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Harbours & The Solent

D-Day Museum & D-Day Commemorations

This weekend sees the 70th anniversary of D-Day being remembered on Southsea Seafront.  An event in history that shall never be forgotten as it affected so many millions of lives both then and now.

There is a wide programme of events starting today, running through until Sunday including a Red Arrows display, mock beach landings performed by the Royal Marines and a live performance by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.  Many veterans will be attending alongside top leaders from around Europe.  The events are free for all to attend and commence from around 10am each day.

You may also have heard this week about the fantastic news the D-Day Museum in Southsea is to receive some funding to help towards a complete redevelopment to upgrade and modernise the museum, making it the biggest D-Day commemorative attraction in the world.  A huge honour for the city of Portsmouth, who played such a pivotal role in the D-Day operations from planning through to implementation.

This funding will bring the museum just short of it’s target for the development to be completed in time for the D-Day 75 celebrations.  Various local businesses have pledged to carry out fundraising drives over the coming months the help the museum achieve it’s target, as well as the news that Victorious Festival will be donating a percentage of ticket sales towards the museum’s initiative.

You can read the D-Day museum plans of development and fundraising strategy here in more detail.

Remembering the allied forces who sacrificed so much for those of us today is hugely important for the future generations in so many ways.  To see the D-Day museum reach these goals would not only be a fantastic achievement for the city, but also for the wider world to remember such a significant event in history.

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South Parade Pier Sold?

Over the past couple of weeks quiet rumours about South Parade Pier being sold to a mysterious new owner/s have become more and more audible. So what truth is there to these whispers? The notion that Fred Nash and Dawn Randall are merely buying extra time in order to fend off any legal action from the council is perfectly plausible. However, it does appear that the structure is in the process of being sold to a group of local business men, with finalised contracts pending an ongoing survey. This group is believed to include local property and car dealer Tommy Ware, former owner of the Cambridge pub site before it’s bankruptcy. The group state that they are committed to reopening the entire pier and, incredibly, have been offered a grant of £100,000 by Portsmouth City Council who at this point are still shrouding the deal in secrecy. Malcolm Belcher of Vivid Surveyors has been retained by the prospective new owners of the pier to draw up a survey of what is required to restore the attraction. At the East Neighbourhood Forum held last night in the Royal Beach Hotel, Councillor Gerald Vernon Jackson (head of the city council) was severely criticised by local residents who doubted the good intentions of the secretive new owners. A real fear is that only the landward end of the pier will be restored in order to generate quick revenue, whilst leaving the rest to carry on slowly crumbling away into the sea.

As expected, this current outcome raises some serious concerns; have PCC carried out the appropriate company background checks on this group? If so, what financial assurances can they give regarding their intentions? How do we know this “consortium” are not acting as a pressure alleviating patsy for Fred and Dawn? And is it really wise to offer this grant to a non-charitable organisation? The next couple of weeks will be crucial for our pier’s survival: whilst the surveyors are outlining a repairs programme and the local elections are looming, the west side hole on the decking is slowly making its way towards the east side hole (see first photo below, courtesy of Howard Thompson). Should the two meet there could be catastrophic consequences.

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Second and third photo my own.

Design Released for the New Camber Footbridge

As you may know The Camber some years back had a famous footbridge that crossed over the water from The Bridge Tavern (which it was named after) to the side now occupied by the fishing wharf. Back when the city walls ran north of the Camber this route gave quick access from The Point (on the inside of the gates) to the centre of the city and the dockyard. The bridge was removed as redevelopment work was done, including the building of the power station, which stored it’s coal where the carpark currently is by the Camber.

With more and more of the Portsmouth Council master design for the city being built it (Tipnor Park & Ride, the new junction, etc) we were hoping to see the plans for the proposed return of the footbridge and this week they were released by Owen & Partners, the architects for the project. The footbridge will return to it’s original position which will allow for the improved Millennium Walkway 2.0 route, speeding up the walk from the Hotwalls & Old Portsmouth through to Gunwharf.

