Strong Island Co.


The Ocean Film Festival UK Tonight At The Kings Theatre Portsmouth

The Ocean Film Festival is back at the Kings Theatre tonight as part of the ‘Making Waves Festival’ after huge success last year.

The festival show cases the World’s most amazing ocean themed films from both above and below the surface. The charm of the event is that it allows you to immerse yourself in another World momentarily without getting your feet wet.

Brought to you by the producers of the Banff film festival UK Tour, the extraordinary collection of short films document the beauty and power of the sea and celebrate all those who embrace it through diving, surfing, photography and film.

Inspiring and thought provoking, the festival takes you on a journey across the globe and to all of its watery corners, from the coast of Africa to the Arctic Circle.

Short film titles include, The Fisherman’s Son, A Small Surfer, Ocean Minded and Arctic Swell as well as many more.

A great evening with inspiring stories! Get your last minute tickets direct from The King’s Theatre.








Photos from Photography Walkshop on Southsea Seafront

Saturday’s Strong Island Photography Walkshop on Southsea Seafront went really well and was a complete sell out, with seventeen photographers coming along to improve their photo skills and explore some popular Southsea locations with their cameras. We began looking at nature and macro photography at the Rose Gardens, then looked at light/shadow/geometry at the colourful beach huts before going down to the beach to look at different composition techniques. After catching the sun on the shoreline we looked at different perspectives down by Canoe Lake before returning to the beach and photographing South Parade Pier.

This was our last summer photography walkshop but due to their popularity we’ll be announcing monthly photography walkshops through the autumn and winter, with details on dates and locations (and themes!) on our new photography walkshops website coming soon.

Below are some photos from Saturday, there are more on our Flickr (where you’ll find photos from all of our summer walkshops) and our Facebook page.

Street Art Project At Make & The Craft Kitchen

This weekend, as part of the Democracy Street project run by Portsmouth artist, Jon Adams and with funding help from Fratton Big Local, My Dog Sighs and Joe Cavalla worked with a group of around thirty young people to create a collaborative mural on the side of Make & The Craft Kitchen in Cornwall Road, Fratton.

Democracy Street is a participative, national, digital and public arts project that will result in new, artistic maps of the UK based on user generated content. Data will be gathered through an app on mobiles, which will enable people to explore UK streets that share the same names as Parliamentarians from the past 800 years and the creation of these new, reimagined and artistic maps will be exhibited in November 2015 in Parliament.

Public engagement is at the heart of the project and Jon’s motivation arose from making art and art spaces interactive.

Kids gathered this weekend and were taught to use stencils and spray paints to produce drop shadow arrows as a background for My Dog’s amazing mural. The reflection that can be seen in the eye’s depicts the young people who took part.

My Dog Sighs was delighted to help host the event and to motivate the local community to get out and about and to decorate the city they live in.

Hesta Dalton and Nicola Bates from Make & The Craft Kitchen were thrilled to have the project on their doorstep, adding to their firmly set business ethic that everyone can be creative, a very empowering concept.







Photographs by Chantelle Wyatt and Paul Stone.

Democracy Street Mural With My Dog Sighs at Make & The Craft Kitchen

Earlier this year My Dog Sighs worked with the guys behind the innovative web app Democracy Street on a Free Art Friday workshop that explored creativity related to Portsmouth streets and the history behind their names (you can watch the film of the workshop HERE). This weekend the collaboration continues between My Dog Sighs, Jon Adams’ Democracy Street project and Fratton Big Local with Democracy Street Mural at Make & The Craft Kitchen. Young people can get involved with Democracy Street Mural by coming along to the FREE street art painting workshop from 10am on Saturday 12th September at Make & The Craft Kitchen located 1 Cornwall Rd, Fratton, Portsmouth PO1 5AA.

For Democracy Street Mural My Dog Sighs will be creating another of his iconic ‘eye’ murals, but will be giving locals the unique opportunity to contribute directly to the creation of the piece by teaching street art painting techniques to anyone between the ages of 6 to 16.

Bring the kids along, and enjoy a cuppa at the Craft Cafe while they get creative learning how to combine stencils and spray cans to great effect!

Register for the event HERE.

