Strong Island Co.


Creative Census Portsmouth Continues!

We’ve had a great first month for our Creative Census project with lots of people completing the questions about their creative jobs, businesses and organisations…but we need more!

With our Creative Census project we aim to measure the creative temperature of the city for the first time, with the help of everyone involved with the creative industries in Portsmouth and Southsea. The census is open for submissions at the Creative Census website, please take a minute to complete the questions and to share this with everyone. The more people who take part, the better the results!

Once the census is complete we will be analysing the data and producing a presentation on the findings which we hope can actively promote the city regionally & nationally and also help lobby for improved access to resources, training, funding and more.

Please share the census with all of your friends on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc, your & your friends input can help make a difference.

We’ll be distributing flyers for Creative Census very soon with which you’ll be able to win a selection of locally created & designed prizes, more soon!

Creative Census Portsmouth

Folk Of Albert Road Success

Last night’s ‘Folk of Albert Road’ event was a huge success with queues of gig goers venue hopping to see some brilliant local talent. The King’s Theatre hosted the event and tour guides took groups up and down Albert Road to watch classic folk. Local pubs and cafes including The Phoenix, Southsea Gallery, The Magick Bean Cafe and Home cafe, offered space for musicians and onlookers to come together in intimate and unusual environments.

Bands included, Waif and Stray, Jamidad, Skye Russ and Anait Grigoryan, all of whom performed live acoustic sets.

A brilliant night which we hope to see again in Portsmouth!





Doodle Clubs First Art Exhibition

Every creation from Southsea Doodle Club, from the past three year’s will be on display for one weekend only at Gallery Art Space in Portsmouth. The exhibition will include over 70 meters of doodle roll, all of which have been contributed by some of the cities finest doodlers.

Kendal James has run the club with total passion since the first meet almost three years ago and is motivated by bringing locals together to get creative.

The club has been supported by The King Street Tavern and meet up’s happen there on the first Thursday of every month. This lovely little pub has supported the club with a venue, snacks and materials in recent years and will continue to play host to upcoming evenings.

Starboard Media are kindly supplying materials for the weekend as well as some yummy beer from the Portsmouth Brewhouse. Another local attender to the club is supplying vast amounts of beer and wine to keep the weekend lubricated and friendly.

The opening night is on July 10th from 6-8pm and everybody is welcome.

Follow the event and updates on Facebook or contact Kendal James directly with queries.





Photos From Portsmouth Pride 2015

Saturday afternoon saw the first Portsmouth Pride event for nine years start off from Guildhall Square, with a carnival atmosphere and lots of people lining the route to Southsea Common. Portsmouth photographer and University of Portsmouth student Sarkiz Mutafyan was on hand for Strong Island to photography the march and to capture the atmosphere. Great to see an event like this happing in Portsmouth.

“The atmosphere on Saturday presented a refreshing vibe throughout the city, attracting the attention of people of all ages, genders, sexual orientations, nationalities, etc. and that, in a way, made the event all the bigger. It was wonderful to see people from all walks of life coming together to enjoy and respect the day.” – Sarkiz

Portsmouth Pride 2015 by Sarkiz Mutafyan (1)

Portsmouth Pride 2015 by Sarkiz Mutafyan (3)

Portsmouth Pride 2015 by Sarkiz Mutafyan (4)

Portsmouth Pride 2015 by Sarkiz Mutafyan (5)

Portsmouth Pride 2015 by Sarkiz Mutafyan (6)

Portsmouth Pride 2015 by Sarkiz Mutafyan (7)

Portsmouth Pride 2015 by Sarkiz Mutafyan (8)

Portsmouth Pride 2015 by Sarkiz Mutafyan (9)

Portsmouth Pride 2015 by Sarkiz Mutafyan (10)

Portsmouth Pride 2015 by Sarkiz Mutafyan (2)

Portsmouth Pride 2015 by Sarkiz Mutafyan (11)

Portsmouth Pride 2015 by Sarkiz Mutafyan (12)

Southsea Art Fair At The One Eyed Dog

On July 4th, the One Eyed Dog will be hosting the Southsea Art Fair which will feature a host of local creatives including Kendal James, Stu Linfield, Jennifer Hillier, Hannah Gordon, Chris Webb and April Lovelace.