The design of the bridge was commissioned by Portsmouth Council Councillor for Transport Henry Ayers who said:

“The Millennium Walkway 2.0 project was a key part of the master design for the city, with the Camber Bridge a vital link between two old and great parts of the city of Portsmouth. I’m proud to be seeing the return of a bridge that will again connect across the ancient waters of The Camber.”

H Ayrton from Owen & Partners described the innovative new bridge design:

“We wanted it to be striking, in the same way the Spinnaker Tower has captured the imagination and become a key landmark for both the city and the south coast. The bridge itself has sails which signify the history of The Camber, not just the current home to many fishing and pleasure boats but how it’s natural harbour for boats one thousand years ago was the reason for Portsmouth to take shape and become the great city it now is.”

Personally, I am really excited to see the bridge return, not only is it a part of the heritage of the city back in it’s rightful place but it also looks to be a stunning new design bringing more great architecture to Portsmouth.

Let us know what you think!




Cloud Shadows on The Solent by Chris Brunnen

Chris Brunnen sent over this stunning aerial photo of the Solent from the other day (the one between the storms) and it is striking seeing a familiar view of the Isle of Wight from a totally different perspective. Plus, I am a huge fan of cloud shadows. Weird maybe but there you go.

Chris Brunnen runs CJB Photography a local photography studio that specialises in aerial photography (from a helicopter…very jealous) as well as studio work too. Find out more at:

www.cjbphotography.co.uk

Cloud Shadows on The Solent by Chris Brunnen

RETROSPECTIVE – Vintage Portsmouth RNLI Photos

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.

A good friend of ours works at the RNLI HQ in Poole and recently sent over these photos that he dug up whilst working on a project.

The first 2 B&W photos show training manoeuvres out in Lee On The Solent and Langstone, and the colour photos are all of the Hayling Crew. No dates, but they look pretty 70/80s to me.

The helicopter photo shows helmsman Adrian West in command with crew members Steven Alexander and David Parker. The 2 Eastney lifeboats from left to right are maned by Helmsman William Hawkins, Dennis Faro and Kenneth George with Operational Swimmer Colin Beeston and the second lifeboat is crewed by Stephen Alexander and James Peplow with Operational Swimmer Graham Jewell.

The group shot is the Hayling Island crew dated 1920, with the image below of a 38SR Class Heyland boat out in Southsea dated 1882.

The photo of a lifeboat being horse drawn along Edinburgh Road in 1902 is simply incredible. It’s almost like it’s floating on a sea of Victorian hats. We’re not sure what the actual parade was concerning, but a quick history check tells me Queen Victoria died in 1901 so it may have been some kind of royal salute, or just for the shear showmanship of it alongside other frontline services.

Does anyone recognise names or faces? Be great if these photos had never been seen by the people in them and they appear all these years later to be brought to their attention.







Photo used with kind permission from photographer Andrew Filipinski (Copyright Andrew Filipinski)








Eastney MOD Test Station and Music by VNF

Despite being derelict the old MOD test station on Eastney beach adds a lot of, well, character to the seafront of Portsmouth and is a well recognised landmark both from shore and sea. The station was once a barracks and then became a test site for both weapons and radar/signals. The site itself overlooks the west entry point of Langstone Harbour and despite being empty for a long, long time it is part of the skyline and one of the last links to Eastney’s past history as a firing range and also a firm favourite for local photographers, not to mention nudists too, of course. Sadly though it seems the tower and buildings have their fate sealed (read about it on The News website).

Last spring we did a spot of urban exploration and had a look around inside, in part to find out more about the city’s heritage but also to film a music video of ex-Portsmouth engineer/producer VNF. The song inspired a theme of echoing signals lost & forgotten yet still resonating and the long derelict location touches on a visual parallel to that theme. VNF’s song ‘Reset’ and also his song ‘Orbs Lighten Them’ are formed from field recordings, many of which recorded in Portsmouth. In particular in ‘Orbs Lighten Them’ the hovercraft provides the baseline and Southsea seafront builds elements forming the dream-dub sound.

The video, VNF’s songs and photos from the test station are below. To see more photos visit the album on our Facebook page.

What are your thoughts on the loss of this historic Portsmouth landmark? Let us know with comments and over on our Facebook too. Do you have any photos of the test station you want to share? Send us a link to those too.

