Strong Island Co.

Created Local

Created Local – Instagram @tomomalleycat

In the second of our special features celebrating some of our favourite Instagram photographers who have links with our city. Today we are featuring the awesome Tom O’Malley (@tomomalleycat).

Can you tell us a little about yourself, where you are from and your links with Portsmouth if no longer living here?

My name’s Tom and I live and work in Southsea. My short ride to work takes me up to Kings Road where I’m the Lead Designer at the Southsea based digital agency Si digital. I first arrived in the city about 12 years ago to study illustration at the University. I was instantly sucked into the Southsea lifestyle. I love living by the sea and enjoy surfing or paddleboarding when opportunities present themselves. However, I can’t say I’ve ever surfed in Southsea – apparently it can happen though.

Do you have a favoured camera or device that you use for your Instagram photography?

My Instagram account has been on a journey with me through my various iPhones. I think it started as low as the iPhone 3G along with a lot of edited blurry images and horrible frames around my photos. I do own an SLR but I’ve always enjoyed the impromptu nature of snapping that ideal moment on my phone whereas if I’m carrying my camera, I’m most likely searching for that perfect photo.

Can you tell us more about your photographic experience, is this something that you’ve studied or maybe a hobby which you’ve developed?

I’ve never studied photography but having worked within the creative industries, I guess you could say I’ve been exposed to decent photography and composition. Before progressing within digital design I started out as a magazine designer so working with photography was a big part of my job role. Since the emergence of Instagram, I think it’s turned a casual interest into a hobby due to it’s accessibility and audience. I started really using the platform as a photo diary when I went travelling around the world for 6 months with my girlfriend. It was a fantastic way to share my experience with friends and family. Once home, I printed all of my photos with Social Print Studio ( and added them to a handcrafted box which I gave to Fi for Christmas – she loved it. There was something quite nice about having those tiny little square memories of our travels in a physical form.

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@TomOMalleyCat 7

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Would you say that you take photos more for yourself or for others?

I’d say myself, as it’s my own visual diary. My Instagram account is an honest and varied collection of little life moments, whether it’s travel, having fun with friends or renovating my house. It’s a little glimpse at my photographic endeavours with filters.

Exploring the theme of the “Local”, Portsmouth has a wide variety of climatic conditions, buildings and landscapes. Are there any local places or environments that are personal to you or that you love to photograph for a particular reason?

As I mentioned earlier, I love to be by the sea and most of the time I’ll take photos around there but Southsea has some great streets and buildings too, so I’m always exploring the opportunities. A little while ago I wanted to be more proactive on my lunch breaks so I’d set out on foot across the common to see if something inspired me to take a photo, I was really pleased with some of the photos I took during that time and it encouraged me to think differently and not just walk to the obvious places to take pictures of the sea.

I notice that you are a fan of the burger, can you tell us where is the best place to get one locally?

I do indeed love a good burger and every now and again I’ll take a picture of a tasty one. Without doubt, the best burger I’ve had in Southsea (many times over) is 6 oz Burgers – pink or not. Outside of Southsea, 7 Bone Burger is incredible. To accompany an awesome burger, they have hot ‘n spicy buffalo chicken wings and some mega milkshakes.

Are their any other photographers who either influence you or that you would encourage our readers to also check out?

Those who pop to mind who are worth checking out are fellow designers/photographers that I follow on Instagram. They all take some fantastic photos which inspire me to the degree that they feel achievable as they are normally photos of everyday life experiences.

@MikeKus – Mike lives just across the way in Chichester. His photographs always feel very atmospheric.

@DanRubin – I always enjoy the compositions of Dan’s photography and he takes inspiring photos of ever day things.

@Trashand – I remember watching a video about this guy and how he would wake up at 4am and sneak up to the top of a building to take a photo of the city he was in. His work feels quite epic.

@TomOMalleyCat 11

@TomOMalleyCat 2

@TomOMalleyCat 9

@TomOMalleyCat 1

If you know an Instagram user that you think we should check out then drop us an email or message me on Instagram at @_ChuBarker. Of course you can also find Strong Island on Instagram at @StrongIslandUK and @StrongIslandClothingCo.

