Strong Island Co.

Food & Drink

Al’Burrito’s Silent Disco

On 26th March our friends over at Al’Burrito will be taking over the Wedgewood Rooms.

The pair will be hosting a huge silent disco featuring the Loco DJ’s. Doors open at 10pm and tickets are available for £5 on the Wedgewood Rooms website here. Those of you who finished up Icebreaker festival at the silent disco will know how great the venue is for such an event.

You can stay up to date on the Facebook Event page here.

Silent Disco by Jonny Bell Photography
Icebreaker Silent Disco by Jonny Bell Photography
Al Burrito Silent Disco

Southsea Flea Market This Saturday

This Saturday sees the return of the Southsea Flea Market at St Swithun’s Church Hall on Waverley Road, just off Albert Road. The market will be an eclectic and affordable mix of vintage/retro & modern mens’ and ladies’ clothes, bric-a-brac, jewellery, textiles, furniture and collectables. The flea market runs from 12:30pm to 3:30pm.

After browsing the stalls be sure to sit down for a chat over a tea or coffee and get involved with the homemade cake too.

Check the flyer below for more info and the Facebook page.

Southsea Flea Market Flyer

Southsea Flea Market (2)

Van Halen-Tines Day At Pie & Vinyl

Are you hopeless romantic? Have you ever secretly dreamed about saying “I love you” through the medium of pies? Well here is your big chance. The guys and gals at Pie & Vinyl will be meeting all your amorous pie needs on the evening of Saturday the 13th of Feb. Here is what they have to say…

“Hey there. Do you believe in a thing called love? Do you wanna come spend Valentine’s Day with inside the walrus of love that is Pie & Vinyl? Well you can, as we’re now taking bookings for the most romantic time of the year.

Please be aware that bookings are for SATURDAY EVENING of the 13th February (we close at 5pm on the 14th), at 6pm and 7.30pm, so if you would like to make a booking, please email, with your name, telephone number, preferred time slot, and your selection of pie meal and dessert from the menu attached, and one of our lovely cherubs will get back to you ASAP. Space is extremely limited so don’t dilly dally smile emoticon.

We’ll also be spinning the tunes live all evening for you, courtesy of our resident Stud muffin – DJ Big Ben Hogan.

Join us, and let Pie & Vinyl give you a VD you’ll never forget.”

valentines 2016

Jam and Bowler

Coming soon to Victoria Road South will be Southsea’s newest eatery Jam and Bowler.

We will keep you up to date on all the announcements in the build up to the grand opening although you can also stay up to date with the upcoming announcements by following Jam and Bowler on Facebook, Twitter @JamandBowler and Instagram @JamandBowler.

Jam and Bowler

Andres Food Bar Relaunch

This weekend The Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Frank Jonas cut the official opening ribbon for Osborne Road’s, relaunched food bar, ‘Andres‘.

With the doors opened and a queue of customers lined up outside for freshly ground coffee, homemade treats, delicious baguettes and tasty snacks.

The revamp of the oldest sandwich shop in Southsea looks amazing and the friendly and warm atmosphere inside is nothing shy of delightful. The family run feel and genuinely comforting attitude of all the staff make those lunch time stops or coffee runs kinder moments and it was great to see a local, independent business thriving.

Well done guys, the food bar looks great and the food was incredible!

To find out more about Andre’s Food Bar follow them on Twitter, Facebook or on Instagram and remember to stop in on your next visit to Southsea.







DATE CHANGE ANNOUNCEMENT 16.03.16 – 6th Annual Strong Island Home Brew Competition

Due to unforeseen circumstances we are having to move the date back for the home brew competition to Wednesday 16th March 2016.  Apologies if this causes inconvenience for anyone, but on the plus side you’ll all have an additional month to refine and perfect your brews!  The evening will still be held at Meat & Barrel in Palmerston Road from 7pm with judging due to start at 7.30pm prompt.  The competition details are below for anyone who needs a reminder and we look forward to seeing you all for the competition evening in March.  Happy brewing!

The rules are the same as last year where we had our largest amount of entries and the strongest competition we’ve seen to date.  If it’s not broken then don’t fix it is our outlook and we’re hoping for more of the same this year!

We’ve had great success in the previous FIVE years with ALL winners going on to have their winning brews re-brewed by Irving & Co. Brewers and sold in a range of pubs in and around Portsmouth.

