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Vintage & Historical Portsmouth

South Parade Pier Sold?

Over the past couple of weeks quiet rumours about South Parade Pier being sold to a mysterious new owner/s have become more and more audible. So what truth is there to these whispers? The notion that Fred Nash and Dawn Randall are merely buying extra time in order to fend off any legal action from the council is perfectly plausible. However, it does appear that the structure is in the process of being sold to a group of local business men, with finalised contracts pending an ongoing survey. This group is believed to include local property and car dealer Tommy Ware, former owner of the Cambridge pub site before it’s bankruptcy. The group state that they are committed to reopening the entire pier and, incredibly, have been offered a grant of £100,000 by Portsmouth City Council who at this point are still shrouding the deal in secrecy. Malcolm Belcher of Vivid Surveyors has been retained by the prospective new owners of the pier to draw up a survey of what is required to restore the attraction. At the East Neighbourhood Forum held last night in the Royal Beach Hotel, Councillor Gerald Vernon Jackson (head of the city council) was severely criticised by local residents who doubted the good intentions of the secretive new owners. A real fear is that only the landward end of the pier will be restored in order to generate quick revenue, whilst leaving the rest to carry on slowly crumbling away into the sea.

As expected, this current outcome raises some serious concerns; have PCC carried out the appropriate company background checks on this group? If so, what financial assurances can they give regarding their intentions? How do we know this “consortium” are not acting as a pressure alleviating patsy for Fred and Dawn? And is it really wise to offer this grant to a non-charitable organisation? The next couple of weeks will be crucial for our pier’s survival: whilst the surveyors are outlining a repairs programme and the local elections are looming, the west side hole on the decking is slowly making its way towards the east side hole (see first photo below, courtesy of Howard Thompson). Should the two meet there could be catastrophic consequences.




Second and third photo my own.

Born in Portsmouth on this Day: Isambard Kingdom Brunel

Portsmouth through its history has been home to many people from all walks of life, with some of these Portsmouthians creating a significant impact on the history of the city, the UK and even the World. Born on this day in 1806 in Britain Street in Portsea was Isambard Kingdom Brunel, the son of Sir Marc Isambard Brunel (who has significant links to the city too), was key in focusing the Industrial Revolution in a way that connected the UK for the first time quickly and efficiently, through innovation and a determined self-belief. For many he is considered Portsmouth’s most famous son.

Many of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s bridges, stations, tunnels and ships remain as breathtaking engineering feats even to this day and significant amount are still standing and still in use including The Clifton Suspension Bridge, The Royal Albert Bridge (over the River Tamar), the Great Western Railway (including the Box Tunnel, which was the longest railway tunnel in the world at that time) & SS Great Britain.

Sadly Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s first home in Portsea was damaged during the bombings of WWII and then demolished by the council before they realised what they were demolishing. Despite the house no longer existing there are two monuments to mark the birth of Isambard Kingdom Brunel in Portsmouth, located close to where the house once stood. The second monument was unveiled in 2006, the bicentenary of Brunel’s birth.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1)

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (2)

Isambard Kingdom Brunel (3)

Design Released for the New Camber Footbridge

As you may know The Camber some years back had a famous footbridge that crossed over the water from The Bridge Tavern (which it was named after) to the side now occupied by the fishing wharf. Back when the city walls ran north of the Camber this route gave quick access from The Point (on the inside of the gates) to the centre of the city and the dockyard. The bridge was removed as redevelopment work was done, including the building of the power station, which stored it’s coal where the carpark currently is by the Camber.

With more and more of the Portsmouth Council master design for the city being built it (Tipnor Park & Ride, the new junction, etc) we were hoping to see the plans for the proposed return of the footbridge and this week they were released by Owen & Partners, the architects for the project. The footbridge will return to it’s original position which will allow for the improved Millennium Walkway 2.0 route, speeding up the walk from the Hotwalls & Old Portsmouth through to Gunwharf.

The design of the bridge was commissioned by Portsmouth Council Councillor for Transport Henry Ayers who said:

“The Millennium Walkway 2.0 project was a key part of the master design for the city, with the Camber Bridge a vital link between two old and great parts of the city of Portsmouth. I’m proud to be seeing the return of a bridge that will again connect across the ancient waters of The Camber.”