Created Local – Instagram @JonathanPink

Welcome to the first of a new Strong Island feature where we are looking to celebrate some of our favourite Instagram photographers who have links with our city. The first of which is Jonathan Pink who you can follow yourself on Instagram as @JonathanPink.

Can you tell us a little about yourself, where you are from and your links with Portsmouth if no longer living here?

I haven’t always been local to Portsmouth, but always visited and taken a keen interest in the city, it’s history and connection to the sea. I moved to Southsea two years ago after regularly visiting the city, getting to know it’s quirks and scratching the surface of what it’s about. I’m a graphic designer and commute to my job out of the city, I live with my partner and Miniature Dachshund name Hugo.

Do you have a favoured camera or device that you use for your Instagram photography?

I always use my iPhone6 for my Instagram photography. For me, Instagram is that instant capture of a moment in my life and the things I see. The phone makes it quick, easy and accessible.

Can you tell us more about your photographic experience, is this something that you’ve studied or maybe a hobby which you’ve developed?

Being a graphic designer, I consider myself a creative thinker and have always enjoyed different expressions of this. Photography being one. I own a Canon digital SLR which I use occasionally or for specific shoots, events or days out. I’ve never been trained in photography, but have naturally picked up the functionality and use of a camera on my way, capturing a great shot is something which come s little more naturally being a designer.

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@JonathanPink 4


Would you say that you take photos more for yourself or for others?

I take photographs for myself primarily, the instant enjoyment of finding, capturing and posting a photo of my everyday life. That said, my Instagram account is public, so there is a nature of enjoying other photography and them enjoying what I have taken.

Exploring the theme of the “Local”, Portsmouth has a wide variety of climatic conditions, buildings and landscapes. Are there any local places or environments that are personal to you or that you love to photograph for a particular reason?

Not coming from a city on the sea, I genuinely appreciate the shoreline, sea and walking our dog. The constant change in weather, seasons and activity makes this space an interesting one to live beside and take photographs of. From the summer sunsets, eerie fog, busy shipping lanes to the stormy solent. This space gives so much to me.

Are their any other photographers who either influence you or that you would encourage our readers to also check out?

Instagram photographers include the Isle of Wight based photographer Chad Powell (@isleofwightmilkyway), from New York Cubby Graham (@CubbyGraham) and locally based tattoo artist Louise Bush (@Lapin_Lou).

I generally enjoy a mixture of photographers, especially on Instagram. Those who inspire me, through their subject matter, style and general approach to life/photography and content different to my own.

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Of course you can also find Strong Island on Instagram under @StrongIslandUK and @StrongIslandClothingCo.

Creative Christmas Cards

We all know that we have a wealth of creative talent in Portsmouth and yet again they have produced another batch of awesome Christmas cards for your nearest and dearest.

Here is a selection of my favourite and how you can get your hands on them.

Ami Lowman – Available from Mai Mai, in SHOP on Castle Road and the South Coast Emporium on Elm Grove. Alternatively by emailing

Mia Mai Christmas Cards 2015 B

Mia Mai Christmas Cards 2015 a

Aled Lewis Available from Strong Island Co, 12 Highland Road, Southsea.

Aled Lewis

Aled Lewis 1

Sprankenstein – Available from and Southsea Rock, Marmion Road, Southsea.

Jade Spranklen

Sprankstein 1


Angela Chick – Available from




We’ve got in on the act too! We’ve produced a set of five different festive designs and you can get your hands on them from Strong Island Co, 12 Highland Road, Southsea.

Strong Island Xmas Cards

Making The Cut : M-One Exhibition Tomorrow

Play Dead are following up their hugely successful Quiet Little Voices exhibition with another of the south coast’s top street artists M-One.