Items available will range from canvases, t-shirts, small handmade charms, knitted delights, quirky stickers, pretty cards and stunning illustrations.

Southsea is renowned for it’s artistic flare, vibrant locals and art fairs like this are a fantastic credit to all who take part and make them happen and the city itself. Doors open from 1pm but if you would like to find out more then check out the Facebook page HERE.







Kitsch N D’or, Eldon Street

Kitsch N D’or is a family run restaurant in Eldon Street, Southsea. The restaurant and it’s owners specialise in provincial French cuisine and believe that the key to their success is good food at affordable and realistic prices, that everybody can enjoy.

All ingredients used to create their dishes are sourced locally. Where possible ingredients come direct from France, using small, independent companies to enrich a sense of community and authenticity.

The menu includes delicious options including, slow cooked pork belly, served with butter mash and a French cider mustard Jus and Harissa baked cod fillet with chorizo Migas with a hot, green pepper salsa. All can be enjoyed with a flavorous bottle of wine.

The Kitsch N D’or is definitely worth a visit. Entertainment includes regular Jazz nights with performances that won’t disappoint you. They run a great value daily lunch time deal, you can get two courses for less than £10 between Tuesday to Friday!

The restaurant also runs some great wine tasting evenings, these are held throughout the year with the next on this Thursday (18th June). Contact the restaurant directly for more information on this and to book a table. You can find contact details on the website





Common People Festival Success

This year’s Common People Festival was nothing but a huge success! Thousands of people gathered on Southampton Common to enjoy live music, fun activities and a stream of fantastic entertainment and a stunning atmosphere.

The festival was hosted by the multi award winning Bestival team over the recent bank holiday weekend and attracted festival goers from far and wide.

The metropolitan festival was by no means only about music despite hosting the likes of Fat Boy Slim, Grace Jones, De La Soul and Jaguar Skills. It was put together by a hugely creative team. A group of individuals who transformed the common into a wonderland of eye popping attractions and fun fuelled escapism.

An electrifying collaboration of cultural highs including arts, music and food bought crowds together to enjoy an all inclusive fun packed weekend. The festival really brought people together and really unified them, like any good festival should. It invited all ages of people and was extremely family friendly and accessible.

The stage’s were packed with line up’s that wowed the crowds and headliners rocked evening sets to end the non camping event on high. In true Bestival style fireworks were set off to finish the evening and were nothing but spectacular.

We cannot wait for next year Common People!










Birdsong At The Kings Theatre

Marking the 100th anniversary of the First World War, Birdsong is the hit, critically acclaimed stage show based on the famous novel by Sebastian Faulks.

In pre-War France, a young Englishman, Stephen Wraysford embarks on a passionate and dangerous love affair with the beautiful Isabelle Azaire as War breaks out and changes every ones lives forever.

The main character, Stephen, leads his men through the carnage of the Battle of the Somme. A group of men faced with unprecedented horror and grief. A totally mesmerising stage show that evokes all sorts of powerful emotion.

Following on from the 2013/14 National tours that were seen by over 130’000 onlookers, Birdsong is back and we are lucky enough to get the chance to take a look at the King’s Theatre in Southsea.

Showings are on until June 5th and tickets are available to buy direct from the theatre. Don’t miss out!




You Can Now Take Part in Creative Census Portsmouth

Every year, for the last five years, Strong Island has taken on a large creative project aiming to engage with people from all over the city of Portsmouth. We had the Strong Island Exhibition at the Round Tower, the PRIMARY photography project & exhibition, Creating Balance, Creative Cargo and for 2015 we’re running Creative Census.

