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Naval & Dockyards

HMS Dreadnought Launched On This Day in 1906

HMS Dreadnought, launched on this day in 1906, revolutionised naval warfare and was the flag ship of the Royal Navy’s home fleet from 1907–1911. As well as being the largest ship in the navy at it’s time, just like HMS Warrior before it, it was the most modern too. If you wanted an example of what the Portsmouth shipbuilding yard could do this ship might be it, particularly when you consider that she went to sea on 3 October 1906 for her steam trials, only a year and a day after construction began.

HMS Dreadnought (1)
2 Days after the keel was laid.

HMS Dreadnought (2)
Deck armour going in to place 36 days after keel laid.

HMS Dreadnought (3)

HMS Dreadnought and HMS Victory

Heston’s Great British Food At Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

HMS Victory at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is to be featured in Heston Blumenthal’s latest show Heston’s Great British Food on Channel 4 tonight at 9pm.

The Historic Dockyard hosted the Michelin Star chef and his production team on board HMS Victory for filming back in the summer. In this new series, Heston reveals the secret history of some iconic British dishes and then transforms them, as only Heston can.

HMS Victory is included as while Heston delves into the history of the Great British Roast Beef Dinner. He travels back to late medieval times and the Victorian era before finding himself in the early 1800s, uncovering just how important beef was to Admiral Nelson and his Navy.

Heston takes inspiration from a key period in Britain’s maritime history. By the Napoleonic Wars, beef had achieved such an important place in our hearts, and was used as a recruiting tool by Nelson’s Navy.

The team explored the lower poop deck of the ship, where Heston prepared a recipe called Lobscouse, an old naval traditional dish using a variety of ingredients. Heston discovers that beef preserved in salt was a vital ration for Britain’s seamen before the Battle of Trafalgar. Heston decides to soak four of his cuts in his own take on salty brine. But where Nelson’s sailors used salt to preserve their meat, Heston uses it to keep the meat moist and uses fresh herbs to draw extra flavour into the cuts.

If you are unable to watch it tonight due to christmas parties or other activities then make sure you check it out on 4oD. Be warned, if you watch on an empty stomach you’ll be straight down to the Toby Carvery afterwards!


HMS Victory
Photos from Portsmouth Historic Dockyard Facebook Page.

Portsmouth Shipbuilding, a Partnership Aiming to Continue 500 Years of Shipbuilding in Portsmouth

Like everyone else in Portsmouth, the announcement a little over a month ago that BAE were ceasing shipbuilding in Portsmouth hit hard at Strong Island (you can read our article after the news was announced HERE). With over 500 years of history, shipbuilding in the Dockyard is part of the city’s identity and cultural DNA, ship maintenance is not the same as shipbuilding and it looked like a literal end of an era. The day after the news was announced we began working with local marine & defence consultancy Stanton Burdett Ltd on Portsmouth Shipbuilding, shaping a proposal that could make shipbuilding in Portsmouth viable and sustainable.

In the past month Portsmouth Shipbuilding has met with every stakeholder relating to this issue from UKTI to the shipbuilders themselves and today Portsmouth Shipbuilding is happy to announce the release of the proposal presentation, containing the details on how and why shipbuilding could continue. The key aim is to utilise the existing skills, facility and management expertise to create a successful and sustainable shipbuilding company, operating within Portsmouth Dockyard to deliver small and medium commercial/naval vessels for the domestic and export markets. Portsmouth Shipbuilding would be a social enterprise engaging with the local community and supporting the development of skills for 12-18 years olds & will also work with colleges, universities, businesses, councils and industry alike to create a collaborative programme of engagement, training, apprenticeships and mentoring to support grass roots Maritime working and Naval heritage for Portsmouth and the local region.

To find out much more The News today announced the proposal with the front page and a detailed two page article and interview (you can read online HERE) and the proposal presentation is now available to download from the updated Portsmouth Shipbuilding website.

We hope that with this proposal to be tabled to the city and the Government, the first real alternative to the closure, we can get the support of the people of Portsmouth and show that the city as a whole (and people further afield too) wish to continue 500 years of shipbuilding in the city.

If you could show your support initially by spreading the word to your friends & family it would be really appreciated and a like and a follow on the Portsmouth Shipbuilding Facebook page and Twitter account would not only lodge that support but also mean you will find out about the developments in the coming weeks straight away.

Portsmouth Shipbuilding

Portsmouth Shipbuilding in The News

BBC Stargazing Comes To The Historic Dockyard This January

BBC Two’s hugely popular programme Stargazing Live is back in the New Year. BBC Learning along with several partners, including the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitaiton at the University of Portsmouth are hosting an event in Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard on Tuesday 7th January.