The Southsea-based stencil artist’s work can be seen around the city but this is a great opportunity to check of some of his original work. There will be brand new Play Dead x M-One tee’s available along with five pieces of art with the proceeds going to a food bank charity. Not to forget that the event will be sponsored by Irving Brewery so you can expect a few of their finest beverages flowing on the night.

The exhibition opens at 7pm tomorrow evening but for more info check out the Facebook Event page here.


M One Art

Play Dead

Created Local Special: Interview with Play Dead Studio in Southsea

With the start of Autumn, Southsea has seen the opening of a new creative space: Play Dead, that is part tattoo studio and part creative/gallery space. We caught up with the Play Dead crew to find out what’s going on down on Highland Road:

How did the idea for Play Dead come about?
We (Samo and Lex) first discussed the idea of Play Dead back in 2014. That’s when the search for a suitable property began and our plans for exactly what we wanted to set up started taking shape. We knew we wanted a more evolved conceptual tattoo studio, but as we are both involved in the street art scene it made sense to incorporate our love of that, and make our space a little more unique. Our mix of tastes and passions for things like fine art, character based art, vintage, music, and all things strange and wonderful have also helped to mould the look and style of what was to become Play Dead: a fine art/street art gallery, and custom tattoo studio.

What’s the team behind Play Dead? How did everyone get involved?
Whilst Samo and Lex remain at the core of Play Dead, we have carefully chosen a team of artists who are already well established in their own right. We’re very fortunate that the guys on our ‘wish list’ agreed to join us and we all get on like one big Play Dead Family:

Lex (Lex Luthor, LexLX, LexArt) : Doodler, Illustrator, Street Artist, Designer and Creative at All Caps and Supervillain. As the only member of the team who doesn’t tattoo, Lex is responsible for the look and style of the Play Dead name, and its continuous development. Check Lex on Instagram: @lexart.

Samo : Creative artist whose work encompasses painting, street art, sculpture and conceptual tattoo art. Samo uses watercolour, brush strokes, and geometry in a lot of her work. She enjoys the challenge of developing her freehand style from the page to the skin and using the body as a canvas. Check Samo on Instagram: @samotattoos.

Sam Hugh : A creative tattooer with a more traditional edge. Bold lines, heavy black and bright colours. Old school tuff stickers and tatty bangers for outlaws and reprobates. Check Sam on Instagram: @acidbathvampire.

Lou Lapin : Play Dead’s Tattoo Apprentice. With no higher education and being a single parent at a young age Lou has worked incredibly hard to forge a creative career. She started out as a toymaker and illustrator and now channels this into tattooing. Influenced by artists like Tove Jansson (creator of the Moomins) and Scandinavian folk tales her work is always sweet with a melancholic edge. Check Lou on Instagram: @lapin_lou.

What do you think Play Dead brings to the city?
We aim to be a creative space and street art hub, with a slightly darker edge. A unique combination of tattoo studio and gallery space, we are a home for creative artists to exhibit their work, buy materials or just hang out. Play Dead is somewhere that is ever evolving and offering something different to the norm.

Thoughts on the city’s street art scene at the moment?
We love how the street art scene in Portsmouth has grown over the past decade or so. From projects organised by the Portsmouth Creative Movement to art events at The Teatray, Coastguard Gallery, and Southsea Skatepark. Portsmouth is developing into a city that embraces creativity and street art. We’re very proud to be a part of this exciting movement. We believe that the Portsmouth street art scene is attracting tourists and art lovers from afar and firmly putting Portsmouth on the map.

Huge respect to all those involved in making Portsmouth and Southsea a more creative and visually exciting environment. Artists such as: Fark, My Dog Sighs, M-One, Midge, Mimic, Dharma, Morf, Higher, Monk, Leila, Mr Kemp, Berk and Los Dave have been committed to pushing the local street art scene further and attracting other renowned artists to the area. We look forward to working with these guys more in the future, on many exciting projects to come.

What sort of exhibitions do you have planned for the future?
Next for us is an exciting show by local artist My Dog Sighs, entitled: Quiet Little Voices. This will open on Friday 13th November (7pm) and is planned to run until early December. We’re really looking forward to seeing his new work for this. As well as the art on the walls, there’ll be My Dog Sighs tshirts, prints and a few other surprises.