The judging panel will consist of Malcolm Irving from Irving & Co. Brewers in Portsmouth,  Stuart Ainsworth who is Landlord of the Leopold Tavern and Alan Thompson from home brew distributor and suppliers Get Brewing.

This year we are opting for a 2 categories again.  1st category will be the ale brew.  Whether you already are a home brewer or you really want to have a go for the first time and get involved, this is designed to make no boundaries for the brewer.  This category is made to really let the skills be shown of your home brewing talent.

The 2nd category will be the ‘Other’ category.  Lagers, Ginger Beers & Ciders for this one with the same rules as the 1st category regards to unrestricted brewing rules.

Your brews will be judged on:


You can enter as many entries as you like either as an individual or a team.

Please provide 3 bottles of each entry for the judging panel.  Registration will start at 7pm.

Remote entries via other people is welcomed if you cannot attend the evening.

And don’t forget to drop by Elm Grove and check out Get Brewing for all your ingredients and equipment supplies!

Home Brew 2015


Home Brew 2015

Home Brew 2015

Home Brew 2015

Home Brew 2015

Home Brew 2015

Home Brew 2015

Home Brew 2015

Home Brew 2015


Turin Brakes Live at Pie & Vinyl

The awesome Turin Brakes will be returning to perform a free intimate gig at Pie & Vinyl on Wednesday 3rd February. The band previously performed in the shop back in October 2013 when it was just the single unit which to regular visitors seems like a lifetime ago!

Turin Brakes comprise of founding duo Olly Knights and Gale Paridjanian, as well as long-term collaborators Rob Allum and Eddie Myer. Lost Property is the band’s seventh studio album since their Mercury Music Prize nominated debut release The Optimist back in 1999.

The band will be performing from 7pm with the doors opening at 6:45pm. Entry on the night with be first come, first serve but there is a way to secure your place inside, you simply need to pre order the record here. Once purchased you will be invited to arrive earlier than advertised to collect your record and grab your spot near the front.

To stay up to date in the build up to the event get yourself onto the Facebook Event page here. You can also follow Turin Brakes on Facebook, Twitter @TurinBrakes and YouTube.

Turin Brakes

Pie & Vinyl by Sunny Lau
Pie & Vinyl by Sunny Lau

Southsea Coffee Co Offering Coffee Workshops This January

One of our favourite spots in the city, Southsea Coffee Co are running a series of coffee workshops this month, with the workshops happening on Sundays once the popular coffee shop is closed to the public. The workshops each focus on different aspects/types of coffee making where you can get hands-on with their skilled and experienced baristas, learning a variety of skills and techniques, as well as drinking lots of fresh, delicious coffee of course.

The courses are as follows:

– Hand Brewed Coffee
If you want to find out more about hand brewing, this workshop will teach you how to use a V60, Aeropress and French Press. Looking at the right coffees to suit the different brew methods, how grind size can affect flavour and how to pour correctly, as well as giving you an understanding of the difference between under and over extracted coffee.

– Introduction to Expresso
Want to learn how to make better espresso at home? In this workshop you will look at grind size, extraction time and correct tamping. Understand the difference between over and under extraction, and learn how to correctly make espresso based milk drinks such as cappuccinos and flat whites.

– Latte Art Introduction
Impress your friends or just make your own cup that little bit more special…the latte art workshop will teach you how to create different patterns in milk. Explore how crema and milk texture affects the art that can be produced, with plenty of time to practice your technique.

To book on to a course simply get in touch with Southsea Coffee Co by calling 02393 079501, pop in and see them in person or click the ‘book workshop’ buttons on the website at:

Southsea Coffee Co

New Years Eve 2015 in Southsea

With New Years Eve fast approaching here are just a few ideas of where you can see in midnight in Southsea. If you know of any other events then feel free to add them in the comments section.


Al Burrito NYE

Little Johnny Russell‘s

LJR NYE party

Castle Knights at Southsea Castle

Castle Knights

One Eyed Dog


Twelve Days Of Christmas Competition – Day Eleven

Twelve of our local favourites have come together to donate twelve awesome prizes for one lucky Strong Islander to win.

Over the next twelve days I will be asking a question each day which relates to the to the prize on offer. At the end of the twelve days you are invited to submit your answers to One lucky winner will win the whole package for themselves, just in time for Christmas!

