Strong Island Co.

Harbours & The Solent

America’s Cup Racing Week In Portsmouth

I think my first memories of the America’s Cup were from childhood, watching the news and being a little confused about stories of close races, steely eyed crews battling the southern ocean and controversial keel designs on these huge yachts on seas and oceans the other side of the World. Up until recently it still felt like it was an event that happened far from here, glimpsed on TV, racing in exotic locations on distant waters. With the news of the new Ben Ainslie Racing headquarters to be located and built in Portsmouth about a year or so ago, all of a sudden, this race, this event really started to capture my attention. Could the UK win the oldest international sporting trophy, with a team based in Portsmouth? Back in the waters where the race began?

Americas Cup

No longer will these elite teams sailing ‘formula one’ yachts built from cutting edge designs, technologies and materials feel so distant, as the 35th Americas Cup event began to arrive in the city over recent days in readiness for the racing long weekend next week. On Twitter it has been hard to miss the photos from local people of the Land Rover BAR AC45F flying on training sails in the Solent. In recent days our local team has been joined by New Zealand and other teams out on the Solent, with the 45 foot long catamarans flying at speeds of 40 mph all just 50 metres offshore. Our historic dockyard home to the yachts from all corners of the Earth and our city home to the first stage of the cup. Now the stages and stands are being built, the flags are up and in a matter of days the racing will begin! Check below for the detail list of all the America’s Cup events happening in the city.

We’re happy to also announce that Strong Island Clothing Co will be at the America’s Cup race village, be sure to drop by and say hello and check out the huge new summer range of tees. More details on this soon.

Americas Cup Flags in Southsea

Thursday 23rd July

The America’s Cup officially begins on Thursday 23rd July, with Southsea Common, Old Portsmouth and the Solent alive with activity all starting from 9am in the morning. You’ll be able to see the crew and craft prepare for the day’s racing in No. 1 Basin at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in the morning before the race village on Southsea Common opens at 11am. The day’s events are as follows:

  • – 9am to 11am: The race teams and boats get ready in the Naval Base – come and view in the Historic Dockyard
  • – 10am: Race Village opens on Southsea Common and the day
  • – 11am: The America’s Cup ‘trophy’ arrives in style
  • – 11:15am to 12:30pm: Moth racing and kitesurfing displays
  • – 12:30pm: The Official Parade of Sail leaves the Royal Navy base and escorts the race fleet out to the race course area in front of the race village on Southsea Common
  • – 12:45pm to 2:30pm Official Parade of Sail and exhibition sailing by the race teams
  • – 3pm: Skippers come ashore
  • – 3:15pm: Official press conference & presentation of skippers in Fanzone Arena
  • – 5pm: Day programme ends
  • – 6:30pm: Evening programme opens
  • – 7pm to 7:45pm: Official Opening Ceremony
  • – 8pm – 10pm: South Coast Proms concert featuring The Massed Bands of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines

Friday 24th July

Friday sees streaks of colour on both the Solent and the skies above, with the day dedicated to speed. See below planned activities for the day and evening:

  • – 9am to 11am: The race teams and boats get ready in the Naval Base – come and view in the Historic Dockyard
  • – 10am: Race Village opens on Southsea Common and the day
  • – 11am to 12pm: Moth racing and kitesurfing displays
  • – 12:10pm to 12:30pm: Red Arrows Aerial Display
  • – 12:30pm: The race boats leave the Royal Navy base and are escorted to the race course area in front of the race village on Southsea Common
  • – 12:45pm to 1:20pm: Race boats tuning up before practice racing with live MC commentary
  • – 1:30pm to 3pm: Practise starts and two practise races
  • – 3:15pm: Skippers come ashore
  • – 3:30pm: Media mixed zone with skippers in Fanzone Arena
  • – 5pm: Day programme ends
  • – 6:30pm: Evening programme opens
  • – 7:15pm to 9:30pm: South Coast Proms concert featuring The Massed Bands of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines

Saturday 25th July

On Saturday sailing gets serious and points are won or lost with the full official racing of the 35th America’s Cup kicking off. The evening also sees Portsmouth Live! with music on the big stage down on Southsea Common:

