Strong Island Co.

Cultural & Exhibitions

One Day Art Exhibition by Melanie Brundrit Today in the Sir Loin of Beef

Local artist/painter Melanie Brundrit is having a one day pop-up exhibition in The Sir Loin of Beef pub on Highland Road today from 12 noon through to 9pm. Melanie works in different styles and all the work is original and for sale.

You can see an example of Melanie Brundrit’s work below and see more of her work on her website:

Melanie Brundrit

Play Dead Opening Night

Tomorrow night you are invited to celebrate the grand opening of Play Dead located at 131 Highland Road in Southsea. Play Dead is Southsea’s newest Tattoo Studio and Street Art Gallery by Street Artist Lex Luthor and Tattooist Samo White.

The event begins at 7pm and I’d recommend getting yourself down there early so you can sample the Play Dead beer!

For more information check out the Facebook Page here.

Play Dead

Created in Portsmouth Art Trail Returns for 3rd Year from 16th to 18th October

Created in Portsmouth returns again for its third year this month, with local artists, jewellers, makers, designers, painters, glassmakers and more open the doors to their studios and workplaces to the public. This event really brings the focus to the city from other county-wide events and for three days (16th to 18th October) means you can experience the creative and exhibition workspaces that are home to over 20 local creatives in 11 different locations. With all of these locations within fairly easy walk of each other you can really explore Created in Portsmouth as an arts trail, working from one location to the next, seeing and experiencing the work of the artists as you go.

The creatives involved are:

– Lesley George
– Shake Your Glass & Emma Nicol
– Kevin Dean
– The Southsea Workbench
– Colin Merrin, Trudy Barber & “Smock & Ballpoint”
– Copper Hare, Printsink & Southsea Jewellery
– Maggie Ambler
– Evagelia Hagikalfa, Tracy Hodder & Conor Devine
– Sue Meredith Illustration & Katherine Webber Jewellery
– Little Duck Forge & Donna Carter
– Dancingpot & Sheila Mackie

Check the Creating in Portsmouth website for full details of the event, the artists and the locations:

Creating in Portsmouth 2015

Creating in Portsmouth 2015 - Colin Merrin
Ghost Ring by Colin Merrin.

Creating in Portsmouth 2015 - Emma Nichol
Cushion by Emma Nichol.

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.








Frontier New Wave Craft Larger Launch At The Beer Vaults

Last week the Beer Vaults on Albert Road Southsea, hosted a launch night for the new Fuller’s beverages that now come in a can!

Guest list members turned up to trial the beers at what was a very exclusive and swanky night. There was a beer vending machine giving out free cans of Frontier larger. Epic! Iced cold beer, stout and pale ale adorned the tables whilst homemade burgers and fresh oysters were served to give a truly exclusive and unique feel.

Frontier, Black Cab and Wild River were the main focus of the evening and a short film was also shown to explain exactly where the inspiration and the making of.

Creators of the drinks said how exciting the product and the night was and Andrew Furness, PR guru for Fullers said that “all the hard work was worth it. We have done something good and new.”

The evening was expertly hosted by Ollie Alsford, Helen Stevens, Lucy Cryle and Andrew, who kept the beer flowing and the atmosphere swinging. The product information available was fantastic and drinkers were not only able to find out about the process but actively participate in its creation, by giving feedback on filtered and non filtered samples and leaving comments on branding, aroma and taste.

Great night, well done guys!

For more updates and events follow the guys on Twitter and on Instagram.










Sci-Fi and Fantasy Weekend at Action Stations in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Action Stations in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is hosting a weekend dedicated to science fiction with worlds old and new. Expect to see loads of displays, games, costumes and hopefully the droids you are looking for, and so much more. The science fiction and fantasy weekend is on the 26th and 27th of September, entrance is £3 for children and £4 for adults and open from 10am to 5:30pm.

Children must be accompanied by an adult. Please call 023 9289 3338 for further information or to book tickets.

Sci-Fi and Fantasy Weekend at Action Stations in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Stencilism A Cut Above Exhibition in Southampton Featuring Portsmouth Art and Photography

Southampton City Art Gallery will be host to a new stencil art exhibition later this month that will feature artwork by eight different street artists, including pieces by Portsmouth stencil master M-One. M-One has been heavily involved with the local scene in this city for a long time, with some striking, intricately detailed designs and rich colour palettes…great to see his work in a big gallery on the South Coast.

Other work on show will include pieces by international artists Czarnobyl, Otto Schade, Orticanoodles and Stickee.

