Strong Island Co.

Naval & Dockyards

Photos from Portsmouth Historic Dockyard Photo Walkshop

Saturday saw the first photography walkshop at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. We’re trying to run some walkshops in partnership with certain cultural & heritage locations (we previously ran one last summer at Southsea Castle), so it was great for the dockyard to let us explore with our cameras.

We started off outside the dockyard on the slipway at The Hard, photographing a Portsmouth favourite: HMS Warrior. There were also lots of opportunities to get close up shots of the little boats moored up and the debris scattered around. Once in the dockyard we started off at the inner ‘lake’ looking at different focusing techniques before exploring inside the new Boathouse 4, looking at the different boat textures and industrial elements of the building too. From here we went down to HMS M.33 and HMS Victory, looking at new perspectives and different compositional techniques. Finally we photographed the often forgotten about old dockyard railway carriages which were rich with character.

We’re looking forward to the next walkshop which will be at Foxes Forest/Hilsea Lines (9th April), a few spaces are available still and you can book online HERE. We’re working on the summer schedule of photo walkshops both in Portsmouth and at different other locations along the south coast, details very, very soon!

Find out more about our regular photography walkshops at:

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard Photography Walkshop

We’re working to continue to tie in some upcoming photography walkshops with different heritage venues around the city of Portsmouth after the success of our Southsea Castle walkshop last summer. We’re happy to announce that our walkshop at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard can now be booked online, for the 19th March.

We will be exploring the open access areas of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, looking at the recently restored and upgraded Boathouse 4, the old, historic buildings, the views of HMS Warrior, HMS Victory, HMS M.33 and more. Expect to capture lots of Portsmouth’s naval history, hidden reminders of the dockyard’s working history and views of the basin and harbour.

A big thank you to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard for letting us as a group explore with our cameras.

You can now book the Portsmouth Dockyard walkshop HERE.

(All photos by Strong Island Media).

Join Artist John Green and Fellow Dockies Chat About Life in the Dockyard at Jack House Gallery

Jack House Gallery in Old Portsmouth is currently home to an exhibition of paintings by Portsmouth artist and ex-dockyard rigger John Green. This Thursday 18th February from 11am to 1pm you can hear from John and fellow dockies as they chat about John’s wonderful paintings and life and work in the Portsmouth Dockyard in the 60’s. This is a great opportunity to hear some revealing first-hand stories from a fascinating period of Portsmouth’s heritage and discover the wider context behind the many pieces of art on display.

The exhibition runs until the 5th March, you can find out more at:

'Dockies' an Exhibition of Paintings by John Green at Jack House Gallery (1)

'Dockies' an Exhibition of Paintings by John Green at Jack House Gallery (2)

Boathouse 4 at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard Opens to the Public This Week

If you have visited Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in the last year or two it has been difficult to miss the changes happening to one of the largest buildings at the historic site, with Boathouse 4 undergoing a complete restoration and re-fit both inside and out. The building itself was hastily completed at the start of World War Two (with the building originally intended to extend all the way to Victory Gate) and it’s industrial shape and form has now been restored and converted into a Boatbuilding Skills Training Centre and is now home to the International Boatbuilding College Portsmouth (moving back from Boathouse 5). Boathouse 4 is now finished and opens to the public this week.

The building is a vast open, central space that provides a working home for small boats that will be restored by the students attending International Boatbuilding College Portsmouth and Highbury College, many of whom come from all over the world. The current boats being worked on range from a Falklands War marines landing craft through to the historic Lively Lady, which Southsea sailor Sir Alec Rose completed his single-handed trip around the world in 1968.

These and many other boats will undergo restoration with the students utilising their new skills to bring these (and future) craft back to use. Boathouse 4 has workshops for the students to learn the timeless woodworking skills required for their new careers, with them building toolboxes in the woodshop plus step ladders and tools. As well as using tools (some of which donated back to the college from boatbuilders from the dockyard through the ages) the students can also use some of the state of the art new machinery too. These workshops all open out to the main workspace and for years to come will be a hive of activity for visitors to the dockyard to watch.

The college will be actively working with the local community on a range of interesting outreach projects with schools and colleges, with young people in particular able to get a taste of what it is like to build small boats. The new classroom in Boathouse 4 gives educational visitors a base to learn but the they’ll be very quickly put to work with fun and creative activities.