We’re very interested in offering a different kind of art show – unique to each artist. So they are invited to take over the gallery space and use it however they wish. We’re on hand to support their ideas and realise their vision.

After the My Dog Sighs show, we have an exhibition of work from the talented stencil artist M-One. And in 2016, we have a range of artists lined-up, from street art to fine art, illustration and tattooing.

Also on the weekend of November 13th, 14th and 15th we have the talented tattoo artist Funns at Play Dead for a guest spot. Check him out on instagram; @funns

How’s life in PO4? Highland Road is a little off the beaten track to the more established traditionally thought of creative parts of the city, what are its advantages?
Yeah, it’s great. We love it here. We like being different and standing out from our surroundings. Plus, the space, the frontage, and the area was exactly what we were looking for. We like to think that people don’t mind taking an extra five minutes walk from Albert Road to pop along and come see us.

What are your plans for the future of Play Dead?
Our plans are to continue producing high quality and unique tattoos, to help showcase creative talent, not just from street art but a whole variation of art forms. We will collaborate with other creative groups and individuals. We would also like to continue developing and building the Play Dead name, through clothing designs, events, workshops, and whatever else we might think of. We will continue to keep offering the people of Portsmouth a little something different – a little darker. It’s exciting times for us.

Follow Play Dead on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for updates @playdeadstudio.

Created Local: Photographer Paul Watt

Continuing our long running series Created Local that looks at different creative people who call Southsea and Portsmouth home (we’ve featured over 100) this time we catch up with local photographer Paul Watt.

How did you get in to photography originally?

Like most people I’ve always enjoyed snapping away with various point and shoot cameras but It wasn’t until two years ago that it became a hobby in itself. I bought a Canon 35mm slr and lens from ebay for about a tenner and I discovered that I really enjoyed the whole experience of specifically going out to take photographs. I suffer quite badly from anxiety but I feel a lot calmer when I’m behind a lens. I think that reflects in my images. Corny but true!

What’s your usual camera gear set up?
I generally shoot on a Canon 1200D with the 18-55mm kit lens. I use a tripod that I bought from the Southsea carboot sale and a generic wired shutter release. I also have a few sets of Neutral Density filters (both screw in type and square).

I’m really impressed with this DSLR, it’s the entry level model but so long as you accept it’s limitations (weather sealing would be nice!) you can get some good results with it.

There’s always going to be an outlay with photography but I believe you don’t have to spend thousands of pounds to take a decent photo. It’s the photographer not the camera that takes the picture.

For editing my images I use Photoshop and Lightroom.

You shot a lot of monochrome images, what do you like about b&w?
I think b&w photos seem to convey more emotion than a full colour shot, with a few obvious exceptions like sunrise’s and sunsets.

Odd things begin to happen in a b&w photograph, especially with long exposures, where you can get an image that’s both calming and dynamic all at once. Funnily I think a black and white image looks warmer than a full colour image on a sunny day.

This photo is a good example of that. The sun was too high in the sky really but it just seems to work in b&w.

Created Local: Photographer Paul Watt - Boats in Motion
Paul Watt – Boats in Motion.

You take some fantastic long exposure images during the day, can you talk us through how you go about one of these shots?
Thanks! The first thing I look for is the sun. If it’s a bright day, the biggest problem I have is light spots and lens flare. I don’t like to use a lens hood because I find it very limiting if I want my lens at its widest. I’ve been known to open the shutter and stand to one side of the camera to block the sun. Maybe not the most technical approach but it works for me.

My biggest tip is to use the mirror lock function and a piece of low-tack painters masking tape over the view finder. I ruined many a photo with light leaks before I figured that one out!

With this photo (man fishing) I was on the lovely walkway along Old Portsmouth with the lens angled down enough to avoid the lens flare.

