When I saw these vintage penny arcade machines at Portsmouth’s Historical Dockyard, it brought back so many happy childhood memories of going to the Southsea funfair with my parents. I loved the puppets so much and could remember exactly what would happen before I put my coin in. I am so happy to find that they still exist in a museum.
In response to the Weekly WordPress Photo Challenge: Fun
Brief: Show us someone or something you admire (and tell us about them, too)!
The world’s oldest abseiler, Doris Long, increased her record after descending almost 100m (328ft) at the grand age of 101 years, last Summer on her birthday and hopes to beat her own record this month when she will be 102.
The senior citizen, who received an MBE (Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) from The Queen for her services to her community, started abseiling when she was aged 85 and for her birthday in May each year, climbs down the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth, England.
This Solent landmark in Hampshire, is half as high as Nelson’s Column, making it one of the tallest accessible structures in the United Kingdom outside London.
The admirable stunts from “Daring Doris”as she is affectionately named locally, raises much need money for the nearby Rowans Hospice.This local charity is dedicated to improving the lives of people with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.
I took part in The Victorian Festival of Christmas at Portsmouth’s Historical Dockyard this year. If you have ever wandered why so many British actors get the best parts in Hollywood movies, then perhaps take a look at this year’s festival slide showon YouTube (by photographer Steve Spurgin): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mPDpbDtbO8
With very little rehearsal, over 400 volunteers dressed in Victorian costume to bring this attraction to life, for thousands of tourists from all over the globe.
In the UK, we live and breath theatre from an early age, starting with making costumes to take part in the school’s nativity play. History is now taught by people dressing up and re-enacting the period they are learning about, be it Romans or WWII. To learn Shakespeare for exams we do not just read the play, we act it. More people belong to amateur drama groups in Britain than sports societies.
Portsmouth is the birthplace of Charles Dickens. The Historical Dockyard is where centuries-old ships, such as Nelson’s Flagship The Victory, HMS Warrior and The Mary Rose etc are moored.
The dry dock is also where parts of Les Miserables was filmed. So all these scenes were brought to life by costumed actors, singers, school groups, historical and Victorian interest societies such as steam-punks or the Victorian Strollers.People from 5 to 80 years-of-age played famous Victorian or Dickensian characters for three full days and with very little breaks. It was in the open air while the tale-end of Hurricane Desmond was blowing a gale and in addition there were a few down-pours.
First visitors are greeted by carollers, then those in Victorian Uniforms, dockyard workers, stilt-walking-police, postal clerks, servicemen, sailors. Then by beggars, prostitutes and suffragettes – undertakers, a ruthless judge in a courtroom setting, prisoners, gliding angels, pearly kings & queens singing cockney musical hall ditties, workhouse children being enticed to steal by Fagin and the Artful Dodger, chimney sweeps, a green-gowned Father Christmas. There were snow machines, carousels, a Downton-Abbey type dinner table set with turkey and trimmings, various stage sets. There were three a pubs – one mock, one real with bands singing sea shanties and even an inflatable one. There was a market selling Christmas crafts and fayre from mulled cider to hog roasts.
I was part of Groundlings Theatre that organised around 200 of us. I played an aristocratic snob preaching Victorian manners. “It is the height of rudeness to have one’s elbows on the table.” At the end of each sketch, Charles the Butler pushes a custard pie in my face. I endured around 40 of those!
The finale each year is a parade lead by a full pipe band in kilts and bear-skins and headed by Queen Victoria. We were not allowed to carry phones and cameras, so I could only took a few snap-shots in the Green Room. Most of these photos are from Portsmouth News.
In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Victory.”
HMS Victory was Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Built in 1758, she is the world’s oldest naval ship still in commission and is one of the most visited museum ships moored at Portsmouth, England, where I took these photos.
27 British ships led by Nelson onboard The Victory, defeated 33 French and Spanish ships under French Admiral Villeneuve just west of Cape Trafalgar, Atlantic.
The Franco-Spanish fleet lost 22 ships, without a single British vessel being lost. The British victory spectacularly confirmed the naval supremacy that Britain had established during the 18th Century and was mainly achieved because of Nelson’s new style of naval tactics.
Nelson was shot by a French musketeer during this battle and died shortly after.
To this day Nelson is regarded as one of Britain’s greatest war heroes and his statue on tall pilar stands in London’s Trafalgar Square.
To visit Portsmouth’s Historical Dockyard visit http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk
Further photos I took accompany my poem ‘Portsmouth’: https://southamptonoldlady.wordpress.com/2015/10/28/portsmouth/
After cash-jab and face-lift, looks young and healthy
I calls on thee ‘Neighbour’,
but ‘Scummer!’ ye names me
Thee Royal Navy and I Merchant Sea
Yet ye stole my ferry passengers
And should-be-mine bananas fatten your docks
I sings out: “Daylight Come and I Want go home”.
“What Shall We do with a Drunken Sailor?” is your repost
Come jolly Jack Tar
slap my back if I slaps thine
Chants we more o’them shanties
and buy me a bevvy
at Spice Island Tavern
we’ll sup to “fair ladies”
my Queens and Princesses
your grand Ark Royals
and here’s to Lord Admiral Nelson
and his flagged Victory.
Your rum and brandy, my wine and beer
We feast on mackerel – all sprightly silver,
like 30 pieces, or was that of eight?
Lament our great losses:
My tragic Titanic
Your dear Mary Rose.
Evoke Dunkirk spirit –
How we did save them
by the thousand
How we did fight them
shoulder to shoulder
against the French, and on D-Day, the Blitz …
Let’s parade to bagpipes along your old battlements
with Southsea salt-air,
We skiff English pebbles
aim for Spitbank
and against that greasy-grey grave of great sea.
Thee, and thy gulls, have welcomed me
And now I must bid fare-thee-well and Adieu..
Let’s stay always Mateys
And repay my Southampton a visit
Note: I wrote this after visiting friends in Portsmouth, about half an hour’s ride away. Historically Southampton and Portsmouth have always been rival ports. It is only heard in football match chants nowadays. But the two cities have always pulled together hard against common enemies.
This is the first in my new series of black & white scenes photographed in colour.
In 2013, I took these photos of HMS Warrior, Britain’s first iron-hulled, armoured warship.
Launched in 1860, Warrior was the pride of Queen Victoria’s fleet. Powered by steam and sail, she was the largest, fastest and most powerful ship of her day and had a profound effect on naval architecture. Warrior was, in her time, the ultimate deterrent. Yet within a few years she was obsolete.
Restored and back at home in Portsmouth, Warrior now serves as a ship museum, monument, visitor attraction, private venue and more.
If you would like to visit: http://www.historicdockyard.co.uk/site-attractions/attractions/hms-warrior-1860