Strong Island Co.

Local Events

Southsea Sangha Winter Solstice Raffle

Southsea Sangha is an alternative, open access, peer led Buddhist meditation group influenced by the Vipassana tradition of Buddhist meditation and the Against the Stream movement founded by Noah Levine in the U.S. Based at Portsmouth Yoga Studio on Albert Rd, the group are having a Winter Solstice Raffle to raise money for their two locally associated charities, and the prizes on offer are pretty awesome!

The ever expanding group which meet every Sunday 6-7pm and 6-8pm on the last Sunday of each month, is run and supported entirely by generosity and donations from the community. When their expenses are covered, they make donations to both PARCS (Portsmouth Abuse and Rape Counselling Service) and The Lighthouse Soup Kitchen.

To raise extra funds for both of these local charities this winter, friends of the Sangha (community) from several of Southsea’s exciting businesses have donated some great prizes for the raffle.

Tickets are only £3 and available online HERE, winners are announced 14th December.

Full list of prizes:

– New Southsea Sangha T-Shirt
– Southsea’s Pie&Vinyl meal voucher
– My Dog Sighs T-Shirt
– 5 yoga lessons at Portsmouth Yoga
– Play Dead Tattoo Studio Voucher
– Wild Thyme Wholefoods Hamper
– Lucy Schorn Photography 10 x 12 mounted print
– Budds Herbalist Gift Basket
– Southsea Coffee Co. Meal voucher for 2
– Collection of Southsea themed handmade greeting cards from Angela Chick Illustration
– 2 Icebreaker Festival 2016 tickets
– Wedgewood Room Comedy Club Tickets
– A place on a Strong Island Workshop

The group have hosted several in international Dharma Teachers, and are hosting their 1st day long meditation retreat in March next year hosted by teacher Martin Aylward. Details to be announced soon.

Southsea Sangha RAFFLE PRIZES

Southsea Sangha at Portsmouth Yoga

Bill Bailey Is Coming To The Portsmouth Guildhall

This flippin marvelous comedian, actor and musician Bill Bailey is coming to the Portsmouth Guildhall on Friday 4th Decemeber to perform at the his latest tour Limboland.

It was announced that he was continuing his tour in the UK to the delight of fans, who enjoy his quick wit and trademark intelligence merged with a sharp stage presence and his unforgettable performances.

Best known by some for his roles in Black Books and Never Mind the Buzzcocks but for most he’ll be known for his previous live tours Dandelion Mind, Tinselworm, Bewilderness and Part Troll.

Tickets are still up for grabs on the Guildhall website for £27.50 but be quick to ensure you don’t miss out. Visit the Box Office to book.


‘What The Dickens’ At The Groundlings Christmas Murder Mystery

This Christmas all of our favourite Dickensian characters are being rolled into this one extravaganza of a show to bring to life a bloody and dark night of murder and fun. Dust of those magnifying glasses and solve the greatest crime this festive season will have seen.

The Groundlings Theatre located on Curzon Howe Road historically hosts fabulous Christmas events and this years murder mystery is set to be one of its most entertaining and imaginative nights ever.

The event is being held on Friday 4th December and the fun starts at 8pm. Tickets are £26 and include a three course meal, you can get you hands on them from the Groundling’s Box Office. If you Buy 9 tickets get 10th free. Costumes will also be made available to hire at Groundlings wardrobe on the night.

You can follow updates for upcoming events on their Facebook page.



Huge Success At The Portsmouth Rucksack Project

This weekend the people of Portsmouth came together to donate to the Rucksack project. The atmosphere at the Portsmouth Watersports Centre collection point was phenomenal.

As well as ourselves local businesses including the No.6 Cinema, Blue Reef Aquarium, The Royal Marines Museum, Love Southsea and The Mounbatten Centre donated prizes for the fundraiser raffle and collection buckets were dotted around for people to make further charitable donations.

Central Point Portsmouth were also present to promote their direct access servicea for individuals that are homeless, sofa surfing, inappropriately housed or at risk of becoming homeless. As well as talking about issues around helping our local community and building a better future for those in need.

It was humbling to see so many locals getting involved to support each other and the wider community.

To find out more about The Rucksack Project visit their Website or Facebook for upcoming events.




Make & The Craft Kitchen Christmas Fair

Make & The Craft Kitchen are back this year with their second Christmas Fair. The Make & The Craft Kitchen Headquarters will be filled with festive stalls, handmade gifts, yummy treats and market sellers, ready to get you in the mood for Christmas.

The fair will run from 11am until 4pm on the 28th November in Cornwall Road, Fratton. The Cafe is hard to miss with a huge ‘My Dog Sighs’ mural on the outside wall of the building, making it very easy to locate. Everybody is welcome to browse or enjoy some refreshments from the infamous Make & The Craft Kitchen café and explore the Craft Kitchen and all of it’s goodies.

