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Harbours & The Solent

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.

Eastney MOD Test Station & VNF (1)

Eastney MOD Test Station & VNF (2)

Eastney MOD Test Station & VNF (3)

Eastney MOD Test Station & VNF (4)

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

Alex Thompson Returns to Gosport after Vendée Globe Around The World Race (1)

Alex Thompson Returns to Gosport after Vendée Globe Around The World Race (2)

Alex Thompson Returns to Gosport after Vendée Globe Around The World Race (3)

Alex Thompson Returns to Gosport after Vendée Globe Around The World Race (4)

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)








South Parade Pier – Photographs

The public auction of South Parade Pier is fast approaching – 12th Dec, with a guide price of £190,000 – £210,000. Sold via Clive Emson and written up as ‘UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY TO ACQUIRE SUBSTANTIAL FREEHOLD VICTORIAN PIER FOR RESTORATION’. Further details via the website. BBC South featured the story of the sale earlier in the month and even though there is enormous potential for usage, the restoration costs will be in the millions. With the right vision and support this could be transformed into the beautiful attraction and venue it once was.

Over the years many photographs have been taken photographs of the pier and here is a small selection featuring work by Paul Gonella, John Scriven, Rusty Sheriff, Rich Heath, Andrew Whyte and John Illsley.

South Parade Pier

Pier sunset 2

South Parade Pier

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South Parade Pier // long exposure // welding glass

South Parade Pier - Sunset Dog

Features

Competition – Win Two Tickets To See Kassassin Street + Curxes + Juice

Friday 3rd May the Wedgewood Rooms will be hosting a great night of music featuring Kassassin Street, Curxes and Juice. The guys at Kassassin Street have been generous enough to donate a pair of tickets for you, the Strong Island readers.

All you have to do to win these tickets are to email your answer to the question below to stuart@strong-island.co.uk by midnight on Sunday 27th. The winner will be announced here on Monday 28th.

Q – The band are named after the road in Eastney, name one of the three roads which junction with it?

Find out more about the event on the Facebook HERE.

Kassassin Street + Curxes + Juice + Longlive DJs

Juice ‘Numbskull’ from Butchy Davy on Vimeo.

Strong Island Calendar Exhibition

Last November saw the launch of our 2014 Calendar at an Exhibition at the Wine Vaults. You can read an article from Becki Partridge about the event HERE.

We cannot take all of the credit for the exhibition, the content was all provided by you, the Strong Island readers. Not to forget the exhibition was made possible by the team at Southsea Gallery who printed and framed the photographs. If you see a photo that you like you can purchase it in Southsea Gallery located at 51 Albert Road.

The exhibition can be found in ‘snug’ on the far right hand side of the Wine Vaults.

If you would like to know how to get involved in next years calendar then click HERE to find out more information.

Phil Tickner Calendar Exhibition 1

Phil Tickner Calendar Exhibition

Photos are by the awesome Phil Tickner, be sure to give him a follow on Flickr and on Twitter @HoldYourColour.

Strong Island Calendar Exhibition

A Kind of Conjuration at the Cellars

You would think witch trails a thing of the distant past. However, during the second world war a woman was tried and convicted under the ancient Witchcraft Act.

A play about the trial was performed at The Cellars at Eastney last week. Local theatre companies New Apollo and Cop The Needle brought audiences A Kind of Conjuration. This hour-long theatre piece, directed by Steve Pitt, featured a group of five actors, and was based on the real-life trial of Scottish medium Helen Duncan in 1944, for events that took place in Portsmouth.

The intimacy of the venue worked well for the subject matter, and enabled the performers and audience to connect in a way that isn’t possible in larger venues. When the judge, played by Christopher Marlowe, addressed the jury during the court scene, he spoke to the audience as if they were the jury, making them feel involved in the action.