H Ayrton from Owen & Partners described the innovative new bridge design:

“We wanted it to be striking, in the same way the Spinnaker Tower has captured the imagination and become a key landmark for both the city and the south coast. The bridge itself has sails which signify the history of The Camber, not just the current home to many fishing and pleasure boats but how it’s natural harbour for boats one thousand years ago was the reason for Portsmouth to take shape and become the great city it now is.”

Personally, I am really excited to see the bridge return, not only is it a part of the heritage of the city back in it’s rightful place but it also looks to be a stunning new design bringing more great architecture to Portsmouth.

Let us know what you think!

South Parade Pier Photos From The Air

The long and continuing story of South Parade Pier still doesn’t seem to have any resolution in sight just yet. The boards went up on the front of the pier the other day and with the serious damage under the pier and at the landing stage it is looking worse for wear. On the plus side, the South Parade Trust have received £10,000 to provide initial funding for a feasibility study in it’s plans to buy and restore the pier. The Trust itself is modelling its plans on the successful community takeover of Hastings’ pier which some years ago was devastated by fire, despite the continued long drawn out sale of the pier we 100% back the trust and hope things finally turn a corner soon.

On a more positive note, I’ve spent some time recently exploring the amazing Britain From Above website which has a vast visual library of images taken around Great Britain between 1919 and 1953. Portsmouth is heavily represented on the website with some incredible photos, in particular of Southsea in it’s holiday heydays before people travelled abroad. Below are some images from the website of South Parade Pier, obviously taken before the 1970s fire, showing it in some of it’s previous glory days.

South Parade Pier - 1946

South Parade Pier - 1932

South Parade Pier - 1932

South Parade Pier - 1928

South Parade Pier - 1928

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

The Southsea Review Film From 1938

If you have a spare 15 minutes this afternoon be sure to watch this brand new upload from the Wessex Film and Sound Archive, The Southsea Review 1938. The Wessex Film and Sound Archive is well known throughout the south with both history researchers and filmmakers for their incredible archive of film and sound with over 36,000 items. The archive comes from all over Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire and includes film and tapes of local TV and radio too. They regular update their YouTube channel and today added this film:

“This film shows events in Portsmouth and Southsea in Hampshire, including the bust of Charles I being put into position, women performing at Fratton Park Tattoo, the opening of a power station, wartime preparations such as piling up cement sacks in Guildhall Square and manning guns on Southsea Common, thanksgiving celebrations after the Munich Agreement, and TV coming to the College”.

The Southsea Review Film From 1938

Strong Island Clothing Co. Portsmouth & Southsea ‘Tourism’ Packs

A while back we came across some wonderful vintage Portsmouth & Southsea Tourist Information bags. Coming straight out of the 80′s, these rad little one colour print poly bags must of been used for sending out documents, or to package items at the TI office. As soon as we saw them we knew the design needed to be placed back in to circulation.

After some pretty hefty artworking on the original scan it was ready for print and the first release back in August at Victorious Festival was an instant favourite. We recently reprinted the tees in the red and blue, but have also added a black colourway to the mix. As always all the tees are hand screened printed, with 3 details including the anchor sign off on the back.

We are now offering the P&S tee’s as part of an exclusive ‘Tourism’ pack that will initially only be on sale at the Southsea Boutique Market this saturday 7th December at Little Johnny Russells on Albert Road, Southsea. Each screen printed box will include a P&S tee of your size and colour choice, an original 80′s Portsmouth & Southsea Tourist Information bag, authentic vintage local postcards, and loads of Strong Island extras.

We only have 8 of these packs to offer at £30 each, and that’s all the stock of these we have I’m afraid. Very limited, yet very easy to wrap up for Christmas! The tee’s are also available to buy individually over at Shop Ahoy.