  • – 9am to 11am: The race teams and boats get ready in the Naval Base – come and view in the Historic Dockyard
  • – 10am: Race Village opens on Southsea Common and the day
  • – 10:30am: RNLI helicopter display
  • – 11am – 1230: Moth racing and kitesurfing displays
  • – 12pm: Red Bull Matador Aerial Display
  • – 12:30pm: The race boats leave the Royal Navy base and are escorted to the race course area in front of the race village on Southsea Common
  • – 12:45pm to 1:20pm: Race boats tuning up before racing with live MC commentary
  • – 1:30pm to 3pm: Two offical America’s Cup World Series Races
  • – 3:15pm: Skippers come ashore
  • – 3:30pm: Skippers in media mixed zone in Fanzone Arena
  • – 4pm: Blades Aerial Display
  • – 5pm: Day programme end
  • – 6pm: Evening programme open
  • – 7pm – 11pm: Portsmouth Live! Saturday day concert featuring Spandau Ballet, WetWetWet, McBusted and Carly Rae Jepsen

Super Sunday 26th July

Sunday is guaranteed to be ‘super’ – a fantastic finale to the event where the overall winner will be decided through what is sure to be some nail biting racing. As ever a full programme on entertainment on shore and on water and then an amazing prizegiving gala event to end it all. The Duke & Duchess of Cambridge are set to join huge crowds on Sunday to view the racing play a key part in the finale prizegiving event too. See below planned activities for the day and evening: See below planned activities for the day and evening:

  • – 9am to 11am: The race teams and boats get ready in the Naval Base – come and view in the Historic Dockyard
  • – 10am: Race Village opens on Southsea Common
  • – 10:30am: RNLI helicopter display
  • – 11am to 12:30pm: Moth racing and kitesurfing displays
  • – 12pm: Trig Aerial Display
  • – 12:30pm: The race boats leave the Royal Navy base and are escorted to the race course area in front of the race village on Southsea Common
  • – 12:45pm to 1:20pm: Race boats tuning up before racing with live MC commentary
  • – 1:30pm to 3pm: Two offical America’s Cup World Series races
  • – 3:15pm: Skippers come ashore
  • – 3:30pm: Skippers in media mixed zone in Fanzone Arena
  • – 4pm: All skippers and sailors to main stage in Waterfront Festival Arena
  • – 4:15pm to 5pm: Gala prizegiving event in main stage in Waterfront Festival Arena
  • – 6:30pm: Spitfire Aerial Display

These times are subject to change.

Tickets for the America’s Cup are still available HERE.

Waterfront Festival Arena – Free ticket required for day entry.
10am to 5pm Thursday/Friday/Saturday.
10am to 6pm Sunday.

Fanzone Arena – Paid ticket required for day entry.
10am to 6pm Thursday/Friday/Saturday.
10am to 6:30pm Sunday

Fanzone Arena tickets are on sale across all four days Thursday 23rd – Sunday, July 26, which will also give access to the Sunday prizegiving. All current Waterfront Festival Arena (free) ticket holders will also be able to watch the prize giving show.

Portsmouth Live! Music night – Paid ticket required for entry.

Portsmouth Live!


America's Cup World Series Naples 2013 - Race Day 3

Red Bull

Kayak Photography Trips in Langstone Harbour with Portsmouth Watersports

We recently went on a boat trip out in Langstone Harbour with our cameras looking for birds and wildlife but if you want something at a bit of a more leisurely pace Portsmouth Watersports are running photography kayak trips out in the harbour in July. Portsmouth Watersports are offering the photographers of Portsmouth the chance to kayak out with a guide to the many islands and mudbanks that appear at low tide around the harbour to visit the bird sanctuaries and to see the seals that also call the local harbours home. You do not have to be a competent kayaker to take part on these tours and you will be supplied all the kit you require.

There are two kayak trips planned:

Sunday 12th July, from 2.30pm to 5.30pm
Saturday 22nd August, from 10am to 1pm

The trips cost only £35 per person and spaces are very limited, if you would like to book on, please contact Joanne on 02392 663873.

Below are a few photos from a seal boat trip in neighbouring Chichester Harbour. These seals travel up and down the Solent and the mud banks down by the Watersports centre is a particularly popular sunbathing spot for them.

Don’t forget this summer we are running our wildlife photography competition with the RSPB, so if you are out on a kayak and get great shots of the three different birds we a re after, send them in for a chance to win some Strong Island and RSPB prizes.

Our Langstone Harbour Trip with the RSPB

On a grey yet thankfully dry Sunday morning if I had a Portsmouth bucket list, I had one of the items near the top ticked off with a boat trip with the RSPB. Personally, I’ve always loved Langstone Harbour. When I first moved to Portsmouth I lived at the Furze Lane Langstone campus of the University of Portsmouth and the harbour was on my door step and one of the first places I explored with my bike and camera. Throughout the years I’ve been lucky enough to explore every yard of its edge plus the sandbank and the Phoenix Breakwater with my camera, from high tide to low, but I haven’t had a chance to explore the islands.