On our penultimate competition day we are featuring 101 Reykjavík who have kindly donated a prize for the lucky winner.

Back in 2014 Chris and Lisa Whitear opened Southsea’s very own Icelandic kaffibar. They were able to provide honest food and drinks in a friendly setting that perfectly encapsulated the unique spirit of Iceland’s capital. Sadly they were forced to close the doors however earlier this year they returned and are now offering a range of Icelandic delights delivered to your door.

Beverages available include Brennivín (known locally as The Black Death), Crowberry Liqueur and Björk Liqueur. There are also some fantastic craft beers available such as their own 101 Reykjavík dark beer with Cocoa and Icelandic seaweed, the liquorice-esque Northern Lights as well as a few lines from Borg Brewery and the award winning Gull lager. Products available are not limited to food and beverages, you can pick yourself up a copy of Iceland’s finest musical exports such as LP’s from the likes of Sigur Rós, Björk and Ólafur Arnalds.

To be in with a chance to win you will need to correctly answer all twelve questions but please do not email in your answers until you have the answers for all twelve questions. You can find the previous questions here. Good luck!

Q11) Name the Icelandic band who’s members include Jónsi, Georg Hólm, Orri Páll Dýrason, Kjartan Sveinsson and Ágúst Ævar Gunnarsson?

Find out more about 101 Reykjavík and their Icelandic delights on offer check out their website or follow them on Facebook and Twitter @101ReykjavikUK.

101 Reykjavík

101 Rykyavik

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The Infamous Harry Pounds Scrapyard Submarines

Many of you will remember the once iconic Submarines at the Harry Pounds Scrapyard on the way in to Portsmouth. We even featured a few photos by Robin Hinson back in 2010.

Although I never got to explore the sub aquatic giants myself I was lucky enough to find this little gem a few weeks ago. Although I can’t remember where, so sorry if I nabbed it and forgot to mention you.

Watch the video for a unique view of these “Uk, Admiralty Standard Range Diesels 16 Cylinder V mechanical supercharged monsters!”

Local Photographer – David Jacobs

Based in Chichester but a constant visitor to Southsea, Portsmouth, Hayling and all of the Chichester harbour area, David Jacobs’ photos capture the warmth of the local light and and the inspiring natural views of the local landscape and coastline. To see more of David’s photos be sure to click ‘Read More’ below and check David’s Flickr.



Welcome to Southsea

Ian Parmiter recently found this photo at a sign makers on one of his many travels. A Facebook debate has already begun as to it’s original whereabouts. Any ideas?

Kings Theatre

The Kings Theatre in Southsea is continuing is restorations, this afternoon they were taking the roof top away, we’re assuming for some repairs and maintenance work.

When The Tour Came To Portsmouth – A Conversation With John Bagnall – Part 1/2

With the 101st edition of the Tour de France due to begin on Saturday and a summer of sport well underway, I believe the time is right to delve into the past and look to when the world’s greatest cycling race crossed the channel to our shores. On the 7th of July 1994 Hampshire was gripped with cycling fever; a 187km long 5th stage was about to begin and end in Portsmouth. Half a billion eyes around the world were glued to television sets as the peloton, which included cycling legends Marco Pantani, Miguel Indurain, Chris Boardman and a young Texan called Lance Armstrong, powered past HMS Victory in the Historic Dockyard. For a day, Portsmouth played host to one of the most prestigious sporting events on the calendar. So how did this extraordinary day come about? In a two part post, I catch up with Southsea resident and ex-council employee John Bagnall, a key player in bringing the event to the city.


Hi John, thank you for taking time out to speak to us. First of all can you tell us what you were doing during the lead up to 1994?

I was the Marketing Communications Manager at Portsmouth City Council, it was looking after press and media relations.

And I believe that this whole venture arose from a discussion over a pub lunch, is that right?

My colleague David Knight, head of leisure for the city council said to me “What can we do that will really put Portsmouth on the map and be a counter point to the D-day commemorations? What is international, bright, young and youth orientated?”

So when you say the commemorations? This was the 50th D-day celebrations? Quite a big deal.

Yes, it was the 50th anniversary of D-day. So for a week at the start of June, Portsmouth became centre to the world in terms of commemorating the liberation, or the beginnings of the liberation of Europe. Clinton and the Queens were here, many world leaders came to Portsmouth and stood in a special bandstand built on Southsea Common. There was a huge international flypast, I think a couple of hundred planes came over Portsmouth; Spitfires, Lancaster Bombers, Flying Fortresses, it really was the world solemnly marking D-day and the beginning of the end of World War Two.