The Southsea Boutique Market runs from 12-4pm and more information can be found over at their Facebook page HERE. Lou from Strong Island is also raising money for Portsmouth Food Bank, you can help by donating something lovely for the raffle to help us raise money so please do come down, say hello, help a good cause and naturally, have a little tipple at the bar…

Portsmouth & Southsea 'Tourism' Packs (1)

Portsmouth & Southsea 'Tourism' Packs (2)

Portsmouth & Southsea 'Tourism' Packs (3)

Portsmouth & Southsea 'Tourism' Packs (4)

Portsmouth & Southsea 'Tourism' Packs (5)

Make a Difference and Vote For Wymering Manor Trust Today to Win £50,000

Wymering Manor is a historic Grade II* listed building near Cosham in north Portsmouth first built in the 16th century with parts of the current building also contain medieval and roman materials. In January 2013 the council officially handed Wymering Manor over to the Wymering Manor Trust and since then the Trust have worked quickly in their efforts to not only bring Portsmouth’s oldest house back to it’s past glory but also make it an open, welcoming community space for local people.

The Wymering Manor Trust “Mind Your Manor” project aims to renovate and refurbish this historic Portsmouth building’s music room, kitchen and chapel areas to be used as a community hub for local events and activities as well as a learning centre for training and volunteering opportunities. The trust could receive up to £50,000 from the People’s Millions to make this happen, BUT, they need votes TODAY!

Between 9am and midnight today simply call 0871 626 8871 and vote for Wymering Manor Trust to win the £50,000 they need to bring the house back to public use. It is as simple as that. PLUS you can vote up to 10 times. Once you have voted then share that telephone number on Facebook and Twitter to all your friends and let them know they too can take an active role in both ensuring this historic building is kept for future generations and the local community have an exciting, new resource available.

Also today a short film about “Mind Your Manor” will be broadcast on Meridian News highlighting in detail all that the trust aim to achieve for both the Manor and the local community. Everything from essential repairs to make the Manor safe for community use and providing disabled access to the Victorian Wing to the provision of gardening equipment for our volunteer gardeners, and computer equipment for training programmes.

HERE is the link to the trust’s project page on The People’s Millions website for more information and for you to register if you wish and comment on the project.

To find out more about Wymering Manor check their Website, Facebook or Twitter.

Wymering Manor (1)

Wymering Manor (2)

Wymering Manor (3)

Wymering Manor (4)

Wymering Manor (5)

Wymering Manor (6)

Wymering Manor Trust Shortlisted for the Peoples Millions 2013

Wymering Manor is a historic Grade II* listed building near Cosham in north Portsmouth which was mentioned in the in the Domesday Book and there are parts of the current building which contain medieval and roman materials. The manor’s first recorded occupant was William Mauduit, who probably came across with the invasion of 1066 from his Normandy home. The majority of the current building is 16th century in construction. Spread over three floors, it consists of several dining and sitting rooms and a large music room/salon and impressive front hall on the ground floor.

Wymering Manor is linked with St Peter & St Paul Church and churchyard, which is the last resting place for Jane Austen’s brother, Vice Admiral Sir Francis Austen, and his family. There have been many and well-documented owners of the manor including kings, nobles, clerics and artists, and reportedly a large number of ghosts. Latterly the manor passed into the ownership of Portsmouth City Council, which leased it to the Youth Hostel Association. In January 2013 the council officially handed Wymering Manor over to the Wymering Manor Trust.

The Wymering Manor Trust “Mind Your Manor” project aims to renovate and refurbish this historic Portsmouth building’s music room, kitchen and chapel areas to be used as a community hub for local events and activities as well as a learning centre for training and volunteering opportunities. The trust could receive up to £50,000 to make this happen, BUT, they need votes!

To vote for Wymering Manor you will need to check their Website, Facebook or Twitter pages on Tuesday November 26th to get the phone number to place your vote, the number will only be given to them on the 26th and the lines to place your vote will only be open between 9am and midnight. Like the WMT’s Facebook and follow their Twitter to be kept up to date for the 26th and we will re-post this article as a reminder on the day.

Also on Tuesday 26th a short film about “Mind Your Manor” will be broadcast on Meridian News highlighting in detail all that the trust aim to achieve for both the Manor and the local community. Everything from essential repairs to make the Manor safe for community use and providing disabled access to the Victorian Wing to the provision of gardening equipment for our volunteer gardeners, and computer equipment for training programmes.