The thing, for me, that makes Langstone Harbour extra special is that it is a wild habitat right on the doorstep of the most densely populated city in the UK. Considering the close proximity to well over two hundred thousand people, the harbour is surprisingly biodiverse and a key nesting location for birds on the south coast. More surprising is that for birds, Langstone Harbour has way, way more calling it home through the seasons than its neighbour Chichester Harbour. So…all of this wildlife shares Portsmouth with us, and us with them. Particularly at this time of year: nesting season. So for the very, very novice twitcher side of me, a boat trip out to see the birds with the RSPB was a fantastic opportunity.

We set off from the slipway at Broadmarsh Costal Park south of Havant with Wez at the boat controls and Dawn to help both myself and Tristan find out more about the wildlife and what the RSPB do in regards to the harbour and the bird populations. It was a good start with lots of Mute Swans seeing us off from the quayside and even a low flying Heron passing overhead. We travelled south, in parallel with the shore of Long Island, one of many different islands in the harbour that have (since the late 1970s) become protected bird preserves of the RSPB. We passed the southern tip of the island, which is one of the few areas where the public can land (we saw kayakers taking a break on the small shingle beach) before moving south west to Round Nap Island.

Long Island.

I’ve always been intrigued by the harbour’s islands and as they are off limits to the public this was my first chance to see them up close. Round Nap Island is quite small and at high tide seemed like a very flat and precarious home to the nesting birds and visiting birds too. On the shingle we saw Black Headed Gulls with their brown, fuzzy and big chicks who will be very soon flying themselves. Also on the island we saw quiet Cormorants taking a rest from fishing and curious Oyster Catchers exploring the shingle and waterline for food.

Round Nap Island.

Cormorants on Round Nap Island.

The RSPB routinely (at times, daily) check the nesting islands to ensure the birds aren’t effected by the many different dangers to them, their nests and their young. At low tide some of these islands are accessible by the mudflats so some islands have electric fences to protect against foxes and other predators. Another serious danger to these birds are storms and surging tides. Recently a storm washed away nests and seriously effecting the breeding of some of the harbours most important visitors.

Black Headed Gull.

From Round Nap Island we set off to the much larger South Binness Island, the most southerly of the islands in the harbour. As we travelled along the southern shore of the island we saw hundreds and hundreds of Black headed Gulls and their young plus the sharp edged Sandwich Terns, Common Terns and our first sighting of the beautiful Little Terns that visit the harbour each year. The Little Terns have struggled in recent years to raise young due to weather and tides and in 2013 this island was raised up with 500 tonnes of aggregate with the hope that their ‘scrapes’ would be better protected.

South Binness Island.

Oyster Catcher and Black Header Gulls on South Binness Island.

South Binness Island.

Black Headed Gull chicks on South Binness Island.

South Binness Island.

Sandwich Tern.

Little Terns are very special visitors to Portsmouth. Unknown to me until fairly recently, Portsmouth and Langstone Harbour is home to one of the largest colonies of these special birds, along with Blakeney Point and Great Yarmouth in Norfolk and Minsmere in Suffolk. You might find the birds in much smaller groups around the coast of the UK, including Scotland…but right here in Portsmouth is a key nesting site in the UK. Sadly these birds have difficulty in producing young as our weather has been bad in consecutive years but they will continue to try through the rest of the season. There are only 1,900 (approx.) breeding pairs in the UK so the work done locally by the RSPB to support and help these birds is vital. To put it in context, on South Binness Island alone in 2008 the island had 4,886 nesting pairs of Black Headed Gulls.

Little Tern.

Little Tern.


We travelled west past the island and out to a place I have wanted to visit for years, Oyster Island. Many years ago this small island was home to an oyster watchman’s house built in 1819. I had heard that you could still see the foundations and remains of the house (which was possibly washed away in a storm) still on this tiny island south of Farlington Marshes. As we approached you could clearly see on this tiny island the timber beams of the house plus bricks and more. Hard to believe that someone could live out here, right on the harbour.

Oyster Island.

Oyster Island.

