Strong Island Co.

Naval & Dockyards

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.

www.hms-victory.com

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:

indiegogo.com/projects/hms-m-33

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:

flickr.com/photos/britishlibrary

'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)

The Mary Rose: A Timewatch Guide. TONIGHT.

A little late on this one, but make sure you tune into BBC4 at 9PM this evening for “The Mary Rose: A Timewatch Guide”, filmed in Portsmouth with Dan Snow last summer.

Radio Times says the following: “Historian Dan Snow explores the discovery, excavation and raising of the iconic ship, finding out what the latest research has revealed about the vessel and her crew. The presenter also investigates how the project helped create modern underwater archaeology, and examines the techniques, challenges and successes of the divers and archaeologists involved.” The documentary also features long term Mary Rose Trust members Alex Hildred (Curator of Ordnance at the Trust) and Chris Dobbs (Head of Interpretation). Both having been part of the original excavation and raising team. This seriously recommended viewing.

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Created Local: Harry Maguire

One of the things we love most about having our shop on Highland Rd is being able to put faces to names and meeting people we would otherwise never be able to; Harry Maguire is one of those people. When Harry dropped by a couple of weeks ago, he off-hand mentioned that during his time as a sailor in the Royal Navy he had developed a penchant for making ships in a bottle, a craft gleaned from a fellow shipmate during periods of down time. Over the years, Harry has modelled various types of ships from small schooners to historic frigate warships, working from single photographs or just his own memory to build intricately detailed craft complete with full rigging and sails.

Of particular note is the model Harry made while on active duty in the Falklands conflict, a complete scale replica of Portsmouth’s own HMS Warrior. Lacking any reference to work from, Harry sent the Warrior Preservation Trust a letter requesting a photograph to which they dutifully replied to with a handful of images. Upon his return, Harry presented the model to the Warrior Trust who were so impressed with his work that it was put on display in one of the Officers’ Quarters aboard the ship – a spot it still resides in to this day.

Sci Fi Weekend At Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard

Last weekend saw Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard host a Sci Fi and Fantasy weekend. Attractions included props and memorabilia from Sci Fi classics such as Back To The Future, Star Wars and Dr Who. As well as the usual attractions within Action Stations you could have a go at Laser Quest and watch a showing of Guardians Of The Galaxy.

I ventured down on Saturday as I couldn’t resist the chance to see to see Guardians of the Galaxy on the big screen again. It was easily my favourite movie of the summer. I arrived to discover Action Stations bustling with children and adults, plenty wearing fancy dress or at least dug out their favourite Sci Fi t-shirts.

The market featured local creatives including the Urban sketcher himself Chris Webb, Tori Rosenbaum’s awesome custom made peg people and James Waterfield’s gruesome Lawn of the Dead garden ornaments.

The event was relatively small in size but I am excited to see the event grow in the future. You can find out more about the next Sci Fi and Fantasy event by following the Facebook Page HERE.

Delorian Sci Fi
Photo by Matthew Harrison
R2D2 and K9 Sci Fi

Southsea Sisters Relaunch Q&A with Cheryl Buggy.

Back in 2012 a band of local women headed up by the ever resourceful and talented Naomi Thompson formed the Southsea Sisters. Sadly due to work and life commitments the group went on hiatus but now it’s back with a fabulous relaunch.

The Naval Museum are giving us a free room and a free tour of their new gallery.

HMS ‘Hear My Story’ and ‘Racing to War: The Royal Navy and 1914′

See the new 20th Century Gallery, discover the many personal accounts over 7 generations that tell the Royal Navy’s story in war and peace since 1900 up to the present day. See the gun that fired the first British shot of WW1, the special exhibition “racing to War” which tells of the arms race before 1914 and the part the Navy played in the opening months of the fighting.

Cheryl Buggy will be attending and giving a special Q & A session for the ladies. Cheryl is former teacher, Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, a published author, founder of Express FM and has worked for the BBC and Classic FM. She also delivers lectures and workshops. So it will be a great opportunity to be inspired by this incredible women, meet new friends and be part of a supportive network of females.

Arrive at the Historic Dockyard Visitors Centre at 11am, Sunday 28th September. The tour and session will finish at 12.30pm.

You can join the Facebook event here.

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Portsmouth Historic Dockyard x Dom McKenzie Competition

The team at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard are currently running a great competition to win a limited edition A3 Mary Rose print by Dom McKenzie. I am begrudgingly sharing this with you all as I will no doubt spoil my own chances of winning!

To win the prize all you have to do is enter the competition HERE.

Dom McKenzie has previously worked with The Guardian, The New York Times, The Boston Globe and WIRED magazine. He regularly updates his Facebook with great illustrations documenting interesting moments in history as well as current affairs. You can find him on Facebook HERE.

I’d say good luck but I want to win this prize!