Democracy Street Mural With My Dog Sighs at Make & The Craft Kitchen

Victorious Festival 2015 Review – A Festival For The Whole Family (Part One)

This year’s Victorious Festival had an utterly outstanding family feel that was created with passion by the organisers to ensure that people of all ages could enjoy the weekend and have no shortage of things to do.

The expanded Kids Arena offered its very own stage with kids entertainers wowing young onlookers with personalities including  Mr Bloom and the Octonauts.

Families donned wellies and rain jackets and made the most of the free activities. The beach arena allowed people to sit in deck chairs outside beach huts with Punch and Judy shows, bouncy castles and a play pen area on offer for toddlers to enjoy. For those with a sweet tooth you could get your hands on carnival treats such as candy floss and of course face painting was available for the young’ens and not so young’ens!

This year also offered a seating, a baby change and breast feeding area to accommodate parents. In true festival style Victorious even offered the Ickle Bambino Baby Raves area so that adults could share their love of music with the little people in their lives. It was nice to be able to take the little ones somewhere to dance without the crowds.

The Kids Arena was well set out making it easy for everyone to move around as well as offering and environment where we felt safe and could relax. We took advantage of the many picnic spots and it was great that there were plenty of toilets available as children aren’t always the best at queuing for them. One other nice touch was the ID wristbands that were also given to parents and carers so they could write their emergency contact details for their children just in case they managed to get lost.

Victorious made every effort to meet the needs of families and children were left feeling included whilst imaginations were left to run riot and adventures were had. I’m not sure who was more exhausted by the end of the day as the kids or the adults in my group both slept well once we got home.





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

A Hard Choice – Best in Show With Barry Abrook, Ex Pro Skateboarder & Designer

Throughout the running of the current exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum people get to choose their favourite items from the Portsmouth City Collection that are on show in A Hard Choice (you can see and read our preview of the exhibition HERE). Every month different items chosen by many visitors are given rosettes showing the current favourites. Strong Island, working with the Portsmouth Museums and Visitor Services (with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund), are asking lots of different people from around Portsmouth what their personal favourite items are in the exhibition and why.

You can read the previous Best in Show interviews, featuring Mark Waldron, Editor of The News, Megan Barnes a photography student and Matt Wingett a local author.

Next up in this series of articles we met up with Barry Abrook, ex-professional skateboarder and designer, at Portsmouth City Museum. Barry checked out the A Hard Choice exhibition, then let us know what were his own Best in Show.

Hey Barry, can you start by telling us what your first best in show object is and what you liked about it please?

My first choice (from the A Hard Choice Exhibition) is the mole. I love animals and nature and I like this because it is hard to see a mole, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a real mole and this is really the only opportunity a lot of people get to see these animals, basically in a zoo or taxidermy. I’m interested in taxidermy…I used to be really against it, but if you are a graphic artist, illustrator or painter it is a good way to actually observe animals to draw and paint them. I think everything about the mole is really cool. It is designed to live underground. They are nice animals, I like it, it is intriguing. All the taxidermy in the exhibition is good, the bat, magpies, it was tough to choose.

A Hard Choice - Best in Show With Barry Abrook, Ex Pro Skateboarder & Designer (7)

And could you tell us what the second exhibit you’ve chosen is and what you liked about it?

My second choice is the fabric by Lucienne Day. I love fabric and printing and I used to screen print quite a lot and I still do on fabric. I also like this item in the exhibition because of the era it is from, the late 60s. You’ve got bold poppy designs, block colours…I like patterns and I like symmetry…and this has got quite a lot going for it! It reminds me of childhood…this is the sort of fabric that would be made in to curtains or bed spread that could have been in my house. It has that 60s/70s feel so nostalgic for me too. The Days were pretty amazing at what they did.

A Hard Choice - Best in Show With Barry Abrook, Ex Pro Skateboarder & Designer (6)

A Hard Choice - Best in Show With Barry Abrook, Ex Pro Skateboarder & Designer (5)

And what is the third and final exhibit and why do you like it?