From here we travelled to Baker’s Island with it’s northerly wild side. The RSPB obviously tries to not disturb the birds but there are occasions when it is necessary to land on one of the islands. Routinely the RSPB need to count the nests and check for any issues. Sometimes they have to fix fencing and maintain signs, etc, on this occasion Wez had to replace the electric fence battery so we grounded the boat on the beach for a few minutes. Obviously it is vital these islands are not visited by the public so this was an unexpected privilege to see this habitat up close for a minute or two.

Baker’s Island.

Oyster Catcher on Baker’s Island.

Surrounding the boat at Baker’s Island.

We set off from here and travelled east across the harbour and midway saw a large commercial vessel leave the quay at the Lafarge Tarmac site and travel towards the harbour entrance. It was a good reminder that despite being a quiet harbour there is still commercial activity on a day to day basis. There are also fishing vessels that work within the harbour too.

Commercial vessel passing Round Nap Island.


The old oyster beds on Hayling Island’s north westerly edge (next to the ‘Billy’) have a long history, from farming huger amounts of oysters for consumption in London (ending due to pollution) to them being neglected until recent years when they were restored and made a protected RSPB area. These interlinking beds are now home to many different birds and access is prevented from Hayling Island as well as from boats. From here we saw a harbour favourite the Little Egret and also a solo Great Crested Grebe before it dived under the water and disappeared. On the way back to Broadmarsh we were lucky to see about a dozen Common Terns feeding, with them circling, hovering and then diving in to the harbour waters. We also saw some Little Terns too, who only feed around one kilometre from their nesting sites.

Little Egret at Hayling Island Oyster Beds.

Diving Common Tern.

In only a matter of two hours we had an incredible trip around the harbour and were introduced to not just the birds that call Portsmouth home but also the dedicated work by the RSPB, who with a very small team have to protect the habitats and birds. If you want to keep up to date with the work done by your local RSPB team be sure to follow their blog HERE. A huge thank you to Wez and Dawn for the trip!

Interested in seeing some of these birds yourself? It is actually pretty easy from the shoreline of the city of Portsmouth. We’re working with the RSPB on a series of articles starting tomorrow and we’ll be running a competition too. More details tomorrow.

Design The America’s Cup World Series Poster

This July 23rd-26th Sir Ben Ainslie and the America’s Cup World Series is coming to Portsmouth. Aspex and Teamorigin, the organisers of the World Series event, are offering local artists the chance to design the official poster of the America’s Cup World Series Portsmouth event.

Artists are asked to submit an existing portfolio of work, limited to 10 pieces, in a single PDF document with a maximum file size of 20MB — along with an outline idea for their poster design.

From these submissions, they will commission one winning artist to create the official poster for the Portsmouth event. The commissioned artist will be paid a fee of £1,000 for this work. However please note that copyright of the poster will then be passed to Teamorigin Events.

The deadline for submissions is Sunday 29th March. You can email your submissions to

Timeline and Key Stages

Sunday 29 March 2015 – Deadline for submissions

w/c 30 March – Artist selection

Early April – Selected artist notified and commission agreed

Early-mid May – Artwork delivered by artist

End May – Poster finalised/printed

23rd-26th July – ACWS event

Ben Ainslie Americas Cup Poster

South Parade Trust X Portsmouth School Of Architecture

As mentioned back in December, the volunteers of the South Parade Trust are teaming up with the academic might of Portsmouth School of Architecture in order to bring you all an exciting new project:

“The South Parade Trust would like to invite all interested locals and supporters to attend a public consultation event where YOU will be able to give your thoughts on how South Parade Pier could be re-developed. In partnership with the University of Portsmouth School of Architecture and overseen and planned by Catherine Teeling, a senior lecturer at the school, Masters students from the School of Architecture have begun a project that will explore creative ideas and strategies for the regeneration of South Parade Pier.

The project will develop solutions for reuse of the pier that respond to the community’s desires and interests and supports the SPT vision that the pier can once again become both a hub for the local community, a functioning business and an asset for the City.

Students bring a range of expertise to the project from Sustainable Architecture, Historic Building Conservation, Urban Design and Interior Design, however for the ideas to truly represent the future vision as the ‘Peoples Pier’ this live event has been organised for the community to ‘Have Your Say’ on its potential future, to get your thoughts and ideas on what this could be.