Visit their Facebook page for updates on the event and check out their website at for crafty Christmas design ideas.





Lips Inc – Panto vs Portsmouth

Portsmouth’s newest, family friendly and party-central night out Lips Inc returns on December 15th to The Kings Theatre for a star-studded Christmas showcase: Panto vs Portsmouth.

Lips Inc are looking for solo performers, duos and groups of ALL AGES. If you and the guys in the office reckon you can handle Take That, your friends can give The Spice Girls a run for their money, or if you KNOW you’re the best Elvis tribute this side of the Memphis. If you’re a member of a community group, dance workshop, have a group of mates who like a laugh, or have simply spent too much time in front of the mirror… then the time has come to take it to the next level. It’s karaoke without the sing-y bits so it doesn’t matter if you can’t sing! Make THIS once in a lifetime night out a Christmas treat you won’t forget.

After a successful launch during The Kings Theatre’s recent Children In Need gala, the stage show that anybody can be part of is back. Welcoming you to be the star, Lips Inc invites the people of Portsmouth to take on members of the 2015 pantomime cast on stage before a live audience.

As well as the match of mimes against celebrity guests, there’ll be appearances from Manic Stage Productions and Kings Youth Theatre, and of course a visit from the big man himself, Santa Claus, who might just take a turn himself.

Judging by how well received and how popular the Children In Need event was this will be a great event to get involved with. The best thing about it is that you don’t have to be a good singer! If you are of a nervous disposition then maybe you can even do it in fancy dress to protect your anonymity.

The first wave of guests will be announced on December 1st which is when entry will close for Team Portsmouth. If you’d like to be part of the battles and be pitted against the Panto Cast, you’ll need to email with your name, age, post code, song choice and please include a video (or link) of yourself lip syncing to your chosen song. You can use your Phone and send straight to us.

Tickets on sale now via priced at £10 for adult, £8 for Kings Members, £6 for under 15’s, or £24 for a family of four ticket.




One Man Breaking Bad – The Unauthorised Parody At The Kings Theatre This Coming Weekend!

LA based actor Miles Allen smacks the senses with his super charged, hilariously funny renditions of all of the characters from the hit series, Breaking Bad. Slipping into various roles from the show including, Walter White, Jesse, Hank, Skyler, Walt Junior, Mike, Saul and Gus. Miles has been said to nail impressions and offer an alternative twist to the show, making it completely his own.

The show has had over a million YouTube hits and has been a sell out at various festivals including the famous, Edinburgh festival.

This show is hugely popular and is must see! Funny, manic and beautifully executed. The Guardian described the show as a ‘high energy, warp speed romp through all five seasons which brings the house down every night is shows.’

Tickets are still on sale for this weeks performance so don’t miss out! Visit the Kings Theatre Box Office.




The Portsmouth Rucksack Project 2015

Following the success of last years event which was a huge success with over 1500 rucksacks donated to help the homeless. Due the the overwhelming success the organisers are making this an annual event to support individuals within our local community.

The concept is easy, get a rucksack, fill it with items that you think would be useful to someone who is living on the street such as hats, gloves, scarfs, jumpers, sleeping bags, a flask and maybe some food and then take it down to the drop off point, which will be the The Portsmouth Watersports Centre on Eastern Road. Local charities will come and collect the bags and distribute them to those in need in and around the local area.

The Rucksack Project is not a charity itself but an event and a movement to try to make a difference in our city and with the cold and wet weather upon us and the the imminent festive season, the gesture will be well recieved and appreciated. The project is not about a few people doing a lot to make a change but instead, everyone doing a little bit to create big change.

You can drop your rucksack down to the centre anytime between 9am and 4pm and if you have any questions then you can get find their contact details on Facebook.

Rucksack Project



Dice Board Game Day At The King Street Tavern

Dice Portsmouth hosted yet another successful day of fun and games this weekend at The King Street Tavern in Southsea.

The games day brought people together to play a huge selection of different board games from Scrabble and Dominoes to Mysterium, Machikoro and Scythe, with support from the event organisers to learn to play new and different games. The family friendly afternoon was a huge success with over 100 people arriving at the friendly local to battle against one another.

The guys at Dice Portsmouth have lots of upcoming gaming events which can be followed on Facebook so check them out!





Dear Bill Bryson Book Reading at Blackwells Portsmouth This Evening

At 5pm this afternoon in Blackwells Portsmouth you’ll be able to catch a reading of Dear Bill Bryson: Footnotes from a Small Island, by local author Ben Aitken. The reading runs from 5pm to 6:30pm and is followed by a Q&A plus music with Gentle Bren.