The trust need as many votes as possible to be in with a chance to win an award and you can call up to 10 times to vote for them. THis is a huge opportunity for the building to come back in to regular use and become sustainable.

HERE is the link to the trust’s project page on The People’s Millions website for more information and for you to register if you wish and comment on the project.

Find out more about what the Wymering Manor Trust are doing on their website:

Wymering Manor Trust Shortlisted for the Peoples Millions 2013

The ARTches Development – An Opinion

In the last few days The ARTches, the proposed development of the Hotwalls area in Old Portsmouth in to an arts & craft quarter, has become a contentious issue on social media like Facebook and Twitter and more importantly under the formal planning application at Portsmouth City Council. If you are unfamiliar with this development proposal, we featured it recently during the previous public consultation and you can read that HERE. Sadly, and maybe unsurprisingly, the debate has polarised with roughly the lines drawn with some local residents with an against petition that has been running for a couple of weeks and a new for petition launched this week. We’ve spent a little time looking at both sides of the argument and have come up with our own position and the reasons behind it.

First up, Strong Island have to express some bias from the outset. I say bias but this also sheds a little light on the beginnings of this project. Back in 2011 Strong Island were asked to partner up with Portsmouth City Council and the University of Portsmouth with the Strong Island Exhibition at the Round Tower. The Round Tower is an incredible structure and in many ways more interesting and historic than the popular Square Tower yet it had been derelict for decades. PCC despite not having much funding strived to help make the place suitable for use again and with the help of local architects Deer Park Alpha the building (with it’s leaky roof) was home to a local arts exhibition that attracted over 6000 visitors in two weeks. We felt the project was a huge success and was also an indicator that the area itself would, for many reasons (some stated below), be a perfect location to be developed in to an arts quarter. You can find out more about the exhibition by watching the film HERE.

The Strong Island Exhibition was not the first use of the area for the arts, not even close. As many, many city residents and visitors will no doubt know the arches have been an unofficial home to artists for decades, with people at work there as well as selling their work. In recent years there has also been highly successful events with Portsmouth Creative Movement (a collective of local artists, designers, etc.) as well as markets in and around the Square Tower. Since 2011 the Round Tower has also been home to a variety of cultural activities including film and music performances and exhibitions. So it’s fair to say this space has a recent history of successful community & cultural usage. Also, from what I can see, with very little complaint.

One reason for the interest in this particular part of Portsmouth is it’s location on the Solent and it being an intigral part of the architectural heritage of the city itself. The space is also part of the Millennium Walk which has been shown to be one of the Portsmouth locations with the biggest footfall, even on winter days you’ll see people walking and exploring. The walls and towers of this area are protected and rightly so. Saying that…you have to remember that this area was also semi derelict barracks for many, many years…both an eyesore and criminally neglected & underused. The Round Tower and arches have actually only really been brought up to good repair in the last 18 months with a new roof and the arches bricks fixed or replaced where required. Sadly, historic spaces can no longer be frozen in time anymore. With local councils all over the UK having their budgets cut maintenance for these buildings and spaces is no longer a trivial budgetary matter. Apart from a raise in Council Tax the other easy option is to find a way of the building or space generating income and become self sustaining. The Square Tower is a good example of where this may be possible…but what about the Arches Cafe? Quite simply, locations and plans such as this have to be made up of different businesses, each of which feed in to the other. A visitor to the gallery may visit an artist studio and buy a piece of work, then buy food or drink. Businesses in isolation will find things difficult where working together they can succeed and it is also worth considering the wider location with it’s businesses too. Saying that, a considered business plan is vital and as of now it seems that this is an area for discussion with maybe more detail required in the plans.

There is absolutely no doubt the area is of local historical importance. The Round Tower is in many ways far more important than the arches, with it’s original wooden tower one of the first buildings of note for the city way back in it’s past. For the improvements already done with the Round Tower and for the ARTches development English Heritage have been heavily consulted and going by what I have heard from good sources they have been enthusiastic. The architects for the ARTches project are PLC Architects, who clearly have a very real understanding for developments within historic, protected spaces…demonstrated with their Conservation Award this year from the Royal Institute of British Architects for the development of Spitbank Fort. Spitbank Fort, a local, historic structure sympathetically developed in to a successful business drawing visitors from all over the UK and further afield. I’m no expert…but I’m willing to defer to English Heritage and RIBA when it comes to these things.