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Alex Thompson Returns to Gosport after Vendée Globe Around The World Race

British solo sailor Alex Thomson has finished the non-stop around the world Vendée Globe race in third place, completing the course in 80 days & 18 hours, breaking the previous British record by eight days. The 38 year old sailor crossed the finish line 2 days 17 hours and 7 minutes after the winner Francois Gabart, finishing the 24,000 mile Everest of sailing at his third attempt.

Alex will be returning home to Gosport tomorrow with a tour around Portsmouth Harbour, with any boats or yachts wishing to join Alex in his Alex Thompson Racing/Hugo Boss yacht in a flotilla welcome to join at Spitbank Fort at 11am. You can see Alex’s tour of the harbour from a few view points in Portsmouth, see the map below. Find out more about Alex Thompson and his race at:

www.alexthomsonracing.com

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Coloured Lights on the Hot Walls

Late last year we spied some photos of the LED changing colour lights on the beach side of the Hot Walls in Old Portsmouth on Instagram and they really caught our eye. The lights form a pattern of different colours on the ancient city and port fortifications and are a striking sight to all visitors arriving to the city by sea.

Local photographer Andrew Whyte has been down on the beach with his camera and capturing these lights in a way that means you can see all of the colours in one snapshot in time, quite a tricky task. Check Andrew’s photos of the lights below and you can visit Andrew’s Flickr to see more of his work.

P.S. To see Andrew’s panoramic photo much, much larger (recommended!) click HERE.

Coloured Lights on the Hot Walls by Andrew Whyte (1)

Coloured Lights on the Hot Walls by Andrew Whyte (2)

Coloured Lights on the Hot Walls by Andrew Whyte (3)

Coloured Lights on the Hot Walls by Andrew Whyte (4)

Coloured Lights on the Hot Walls by Andrew Whyte (5)

Travelling on The Solent in the 1970s

This great 8mm cine film from the late 1970s shows what it was like travelling across the Solent at that time with the both the hovercraft and the Isle of Wight ferry. As well as seeing the busy Solent with all of it’s traffic this film also gives you a good look at the shoreline and skyline of Southsea and Portsmouth at the time. One particular difference that caught my eye was the old Portsmouth Power Station that was located down at the harbour with chimneys that dominated views of the city from all directions, just like the Spinnaker Tower does now. We’re working on an article about the Power Station at the moment, more on that soon.

Vintage Portsmouth RNLI Photos

A good friend of ours works at the RNLI HQ in Poole and recently sent over these photos that he dug up whilst working on a project.

The first 2 B&W photos show training manoeuvres out in Lee On The Solent and Langstone, and the colour photos are all of the Hayling Crew. No dates, but they look pretty 70/80s to me.

The helicopter photo shows helmsman Adrian West in command with crew members Steven Alexander and David Parker. The 2 Eastney lifeboats from left to right are maned by Helmsman William Hawkins, Dennis Faro and Kenneth George with Operational Swimmer Colin Beeston and the second lifeboat is crewed by Stephen Alexander and James Peplow with Operational Swimmer Graham Jewell.

The group shot is the Hayling Island crew dated 1920, with the image below of a 38SR Class Heyland boat out in Southsea dated 1882.

The photo of a lifeboat being horse drawn along Edinburgh Road in 1902 is simply incredible. It’s almost like it’s floating on a sea of Victorian hats. We’re not sure what the actual parade was concerning, but a quick history check tells me Queen Victoria died in 1901 so it may have been some kind of royal salute, or just for the shear showmanship of it alongside other frontline services.

Does anyone recognise names or faces? Be great if these photos had never been seen by the people in them and they appear all these years later to be brought to their attention.







Photo used with kind permission from photographer Andrew Filipinski (Copyright Andrew Filipinski)








Features

Photos from Head Jam 2014

For the second year running Head Mens Hairdressing, Strong Island and My Dog Sighs (this year with Lex Luthor) put on the Head Jam street art event on Albert Road in Southsea. The yard out the back of Head and the Strong Island HQ had last year’s artwork covered during last week and Saturday saw local artists My Dog Sighs, Los Dave, M-One, Lex Luthor, Mimic, Stu Linfield, I am Posy, freakSTATIC, Midge and Samo get involved with new artwork on all of the walls plus the new sculpture too. Extra artwork is also being added today by My Name is Leila. A huge thank you to all the artists and to everyone who popped by throughout the day.