The creative industries in the UK have grown dramatically in recent years, become a power house of economic growth and innovation in the national economy. As of January 2015 the Gross Value Added (GVA) to the UK economy for the creative industries has increased 25.8% since 2008, with the creative industries contributing £8.8 million to the UK economy every hour*. In recent years the creative sector in Portsmouth has grown dramatically and for the very first time we want to take a measure of the sector in the city.

The first Portsmouth Creative Census aims to measures the size, shape and make up of the creative industries workforce in the city. It also aims to identify emerging trends and question what are the resource needs and funding issues that could benefit the industry by helping it to grow and flourish in the future. The census aims to look at any individual, organisation and business who is either based in the city or works primarily in the city (check the Creative Census website full details on if you can qualify for the census). We need your help to leverage local, regional and national bodies to address your issues and build a stronger creative sector.

The census aims to engage with people working in different creative sectors such as Advertising, Marketing, Architecture, Crafts, Design (product, fashion and graphic), Film, TV, Video, Radio, Photography, IT & Software (including web design & application development), Publishing, Museums, Galleries, Libraries, Music, Performing & Visual Arts and more. If you work within these different strands of the creative industries, we really want to hear from you right now!

Creative Census Portsmouth 2015 in now LIVE, with the census open for contributions from now until August 2015. Once the census is closed we’ll collate all of the data and working with statisticians, experts in the sector and graphic designers we’ll produce a presentation with all of the information created by the census. We aim to release the presentation by December 2015.

To enter the census and find out much more about the project please visit:

Creative Census Portsmouth Now Open

* DCMS Creative Industries Economic Estimates – January 2015

Doris Long Abseils From The Spinnaker Tower For The Rowans

Doris Long will abseil from Portsmouth’s iconic Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth on 12th and 13th July 2015 and will aim to be the holder of the Guinness World Record for the World’s oldest abseiler.

Doris Long will be 101 on the date of the abseil and will be watched and supported by hundreds of onlookers.

The Rowans Hospice is calling for all dare devils to come and take part in this exceptionally adventurous fundraiser to help raise money and awareness, stating that if Doris can do it, anybody can.

Registration costs £50 and there are only 40 spaces on each day for people to take part. Doris and The Rowans Hospice invite you all to go along and watch the record attempt.

To find out more about this event and others see the Rowans Website or follow them on Facebook.



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Hitler’s reaction to The Registry closing down.

This is just classic. I’ve seen a few others before. I think I saw one about accidentally using Arial instead of Helvetica, funny stuff. This one however is just hilarious, if you know the Portsmouth pub scene. More so if you’ve ever ben a student.

The Old Portsmouth and The New Southsea

Gareth Colwell sent us these amazing scans from a vintage book called ‘The Old Portsmouth and The New Southsea. “It was an old book of my Grandads’ we found when going through some of his old stuff that had been packed away for years. I love the paintings and the written bits, especially describing Southsea Common as “a dismal spot in the old days. Footpads and cut-throats roamed at night, and a murderer hung in chains on the edge of the shingle”

A really interesting read so I won’t say anymore and let the book do all the talking. Check out the full set of scans over at Gareths Flickr.

Created Local – Victoria Haynes

Friend of Strong Island, Charlie ‘Pet Sounds’ Waddington told me about a very talented work colleague of his the other day and kindly asked if she could send in some examples of her work. Damn straight she can. That’s what we’re all about here, you know that.

I’ll introduce Vicky with the little bio that sent me. “Right, erm. About me, I’m 28, married with a two-year-old little boy, and have lived in Portsmouth all my life. I work three days a week at Paul Smith, where I’m the visual merchandiser and a sales assistant. The rest of the time I spend looking after my son, seeing friends and family, drawing, crocheting, sewing, watching films, listening to music and reading – the dream is to eventually scratch a living from artwork and handmade goods, while living in an old house with the family and a cat or two. I’m socially awkward, and have a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, I’m not very cool and tend to like clothes that everyone else thinks are repulsive – my favourite shop in Portsmouth is Dead Mans Glory, closely followed by any charity shop. I am actually addicted to period dramas, and love anything from the 40’s, 50’s or 60’s.”