Catherine Teeling, Senior Lecturer at the Portsmouth School of Architecture, had this to say:
This is an exciting project, we try to use local structures for the students and what better than an iconic structure such as the pier. We are also very proud to partner with the Trust on this event, it will be of huge value for the students to speak to the local public and hear their thoughts on how South Parade Pier can be re-imagined for the 21st century

Vanessa Cooter, travel and tourism lecturer at Highbury College, added: “This is a great example of how the Trust can engage directly with local organisations such as the University and use their skills to collate and quantify local opinion on their pier. We all have an interest in how it is rebuilt in the future, this project will deliver bold and exciting plans which may one day be implemented or at least demonstrate what would be possible with imagination, innovation and drive.

We hope that as many of you as are able to will visit us during the day at the Royal Beach Hotel opposite the pier and contribute to the Students projects which will, we very much hope, deliver exciting visions for the future use of South Parade Pier. More details will be announced in the coming weeks in the lead up to the event. We hope you will be able to come along! We want to hear from YOU!”

This public engagement event will be held on the 21st of February 2015 at the Royal Beach Hotel, from 9am to 4pm.


South Parade Trust Enamel Pin Badges

The fine folks over at the South Parade Pier Trust have released their new range of enamel pin badges, available here. Show your love to the pier and your support to this non-profit organisation by having one in your stocking. Also be sure to keep an eye out for their exciting new project, in partnership with the University of Portsmouth School of Architecture, landing in early 2015. You can keep up to date with all the going ons of the Trust by giving them a like here and follow here.

The enamel pin badges are also for sale at Southsea Rock on Marmion in Southsea, and at the reception of Highbury College Library on Winston Churchill Avenue. Hurry, whilst stocks last!



Portsmouth Harbour at Night

After an evening spent filming at Gunwharf Quays for their new Christmas film I grabbed a handful of long exposure photos of a very quiet Portsmouth Harbour. A quiet and cold night with just the occasional Isle of Wight car ferry or Seacat passing The Point and the in-construction Ben Ainslie Racing Headquarters on the Camber.

Portsmouth Harbour at Night (1)

Portsmouth Harbour at Night (3)

Portsmouth Harbour at Night (2)

Portsmouth Harbour at Night (4)

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.




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!

Next »


Southsea Show 1970

Image: eBay

By The Castle

Apologies for a little self-linkage, but I’ve added some photos from a July day down by the castle on Forever Circling (a photography, etc blog I update daily).

It’s sunny today too, roll on spring and summer.

Around the Castle

HMS Vanguard (1960)

Man, these photos are pretty damn epic. Both show the HMS Vangaurd that went aground just feet away from alongside the Still & West and Spice Island in 1960.

“On 4 August 1960, when she was to be towed from Portsmouth to the breakers yard at Faslane, Scotland, the whole of the Southsea sea front was packed with people to see her off. As she was being towed towards the harbour entrance, she slewed across the harbour to the Still & West public house and went aground. She was eventually pulled off by tugs and finally made her exit from Portsmouth. Five days later she arrived at Faslane and by the spring of 1962 Vanguard ceased to exist, never having fired her guns in anger.” (from Wikipedia)

It’s also great to see that area of Old Portsmouth in detail from 50 years ago. There is no sea wall in place, some kind of out building on the corner of Spice Island, what looks like early dry dock developments and I love the way Broad Street goes straight in to the drink. See what you can see. Click the images for a much closer look.

Via : Jainbow

Matt O’Neill

Matt is one of Southsea and Portsmouth’s legendary skateboarders since all the way back to the 80s. This footage was filmed all in one evening about a year ago, still one of the best skaters to ever step on a board on this fair isle.

Vintage Photography – Sunny Southsea

Following on again from the photos of the Seafront and the Paddling Pool after The Bandstand and Tennis Courts the previous week, here’s another scan from Khalid.

The Pavilion on Clarence Pier looks amazing. No more donkey rides though. Shame.

Vintage Southsea Postcards

I dug these off the internet a while back and forgot I had them. Some real old school winners here. Click the read more link at the bottom of this article to see the full set.



NatWest Carved Map

The NatWest Bank in Palmerston Road has an amazing carved map of Portsmouth that I must have walked past on loads of occasions and never really stopped to look at. The map has many local landmarks highlighted plus the islands in both Portsmouth and Langstone harbours. Not sure exactly how old it is. Next time you pass by if you have a moment spare stop and have a look.

Review of Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition at Coastguard Studio

Coastguard Studio this past weekend was host to it’s fifth (if I remember right) exhibition in a matter of six months or so, this one being a spin-off show to to the hugely successful Under the Spotlight exhibition earlier this year. Under the Spotlight | Photography brought together 30 photographers who are either based in Portsmouth or have strong ties with the city and the large open plan gallery space was packed full of diverse and engaging work.