Check some of the photos from the day below, you can see a load more on our Flickr (which is a growing archive of our photography over the last 6 years) or on our Facebook page and if you want to pop in and have a look visit Head at 53 Albert Road.


































Southsea Comedy Festival Competition | Win Two Tickets

The first ever Southsea Comedy Festival opens with Eddie Izzard performing his most recent show ‘Force Majeure’ on 31st July and 1st August. We have a pair of tickets to give away for the Thursday 31st July performance. All you have to do to win this prize is email stuart@strong-island.co.uk with your answer to the following three questions.

1) What is the name of the character voiced by Eddie in Cars 2?
2) In which American city did Eddie begin his 2014 tour Force Majeure?
3) For which charity did Eddie run an incredible 43 marathons in 51 days?!

The deadline for entries will be midnight Monday 21st July with the winner being announced Tuesday 22nd in the evening.

If you don’t want to risk missing out then Southsea Comedy Festival tickets are available by calling 0844 847 2362 and online at www.southseacomedyfestival.co.uk. You can follow the Southsea Comedy Festival on Twitter @SouthseaComedy.

Eddie Izzard Southsea Comedy Festival Logo

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Lookbook for Strong Island Clothing Co Summer 2014 Collection

We’ve been exceptionally busy over at Strong Island HQ for the best part of 2014 so far and the latest Strong Island Clothing Co range has been in development for some time. We are now proud to announce the launch of our latest line of tee and crew designs for the Summer. This is the biggest run we have done to date and we wanted to ensure it was a really strong range so didn’t want to rush it.

We have a wide range of new colours and designs including our first 2 colour print on the popular Refuse to Sink and a return to our second tee style back in 2010 with a backprint (this time in navy) in the classic Strong Island logo. We also have a seriously strong collaboration with University of Portsmouth graduate and award winning letterform designer Andy Lethbridge AKA Hand Type. These are something truly special and we’re really stoked how they came out, the detail in the print really reflects the brush strokes of Andy’s work. We will have more on Hand Type and the development of these designs on Strong Island soon in a full interview. We also have pocket tees with the new Down the Hatch design which form part of something we are keeping under our hats for bit…some old favourites have been revisited too with new colourways and 2 new graphic tees as well. Our latest crew retains the same quality as before featuring ribbed side panels, a back neck loop, deep cuffs, a double v-insert on the neckline and raglan sleeves but with new striped cuffs. With a more contemporary and slimmer fit than most sweatshirts it’s certainly a more premium line. As always all our tees and crews are hand screenprinted in East London by the mighty Lovenskate, including the anchor signoff on the back and detail on the inside neck.

We have a few more mini launches coming up over the next few weeks including more tees, something for the cyclists out there, some very special hand produced items from Poland using original 1940′s techniques and also something to lounge on in summer and keep you warm in the winter. Not to mention another very special artist collaboration too.

All of the tees and crews from the main, initial drop will be available this weekend during Head Jam at Head Hairdressing, 53 Albert Road, Southsea (weather permitting). They will then go online in Shop Ahoy next week.

For now please enjoy our latest Lookbook shot by Strong Island Media over at Dell Quay, Chichester. The perfect day to go for a wander around the marina, fields and woodlands with a few cheeky beers at the Crown & Anchor.