Angie Lily was fantastic in the court scene, nipping backstage to change elements of costume in-between each character, resulting in a highly entertaining whirlwind of at least five different characters (and accents) testifying in quick succession. Henry Oastler was on comedic top form for his appearance in the court scene, displaying subtle character traits such as a tuck of the chin, transforming him completely from his other role in the play as a newspaper journalist. James Kirby and Tim Lowe also gave entertaining performances.

Writers Stuart Olesker and John Stanton incorporated excerpts from the original court transcript, adding authenticity to this brilliant piece. A highly refreshing and thought provoking performance.

A Kind of Conjuration will next be performed at the Square Tower on 25th June as part of Portsmouth Festivities. (Doors open at 7pm, performance starts at 8pm). On this occasion the play will be preceded by a monologue from the late Harry Price, ghostbuster extraordinary. Tickets from 023 9282 6249 or 023 9273 6288 or online: www.thecellars.co.uk.

Reviews:

Ashley Harley in Portsmouth News:
“a little gem”
“hauntingly good”
“not to be missed”
“solid direction”

Heather James in Portsmouth News:
“I was riveted”
“very witty and entertaining”

David Richards of Remote Goat:
“a sellout”
“a joy to watch”
“superb performances”
“a very high degree of professionalism”
“a very effective mix of the serious and the comedic”
“another triumph and a thoroughly enjoyable evening”

The original flyer for the show at The Cellars

Strong Island Calendar 2015 #SIC2015

Our 2014 Calendar was a huge success, the quality of images and huge amount interest it received really took us by surprise. We managed to double the sales of the 2013 Calendar, meaning we raised just over £600 for the Feel Yourself Campaign and the Alzheimer’s Society. We received over a thousand submissions by email and by use of the Instagram hashtag #sic2014.

We are excited to announce that we are taking submissions for our 2015 calendar. If you’ve taken a photo that you’d like to submit then you can email your submission via calendar@strong-island.co.uk. If you’ve taken a photo on Instagram that you’d like to submit for consideration you just need add the hashtag #SIC2015. There are no limits to how many you submit, the only rule is that the image must be relevant to Portsmouth.

Along with Instagram this year we also recommend you check out the Faded App. I’ve had a play with this App and you can create images that surpass anything that Instagram can produce. I especially love the overlay function.

If you have been taking any photos during this extreme weather we would love for you to submit them!

You may be aware that unfortunately due to an error our end the original batch of calendars contained a couple of errors. To rectify this the problem with the calendar we re-printed all of the calendars and offered everyone who bought one a free replacement (with free P&P where required). We are confident that we have managed to replace the vast major because of the online ordering records, however if you bought one from Lou Lou’s, Southsea Gallery or the Victorian Market then we don’t have your details so we need you to contact us ASAP to arrange a replacement! Those unclaimed calendars by the end of the week are likely to be donated to the staff of the charities we are supporting

Strong Island Calendar 2015

Here are just a few of the submissions that we have already received that might give you some inspiration.

Charlie Thompson Fratton Park

Charlie Thompson 2
Both Charlie Thompson
Todd Lawton
Todd Lawton
Roberta Curxes
Roberta Fidora
Danny Miles
Danny Miles

Road To Blissfields 2014 by Sophie Perryer

It’s that time of year again, when Southsea’s finest traipse out on a Friday night to listen to some of our home-grown, burgeoning talent. This year was no exception, with the likes of Becky Jerams, Poppobowa, Sabre and the B of the Bang taking to the stage to fill our ears with a range of musical goodness.

The evening was held this year at the Cellars at Eastney, and certainly had a more relaxed atmosphere – Strong Island’s Stuart Barker was even spotted wandering around with a cup of tea at one point!

The relaxed atmosphere lent itself perfectly to Becky Jerams soulful, syrupy vocals, gliding effortlessly over lyrics and melodies alike. Becky has enjoyed considerable success over the last few years with her song writing: her track ‘La La Love’ was featured in a Mandy Moore movie, and she has written for the likes of Chesney Hawkes and Loz Bridge. These accomplishments certainly showed through in her music; her sound was very much grown up pop and polished, while still retaining a youthful, wishful quality in her lyrics. A great start to the evening.