Third choice are the saucy postcards! These are from around the 1950s, that sort of end-of-the-pier era, good seaside ephemera. I like these for quite a few reasons, I live in Southsea, by the sea, I wasn’t born here but I love living by the sea. As a child I was taken to the seaside for holidays and these were the sort of things you might see. They are cheeky, they leave you to your own thoughts…how you interpret the captions…which was the humour at the time. They have a nice feel. They are well designed too, as a designer it is difficult to design something that small and detailed and these were drawn and hand painted, they’re an art form in itself, a style all of their own too. I also love postcards, I collect them and I use them in my own work and I love the messages you get on the back of old postcards, they can be emotional things. People used to send them but not as much anymore with emails, Facebook, etc. But postcards were sent during a holiday, from a good time so postcards generally remind you of good times, they’re a positive thing.

A Hard Choice - Best in Show With Barry Abrook, Ex Pro Skateboarder & Designer (4)

A Hard Choice - Best in Show With Barry Abrook, Ex Pro Skateboarder & Designer (3)

if you could think of something, of your own or something in Portsmouth, that you could donate to the museum and the city collection, what would it be?

I was thinking that maybe if I won the lottery, Euro-big style, I would love to be able to fully restore the South Parade Pier into something that the people of Portsmouth, and especially Southsea, could use and be proud of again. Whether it be Victorian or later period restoration, the important thing would be to ensure it continued to offer the ‘complete seaside escape’ for anyone who needed it. Part of the city collection. A funfair ride, candy floss, good food, music, comedy and a Shant!

Don’t forget you can visit A Hard Choice exhibition and the rest of Portsmouth City Museum and other museums in the city for free this summer and beyond. You can find out more about the museums and what activities are taking place at:

Photos from Saturday’s Photography Walkshop in Eastney

On Saturday we ran our 4th summer Strong Island Photography Walkshop, this time down in Eastney, exploring with our cameras from the Hayling Ferry point, past the house boats, along the Langstone Harbour beach line and down to the concrete pier in to the Solent. We looked at taking control of aperture and shutter speed, different compositional techniques and much more. Below are some photos of the photographers who came along for the morning, check our Facebook page & Flick for more photos.

Our next Photography Walkshop is this Saturday at 10am to 12pm at Southsea Castle. We’ll be exploring the castle grounds and working on some basic lightpainting and long exposure photography in the tunnels under the castle walls. If you want to join us you can book online (only £10) or find out more about this walkshop and the next one in September in Southsea visit HERE.

Thanks again to all the photographers who have joined us throughout the summer!

Art Space | Open Garden

The Garden has come a long way since it was started by Art Space Portsmouth artists Jane Kilford and Adrian Mundy in 2008, turning an area of unused tarmac into a thriving oasis in the heart of the city.

With help from volunteers from the local community and Art Space artists and thanks to donations of plants and pots from various sources the garden has gone on to win multiple awards from Portsmouth in Bloom and the RHS South/South-East in Bloom. Fingers crossed there may be more to follow in this years Portsmouth in Bloom awards which are to be announced soon.

The garden is going to be opening the gates for their annual Open Garden on Saturday 1st August between 1pm-4pm. You will be able to look around the garden, purchase yourself some plants and sit and relax with a nice cuppa and cake. Entry is free… but donations are gratefully received.

You can find the garden at Art Space, 27 Brougham Road, Southsea, PO5 4PA. If you would like to know more then check out their Facebook page HERE.

Art Space

I WAS THERE! Musical Heritage Project With Portsmouth Guildhall

As part of Portsmouth Guildhall‘s 125th birthday celebrations the Portsmouth Cultural Trust & Strong Island, with the support of Arts Council England, will be running the I WAS THERE! project throughout August, with the aim to collect as many memories of special musical performances at the Guildhall, past and present, as possible. Were you in the audience at that unique show with your favourite band, on stage for the first time, or perhaps part of the team that made it all happen? We’d love to hear about it.

As well as collecting memories we’ll be asking people to send in photos of themselves with treasured mementos from these special moments experienced at Portsmouth Guildhall. It might be a drumstick, guitar pick, set list, poster, ticket, album, photo or even something more unusual! These photos can be sent in via email or social media (see details below) or you can be photographed at special I WAS THERE open days at the Guildhall throughout August. We’ll also be filming short interviews too for a film project.