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Strong Island, Lex Luthor & My Dog Sighs present Head Jam 2014 – Saturday 19th July

Last years Head Jam was such a resounding success with some of the nations best street artists that we eagerly began talking about the following year before the paint had even dried. We discussed how we could run the event again and where to do it, but the answer was simple and literally looking right at us. We hold it in the same place again. Make the courtyard at Head Hairdressing the centre of an annual event where the outcome is available to view for the year, then return, white wash the previous artwork away, and do it all again. After all, street art is an ever changing and developing media in it’s own right and in it’s usual environment where it gets ripped down, tagged, covered in fly posters, lost to demolition and built on, the artists have no fear of their art being lost. It’s part of the job so to speak…

Rick from Head Hairdressing at 53 Albert Road (just along from the Wine Vaults and next to Southsea Gallery) conceived the idea of having the courtyard to the rear of the local barbers transformed in to a permanent giant art piece. From precision multilayered stencils, through bubble gum cutsie to surreal illustrative mayhem, Lex Luthor and My Dog Sighs have hand picked some of their favourite artists to produce the ultimate street art dreamscape courtyard…again!

Head Jam will run all day so feel free to pop along, take a look, have a chat, hang out, meet the artists and enjoy the atmosphere. There will be music on all day, a BBQ turning over in the background if you want to stick a burger on (not supplied), and please feel free to bring along a beer too. Everyone is welcome, so bring the kids so they can see some of the finest street artists working together in this unique environment.

Attending artists include: MyDogSighs, Lex Luthor, Mimic, Fark, Nova, M-one Art, Los Dave, Stu Linfield, Morf, Freakstatic and Ooberla. Wow, this is going to be amazing! If you pop along please be sure to tag the event on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #HeadJam and we will put up a series of your photos from the day.

Strong Island Clothing Co will also be launching their latest range of tees and crews before they go online the following week. So if you want to get in there for an exclusive purchase before anyone else head on down and check it all out. Everything will be out to view, and there is a sneak peak at the end of this post (the full look book will go up this week). Also all of our PFC tees and crews are on offer, bargain. We look forward to seeing you all.

Old paint on a wall

Head Jam, photo by Matt Maber (1)

Head Jam, photo by Matt Maber (2)

Head Jam, photo by Matt Maber (3)

Head Jam, photo by Matt Maber (4)

Head Jam, photo by Matt Maber (5)

Head Jam, photo by Paul Gonella

Photos: Matt Maber

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Strong Island Blissfields 2014 Review By Sophie Perryer and Grace Aquilina – Day Three

Despite the effects of the night before, those who have arisen from their partially soggy tents and dared to walk through alcohol and rain sodden hay look forward to listen to live music at The Wild Stage and in The Hustle Den at midday. In keeping with the wildlife theme the crowd was littered with all sorts of animal themed costumes, and what I can only expect was a stag party of monkey’s.

Burning Beaches took to the stage at 12:00pm in The Hustle Den, where sleepy eyes were literally opened in awe of the band’s soft rock sound. Heavy bass woke even the most sluggish and grungy vocals perfectly complimented a latte. The vocals echoed around the tent, emphasising the roughness and fervency.

Blissfields is without a doubt well-deserved of it’s reputation for finding and nurturing local artists and upcoming talent, and this year was no exception; Saturday brought with it the chance for discovering yet more new artists, one of which being Australian singer-songwriter Ry X. His hazy almost whispered vocals drew comparisons to The xx and Blissfields favourites London Grammar, and Ry X transfixed the audience throughout his set with his soft tenor tones. His track ‘Berlin’ is well worth a listen.

Later on in the afternoon, Floella Grace wowed her audience in The Larch to complete silence and a dream-like-state. Her dreamy, sobering vocals accompanied by fellow string player Gareth and two silvery-voiced backing singers made for an awesome and enlightening performance. The ukulele was played sweetly and harmoniously with the slightly more robust guitar; the entire performance being one of sincerity courtesy of her unvarnished, honest lyrics.

After Floella Grace’s soothing and lulling performance, the audience was re-awakened with the The Boy I Used To Be’s garage pop sound. With breathy, low vocals and slightly metallic guitar riffs, the band’s ‘sun-drenched’ sound ironically complimented the gloomy Great British Weather.

A personal highlight of Saturday was the chance to catch Laurel in the Hustle Den; she has truly developed her own distinctive style, although it is easy to see why over the last year she has been compared to Lana Del Ray, Lorde, and Laura Marling. On stage, she mesmerises the crowd with her sultry and coquettish presence, and switches effortlessly between softer and louder tracks, such as the lead song from her Blue Blood EP, which showcases the depth and richness of her voice.

