photo that was taken in, on or around Portsmouth.

Photo by Howard Hurd
Photo by Howard Hurd.

Photo by Johnny Black
Photo by Johnny Black.

Photo by Pete Blackman
Photo by Pete Blackman.

Photo by Dave Morgan
Photo by Dave Morgan.

Photo by Billie Cawte
Photo by Billie Cawte.

Photo by j1515t
Photo by j1515t.

Photo by Johnny Black
Photo by Johnny Black.

Photo by Owen Davies
Photo by Owen Davies.

Photo by Howard Hurd
Photo by Howard Hurd.

Photo by Grzegorz Kopacz
Photo by Grzegorz Kopacz.

Langstone by David Ellis
Photo by David Ellis.

Photo by Danielle Gridley
Photo by Danielle Gridley.

Photo by Howard Hurd
Photo by Howard Hurd.

Photo by Billie Cawte
Photo by Billie Cawte.

Hidden by Paul Watt
Photo by Paul Watt.

Hotwalls Studios Revealed to the Public as the Project Begins

Sunday saw the doors of the Round Tower open up to the public as part of an event sharing the final plan, designs and branding for Hotwalls Studios, the new name for the creative quarter in Old Portsmouth. We’ve featured this project on numerous occasions in recent years (was called the ARTches Project previously) and it was great to see this project on Sunday transition from careful planning in to action. Back in 2011 Strong Island held the first exhibition in the Round Tower which was part of the first look by Portsmouth City Council at the space finally being opened up to the public and for more creative use of the area in general. The arches in the Hotwalls have been home to Sunday art sales going back to the late 50s too so the area has a long creative and cultural story to tell as this new chapter at this historic monument begins.

Hotwalls Studios was officially announced yesterday with the clean new branding for the 13 new studios plus cafe and brasserie. As well as the logo and branding on display there were also the architectural plans, from the technical footprint of the building and its use all the way through to the furniture, doors, signs, fixtures and fittings…giving a real sense of how the space will look in summer 2016 when it opens.

Outside the Round Tower on Sunday you also had Pompey Pluckers performing as well as the Southsea Night Markets selling their creative items, painter John R Pearson with his diverse artwork on show, screen-printer and artist Spencer with his Petting Zoo prints plus refreshments provided by the Square Tower. Also getting involved was local painter and sketcher Chris Webb with other sketchers drawing and painting the Hotwalls, with artists from Bournemouth and Fareham getting involved. All in all it was a great start to this new phase in this long awaited project.

The Hotwalls Studios will be home to a community of creatives using the 13 studio spaces homed in the arches, akin to studio spaces and creative organisations like the new Ocean Studios in Plymouth and Leigh Park’s Making Space. These old battery arches will be completely re-invigorated with new glass walls giving lots of natural light and opening these work spaces up to the public to allow them to discover the art, design & making taking place inside. Applications of interest to have a studio are still being accepted but there has already been incredible interest shown, indicating a very real desire for these new homes to new and small businesses in the creative sector in the city. It will also be encouraged that these studios are very much ‘open door’ with the tenants not just welcoming the 1000s of people who pass through this area but also selling their craft and artwork.

The brasserie and cafe will also draw people in to this creative quarter, with over 40 covers plus the incredible terrace overlooking the Solent and the entrance to Portsmouth Harbour from the Round Tower. Expect this to be a huge draw for visitors and locals alike.

Work begins from next month with the hoardings going up around the site, with the expected completion date to be early summer in 2016. You can now keep up to date with developments via the new Hotwalls Studios social media (@HotwallsStudios on Twitter and Instagram) with a website coming soon. You can also sign up for updates on developments and to show interest on taking on a studio or the brasserie/cafe HERE.

You can seem more photos from Sunday’s event below.

Wayne Hemingway Announced as Design Champion for Portsmouth Guildhall

Portsmouth Guildhall announced last month about their exciting plans for their Renaissance Project: a £15 million pound to preserve, open up and redevelop the multi-faceted arts venue with a ten year masterplan. The options appraisal and draft masterplan has been carried out by Foster Wilson Architects (FWA), a leading architectural practice with an international reputation for the design of cultural buildings and creative spaces. FWA have worked on high profile projects with theatres and music venues in the past including places such as the legendary Hammersmith Apollo.

Yesterday afternoon Portsmouth Guildhall announced their Design Champions for the project: HemingwayDesign, lead by designer Wayne Hemingway. HemingwayDesign will meet with the architects to progress the future designs where they will test, visualise and build on FWA’s work and create material that can help to form public discussion – something that can be used to attract potential sponsors and partners. They will also focus on aspects such as design, programming and identity. HemmingwayDesign have recently worked with Dreamland in Margate, Transport for London, Royal Doulton and the Imperial War Museum. Wayne Hemingway has close connections to the south and links to the city already so it is exciting to imagine how this project will progress and develop in the near future.

“The Guildhall is a sleeping giant with loads of potential; there are so many spaces that can be used for new and exciting things. I don’t look at this as just being the Guildhall, it is a complex – a place for all…This should be the beating heart of Portsmouth. At the moment the Guildhall feels cold, it doesn’t feel alive – I want it to feel alive”. – Wayne Hemingway.

ARTches Project Showcase Event at the Round Tower on Sunday 13 September

With the summer on its way out, progress will become more apparent with the ARTches Project in Old Portsmouth. Despite it seeming quiet, a lot has been going on behind the scenes. On Sunday 13th September there will be a great event at the Round Tower that will showcase these developments, from 10.30am to 3pm.