I took a photo without any filters first to capture the fisherman sharply then very carefully attached a ND10 and a ND6 filter so I could really slow down the exposure and smooth out the water. Because I hadn’t changed my composition at all it was fairly straightforward to blend the images together in photoshop and create the finished result.

Created Local: Photographer Paul Watt - Man Fishing
Paul Watt – Man Fishing.

What are your favourite locations in Portsmouth to shoot? Favourite time of year/day?
There’s so many to choose from! My favourite has to be the coast around the Fort Cumberland area/Langstone harbour. I much prefer shooting at dawn, it’s not much fun in the middle of summer when dawn is around 5am but it’s really worth it.

The light is amazing at that time of day, plus aside from a few joggers and dog walkers I generally have the beach to myself. Even If I don’t get a good image, I’ve spent the morning on the beach. Not a bad way to start your day!

Autumn has always been my favourite season, it’s just such a mellow time of year.

I live on Albert Road which in itself is pretty photogenic (even without it’s more colourful residents!)

What makes Portsmouth a good city for photographers do you think?
The sheer variety of things to take photos of. It’s more than possible to take landscapes in the morning on the beach, Street and urban photography in the afternoon then shoot a gig in the evening. It’s just such a varied, interesting and diverse city.

I don’t have a car so living in Portsmouth where there’s tonnes of decent locations within walking distance is pretty awesome for me.

Created Local: Photographer Paul Watt - Old Posts Older Sea
Paul Watt – Old Posts Older Sea.

What photographers inspire you?
There’s an amazing photographer called Paul Sanders. His portfolio is full of stunning long exposure photography and he’s a nice guy to boot. I spend a lot of time looking at his (and others) photo’s trying to figure out how they did it then apply those techniques to my own photography.

I also like a guy called Thomas Heaton. He does a lot of wild camping in the Peak District and gets some amazing photos.

Thanks Paul! You can see more of Paul’s photos below and see lots more of Paul’s awesome photography at:

Created Local: Photographer Paul Watt - Trinity

Created Local: Photographer Paul Watt - Pier Back

Created Local: Photographer Paul Watt - Albert Road

‘Unknown Destination’ A Journey With Three Artists

This December three local artists, Daniel Cook, Jon Davies and Kendal James are taking part in a new exhibition exploring and celebrating artwork inspired by Japanese culture.

Computer games, comic books and dinosaurs will be feature as part of the exhibition which opens from 16th November until 29th November. The art work will then move to The King Street Tavern and be displayed throughout December.

Details of the event can be found on the Facebook Event page here.

GASP Poster

Kendal James
Kendal James
Daniel Cook
Daniel Cook
Jon Davies
Jon Davies

Lawn Of The Dead and Community Fusion Halloween Events

Local artist and Lawn Of The Dead founder James Waterfield has teamed up with a group of local artists including My Dog Sighs and Ooberla to create their own customised Lawn Of The Dead skull. Each skull is available to buy from Community Fusion’s Made With Hartt shop with all profits from those sold go to the Community Fusion charity.

Tomorrow from between 1:30-4:30pm James will taking over the Made With Hartt shop on Elm Grove and giving kids (and adults) a chance to drop in and create their own day of the dead skulls.

For more information on how you can get involved call Jenna at Community Fusion on 07582 919091 or email

For more information on this and other halloween events going on this half term check out the charities Facebook and Twitter @CommunityFusion.



MDS Skull

Kingsley Nebechi ‘Nori’ Print

After the out success of Kingsley Nebechi‘s Tribe Hunter book which sold out in less than six weeks he’s now released ‘Nori’ which is an A3 giclée print which Kingsley credits this illustration for being the inspiration for creating the book.

You can get your hands on the awesome original design and the new even more colourful variant for a mere £20 at

You can follow more of Kingsley on his Tumblr, Twitter @KingsleyNebechi and Instagram @KingsleyNebechi.

Nori by Kingsley Nebechi

‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ Exhibition Opens Tomorrow!

This Thursday evening at Strong Island HQ we will be keeping our doors open later than usual to welcome home one of our favourite artists Aled Lewis.