Becky was followed by Popobawa, a Gosport based trio relatively new to the music scene – so much so that Road To Blissfields was their debut live show! To say the boys coped well would be an understatement; they delivered a strong set with some interesting melodic choices which made for a distinctive sound, and the combination of this with hazy vocals akin to Friendly Fires was very striking. The best part? You can download their EP for a ‘name your price’ on their SoundCloud page.

Also hailing from Gosport were SABRE – the fivesome delivered catchy synth beats and impressive vocals not dissimilar to the Maccabees or Bombay Bicycle Club, with a little Two Door Cinema Club thrown in for good measure. Their raucous sarcastic comedy appealed to the crowd, and the banter between the band members was enjoyable.

Last but certainly not least were the B Of The Bang. The contrast of the almost gravelly voice of the lead singer and the Roxanne on keyboard’s ethereal vocals lent an almost eerie sense. The band delivered well thought-out tracks which were both directional and abstract, and conveyed a sense of their musical versatility and talent. Without a doubt a well deserved victory.

Congratulations to the B Of The Bang“>B of the Bang on their slot at Blissfields, and thank you also to the other artists for once again showcasing to us the quality of our local talent! Thank you too to Bellyeyesmile, Joel Ransom, the Cellars at Eastney, Strong Island, and all those others who had a hand in organising a top evening.

By Sophie Perryer

*We will be giving away a pair of tickets to Blissfields over the next six weeks so be sure to keep an eye out.*

Becky Jerams
Becky Jerams

Becky Jerams
Popobawa
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SABRE
SABRE

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SABRE
B Of The Bang
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B Of The Bang
Bellyeyesmile
Bellyeyesmile

Bellyeyesmile
All photo’s by Daniel O’Neill

Victorious Festival 2014

In January the Victorious Festival team announced that the festival will be moving to Southsea Seafront. The team appear to have planned a bigger and better event building upon the success of previous years.

Last week saw the second wave of artists confirmed to perform live. The line up already consisted of awesome headliners Dizzie Rascal, Seasick Steve but they have now been joined by Razorlight, British Sea Power, Slow Club, Foy Vance, Mark Morriss of The Bluetones and The Bog Rolling Stones. There will be DJ sets from Alt J, Terry Hall of the Specials, 2manyDJs and COR. Not to forget some of the best local talent such as Matt Jarvis, Eloise Keating and our favourites the Southsea Alternative Choir are also performing.

Personally I’m really excited about the Sunday line up, I’ve been a huge fan of Seasick Steve for years and I even went to Bestival dressed as him for the Under the Sea fancy dress theme. Sunday also see’s British Sea Power performing, they have been regular visitors to the Wedgewood Rooms during their tours in the past, most recently in April 2013. They are easily one of the best live acts you could ever have the pleasure of seeing. The Saturday headliner Dizzie Rascal isn’t too shabby. I caught him at Bestival in 2010 and I can promise you, he knows how to put on a show and get you dancing!

There will be more artists announced closer to the time. You can find out first by following Victorious on Facebook and Twitter @VictoriousFest, or by signing up to the mailing list HERE.

The event is more than just a music festival, there will be lots going on in the Kids Arena as well a Real Ale Festival featuring many local breweries. For the weekend local seafront attractions will be FREE, these include Southsea Castle, Blue Reef Aquarium, D-Day Museum and Southsea Skate Park. If you would like to be involved in the boutique market then drop the team an email on traders@victoriousfestival.co.uk.

The festival will be held on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th August. There are limited early bird tickets available but hurry as they are only available at the reduced price for the next ten days! Adult Day tickets are currently available for £15 per day and will be £20 after. You can pick one up via the website HERE, or directly at Little Johnny Russells or either of the Belle Isle restaurants. Kids tickets will cost £6 but those under the age of five can enter the festival for free.

Over the next five months we will try and keep you up to date on announcements and preview the performers and attractions that you can look forward to.

Victorious Festival 2014