By now sky was taken over with cloud but with temperatures still high anticipation grew for the headliner, 2ManyDJs, the semi-incognito side project of prolific 90s DJs Soulwax. The Dewaele brothers’ experience was evident throughout their set, with their ability to bring the crowd effortlessly through highs and lows, and build the sweat and alcohol fuelled festival-goers into a frenzy. However, while there were certainly some sore heads as Sunday morning dawned, there were plenty of wide grins too.

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Daniel O'Neill Blissfields 2014
Cosmo Sheldrake @ The Hustle Den
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Beans On Toast Presents… At The Larch Stage
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Chlöe Howl @ The Wild Stage
Daniel O'Neill Blissfields 2014
Laurel @ The Hustle Den
Daniel O'Neill Blissfields 2014 Laurel
Laurel @ The Hustle Den

The History of Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth – Cornelia Parker’s ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’

We continue with our co-published history articles with aspex Gallery, researched by Laura McLean-Ferris who has recently been crawling through the Aspex Gallery archives and has produced a series of articles for aspex about their 33 year history. We’re very happy to partner up and cross post their aspex history blog posts here on Strong Island, you can see the original aspex blog post HERE. This fourth article in the series today looks at how aspex worked with Cornelia Parker in the late 1980s, and how Art Space Portsmouth & aspex became separate organisations.

Now in the Tate collection, Cornelia Parker’s Thirty Pieces of Silver (1988-89) is an installation of over 1000 pieces of silverware that the artist had flattened by a steamroller. Each is suspended from the ceiling using copper wire, hanging a few inches above the gallery floor in clustered puddles, forming a kind of grid. The work transforms domestic items, such as cigarette cases, trophies, and tableware, into pure elemental material, and yet each flat silver disc contains within it the ghost of a former life. Silver is commemorative – and many of the items are suggestive of occasions such as birth, retirement, engagement, triumph or memorial. The work displays Parker’s interest, around this time, in acts of material violence that expand the viewer’s engagement with the objects and materials around them.

The History of Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth - Cornelia Parker’s ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’ (1)

Les Buckingham, then director of aspex, recalls seeing 30 Pieces of Silver at Ikon Gallery and being particularly taken with it, and so approaching Parker to invite her to show the work at aspex. ‘I knew the director of Ikon, Antonia Payne’, Buckingham remembers, ‘and she agreed that I could approach Cornelia about a second showing. The piece was installed at Ikon in the basement and was smaller than intended. When I talked to Cornelia she jumped at the chance to show it in a large and high space. The installation was the most complex of my career, filling the entire gallery, (1600 sq feet), and involving three weeks work and miles of fuse wire. Six to ten people worked on the project with the artist and the results were spectacular.’ Amusingly, there’s a note in the aspex archives which details that the height for suspension was ‘One toilet roll plus a piece of hardboard’.

The History of Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth - Cornelia Parker’s ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’ (2)

In contrast to the way the work is now shown, visitors were able to walk between the pools of sculptures. Following a visit to aspex by the Arts Council the work was selected for the British Art Show. The artist discussed the time-lag that it took for the work to make an impact in a recent interview with The Guardian. ‘I made Thirty Pieces of Silver for the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham and it didn’t get a single review’, she says. ‘It wasn’t until it was shown at the British Art Show at the Hayward a year later that people noticed.’ The work was purchased for the Tate Collection in 1998.

aspex was also going through changes during this period. Following several years of working as an artist-run space, the threat of climbing rents compelled the organisation to transform to its status to a charity, which meant transforming the structure of aspex. In an effort to protect the gallery and studio artists from high rents, the decision was made to seek charitable status and Aspex Visual Arts Trust was formed. Buckingham remembers this as a complicated period of transformation for the organisation, which essentially split the studios from the gallery, but it was one that was necessary to secure aspex, as a resource that would continue to exist after its founders were no longer involved. Though the two are now separate entities, the Trust continues to work together with the artist founders at Art Space Portsmouth.

The History of Aspex Gallery in Portsmouth - Cornelia Parker’s ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’ (3)

All images courtesy of the Aspex Visual Arts Trust Ltd. and the artist.