Aled made the move to our capital just over a decade ago and in a relatively short space of time has been involved a large number of exciting projects. Many of which have been inspired by his wicked sense of humour and his love of classic pop culture. His excellent work has led to international recognition and having his work featured in Los Angeles. He can even boast celebrity fans including Jurassic Park’s Sam Neill, The Walking Dead’s Michael Rooker who plays bad buy Merle Dixon and the Cornetto trio of Edgar Wright, Simon Pegg and Nick Frost.

Aled has teamed up with a group of artists to explore the simple theme of British Comedy. Other featured artists include Rose Stallard, Mark Ward, Toby Triumph, Toby Leigh, Dave Brown, Emily Forgot, Laura Gee, Paul Thurlby, Lobulo, Jess Wilson, Rexbox, Rob Flowers and Robert Ball.

So come join us, enjoy some FREE drinks and help to celebrate some of the best loved comedies from our youth.

* The team behind Home Is Where The Art Is have kindly donated one of the prints for one lucky winner! All you need to do is pop into the store after 7pm and leave us your email and we will announce the winner at 9:30pm that evening! *

The Sun Is Shining by Mark Ward

Lobulo - The Benny Hill Show

Aled Lewis - Baaah

Aled:Strong Island

Next »


Local Photographer – Paul Gordon

Local photographer Paul Gordon has spent a lot of time hanging out and photographing the local skaters over the summer, both in the skatepark and out and about. The photos from the summer are now up in galleries on Paul’s website As well as the skating photos there are also loads of other galleries too including sport, portraiture, landscape, etc. Have a flick through.




Last Day of the Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester

The Creating Balance Project exhibition’s current residency at the Pitfield Pop-Up in Winchester ends today with the exhibition receiving some really great comments and coverage on websites, etc. Below are some photos by our own Claire Sambrook from a recent visit when many of the project’s artist/designer/photographer participants went up for a look. See more of Claire’s Creating Balance Project photos over on here Flickr.

The Creating Balance Project exhibition will return home to Portsmouth on the 10th of January 2014 for an extended exhibition at Aspex Gallery in Gunwharf, with an opening party and a series of other events and activities to be announced very soon. Ourselves and Anglepoise® are all really looking forward to showing the project to everyone in Portsmouth very soon!

To find out more about the project and exhibition please visit:

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (1)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (2)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (3)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (4)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (5)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (6)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (7)

Creating Balance Project Exhibition at Pitfield in Winchester (8)

Southsea Typeface

When ever possible I like to do the odd piece that’s just for me, just for fun. This came about off the back of something I was doing for work. Messing around with pens and pencils, then putting it through the computer. Maybe I’ll tackle Strong Island at the weekend! Oh, and for those that know him it’s Borneos birthday this Friday. KST then on to Albert Road. Be sure to check my flickr photostream to see the carnage.

Click the read more link to see a whole variety of colours.


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 Photos

Adam Wintle recently uploaded to his blog loads of photos from an old book about Portsmouth passed down to him by his dad. Some of the photos in the book are incredible, be sure to spend some time having a good look through, below are a few examples:

Southsea Common Barbecue Zones

I’m sure a lot of you enjoyed the fantastic weather this weekend and many of you no doubt had a barbecue on The Common. I was out of town on Saturday but heard it was seriously busy down the seafront. A few of us had a BBQ on Sunday and we’re approached by some council officials regarding our position. They were very polite and let us carry on as we were already cooking and handed us some details of all the new zones.

Unfortunately the new zones now means hundreds of people are going to be packed in to single areas. The main common by the War Memorial will be extremely busy over the summer. More so than usual for sure. I fully back having these zones in place, but feel I’ll no longer be going to the common for BBQs if I can help it as they have made a lot of areas no go zones. It was always more appealing when you could spread out from other groups.

Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, ‘Father of Southsea’ by Sue Pike

I’ve been holding on to this for a while now as I wanted to make a feature of it and had to wait for the exhibition to finish to give it pride of place on the front page. If like myself you’re always looking around at our local architecture you will have noticed many of the buildings within the book Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, ‘Father of Southsea’. Some could even be right on your doorstep but you have never noticed, or peeked over that high wall. Thomas Ellis Owen’s work is all over the city and you’d be forgiven for walking past as a lot of it is hidden or down those streets you may not stroll down too often. Other buildings however are right in your face. Ever noticed the huge block of flats at the entrance to Waitrose, the detailing on the building at Dover Court opposite the old Havana bar?

“Thomas Ellis Owen is probably the best known of Portsmouth’s nineteenth century architects, his construction of villas and substantial terraces in Southsea being responsible for the emergence of the district as a middle class locality. His work was recognised by Pevsner and Lloyd in their magisterial Buildings of England: Hampshire, and later by a rather more detailed architectural enquiry by two students, Preedy and Stewart. My own research was principally concerned with dating Owen’s properties and analysing their inhabitants. What Sue Pike has done is to cast the net very much wider, not only by providing great detail about Owen’s family, but also by demonstrating the impressive breadth of his activities outside architecture. Indeed, his interests were so wide that there must have been few aspects of Portsmouth’s development in the 1830s, 1840s and 1850s in which he was not involved. Infrastructural fields such as gas supply, the Portsea Canal, railways, the Camber Docks and hospitals lay within his purview, while he assisted in the purchase of land for one of Portsmouth’s defining features, the Palmerstonian forts. His tithe map has proved of inestimable value to local historians. Meanwhile Owen was an important local politician. All these facets of Owen’s life have been fully laid bare in this thoroughly well researched book by Sue Pike, who is to be congratulated on her labours.” Professor Ray Riley

Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, ‘Father of Southsea’ is a really interesting read and contains stunning colour photos of many Owen properties in Southsea and Alverstoke by Gosport photographer, Tim Martin. There is no real target audience and hopefully it will appeal to old and young alike. The detailed captions may be helpful to first year architecture students but it showcases Southsea well and may well appeal equally to academics, photographers, interested newcomers and people who just want a really nice book to put on their coffee table. I’m a huge fan of both history and architecture so this book is a real winner for me, and I have no doubt that if that’s not really your bag you will still appreciate what Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, ‘Father of Southsea’ has to offer.

You can purchase a hardback copy for £25 via the publishers and and read up on the book and the author Sue Pike over at

Hidden Treasures

Steve Bomford gave us the heads up on this wonderful short film made up of old film footage, from the 50s to the 70s, filmed around Portsmouth and Southsea. If you like looking at some vintage Portsmouth and Southsea you will love this (really interesting to see the Guildhall before it was pedestrianised and the buildings were demolished for the council offices).

Vintage Skatepark Photographs

I’ve been holding on to these truly amazing vintage photographs that Simon Tiller kindly sent in as we went through a pretty heavy skateboard period and thought we should chill back a little. Loving the roller hockey team photos too. The 1978 trophies photo is a epic and they were British Champions in 1973 too. Belated congratulations to you all.

This is just a small picking from the Southsea Skatepark website Check them out and if you see anyone you recognise or want to bring something to our attention then remember to add your comments at the bottom of this post.

Special props to the final photo and all the Southsea boys representing ‘back in the day’. Some young looking faces there. Rippers.

Created Local – Mikey Ayling

Good friend of Strong Island and many Southsea locals, Mikey is quite the talent. He’s always been into art, design, photography, fashion, skateboarding, music and well, let’s just say all the cool stuff. He recently began his second year in Graphic Design (Communication Design) at Portsmouth University and he’s killing it.

Matt Sills from the Wallspace Gallery has helped Mikey produce 3 prints, on sale now, of which the ants ‘Tower Block’ is a limited run of 100 Giclee print and the others, ‘Do You Dream’ and ‘Love Life’ are open edition screen prints.

Get down Albert Road and grab yourself one of Mikeys prints. Seriously, these are like hotcakes I’m sure of it. Oh, and pop past The Little Johnny Russells Market on your way and grab some bargains.




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