The open day will provide an update on the development in Old Portsmouth to transform the former barracks into exciting creative studios. A new name and branding for the project will be unveiled, and project officers will be on hand to answer questions about the creative development, the studios and the opportunities for a brasserie and café.

There will also be local artists exhibiting their work (Southsea Night Markets) and refreshments provided by the Square Tower.

Work is scheduled to start in September and the studios will open next year, thanks to £1.75m of government funding. Heritage England has backed the project, which will secure the future of this historic monument in a creative way.

The event is open to all, simply RSVP to:

ARTches Project Showcase Event at the Round Tower on Sunday 13 September

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Friday, Saturday & Sunday in Southsea

We couldn’t possibly of asked for better weather this weekend. From straight out of the door after work on Friday till finally retiring to our couch on Sunday evening the sun was blazing and Southsea was rich with activity and happy people. We spent pretty much the entire weekend outside on the seafront, changing the vista every now and then and sinking more than our fair share of corner store beers. Let’s hope it keeps up for at least a while longer hey. Check my Flickr for a few more Sunny Southsea photographs.






Created Local – David Thompson

The Hiscock Gallery on Stanley Street behind Waitrose has some interesting new vintage style prints in stock by local artist David Thompson. They are a series of digitally drawn images reflecting upon 1930 – 1950s style advertising posters, enhanced with modern techniques. A really nice simplistic approach highlighting the main features of the subject, yet still very technical and intricate in places. The front of The Victory is awesome.

All reproductions are genuine giclée prints, printed with pigment based inks on 180gms Canon Matte paper, fade resistant for 100+ years. These “Poster” Prints are all personally signed by the artist. Head on over to Davids Gallery and take a look for yourself. Nice stuff for sure.

Rolling right Inuit part II

Following on from the previous post about the Igloo seen on Southsea Common, Khalid Saleh was kind enough to get in contact with some more information and some photos. It took Khalid and 6 of his friends 5 and a half hours to build the Igloo using what looks like icecream tubs and glow sticks were donated by passers by from the Navy.

It’s still standing today and Meridian will be doing a short interview with them. Not sure when that will air, but hopefully I’ll catch it.







Local Photographer – Eamon Lane

A recent arrival to Portsmouth, Eamon Lane has been out and about the city recently shooting photos on the street and at local events such as Love Your Bike. Below are a few examples of Eamon’s photography, visit I Love Slugs to see more.

Southsea & Portsmouth Guide

Local photographer Steve Bomford recently sent over a series of scans from the 1926 Official Publication of the Southsea Beach & Publicity Committee Portsmouth Corporation book ‘Southsea & Portsmouth’.

‘It is of little use to invite intending holiday makers to a town, unless there are attractions to offer, under all conditions of our notorious fickle ‘English’ climate. We do not make the statement that the sun shines every day at Southsea, but records show that we do get the maximum amount of sunny hours. Last year again, 1,923 hours were recorded, the highest number (with one exception) in the United Kingdom. Admitting that the question of sunshine is an important one, it is contended that a holiday resort must have other attractions, such as charming amenities, efficient public services, splendid variety of amusements, good facilities for all outdoor sports, and a good selection of cheap excursions and places of historical interest, to make a general appeal to those who are seeking a health-giving and enjoyable holiday.”

I love all the old hand drawn adverts and especially like the ‘medically recommended’ page. Where the sun lingers longer. Couldn’t be closer to the truth still to this day. It’s a shame the ‘most artistic cafe in Southsea’ is no longer in operation and the amount of people gathered on South Parade beach is incredible. Be sure to check out the full set with over 80 pages of photos, adverts and chapters all about Portsmouth & Southsea over at Steve’s Flickr HERE. A really interesting read if you like your history. And we know you do.

Above Western Parade

The other day I got to go up on to the roof of a house on Western parade with a great view over the common, Southsea and The Solent. Always interesting seeing Southsea in new ways. Below are some photos (click on ‘Read More’ to see more plus there are more over on Forever Circling).

It’s going to be a Strong Movember – Closed at £725

Righto chaps, it’s time to clean shave your boat race and get that mighty moustache on the grow in support of Movember for The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. For 30 days of November you can help support and raise awareness through selflessly parading your top lip for charity.

You can sign up yourself, as I’m sure many of you already have, or you can join the Strong Island team and seek out sponsorship as a team. Through the Strong Island Movember page you can ask people to join the group, make donations, upload photos and post updates via the MoSpace page, Facebook and Twitter.

Head over to if you would like to get involved and grow a Strong Moustache to help raise awareness, or simply head over to and sign up to personally raise money.

The funds raised in the UK support the number one and two male specific cancers – prostate and testicular cancer. The funds raised are directed to programmes run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. Together, these channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programmes in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.

Poster: Tristan Savage

Created Local – Cat Vaughan

Cat from the Inksquatch collective has some of her prints available for purchase in The Southsea Gallery on Albert Road. They should be in and ready for sale this weekend, 3rd July. Some nice little illustrations as always. Go and grab a local bargain.

Local Photographer: Paul Thurlow

I’ve been following local photographer Paul Thurlow’s blog for a little while, always some wonderful photos from our little piece of coastline plus some incredible portrait and wedding photography too. Put what you’re doing to one side for a little while and have a look through Paul’s website and Flickr too, so many beautiful photos including HDR images too.

Old Ships and The Point

Continuing from the HMS Vanguard photos from earlier this week, this one shot from above shows the scale of the ship and her guns, which are as big as the pubs! The second photo is of HMS Victorious passing out in the 50s, with the old power station in the background. Hard to believe such a huge, dominating landmark like that is now just a memory.

Click on the images to see larger versions. Photos are taken from the wonderful Portsmouth From The Air book by Anthony Triggs.

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