Strong Island wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for the art and craft creativity expressed by local artists, designers, photographers, painters and more. More than ever the creative sector in the city is flourishing with individuals and businesses excelling not only locally but also nationally and internationally. Portsmouth has no reason culturally for not being able to support the ARTches project with the gallery space and artist studios likely to be heavily over subscribed. The artist studios in the development we believe seek to support local artists and businesses and also bring them wider exposure to the general public. Collective studio spaces have been shown to work in many shapes and forms and we have some new and established businesses like this already in Portsmouth. Maybe, for an example of success in a similar vein consider Farnham Maltings, up the A3. Who wouldn’t want something similar like that locally? Art, craft, jewellery design of excellent quality showcasing local talent and just as importantly allowing people to sell and buy…all helping the local economy. It goes without saying that there are already artists within the city who can command significant money for their work. There IS money in art. More importantly, other towns and cities have actually done very similar developments, with Old Leigh in Southend-on-Sea a great mix of local art, craft and fresh shellfish and Exeter Quayside a waterside row of arches packed with culture and a real tourist draw. There may be questions over the details but it’s pretty clear, Portsmouth doesn’t only want a cultural quarter, it NEEDS it.

I can’t help but think there are still some issues with both the development and the idea to leave it as it is. Parking is always a problem in this city and the more successful ARTches becomes, the busier it gets and the pressure on spaces builds. Is that a reason to stifle cultural development and creating a new visitor attraction…no. What if the new Mary Rose museum was stopped because there was no extra parking capacity at the Dockyard’s carpark…? The city would have suffered. On top of that the area in general has great public transport links and is very close to Gunwharf and The Common. What is vital is a reasonable, realistic and sustainable business model and that is something everyone wants to see. On the whole, despite the local objections I can’t help but feel that if the development protects the historic structure for future generations, supports culture within the city and help attract visitors to Portsmouth it can only be a good thing for everyone.

Whatever your view, for or against, the most important thing is to make sure your opinion is heard. Let Portsmouth City Council know if you approve or object and let them know why by adding your comment to the application online HERE (type the ref No. in the box 13/01017/FUL). You can also sign the for and against petitions too, yet these may not have any direct influence on the planning application.

Whatever happens…apathy and cynicism will certainly never improve Portsmouth for the better, be sure to get involved in the decision making going on right now.

ARTches Proposal Consultation (2)

ARTches Proposal Consultation (3)

Great to see that even this conversation on the ARTches development has inspired local creativity, with Andrew Whyte’s diminutive yet internationally recognised Legography photographer getting in on the debate:

Legography by Andrew Whyte


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

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum

Tricorn: Controversy in Concrete is a brand new exhibition commemorating 10 years since the demolition of this distinct and controversial building that between 1966 and 2004 was a fundamental part of the Portsmouth skyline. The exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum goes far beyond documenting the building from an architectural perspective, although for the first time many, many original drawings, plans and photographs are on display from the building’s architects, much of it for the first time ever. Where this exhibition explores beyond the groundbreaking and (for many) iconic Brutalist architectural design is documenting how it was experienced and used by the people of Portsmouth. The exhibition opened on the 15th and formally had its opening celebration to a capacity crowd on Saturday 22nd.

The exhibition on the ground floor of the museum is loosely arranged in to two areas, with the first section detailing the origins of the building from concept to design and build. As you enter this space the striking architectural plans on the wall are what first catch the eye. The lines and form of the concrete structure can almost take you back in time to the exciting and economically optimistic early 1960s, with the original and then cutting edge design still feeling strangely fresh even now. This is reinforced with the many original pamphlets, magazines and books that show the enthusiasm the project launched with. This part of the exhibition also establishes where the Tricorn sat within the Brutalist movement and also with some other buildings in the city such as Portsdown Park and Portsmouth Central Library, both of which are in the exhibition in the form of architect sketches and models.