In the unique setting of the Historic Dockyard, you’ll be able see amazing science demos, stunning images from the world’s best telescopes, and take part in fun space-themed practical activities including Mission X: Train like an Astronaut, Solar System Science and Be an Interplanetary Weather Reporter. You’ll also be able to meet a Mars Rover and have a go at controlling robots. There’ll be comedy and music for everyone including a performance from the Portsmouth Military Wives.

With BBC presenters and leading experts in astronomy from the University of Portsmouth and other groups across the South, you’ll have everything you need to discover more about the wonders of space. Professional and amateur astronomers will guide you through what you can see in the night sky and give you tips on how to get started on your own.

The event is suitable for adults and families with children aged seven years of age and over. Please note that activities will take place inside and outside so make sure you wrap up warm, it will be January after all!

This is an event run by the BBC and not the live broadcast of the Stargazing Live programme. You can find out how you can get your tickets by checking out the BBC Events page HERE.

bbc stargazing

The Mary Rose Museum Shortlisted for World Building of the Year 2013

The new Mary Rose Museum, designed by Wilkinson Eyre Architects, has in the months since it’s grand opening established itself already as a much loved treasure of the city by not only visitors but also the people of Portsmouth. With over 100,000 visitors in only the first two months of the doors opened it has been a key attraction this summer. The museum was also a centre piece of the Victorious Festival last weekend with it open to festival goers and also it being home to the kids deck.

The building’s characteristics in not only it’s stunningly clean, simple ship lines of it’s aesthetic design but also the incredible, cutting edge technical solutions to create the museum around the ship and the scheduled monument dry dock make it something very special both nationally and internationally, with it now shortlisted for World Building of the Year 2013, in the Culture category. The awards have 280 projects (some completed, some designed) shortlisted and the list includes buildings that have captured the public’s attention from all corners of the world, including a mobile research station in Antarctica!

The Mary Rose Museum’s architects Wilkinson Eyre Architects won the World Building of the Year 2012 with their Gardens by the Bay project in Singapore so fingers crossed that when the winner is announced during 2nd-4th October at the World Architecture Festival the Mary Rose Museum wins!

Four Royal Navy Frigates in Portsmouth Harbour to be Scrapped

Sad to hear this morning that a decision has been made by the MOD to scrap the four mothballed frigates currently moored up in Portsmouth Harbour. The four Type 22 ships HMS Cumberland, HMS Campbeltown, HMS Chatham and HMS Cornwall have become a local landmark in the harbour and can be seen clearly from Gosport, Portsdown Hill and the M275 but will be leaving for scrapyards in the Autumn. There has been talk by a fair few people about how one of them could have been scuppered in the Solent to create a diving attraction or even a surf reef for Southsea Beach but it seems that will be a wish yet to be fulfilled.

These photos were taken on a Strong Island Clothing Co shoot last summer and give a closer look to the four craft.

Four Royal Navy Frigates in Portsmouth Harbour to be Scapped (1)

Four Royal Navy Frigates in Portsmouth Harbour to be Scapped (2)

Four Royal Navy Frigates in Portsmouth Harbour to be Scapped (3)

Four Royal Navy Frigates in Portsmouth Harbour to be Scapped (4)

A Look Inside the New Mary Rose Museum

Back in April we were lucky to get a look at the new Mary Rose Museum on the first press tour in preparation for today’s grand opening. We’ve been closely following and posting the development of the museum from it’s early days of design, development and build and it I would be lying in saying it wasn’t really exciting to see the new museum in the flesh. Personally, I remember closely watching the TV as a boy and watching the discovery of artefacts from the sea bed and it’s eventual lifting from the bottom of the Solent. I had also previously visited the old museum back in 2000 but with the promise of the new, cutting edge building and the vast amounts of new artefacts, as well as a new telling of the story, meant this was a whole new way of discovering the Tudor ship.

The building itself is quite simply incredible. Designed by Wilkinson Eyre architects and built by Portsmouth’s own Warings, the building had to be constructed around the ship still undergoing treatment and also on top of a dry dock that is a listed monument all of it’s own. The wooden structure takes on the silhouette of a ship itself, clad in dark timbers, wrapped in a band of the people both local and worldwide who donated money and even marked with engravings, in the same way makers and owners of the original Tudor artefacts marked their personal objects. The ship itself lies within the structure and is now going through the final drying process and within a few years the gallery walkways, lined huge atmospherically controlled display cases, will open up on the other side with uninterrupted views of the different levels of the ship for the very first time.