Dear Bill Bryson is an irreverent homage to the much-loved travel book Notes from a Small Island, wherein Ben Aitken retraces Bryson’s giant American footsteps as precisely as possible – same hotels, same plates of food, same amount of time in the bath – before finishing outside Bryson’s house on Christmas Eve.

The book is published by Portsmouth based Not Bad Books and was funded by a slightly left-field Kickstarter campaign that promised backers some unlikely rewards. Consequently, Aitken is now legally obliged to read his book to a guy called Steve from Kentucky while the latter takes a bath.

Dear Bill Bryson Book Reading at Blackwells Portsmouth This Evening

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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.


Portsmouth on Film – Episode 1

Jonathan & Matthew Ring recently released a book of archive Portsmouth photography that was taken by their grandparents over the years (find out more about the book HERE). As well as photographs they also found a load of footage filmed around the city and have just released their first episode of their Portsmouth on Film.

This episode has some great footage from the early 90s, including some from the Tour de France.

Local Designer/Photographer – Weaver

I just found these great illustrations from local web designer and photographer Weaver on one of my random web travels. I’m loving the Hilsea Lido and Carlton Cinema depictions. Check out Weavers Flickr for more Portsmouth illustrations and a whole bunch of local photography and more besides. They would make amazing prints i think you’ll agree.

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?

Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea

Big thanks to Khalid who sent over these vintage photographs scanned from The Images of Portsmouth (1993). We have a small selection so I’ll put one page up each week.

Love this first shot of the band stand on the common in the 1920s showing how the site was originally used before the Skatepark was built around it in the 70s. So many deckchairs, it must have been big business back then. It’s a shame they didn’t keep the bandstand as it was with the little steps and iron railing. It’s a little different NOW as Marcus’s ariel shot shows. Click the image to see the high res scan up close.

Eastney Beam Engine House

If you love a bit of not often seen Portsmouth history, Eastney Beam Engine House is open to the public for free from 1pm to 5pm on every last weekend of the month. Hidden just off of Henderson Road in Eastney, the Victorian building contains two restored and working 150 horsepower ‘James Watt & Co’ Beam Engines powered by steam which were installed to operate water pumps in 1887. This new system proved very successful and is still the basis for today’s underground drainage system on Portsea Island.

Sadly due to essential building work you won’t be able to go inside the buildings this weekend, but there will be talks with staff and photos and artefacts.

Engine House

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.

£800 raised at our 3rd Birthday Charity Raffle

Wow. Another Incredible success. Myself, Paul and the Strong Island Crew owe a MASSIVE thank you to all the people who donated, helped out, attended and of course bought those ever so important raffle tickets.

With your generosity we managed to raise an amazing £800 for The Portsmouth Autism Support Network and The Portsmouth Lifeboat Station.

Everyone had a great time and got fully involved in the atmosphere of the night. Free Strong Island Iced Teas were flowing, and the buffet was awesome. Pet Sounds kept the musical vibe alive and the crowd did the rest. A really good turn out of Strong Islanders made sure The Belle Isle was packed and the charity tin was full.

Well done to all the people who were lucky enough to get one of the prizes. If not more. Winners win prizes…..

Thanks to everyone who came down, all of the very generous prize donators and of course extra special thanks to Paul, Graham, Ben, James, Andy and all The Belle Isle staff for letting us hold our party and making sure no one went thirsty. Cheers guys.

Without the support from our readers, contributors and friends Strong Island would not be in the position to hold such an event, and we greatly appreciate it.

Prizes were very kindly donated from the following people: LJRs / The Belle Isle / Sopranos / Southsea Skatepark / Caravan Gallery / Michelle So Scone / Boed / Southsea Boutique / Dead Mans Glory / Lou Bush / Helen at Kings Theatre / Geoff at The Wedge / Love Southsea / Mikey Ayling / Mark Persuad / Southsea Gallery / james Porter / Parmiters, Ian & Sue / James Weaver / Alanna Smith / Matt Howarth / Bruce Jamieson / Jamie Olivers (Megatron) / Diana Goss / James Batchelor / Fran Bierton / Paul Thurlow / Bonzo Studio / Head Hairdressers / I Love Dust / Holgarama / Stuart Trett at Ye Olde Bike SHoppe. Apologies if I forgot your name.

We’re already looking forward to our 4th Birthday Party next year. Hope you can make it. All the best and thanks again.

Tristan & Paul

Photos: Matt Saxey


The now defunct Brickwoods Brewery was Portsmouth’s largest local brewer before it’s final demise in 1983. Many old pubs (and many houses that are converted old pubs) still have tiles and signs with the old brewery’s name on so in a way, it still lives on, just in the city’s background. Keep your eyes peeled. You can find out more about the company here too.

I came across these amazing beermats via Google, some interesting designs. Notice the sun motif…


Strong Island Clothing Co.