OK, so press-wise, a pretty good window of opportunity here. What was discussed over lunch?

As I said to David over that pub lunch “Hey, why don’t we bid to get the Tour De France to England?” I’d never really thought at that moment there was a realistic prospect of getting them here, I just thought the council would probably laugh it out of court anyway. Even if we did get as far as sending an invitation to them they would just turn round and say “I’m sorry, why would we come to England? You have no history or heritage of cycling”.

So to add a little context, I believe The Tour had come to England once before? In 1974?

Yes, the time before they raced on the newly completed, but not yet opened, Plympton By-pass near Plymouth. It was just coned off at each end and they went up the dual carriage way for X number of laps. And that was it. I think a few hardcore cycling clubs came to see some of the riders of that time, but there was no broadcast coverage and precious little coverage in the newspapers. By all accounts it was very dull and very boring. The Tour didn’t like it because of the amount of time it took to get the riders there and then take them back again.


I see, so it seems like The Tour organisers weren’t exactly scrambling to recreate another UK leg?

No, the tour had no thoughts of coming to England ever again after the Plymouth stage. So during that pub lunch the idea really was to “fly a kite”, let’s do something a bit crazy. My argument to David was; they will probably say no even if they bother to reply, but I can still get some publicity out of that. Perhaps a little story into the cycling friendly The Guardian about how a town in Portsmouth bids to get France’s biggest sport event there (wry laugh)… So David and I went to talk to a guy called Richard Tryst who was the chief executive of the council. Richard was quite a frightening man with a hawkish and cynical sharp manner, but he didn’t suffer fools gladly. He liked boldness and directness. We went to see him and basically said “it’s crazy but we think this is a good thing to do, it ticks all the boxes of what the council are looking at”. He sorted of nodded and said “well yes, there are a lot of other questions to answer as well, but we’ll keep this alive”.

Richard bought in the then leader of the conservative council, a guy called Ian Gibson, who like all local politicians that get to be leaders of the council, was a very upfront, bold and visionary guy. And he got really excited about it as well. So on the 18th of December 1990 I drafted a letter to Henry LeBlanc who was the president of Amaury Sports Organisation, which was the company that controls the Tour De France. And about two weeks later they came back basically saying; “Subject to commercial confidence we are interested, and we are very grateful for your support”. They went on to explain that the Tour at that time was losing direction as the Tour De France; it had this great tradition attached to it but it wasn’t going anywhere with it. What they were trying to do was to introduce a policy that they called “mondialisation”. The organisers wanted to take it global and they were actively looking for other European countries that they could go to. They even discussed the possibility of, and this was back when people were excited by Concorde, to go across the Atlantic and even starting it in America or Canada. So to have an approach from an English city saying “what can we do to help?” was brilliant to them.


Could you perhaps detail some of the ins and outs of trying to organise an event of this scale whilst remaining compliant with the confidentiality agreement? Seems impossible to me.

We had to sign legally binding documents with them not to divulge the fact that they might be coming here, and from there it became a planning operation. The organisers want to be able to book up every hotel going within, in some cases, 50 to 60 miles of a particular stage town. And at a competitive rate too. If it was common knowledge that the Tour was coming to Portsmouth every hotel in Hampshire, Sussex and Dorset would be ratcheting up their prices. Not only that but we had to make sure that the public knew where to be and what they were going to see. We took care of safety and we made sure there were no embarrassing blockages such as level crossing gates being down. It was a massive planning operation that went into incredible detail; and day after day more and more levels of detail were added.

One of the first things that came up was that the Tour uses a massive bandwidth of transmission frequencies. Back then, before radios were used with the riders, the teams still had their private frequencies so that the Director Sportif could talk to the team cars and any other helpers he needed to contact. The race officials too needed an overall race frequency that everybody could listen to, as did the aid operations, the radio operations, the feeding operations, the signing operations and for the clearing up of the signing operations. The list just went on and one. Hundreds of frequencies and sod’s law would have it that was the most of them were in the band of frequencies used in the UK for hospital radio paging systems. There was no way that we could bring the Tour through with hospitals being disrupted and lives being put at risk because of radio interference.

