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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Photo: BAE Systems
Picture: Leading Airman (Photographer) Dave Jenkins, Crown Copyright/MOD 2013
Portsmouth is most renowned for its naval ties, however just lately people are starting to take notice of the quirky and individual fashion that is emerging in Southsea and the surrounding area.
The two were combined perfectly last weekend (June 12-14) however when the South’s best and most exciting new designers came together to show off their fashion creations at Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard.
The weekend cultivated in a number of events over the three days. This included a hair and beauty showcase on the Thursday, as well as local retailers selling bespoke pieces, individual designs and vintage items on the Friday. The biggest occasion of the event however was the new designers show that took place on the Saturday.
I was lucky enough to be invited the show and see some of the amazing designs on show first-hand. Stood in the photography section, I had a perfect view of the garments and got to see the excitement of the crowd as the models came down the catwalk.
Beginning the show were a number of themed collections which had been created by the students of Highbury College. These were Film Noir, China, Maritime, Menswear and Denim. Each collection portrayed exactly what it had set out to with unique designs and the collections were a great way to begin what was a thrilling show.
After a short interval, the rest of the collections, which were more experimentally themed, were shown. These included the stunning House of Martell by Georgina Jenkins, an elegant collection of special occasion evening wear that had been inspired by TV show ‘Game of Thrones’.
Also grabbing attention was Diana Wojewoda’s daring collection ‘Eternal Honour’ which was designed to reflect “the Japanese warriors who died for their lord in the 18th century”, according to the designer.
Liam Davis’ ‘The Daughters of Neptune’ and Cabrini Roy’s ‘Metallic Ice’ offerings also wowed with their stand-out designs, while Abby Pierce’s butterfly dress from her ‘The Butterfly Project’ collection actually drew gasps from the crowd for its beauty.
Two of the most dynamic collections of the show were Lauren Barnett’s ‘God Save The Circus’, which had the crowd gripped with its edgy catwalk antics and Sabrina Marhsall’s ‘Afropean’ which really brought the house down with its fun showing.
My overall favourite was Helen Johnson’s ‘Countryman Collection’ however. The beautifully embellished items were perfectly finished with some stunning headwear and the make-up and look of the models really helped to accentuate the pieces.
After the show I caught up with Lauren Barnett, one of the designers who had also helped to organise the show to see how she thought it had gone. The talented 19-year-old told me that she was really pleased with how her models in particular walked and the attitude that they gave. She also said she was really thrilled with the turnout for the event.
It had been described as “Portsmouth’s biggest and most impressive fashion event yet” and I have to say, I definitely think it lived up to this promise.
Check out some of my favourite images that I took at the event…
‘God Save The Circus’ by Lauren Barnett
‘Metallic Ice’ by Cabrini Roy’s
‘The Butterfly Project’ by Abby Pierce
Countryman Collection by Helen Johnson
Inspired by Game Of Thrones was the House of Martell by Georgina Jenkins
‘Eternal Honour’ by Diana Wojewoda
Our correspondent at the event was 23-year-old journalist & blogger Samantha Bartlett. On her own blog she covers all things music, film, beauty reviews, fashion or just things she find entertaining. You can find her blog at sammybblogs.wordpress.com, or follow her on Twitter @SammyLouBelle.
If you love the latest trends and fashion then get yourself down to Portsmouth’s Historic Dockyard this weekend where Southsea Fashion Week 2014 is being held. From this Thursday 12th June to Saturday 14th June, the South’s fashion industry is coming together to showcase the best fashion, hair and beauty designs around right now.
This year’s show has been organised by the students of Highbury College, who have promised it to be “Portsmouth’s biggest and most impressive fashion event yet.”
The event will begin with a hair and beauty showcase at the Dockyard’s Boathouse No.7 which will take place at 7pm on the Thursday evening. Here you will be able to see inspirational hair, make-up and beauty creations from exciting up-and-coming artists.
Local independent retailers will join the show on the Friday, where they will be selling some quirky bespoke pieces, independent designs, vintage items and eclectic jewellery for all fashion fans to purchase.
The retailers will be back again at the event on the Saturday in the day before the main new designers show in the evening. Two shows have been organised at the Dockyard’s Action Stations, taking place from 4-5:30pm and 7-9pm. Here the city’s most promising new designers will show off their themed collections, with topic’s including Denim, Menswear and Film Noir.
Alongside Highbury College, firm UnLtd, which provides support to social entrepreneurs, is also sponsoring this year’s event.
Tickets for the show start at just £2.50, which we’re sure you’ll agree is a bargain for such as exciting event in an idyllic setting. For more information about buying tickets, just head over to the Southsea Fashion Week 2014’s website HERE.
You can also find more information about the event by visiting the Facebook page and check out our recent interview with one of the organiser’s of the event, Lauren Barnett HERE.
See you at the show!
By Samantha Bartlett
Our correspondent at the event is 23-year-old journalist & blogger Samantha Bartlett. On her own blog she covers all things music, film, beauty reviews, fashion or just things she find entertaining. You can find her blog at sammybblogs.wordpress.com, or follow her on Twitter @SammyLouBelle.
Seeing as Portsmouth has such a rich history for pubs and naval culture I thought i’d bring your attention to something that combines the both. Irving & Co brewers are situated at Railway Triangle in Farlington and have their doors open for tourists as well as turning out a fine range of real ales to a huge number of pubs in and around the Portsmouth area.
Irving and Co brings the welcome return of brewing to Portsmouth and a brewery to excite the taste buds of drinkers in Hampshire, Sussex and beyond. The company aim is to produce the highest quality traditional cask beers supplying the local market within 45 miles of Portsmouth.
Malcolm Irving ably assisted by Mark Doswell bring together 29 years of combined brewing industry experience to produce beers that they thoroughly enjoy and about which they care passionately. It’s not just a job, it’s definitely not just beer, it is a way of life.
After purchasing a few bits of old furniture the other day, under closer inspection we found the shelving to be lined with old newspaper.
Coming from one of the sheets is this, an advert for Southsea from the Sunday People dated 21st January 1951. The best bit and also a point raised by more than one person, is the fact that in 1951 it takes 90 minutes by train from London Waterloo to Southsea the same as it does today! Fascinating that in 61 years we haven’t managed to make it any quicker.
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.”
Portsmouth Film Society is taking part in the BBC series of events celebrating local history through archive film, in partnership with the Wessex Film and Sound Archive. Join PFS for a look back at Portsmouth and Southsea history on the big screen, with a talk from local artist Jez Stevens who will discuss his project “No Diving” on the Hilsea Lido, which uses footage from local amateur filmmakers taken at the Lido, and Portsmouth historian Dr. Dave Allen.
Date – Wednesday, November 16 · 6:00pm – 8:00pm at the Omega Centre, Portsmouth.
Entry is £2 or free for full Portsmouth Film Society members.
No Diving film
For those of you that missed our post of Dave Allen’s lecture here it is below.