I started off in the bar area, grabbing a beer and then checking out the panels lining the walls to this back space of Coastguard Studio. The first series that caught the eye were a pair of medium format, multiple exposures by Matt Ankers. I’ve seen a lot of Matt’s digital and commercial work (such as Victorious) so it was great to see his more personal work. The two images complemented each other well with emotive seaside scenes shot locally. Great to see film well represented in the exhibition. Next door on the wall was a series of film-noir inspired portraits by University of Portsmouth student Harry Murphy. This small wall right from the get go showed the incredible diversity of work produced for the exhibition and the different backgrounds of the contributors.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition - Matt Ankers
Work by Matt Ankers.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition - Harry Murphy
Work by Harry Murphy.

Another eye catching and intriguing panel was by Deborah Holton. The panel of 4 matched images showed x-ray collections of objects found on beach walks, going back over a decade or more. Each individual beach collection was kept in a 35mm film canister and could consist of beach glass, stones, sand and more. The idea behind the project and the dedication and composition consistency elevated this work to a highly conceptual piece that I’m sure inspired a few people to consider striking up their own ambitious concepts and projects in the future.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition - Deborah Holton
Work by Deborah Holton.

Also in this space were works by Andrew Hayward whose photography we’ve featured on a few occasions on Strong Island. On display were a small set of Andrew’s personal project capturing the oasis feel of service stations at night (also recently exhibited in a solo show with Aspex Gallery and Portsmouth Guildhall). The different garages shot in the same compositional style created a sense of consistency in the panel, drawing the eye in to discover more about the lit forecourts and bringing to mind the memories of late night road trips with friends and finding a sanctuary of fuel for the car and for the passengers. We’re actually exhibiting Andrew’s latest project in Strong Island Co very soon, keep an eye out for details.

Also shown in the room was work by Billie Cawte with her series of photos of projections shot around Portsmouth. These carefully considered images matched a location with a projection of a vintage image, shot at night, instilling a sense of continuity of a sense of place extending beyond normal, individual perceptions of time. These also, in a pleasantly strange way, bring to life forgotten functional corners of buildings. There was lots more to see in this space with other work by local photographers, I spent a little more time looking around before moving in to the large, open main exhibition space.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition

Straight away it was great to see the place so busy. It was early-ish on the Saturday night and the place was full of people of all ages checking out the work and chatting. Its always great to take a step back in an exhibition and just see people enjoying it. There is way too much work to go through individually here but a few panels really caught my eye for very different reasons. In one corner were a series of 360 images taken by Guilhem Brandy which showed different, familiar, spots around the city in an interesting new way. Changing up perspectives of familiar places is something I personally really like and this series from Albert Road, Southsea Seafront, Garrison Church and Guildhall Square drew you in to find out more.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition

One of the many great things about a shared exhibition is that the work touches on so many different subjects, drawing out many different thoughts and feelings from the people viewing the work. In a matter of a few steps you could take in the B&W film street photography by Matt Maber exploring the physical, social and cultural boundaries of Fratton Park on a Saturday afternoon through to the questioning and bold nudes by Ashton Keiditsch. In particular the powerful image of a lady with a partial mastectomy meant that the exhibition tackled some heavyweight subjects and these honest and questioning portraits looking at contemporary body image issues rightly raised discussion. The work reminded me of the recent series by Bryan Adams and also The Battle We Didn’t Choose.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition - Ashton Keiditsch
Work by Ashton Keiditsch.

Also panels that caught the eye included: the photos of Diana Goss whose work has a foot in each of her professions: photography and psychotherapy, the long exposures by both Elmer Maniebo and Jon Neil, the portraits by Aaron Bennett, the views on old age by Yasmin Collins and so, so much more. Hopefully the photos below give you a glimpse.

If you want to see the work in person the exhibition is open until Friday from 12pm to 2pm. Check the Coastguard Studio Facebook page for more information HERE.

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition - Yasmin Collins

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition - Aaron Bennett

Under the Spotlight | Photography Exhibition

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.

Local Photographer: Paul Thurlow

I’ve been following local photographer Paul Thurlow’s blog for a little while, always some wonderful photos from our little piece of coastline plus some incredible portrait and wedding photography too. Put what you’re doing to one side for a little while and have a look through Paul’s website and Flickr too, so many beautiful photos including HDR images too.

Strong Island Clothing Co.