Vicky’s print artwork is hand drawn, scanned in to the computer, coloured in Illustrator and usually drawn from a photograph for accuracy. Patterns are then self generated and added after. Inspiration comes from old objects, cameras, typewriters and suchlike – anything from days gone by captures her imagination. Crochet has so far been limited to homewares and childrens hats, but she would love to start making more wearable items to sell.

Undoubtedly a girl of many, many talents, Vicky’s work is eclectic, fun, unique and fantastic. Please add your comments and thoughts at the bottom of the page.

Keep up to date with Vicky over at her Blog All the best for the future and I hope you get that old house. Vicky also has prints for sale in the Southsea Gallery on Albert Road. Pop down and grab one.

Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea

Following on again from the photos of the Seafront and the Paddling Pool after The Bandstand and Tennis Courts the previous week, here’s another scan from Khalid.

The Pavilion on Clarence Pier looks amazing. No more donkey rides though. Shame.

Transport No. 1: Portsmouth Trolleybuses

With Portsmouth’s long history and particular geography it’s public transportation systems have been varied and have changed dramatically over the years. Over the next few weeks we are going to focus briefly on some of the more interesting ones, starting with the Portsmouth Trolleybuses.

The Portsmouth Trolleybus service provided by the Portsmouth Corporation was first introduced on the 4th August 1934 and covered most of the island and up to Cosham. The trolleybuses themselves were like normal double decker buses but were powered by overhead power cables like trams. The power lines for the trolleybuses criss-crossed overhead above the roads with routes and these wires became a constant in the city’s skyline, much like modern San Francisco and Vancouver.

The Guildhall (buildings in the distance are where the council buildings are now)

The trolleybus service continued until the 27th July 1963 and then sadly the wires torn down and almost all of the trolleybuses scrapped, today only two of the trolleybuses survive. No. 201, which was in Portsmouth’s transport museum before being moved, now lives on display in Milestones Museum in Basingstoke. No. 313 was the very last trolleybus to run but now is in fully restored working order and running at East Anglia Transport Museum (see it running here).

Ready for scrap (with the old airport in the background)

You can find out about all of the trolleybuses and see more photos here and watch below to see them in action with super8 footage from the 1950s and 1960s. Still looks strange seeing traffic through Guildhall Square.

P.S. Will the Portsmouth transport museum ever find a new home?

Do we need to spell it out?

Letters from Ian Parmiter & Photo by Claire Sambrook

The Abrooks

The infamous 1980s Southsea locals Mark & Barry Abrook, doubles on the halfpipe at the skatepark from 1990.


Strong Island Easter Bike Ride Video II

Sharpie just sent me over his edit from the Bike Ride last April 4th. He attached one of those fancy Flip Cameras onto his handlebars and he was away. Really cool to be able to see the ride from different perspectives. Cheers buddy.

Vintage Photography by Richard Baker

Richard Baker grew up in Portsmouth and Southsea with many happy memories, but limited funds. In the 1960s Richard was studying at The Portsmouth College of Art and was lucky enough to be able to print off some wonderful black & white photographs. 40 years later he dug them out from hibernation.

The series captures people in the city going about their daily lives. Shopping, resting, having fun. Great candid shots from a simpler time. Check out the huge Pick & Mix on display at Woolworths along with the rest of Richards photographs over at his Flickr.

Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea

Totally forgot to add this one to the series of ‘Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea‘ that we had posted in the past. So following on once again from the photos of the Seafront and the Paddling Pool after The Bandstand and Tennis Courts and The Pier and Esplanade , here’s the final scan.

Strong Island Clothing Co.