As well as being a working space, Boathouse 4 now has new additions for visitors to the dockyard, including exhibition of small boats (some with particularly fascinating histories) and activities people can get involved with. With a circular, elevated walk around the building, you can learn more about the boatbuilding before visiting the brand new cafe/restaurant/bar that will be opening very soon. The decor and fittings to this new cafe/restaurant/bar are excellent and the view through the huge windows looking over HMS Warrior and the busy Portsmouth Harbour are quite simply worth a visit alone. This new space will also be home to corporate events too.

Boathouse 4 opens just in time for half-term as a brand new attraction for visitors to the city and local residents too. It can’t be understated how Boathouse 4 brings a whole new dimension to what is on offer at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. As with the recent restoration and opening of the National Museum of the Royal Navy and the WWI ship HMS M.33, the dockyard now brings the country’s & the city’s naval, shipbuilding and sailing history from the Mary Rose all the way up to today, and even in to the future with the young boatbuilders working on new craft. What’s more, Boathouse 4 is a FREE attraction, you do not need to buy a ticket like you do for HMS Victory or the Mary Rose Museum, you can simply pop in as and when you like. There is no doubt that Portsmouth Historic Dockyard really is one of the very best visitor attractions not just in the south but in the UK and even Europe.

You can find out much more about Boathouse 4 on the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard website (see below) and regarding opening and activities this week check out the Boathouse 4 Twitter (@Boathouse_4):

Below are more photos from Boathouse 4:

Space Interrupted – Art Installations at Fort Brookhurst

Space Interrupted brings together artists and film makers who will create new and engaging work, responding to and interrupting Fort Brookhurst in Gosport, an English Heritage fort. The six artists have been drawn to the fort to make site specific installations inspired by its fortifications, history and archives, interrupting and overlapping the space, layering and fragmenting, disrupting function and meaning.

Space Interrupted is a collaboration between Curator Clare Sheppeard and artist Sharon Haward. Artists will present site responsive work which will span Fort Brockhurst, creating an assemblage of real and imagined installations. Audiences will be able to explore this rarely open site through the artists’ response to the space, experiencing a sense of place through sculptural installations, sound and projections Each work will enhance highlight, or disrupt the integrity of the building.

The exhibition itself will be open on the 10th, 12th and 13th of September 2015, with opening times – 11-3pm and FREE.

The artists involved in the exhibition and project are:

Sharon Haward uses a range of media to engage with a sensory and narrative sense of place. Her practice is predominantly site-responsive and installation-based created to capture a slippery sense of the past and present, fragmentation and dislocation. At Fort Brockhurst she draws on the period of revoutionary turmoil in Europe around 1848 and the historically fragile relationship between France and Britain which led to the building of the fort, by interrupting the space with a precarious barricade, projections and sound recordings.

Patti Gaal-Holmes is an artist/filmmaker and historian. Her cross-disciplinary practice includes working with moving image (celluloid and digital), photography, drawing, artists’ books and performance. For Fort Brockhurst she will creating a new film on 16mm. Gaall Holmes is the author of ‘A History of 1970s Experimental Film: Britain’s Decade of Diversity’ ( 2015).

Kye Wilson uses moving image to create site specific films and video installations that explore space, self and other. Wilson will be making a film inspired by the forts location and function.

Eileen White is a craft based visual artist who will be responding to textiles in the collection at Fort Brockhurst and their provenance. White will be working with a writer, poet and painter.

Helene Kazan uses research and archival material to generate moving image and multimedia installations. She is currently a phd candidate at Centre of Research Architecture at Goldsmiths. Helene will be creating an installation and sound piece inspired by home shelters.

Lisa Traxler is interested in conversation, personal memory and environment – emotive references and the fundamental are the inspirations for Lisa work. For Fort Brockhurst Lisa will make a number of large scale paperscape installations using the funcions and narratives of each room choosen.

Clare Sheppeard is a curator who has worked with local, national and international artists in a variety of sites David Batchelor, Mariele Neudecker, Karin Van Pinxterern, Alice Anderson, Kate MccGwire and Emma Crtichley. Projects include Coastal Currents Festival Hastings, Jerwood Gallery Hastings, LIMBO Margate, Venice Biennale, Van Abbemuseum and Independents Liverpool Biennial.

There will be a series of events related to the exhibition where you can take part and get involved:

Saturday 29th August – Point and Shoot photo tours. Meet at 2pm outside the Discovery Centre, High Street, Gosport, PO12 1BT. Bring your camera, camera phone, disposable camera and join artists Sharon Haward for a tour of Gosport looking at the architecture and historical buildings. The resulting photos will be displayed as part of Space Interrupted at Fort Brockhurst.

Thursday 10th September, 4.30-6.30 – Discussion & networking event with bluemonkey net at aspex, the Vulcan Buildings, Gunwharf Quay, Portsmouth.