Immediately we set up a meeting with a government agency called the Radio Communications Agency. This was a formal meeting with about 30 of their wise men. We bought over the communications manager of the Tour and a specialist from France Telecoms. During the meeting’s presentation you could see various people around the table shaking their heads; “impossible”, “far too hard”. But a couple of the right senior people listened intently, and one of them I think the deputy chief executive said “well look, I have no idea how were are going to do this because it will be a massive problem, but leave that to us, if we can’t solve it we shouldn’t be doing our job, we think we can do it.” Suddenly the head shakers were agreeing. We got their commitment. From then on the RCA also undertook all that was necessary to make sure that the hospitals, for those two days, would be working from a different wavelength and there would be no clash.


Another major issue was that the overall physical envelope of the Tour is massively more than just the peloton. You have the advanced publicity caravan, you have the people who would have gone over two or three days prior: putting up signage, checking access to the routes, checking where they can take off vehicles that might break down. All the kind of technical aspects. They are physically working several days, and perhaps hundreds of miles distance, from where the Tour is at that particular point. It is all part of the live event. Then you have the security operation that physically surrounds the tour: the motorbike marshals that escort the official’s cars, that monitors the press and first aid cars. They have their own radio frequencies and take up physical space on the roads. Amongst those you have the camera bikes that are filming the close-up of the derailleurs and the break-aways. They are beaming a signal up to a helicopter above and there will be four to five other helicopters covering the breakaways and the peloton. Each group of cyclists needing their own cameras.

For two days they would have to touched on Gatwick’s airspace and the approach path for Heathrow. I remember being in the office when Alan Rushton called Directory Enquiries (this was pre internet days) to get the number for the Civil Aviation Authority. He phoned up the switchboard and asked to speak to whichever department was responsible for closing the airspace above British airports. You could sense the stunned silence on the other end of the phone. Thankfully the CAA came back very quickly with a can do attitude. The only stipulation being that any emergency aircraft landings would have to take priority, but otherwise they would work with the French air traffic specialists to bring the Tour through safely.


Be sure to check in on Wednesday, when we bring you the second part of our interview with John. We will touch on what else was required to bring the race here and what cycling legacy (if at all) the Tour left, not just in Portsmouth, but for the UK.

Bike Ride Panoramics

We will have loads of photos and stories from Sunday’s hugely successful Strong Island Bike Ride and to get started we have some huge panoramics taken by George Crick. Sadly we can only show some of the small versions here that do not do them justice so be sure to visit George’s website to see the all of the photos in full size, and spot yourselves in there!

George’s panoramics will be available to buy in Wallspace Gallery in Albert Road from Saturday for a bargain price of just £35.

Created Local – Dan Tonkin, Adayin Design

Local cycle machine and all round nice guy Dan Tonkin recently updated his website under the design pseudonym Adayin Design. Dan has been on the local scene since forever as a skater, photographer, web/graphic deisgner and keen cyclist with a heavily growing portfolio of work. A very multi talented individual that will leave you standing in a bike race.

Check out and aslo Dan’s Flickr stream. Sorry I can’t make The Randonnee this Sunday mate. Really quite gutted to be honest.

Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea

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

Vintage Southsea Skatepark

Bored Manager Tom sent us over this original Skatepark article and poster. It doesn’t get more back in the day than this really. The original proposal plan and the opening day poster. At last Skateboard Paradise. Truly amazing. The article is quite small, but I zoomed it to read back the first paragraph.

‘Skatepark plan caters for all plus band and roller skating. Fast elevated runs and steep twisting slalom – like tracks for the advanced skateboarder, are a design feature of the £60,000 skateboard arena proposed for Southsea Common’




I’m not a BMXer and only cruised on my Raleigh Burner to get to skate spots when I was young, but i’ve always had huge admiration the those guys. They’re freakin’ nuts. I remember Freestylin’ mag when I was younger and would always have a flick through if I could. I loved the whole style thing surrounding BMXing in the 80’s. Mag wheels, crazy colour co-ordinated bikes and big attitude.

Well, you can relive all the that, at least to a visual extent, in the form of the Freestylin’ book. Some of you may have already seen this but may not know you can download the 158 page PDF here.

Go straight to page 106 for an article on Craig Campbell at Southsea Skatepark. Sick.

Strong Island Clothing Co.