Dom McKenzie Henry VIII

HMS Queen Elizabeth Naming Ceremony Today

Today sees the Queen christen the Royal Navy’s largest ever ship and their new flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth (R08), with a bottle of whiskey in Rosyth at 11am. The QE Carrier class is epic in scale and the city and the people of Portsmouth have been heavily involved in the process of creating both ships in the class (HMS Queen ELizabeth and HMS Prince Charles), with towering sections built by shipbuilders in the Royal Dockyard at the now empty, cavernous sheds. Fitting maybe that 500 plus years of shipbuilding craftsmanship for the Navy in Portsmouth ends with the largest and most advanced warships to ever have been made in the UK.

To get a sense of the scale, HMS Queen Elizabeth is three time the size of HMS Illustrious which until it’s current trip up to Govern for the ceremony has overlooked Portsmouth Harbour. The 56 metre tall ship, 4 metres taller than Niagara Falls, and 284 metres long…when she comes to her new home port of Her Majesty’s Naval Base Portsmouth in 2017 for sea trials and then in service in 2020, she will instantly become a striking land/seamark for the city.

For every photo and TV clip you see today of HMS Queen Elizabeth and in the 50+ years of this very special ship’s service life, it is worth taking a moment to remember a part of the very fabric of this ship, including the distinctive forward Island – home to the bridge, was built in this city, by highly skilled and experienced shipbuilders continuing a cultural tradition that went back to the Mary Rose and beyond.

Below are a few images of the sections produced in Portsmouth:

HMS Queen Elizabeth (1)

HMS Queen Elizabeth (2)
Photo: BAE Systems

HMS Queen Elizabeth (3)

HMS Queen Elizabeth (4)
Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Dave Jenkins, Crown Copyright/MOD 2013

HMS Queen Elizabeth (5)
QE Class artist illustration

HMS Queen Elizabeth (6)

HMS Queen Elizabeth (7)

HMS Queen Elizabeth (8)

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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.

Google Maps – Street View

Portsmouth now has street view enabled on Google Maps, giving an interesting perspective of the city. Good to see it was a nice, sunny day in Southsea when the car drove through. Sadly no Old Portsmouth though.

Vintage Old Portsmouth Photograph

We’ve not had a vintage photograph for quite a while on Strong Island, and this one is a winner. This photo of the Round Tower in Old Portsmouth was taken in 1958 by Mark Kauffman for LIFE Magazine. Click this LINK for a larger version.

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Thanks to Jubru for sending this over.

It’s nice to be nice!

A new reader of Strong Island recently sent us this email. Glad to hear we’re doing things right and feedback of all kinds is always welcome, as is beer. Of course.

“Hi all at Strong Island

I just wanted to email to say as a recent visitor to your site how great it is to see something that celebrates the creative, cultural and positive life of Portsmouth and Southsea (and I don’t even skate or cycle!). ‘Strong Island’ sums up the spirit of this place so well. Keep up the good work and I look forward to seeing the site go from strength to strength and maybe impacting on some of the decision making that goes on.”

Best wishes

Elaine

nice1

Meg and Lynda hug it out with the help of Andy.

Big Rave Night

Clearly ‘that top group from Portsmouth The Parkas’ used to rave hard at the licensed bar The Drill Hall in Camberley back in ’67. Awesome stuff for sure.

Flyer Seen : Pompey Pop Pix

Vintage Southsea Skatepark articles

Articles about Southsea Skatepark can be hard to come by, and articles from 1988 even more so. I found these on the ‘when we was rad’ website a while back. I remember having the picture of Tommy Guerrero pulling that slob torn out and on my wall for years. Sick.

Aerial Photographs of Portsmouth

Webb Aviation have hundreds of aerial photographs to purchase from all over the country. Click the link to see the Portsmouth Aerial Gallery and view photos from over Gosport looking across Gunwharf, all the way down to the Hayling Ferry.

aerial photograph by www.webbaviation.co.uk

aerial photograph by www.webbaviation.co.uk

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.




Southsea Common Barbecue Zones

I’m sure a lot of you enjoyed the fantastic weather this weekend and many of you no doubt had a barbecue on The Common. I was out of town on Saturday but heard it was seriously busy down the seafront. A few of us had a BBQ on Sunday and we’re approached by some council officials regarding our position. They were very polite and let us carry on as we were already cooking and handed us some details of all the new zones.

Unfortunately the new zones now means hundreds of people are going to be packed in to single areas. The main common by the War Memorial will be extremely busy over the summer. More so than usual for sure. I fully back having these zones in place, but feel I’ll no longer be going to the common for BBQs if I can help it as they have made a lot of areas no go zones. It was always more appealing when you could spread out from other groups.

The Old Portsmouth and The New Southsea

Gareth Colwell sent us these amazing scans from a vintage book called ‘The Old Portsmouth and The New Southsea. “It was an old book of my Grandads’ we found when going through some of his old stuff that had been packed away for years. I love the paintings and the written bits, especially describing Southsea Common as “a dismal spot in the old days. Footpads and cut-throats roamed at night, and a murderer hung in chains on the edge of the shingle”

A really interesting read so I won’t say anymore and let the book do all the talking. Check out the full set of scans over at Gareths Flickr.






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