We will be sharing the memories you have sent us plus your photos and interviews with everyone via social media, building a picture of all of the special experiences at Portsmouth Guildhall throughout its long musical history. You will also be invited to the resulting screening and live performance event as one of our special guests.

Strong Island will be at the Guildhall to receive any contributions between 1pm and 5pm on the following days:
Sunday 9th and Saturday 15th, 22nd and 29th of August.

Please send your memories & photo contributions to or to
the Guildhall’s Twitter @portsmouthghall & Facebook, using #IWasThereGuildhall

Find out more at:

Since the first official announcement of the I WAS THERE project in Saturday’s The News (as part of their comprehensive coverage of the 125th celebrations) we have already had some great memories come in! Keep your eyes peeled for I WAS THERE flyers from the Guildhall, Strong Island Co and lots of other locations around Portsmouth.

I WAS THERE! Musical Heritage Project With Portsmouth Guildhall

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Local Photographer – Harvey Mills

Okay, so it’s not quite on the Island, but hey, when the content is this good we can forget about the extra few miles. Harvey Mills shoots Murray Cross chomping the Langstone 13 set on the Havant roundabout with ease. Perfect timing and composition from Harvey.

Check out Harvey’s webiste and also his Flickr. Below are photos of Charles and Southsesa’s buttery own Bored teamrider Adam Keys.

Portsmouth on Film – Episode 3

The next episode of Jonathan & Matthew Ring’s vintage family footage ‘Portsmouth on Film’ went up recently. This episode is of a round Portsmouth car journey back in 1998.

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.







Submarine Graveyard

Portsmouth’s Pounds scrapyard has been the final stop for the lives of many military vehicles over the years but most noticeable it has been the location for a submarine graveyard. So iconic was the sight of the submarines as you entered Portsmouth that they became the inspiration for the architect when designing the new swimming pool at the Mountbatten Centre.

Robin Hinson has a large collection of photos of the scrapped submarines here, with a few shown below.

Telly Savalas Looks at Portsmouth

There’s more than ‘meats’ the eye to Portsmouth. A city where everyone in the know goes. Classic stuff. Kojak takes time between sucking lollipops and fighting crime to give us the 411 on Portsmouth city through the ages. Love the eclectic soundtrack. Thanks to Harry for posting this up for us in a previous article. Here’s looking at you Portsmouth…

Sunny Southsea

I went for bike ride today to take advantage of the nice, albeit cold, weather and take a few photos. Check them out over on my Flickr photostream.


The Doomsday Project

From 1984 to 1986 people, in particular school children, all got involved in collecting information on their local area to celebrate the 900th anniversary of the Doomsday Book by creating a new, updated, electronic version. The collected information became The Doomsday Project which was a collection of laserdiscs and special BBC computers. The country was broken down in to ‘D’ blocks with the data collection done mostly by schools, the information included text on local geography, history, legends and also more contemporary personal things such as favourite music, games, etc. As well as the text each block could also contain up to 3 photos. Many schools bought the discs and computers as a learning resource (the World Wide Web as a concept was still some years away).

A few days ago the BBC launched a new website where all of this previously difficult to access information (only a handful of working systems still exist) is now online and searchable. It’s an amazing glimpse in to Portsmouth and Southsea life in the early to mid 80s and there are some great images. The new website also allows you to upload new information and photos too.

If you are 38+ you may well have memories of being involved in the project in collecting and writing information. Personally I remember the day my group went out to a tiny village in Essex in the hot summer but instead of writing things we played near the river and weir. Oh well. Does anyone have any memories of taking part in the project? If so please add a comment, would love to hear people’s memories.

You can find out more about the original project on HERE and the BBC article and access the online version below:

Domesday Project

The Abrooks

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


Matt Saxey’s Bike Ride Photos

Head on over to Matts Flickr and check out a few more photos from last Sunday’s ride. Great photos that really help capture the event.



Two for a Fiver mate…

I’m really digging this Tea Towel they have for sale down Clarence Pier. Great little illustrations of some of our more recognisable landmarks and modes of travel. A great addition to any kitchen.


Strong Island Clothing Co.