Accompanying Stencilism: A Cut Above will be ‘Walls’ by Portsmouth street photographer Matt Maber in the gallery foyer, a photography exhibition which documents street artists and their work across the UK. We’ve featured Matt’s work on numerous occasions and its great to see him involved.

Stencilism: A Cut Above & Walls will run from the 18th September 2015 to the 23rd January 2016, with opening times of Monday to Friday 10am to 3pm and Saturday 10am to 5pm. Admission is FREE.

Stencilism: A Cut Above

Photo by Matt Maber
Photo by Matt Maber.

Photo by Matt Maber
Photo by Matt Maber.

Portsmouth Street Games by Adam Reeves
M-One stencil art at Portsmouth Street Games by Adam Reeves.

The Pie & Vinyl Poster Party

On Thursday 17th September between 5:30pm – 9:00pm Pie & Vinyl, Petting Zoo Prints & Collectables and the Portsmouth Cultural Trust will be hosting a public celebration of the event and a chance to ‘re-view’ the incredible artwork, or experience it for the first time before it has to be taken down.

During the event you will be treated to music Pie&Vinyl only DJ’s and a live music.

For more information check HERE.



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Kate Thelwell Exhibition At King’s Ship Tattoo

Tomorrow evening from 7pm King’s Ship Tattoo on Marmion Road present the opening of their latest exhibition by Kate Thelwell.

Kate specialises in private painting and illustration commissions, poster and flyer design and undertaken creative workshops with both children and adults. I’ve had a little sneak peak and the exhibition shows off some of Kate’s most creative and imaginative paintings. I wouldn’t say there is a comparison with styles but Kate’s work certainly reminded me of world famous artist Ralph Steadman‘s work.

If you can’t make it down tomorrow then fear not the exhibition will be open for a few weeks yet. For more information on the exhibition and the shop opening times check out the King Ship’s Facebook page.

Kate Thelwell Poster

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:

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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.

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.

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.

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.


Local Photographer – Pompey Shoes

I’ve been following Pompeyshoes on Flickr for a while now, yet somehow missed this great shot of a sunset down on the seafront. Be sure to check his Portsmouth & Southsea set for more great photos and interesting perspectives.


RETROSPECTIVE – Vintage Portsmouth & Southsea

“Since Strong Island began back in 2008 we have amassed an incredible amount of historical information about Portsmouth & Southsea’s past. These articles are not only from our own interest and passion about the city, but also from readers that have sent us some amazing facts. So much has changed in such a relatively short amount of time and the fast pace of life around us can make it easy to forget the importance of this cities history.

Retrospective‘ takes a look back at some of our previous posts incase you missed them in the past or you’re one of our new readers. One day myself and Paul hope to create a stand alone archive here utilising all the books and photos we have collected that haven’t made it on to Strong Island as of yet. With permission of course! So much to do and so little time. Enjoy.”

This is one seriously awesome vintage photography collection from Pop Olive33 that I found on Flickr a while back (sadly no longer active). Check out Osborne Road and Guildhall. Just incredible. It’s hard to imagine a time when traffic flowed through Guildhall, and that was only in 1968 and the shot looking west down Osborne Road is amazing. Trams, horses, grand buildings, a traffic cop, ladies & gents. It’s all going on…

Originally published Tuesday, March 15th, 2011

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.

Bricks & More Ta

Illustration – Tristan

Harbour Tour

If you’re brave enough at this chilly time of year head on down to Gunwharf and take a tour around the home of the modern Navy. With aircraft carriers, the HMS Ark Royal, HMS Illustrious and Invincible, there’s plenty to see. Oh, and they sell beer on board.

Local Photographer – Diana Goss

A familiar and friendly face around Albert Road, Diana Goss is a freelance creative portrait photographer with her own studio and whilst based in Southsea is often found all over Portsmouth as well as Bournemouth and Brighton too. Specialising in both Fashion and Boudoir work (see, and going by her website ( and Flickr obviously enjoys any type of people portraiture both in the studio and outside at such events as Goodwood Revival, music shows, weddings and even equine work. Not only that but you most likely have seen a few of her common props around town, a 1960’s Bentley, a 1955 Oldsmobile in red with red leather seats and a 1960’s red Pontiac!

Some of Diana’s work is available in Albert Road in Matt Sills’s Wallspace gallery (you may have also picked up a few free prints during the last Albert Road day) and if you’re interested in any commission work such as model shoots and portfolios, event photography or are interested in modelling for one of Diana’s photography projects give Diana a shout via email.

This is a cross processed film shot Diana took of the Wallspace Gallery with her namesake camera, a Lomo Diana and below that are a few more examples of her work:

XPRO Gallery

Strong Island Clothing Co.