The second section focuses on how the people of Portsmouth experienced the structure over the years it stood in the city centre. Part of this section is an incredible collection of posters and artwork from the nightclub but there is also related music, photos and even period clothing giving a sense of how the building was, for a time, a hub for the community. This section also looks at how the building was a creative inspiration for many, including artwork, skateboard decks and in particular, photography. It is in this section the Strong Island community photo panel is located, with over 100 photos capturing the structure in artistic angles and light. This area is also home to some striking work by Jon King and James Earle, both of who explored the building with their cameras throughout it’s demolition. Both areas also contain oral history, with interviews, opinions and memories on the Tricorn from both architect and members of the public. Also in both areas of the exhibition are feedback walls, which welcome comments from people visiting the exhibition. Despite the exhibition only being open for a week these are already full with amazing contributions.

On Saturday 22nd the exhibition was formally opened including attendance by VIPs such as Owen Luder, one of the original architects, plus many people associated with the Tricorn from right back to it’s design and construction through to its final demolition. The event included speeches by Owen Luder, Celia Clark and Councillor Lee Hunt, possibly the most interesting was the story of the Tricorn told by Owen Luder himself. It was fascinating to see how for him the aspirations for the building were in many ways dashed due to an economic turndown happening with an extended delay in securing contracts with key business tenants. Of particular note were his thoughts on how the space itself has been used “54 years on it is back to how it was when I first saw it in 1960, a carpark”.

The exhibition runs through to the 29th June.

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (1)

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Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (5)

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Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (8)

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Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (11)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (12)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (13)

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum (14)

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Macbeth at the Square Tower

The Scottish play is coming to the atmospheric setting of the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth this week. The Southsea Shakespeare Actors, who performed Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors at the Station Theatre, Hayling Island last November, are swapping tomfoolery and twins for blood and revenge in their production of Macbeth, showing from 12th-15th March.

Rob Bartlett, who plays the title role, tells us why the play is so popular among theatregoers, and what the audience can expect from this production.

This is one of Shakespeare’s plays that most people know at least a little about, whether it be the ‘is this a dagger I see before me’ quote or the infamous character of Lady Macbeth. Why do you think it holds such appeal for audiences?

I think it’s because of the mix of supernatural, unbridled ambition and human weakness – we may not all do what the Macbeths do, but we’ve thought about it! If we were given a supernatural push and told by powers beyond our understanding that it would all be okay, we might just act on those impulses more often.

I also think it’s because Macbeth’s descent into madness is so well observed and written that it makes it utterly compelling, and a joy to play. In one line ranting and in the next line totally lucid. The jerkiness of his thoughts makes it a perfect portrayal of manic behaviour.

The play also barrels along at a heck of a pace – there isn’t the flowery poetry of Romeo and Juliet for example, it’s all plot, character and action. I also think that almost every character gets their moment in the spotlight – Lady M and Mackers obviously, but Malcolm, MacDuff, Lady MacDuff, Banquo and even the Porter get their chance to shine (to name but a few)!

There’s a superstition in the theatre world that it’s bad luck to mention the ‘M’ word on the night of a performance, regardless of the play. What’s that all about?

To be honest I have no idea!!! I talk about Macbeth all the time. I think there was some talk about bad things happening on various productions but to me it seems like a good way to get some publicity! 

You’re performing at the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth – how do you think the setting will lend itself to the atmosphere of the play?

I think it will be brilliant! A big bare stone building, dimly lit with lots of shadows bouncing off the walls, candles – it will be fab. Also by doing it ‘in the round’ the audience will be really close. They will feel like they are in the scene, not just watching it. There will be times where they can’t see the face of the actor who is delivering the lines but that wont matter, a bit like when you are out with a big group of friends. You can’t always see the face of the person talking but you get a sense of what’s going on from everyone around you – and yes, that will include the other members of the audience on the opposite side of the room who can see.

We are doing some scenes with candles, so it will be really dim – really atmospheric!

Can you sum up in one (short!) sentence what we can expect from the Southsea Shakespeare Actors’ version of Macbeth?

It’s up close and personal – be ready to be part of the action!


To book tickets go to or find out more about the Southsea Shakespeare Actors at