Sunday 13th September, 1.30 – Walk and talk around the exhibition.

To book a place on any of these events email:

For further information check the Space Interrupted website:

Space Interrupted - Art Installations at Fort Brookhurst

Photos from the Theatre of Gallipoli, the Opening of HMS M.33

Thursday saw the official opening on HMS M.33 with the Theatre of Gallipoli event at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, where visitors were taken through the opening events of the bloody campaign of Gallipoli with immersive theatre and dance. At different points in the Dockyard visitors explored the role that HMS M.33 played in the conflict through a street theatre, a drama piece on board HMS M.33 and a physical theatre and dance piece which incorporates Motionhouse‘s amazing show ‘Cascade’ re-imagined for The Theatre of Gallipoli.

An array of local arts organisations took part in the day’s activities such as Cop the Needle, Groundlings Theatre Company, Abstract Dance as well as workshop activity participants commissioned by The National Museum of The Royal Navy.

Below are photos from the day.

Theatre of Gallipoli, the Opening of HMS M.33 (1)

Theatre of Gallipoli, the Opening of HMS M.33 (2)

Theatre of Gallipoli, the Opening of HMS M.33 (3)

Theatre of Gallipoli, the Opening of HMS M.33 (4)

Theatre of Gallipoli, the Opening of HMS M.33 (5)

Theatre of Gallipoli, the Opening of HMS M.33 (6)

Theatre of Gallipoli, the Opening of HMS M.33 (7)

Theatre of Gallipoli, the Opening of HMS M.33 (8)

Theatre of Gallipoli, the Opening of HMS M.33 (9)

Theatre of Gallipoli, the Opening of HMS M.33 (10)

Theatre of Gallipoli, the Opening of HMS M.33 (11)

Theatre of Gallipoli, the Opening of HMS M.33 (12)

Theatre of Gallipoli, the Opening of HMS M.33 (13)

Theatre of Gallipoli, the Opening of HMS M.33 (14)

Theatre of Gallipoli, the Opening of HMS M.33 (15)

Theatre of Gallipoli, the Opening of HMS M.33 (16)

Theatre of Gallipoli, the Opening of HMS M.33 (17)

Record Coastal Sounds as Part of a National Project for the National Trust

The Sounds of our Shores project is a joint scheme between the National Trust, the National Trust for Scotland and the British Library and aims to create a collection of sounds from around the Uk shoreline and seasides to form an audible snapshot. With coastal erosion, the changes in tourism, wildlife, fishing, sailing, transport and much more the sounds of the shoreline of the UK have changed over the years and this project hopes to have the public help collect the sounds of today.

Musician Martyn Ware, a founder member of bands The Human League and Heaven 17, will use some of the sounds submitted by the public to create a piece of music for release in February 2016. The National Trust wants to use the thousands of recordings uploaded to build a digital map which will be curated by the British Library.

With Portsmouth being such a mix of wildlife, shipping, tourism and so much more we are in a perfect position to record and contribute to this project. Sounds like the foghorn over the Solent would be a perfect example.

At Strong Island Media we’ve actually worked on a few ‘soundscape’ projects in the last couple of years with schools in Chichester and Bordon. It can be really interesting not thinking about the visual (with photography and film) and to focus on the sounds around you. The project we worked on with Chichester High School for Girls at Chichester Harbour was a soundscape with video clips and a poem filmed and written by the students edited over the top. We’ll be submitting the raw audio to the Sounds of Our Shores project. You can have a watch/listen HERE.

Visit the Sounds of our Shores project website to find out how to get involved.

Photo from our soundscape recorded by Bordon Juniors.

HMS Victory Was Launched 250 Years Ago

Today sees the 250th anniversary of the launch of HMS Victory. Construction first began in 1759 at Chatham Dockyard with the ships name being chosen in 1760 and launch on the 7th May 1765. The Victory is often first remembered as Lord Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 but had a very active history in battle in the 40 years previous including serious reconstruction in 1800.

HMS Victory is a key part of Portsmouth’s naval heritage and a distinctive part of the city’s skyline. A visit while at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is highly recommended (it’s easy as a local to sometime never get around to exploring some of the best local attractions) and the HMS Victory website is a great resource for information on the ship.

Restoring HMS Victory by William Lionel Wyllie
Restoring HMS Victory by William Lionel Wyllie.

The Battle of Trafalgar by J. M. W. Turner (1822)
The Battle of Trafalgar by J. M. W. Turner (1822).

HMS Dreadnought and HMS Victory
HMS Dreadnought and HMS Victory.