The museum is also home to thousands of artefacts (a very large amount shown for the first time) that are placed together in context not only to where they were used on the ship but also objects and belongings that for the first time tell the story of the people who served and died on the ship. The museum excels in creating a personal context to many of these artefacts such as a piece of paper from a book, peppercorns, shoes, food bowls, tools and even Hatch the dog. Also for the first time bones and facial reconstructions of the crew ware also on display to give the full human picture. It is a little hard sometimes to understand just how so many different things survived and where things didn’t (rusted away for example) the museum uses ghost-like plastic to bring the remains back to life. Sometimes it is the markings on objects like the blade marks on a cutting board that give a compelling connection back to the past and the people who used it.

From a community perspective the museum has a large education section, home to a large classroom and a science laboratory for education purposes. Local schools and schools from all over the UK will discover not only the ship and those who lived on it but also the science behind how the ship functioned, how it was preserved and how it was restored. With up to four workshops a day this will mean thousands of local young people will have the support of the museum bringing history and science to life.

Also on a local level, the shop in the reception area of the museum stocks many products by local designers and makers, with a large collection from designers Port and Lemon for example.

Today sees the grand opening of the museum with events all over the city and with reports and articles in local, national and international press and on TV. The museum is sure to become a key asset to the cultural landscape of Portsmouth and no doubt for the country as a whole on an international level. A huge congratulations goes out to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, the team behind The Mary Rose Museum, the science staff and everyone involved from us at Strong Island. We’ll be back to visit very, very soon!

Find out more at:

New Mary Rose Museum Announces Opening Day

The building of the new Mary Rose Museum is something we have been closely following on Strong Island right back to the design stage and with the completion of the major construction of the special building some months ago it was only a matter of time until the doors would be open to the public. The building has been built by local construction specialists Warings with a unique challenge of constructing the building not only around the medieval ship still undergoing preservation treatment but also over a medieval dock, a scheduled ancient monument.

In recent months the Mary Rose Museum team have been hard at work bringing the lions share of the artefacts out from storage to be placed on display, many of which for the first time and all in a bringing history life way. You’ll not only be able to see the artefacts but see how the crew of the ship lived on a day to day basis. The museum displays and the display of the ship are cutting edge, with a quite frankly amazing experience of traveling down through levels of the ship.

Tickets cost from £17 for the Museum and £26 for the entire Historic Dockyard including the Museum and go on sale from the 8th April 2013 at or at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The museum is set to be a true jewel in the crown of the city and an internationally significant tourist attraction and historical resource. Can’t wait to visit it soon!

Watch the video HERE.

The Mary Rose Museum

Les Misérables Costume Exhibition At Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard

Following the success of the Hollywood blockbuster Les Miserablés, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is thrilled to have the Oscar and Bafta nominated costumes from the film on display for the first time in the UK, courtesy of NBC Universal Archives & Collections, this Easter holiday.

In the week of the film’s home release, there will be a special exhibition featuring nineteen costumes and a selection of props on display. Included will be Hugh Jackman’s Valjean convict costume that he wore in his Portsmouth scenes, various costumes worn by Anne Hathaway as Fantine, Isabelle Allen and Amanda Seyfried as Cosette, Natalya Angel Wallace and Samantha Barks as Eponine, Helena Bonham Carter as Madame Thenardier, Colm Wilkinson as the Bishop, Daniel Huttlestone as Gavroche, Aaron Tveit as Enjolras and various other colourful clothing and items iconic to the film.

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard with HMS Victory and Portsmouth Naval Base were both used as locations in the film, giving director Tom Hooper the ideal backdrop he needed for the film’s opening sequence. It is in No. 9 Dock that we first meet Valjean, alongside the other convicts, as they haul a massive ship (based on HMS Victory) in for repair.

The costumes will go on display in the Mary Rose Story building from Friday 29th March until Sunday 14th April 2013. Entry can be gained with a ticket to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard or its attractions or can be purchased separately priced at Adult: £5, Senior: £4, Child: £2.50, Family: £12.50.

For further details of events at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard please visit: or their Facebook page HERE.




Les Misérables – Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard

Events Manager at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard Terri Stannard is looking to hear from locals who were lucky enough to be involved in the in the filming of Les Misérables.

Terri would love to see any photo’s from the filming and short narrative on their experience, how you felt on the day, what you had to do, who you met, how and why you got involved.

You can make contact with them via their Facebook page HERE. If you could get in contact before the 7th March please.

These accounts are to be used in an exhibition at the Dockyards where they will be displaying costumes used in the movie itself. Keep an eye out here on Strong Island as we will be featuring more information about the exhibition later this week.

Les Miserables

Les Miserables


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 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:


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 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




B Of The Bang


B Of The Bang

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

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