HMS Victory

HMS Victory

HMS Victory

HMS Victory

HMS M.33 Crowdfunding Appeal

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is home to some of the finest historic ships in the UK, with HMS Victory, HMS Warrior & The Mary Rose all iconic and tourist attractions helping bring in hundreds of thousands of visitors to the city. Soon to join this elite flotilla of ships is the HMS M.33, dry docked opposite the Victory and currently undergoing a huge refit inside and out ready for opening to the public in August. The M.33, a Monitor gun platform, was built in only 7 weeks specifically for ship to shore bombardment with it’s two heavy 6 inch guns. The shallow draft with it’s flat bottom design meant it could come close to the shoreline. The ship is one of a handful of Royal Navy craft left from WW1 and the only craft from the Gallipoli campaign, which occurred 100 years ago this year.

The redevelopment of the ship is restoring and redeveloping it from the bare metal up. The craft (and the dry dock) will welcome visitors in through new access points with the lower decks converted in to exhibition spaces. Working upwards the on deck cabins will be restored with the feel of a ship from 1915. The guns are also being lovingly restored by dedicated volunteers too.

Even with all this activity and work ongoing on the ship the National Museum of the Royal Navy is hoping to raise £19,150 to help finish the £2.4m project. The funding is being done through crowdfunding website Indigogo which is an innovative route for sourcing donations for the project for a ship of this type. You can watch the film below for all the details on how any donation will go towards creating another unique visitor experience celebrating the city and the nations nautical heritage.

I visited the ship to see progress in person on a rainy February day, the ship will be up there with its dockyard neighbours and not only that, you’ll also get to actually be in the scheduled monument dry dock too to see the ship from a completely new perspective. You can find out lots more about the project and make a donation before 18th March at:

Below are a selection of images from the visit to HMS M.33, you can see many more on our Flickr.

‘Hearts of Oak’ Book on Nelson & The British Library Free Online Collection

Back in 2013 Britain’s pre-eminent research library The British Library placed over one million images from it’s collection on to Flickr, available to all to view online via it’s own Flickr account. The images made available by the British Library come from books published between the 17th and 19th centuries and include the illustrations plus all decorative artwork within the books. These images are not just free to browse but are also copyright free, which means we can share them here and it means you can download them for use such as inspiration for your own artwork, etc. The source books are also available both in the library and online via a PDF. The online collection does not include what many might define as the ‘masters’ of the collection, but this online resource is a vast collection of imagery spanning two decades of literature.

As a brief dip in to this collection, I’ve picked “Hearts of Oak. A story of Nelson and the Navy” by Gordon Stables, published by Shaw and Co. in 1893. You can view the details of the book on the British Library’s website HERE. The UIN for the book is BLL01003471521 and if you strip the first five prefix codes, replace with ‘sysnum’ and search within the British Library account on Flickr (using ‘sysnum003471521’) you’ll find all of the images from within the book. These images include detailed illustrations of Nelson, the title plate and even the small illustrative designs set within the publication. Some of the images from the book are shown below. You can also search by keywords such as ‘Nelson’ that will bring up not just the images from this particular book but from many others too.

If you are at a creative loose end this Monday lunchtime, you can get exploring for free right away at:

'Hearts of Oak' Book on Nelson & The British Library Free Online Collection (2)

'Hearts of Oak' Book on Nelson & The British Library Free Online Collection (3)

'Hearts of Oak' Book on Nelson & The British Library Free Online Collection (4)

'Hearts of Oak' Book on Nelson & The British Library Free Online Collection (1)

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Bike Ride Panoramics

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

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

Created Local – Victoria Haynes

Friend of Strong Island, Charlie ‘Pet Sounds’ Waddington told me about a very talented work colleague of his the other day and kindly asked if she could send in some examples of her work. Damn straight she can. That’s what we’re all about here, you know that.

I’ll introduce Vicky with the little bio that sent me. “Right, erm. About me, I’m 28, married with a two-year-old little boy, and have lived in Portsmouth all my life. I work three days a week at Paul Smith, where I’m the visual merchandiser and a sales assistant. The rest of the time I spend looking after my son, seeing friends and family, drawing, crocheting, sewing, watching films, listening to music and reading – the dream is to eventually scratch a living from artwork and handmade goods, while living in an old house with the family and a cat or two. I’m socially awkward, and have a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time, I’m not very cool and tend to like clothes that everyone else thinks are repulsive – my favourite shop in Portsmouth is Dead Mans Glory, closely followed by any charity shop. I am actually addicted to period dramas, and love anything from the 40’s, 50’s or 60’s.”

Vicky’s print artwork is hand drawn, scanned in to the computer, coloured in Illustrator and usually drawn from a photograph for accuracy. Patterns are then self generated and added after. Inspiration comes from old objects, cameras, typewriters and suchlike – anything from days gone by captures her imagination. Crochet has so far been limited to homewares and childrens hats, but she would love to start making more wearable items to sell.

Undoubtedly a girl of many, many talents, Vicky’s work is eclectic, fun, unique and fantastic. Please add your comments and thoughts at the bottom of the page.

Keep up to date with Vicky over at her Blog All the best for the future and I hope you get that old house. Vicky also has prints for sale in the Southsea Gallery on Albert Road. Pop down and grab one.

Vintage Portsmouth & Southsea poster

You know we love a bit of Vintage Portsmouth & Southsea here at Strong Island. Not too much info on this one, perfect for holidays though. The flickr link states the photo of the poster was taken in Eastney, but I’m not sure where.

Via : Bob Franklin

Portsmouth on Film – Episode 4

The new episode of Jonathan & Matthew Ring’s vintage family footage ‘Portsmouth on Film’ went up yesterday. This episode is of a bus trip from Old Portsmouth to Southsea to Eastney.

I still lament the loss of the Portsmouth Transport Museum.

Local Photographer – Duncan Allan

We recently mentioned local photographer Duncan Allan’s framing skills but we also want to profile Duncan’s creative photography too. With a wealth of knowledge in different cameras and experimentation in many different techniques (both with film and with Photoshop and Lightroom), Duncan has a strong collection of images from the local area and all around the world. Here are a few of our favourites but they are just the tip of the iceberg, to see more check Duncan’s Flickr.

Red Scale

It’s going to be a Strong Movember – Closed at £725

Righto chaps, it’s time to clean shave your boat race and get that mighty moustache on the grow in support of Movember for The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. For 30 days of November you can help support and raise awareness through selflessly parading your top lip for charity.

You can sign up yourself, as I’m sure many of you already have, or you can join the Strong Island team and seek out sponsorship as a team. Through the Strong Island Movember page you can ask people to join the group, make donations, upload photos and post updates via the MoSpace page, Facebook and Twitter.

Head over to if you would like to get involved and grow a Strong Moustache to help raise awareness, or simply head over to and sign up to personally raise money.

The funds raised in the UK support the number one and two male specific cancers – prostate and testicular cancer. The funds raised are directed to programmes run directly by Movember and our men’s health partners, The Prostate Cancer Charity and the Institute of Cancer Research. Together, these channels work together to ensure that Movember funds are supporting a broad range of innovative, world-class programmes in line with our strategic goals in the areas of awareness and education, survivorship and research.

Poster: Tristan Savage

Holy Cody Batman

Cody needs no introductions, ever. The nicest guy you’ll ever meet with a heart of a gold and the skateboard mentality of an escaped mental patient.

If you need conformation of that statement then check this photo I grabbed from some site called Facebook. Off the clubhouse roof into the flat bank down Southsea Skatepark. Nuts…


Shortly after I posted this insane photo of Cody going nuts down the skatepark, he sent a reply. Thought i’d post it up so people that know him can have a read.

“Thank u for the nice word. I just have to say thank you to all the peeps and friends that have help and shape me as a sk8er and as a human being. The love that i have been shown over the years is so big. The friend and peeps i have met and change my life and change my path to some thing good. I truly say it with my heart that i love you all and i hope to make more friends and to have more good time. Here a shout out to all the u.k sk8 scene and the southsea boys and girl sk8er or not, much love. and to the guys like strong island crew and bored sk8 for keeping the u.k. scene going. So if u up for a sk8 drink or chill u find me in southsea. 1 love bye cody x”


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.

Inside the Memorial

Due to possible damage due to the storm and the high winds it was possible to access the inside of the war memorial down on Southsea seafront the other day. I always though it was a solid structure but it turns out it is hollow with sunken foundations and access to the top. From the plaque inside, it looks like the ladder is for maintenance if there is a lightning strike (the top of the memorial has a huge copper globe).

No disrespect was meant by taking a very brief look inside, just architectural curiosity and finding out something not commonly known about a Southsea landmark.

Ladder Up




Harbour Tour

If you’re brave enough at this chilly time of year head on down to Gunwharf and take a tour around the home of the modern Navy. With aircraft carriers, the HMS Ark Royal, HMS Illustrious and Invincible, there’s plenty to see. Oh, and they sell beer on board.

Strong Island Clothing Co.