Advent 21: I Saw Three Ships…

p1170778p1170569I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
I saw three ships come sailing in
On Christmas Day in the morning.

And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day?
And what was in those ships all three,
On Christmas Day in the morning?

The Virgin Mary and Christ were there,
On Christmas Day, on Christmas Day;
The Virgin Mary and Christ were there,
On Christmas Day in the morning.

Photos of the Port of Southampton © Southampton Old Lady

Titanic Southampton Remembers

Things are busier than ever with our attempt to move and live on a boat at the moment. I haven’t time to devote to well-researched thought-out posts. Instead I have found a lot of what I want to write about already out there.

Four years ago Southampton had a big commemoration – 100 years since the sinking of The Titanic.

Why is it so important to us? Well, out of over 900 crew members 750 were from Southampton. Unless you were in charge of a lifeboat – most of them drowned.

Repercussions of that event over a Century ago are still felt in Southampton today.

If you are interested here is a BBC Documentary presented by Bernard Hill, the British actor who played Captain Smith in the Cameron film. It’s about 25 minutes long, so unless you are interested in Southampton or The Titanic, you are forgiven if you don’t click:

http://wp.me/p6jveM-zH

Trawling the boat yards

Map of The Solent (courtesy of Solent Boatshare, based on the Itchen River in Southampton). It shows the Isle of Wight surrounded by the Hampshire coast from  The New Forest to Portsmouth and on to Chichester. The Solent is one of the most popular places in Europe for sailing.
Map of The Solent (courtesy of Solent Boatshare, based on the Itchen River in Southampton). It shows the Isle of Wight surrounded by the Hampshire coast from The New Forest to Portsmouth and on to Chichester. The Solent is one of the most popular places in Europe for sailing.

While browsing in some of the boat yards around Southampton and Solent area – I took these snaps (© Southampton Old Lady) :

Repairs being carried out on two of the "Dunkirk Little Ships. At the end of May 1940, at the government's request, thousands of boats set sail to rescue almost a quarter of a million Allied troops who had retreated from Hitler's forces onto the shores of Dunkirk. This is where the phrase "The Dunkirk Spirit" was coined.
Repairs being carried out on two of the “Dunkirk Little Ships”. At the end of May 1940, at the government’s request, thousands of boats set sail to rescue almost a quarter of a million Allied troops who had retreated from Hitler’s forces onto the shores of Dunkirk. This is where the phrase “The Dunkirk Spirit” was coined.
These were once ship lifeboats that were sold off for scrap. Six do-it-yourselfers snapped them up to be convert them into homes for themselves.
These were once ship lifeboats and sold off for scrap. Six guys snapped them up to convert them into homes for themselves.
These ex-life boats are very secure and dry. more spacious than they look - each a bright floating tardis
These ex-life boats are very secure and dry. more spacious than they look – each a bright floating tardis
A weekend boat-builder working on his project
A weekend boat-builder working on his project
All boat junk might come in handy
All boat junk might come in handy

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Used fenders anyone?
Used fenders anyone?

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In dry dock - waiting for anti-fouling.
In dry dock – awaiting a coat of anti-fouling.
Tide is out under Itchen Bridge
Tide out under Itchen Bridge. Southampton is unique with two tides a day
Bobbing together
Bobbing together at the Town Quay

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A house with boat. You see quite a few of these in Southampton.
A house with boat outside. You see quite a few of these in Southampton
house with boat and mooring.
And a few of these: House with boat and mooring.
chink, chink
chink, chink
Good night
Good night

 

 

 

 

 

Colour Your World: Red

Today’s colour challenge: RED

The Calshot Spit at Southampton Docks © 2015 Southampton Old Lady

… in response to the Colour Your World Photo Challenge whereby there is a different Crayola crayon colour prompt for each day. To see more or take part yourself visit: http://jennifernicholewells.com/2016/03/24/color-your-world-red/
Red boat in barbed wireP1130120

 

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Holyrood

There is a plaque on a large anchor outside a derelict church in Southampton’s High Street (QE2 Mile) which reads: The Church of Holyrood erected on this site in 1320 was damaged by enemy action on 30 Nov 1940. Known for centuries as the church of the sailors, the ruins have been preserved by the people of Southampton as a memorial and garden of rest, dedicated to those who served in the Merchant Navy and lost their lives at sea.

There are many memorials in this peaceful place to those lost at sea. From mediaeval captains that went down with their ship to those bombed while bringing supplies during WWII.

There is a special corner dedicated to the crew who drowned when the Titanic sank. Of her 1,517 victims, Southampton was home to 538 of the 685 crew members who died on this White Star liner’s fateful crossing to New York on the 15th of April 1912. It was like our 9/11 – our city lost a generation.

gospel choir singing in the Merchant Seamen's Memorial (this was once Holy Rood Church) during Music in the City festival, Southampton. © Southampton Old Lady
Gospel choir singing in the Merchant Seamen’s Memorial (this was once Holyrood Church) during Music in the City festival, Southampton. © Southampton Old Lady
Holyrood bells, Southampton. © Southampton Old Lady
Holyrood bells, Southampton. © Southampton Old Lady

I have been meaning to write about the Holyrood neighbourhood of Southampton for some time.  In the 1960s a new area of council flats were developed on that which was raized to the ground by the Blitz. In the last decade Southampton council has employed mural artists and sculptors to reveal the history of the area. However, Marie Keats, another Southampton blogger I follow, has been able to do this so much better than I on her ‘I Walk Alone” wordpress site – so if you are interested in her lovely mural walk around the area please do visit her blog: http://www.iwalkalone.co.uk/?p=22590

2015 – Passing the Port

When two Sotonians meet, inevitably they will start talking about ships. The Port is a big part of our culture and important to those born here. However the majority of people living here are not from Southampton. They never even get to see the Port of Southampton, unless they love sailing, go on a ferry or cruise, study at the University’s Oceanography Centre or work at the Docks. So like trainspotters, if an interest is shown, the shipping conversation will delve into anything from tonnage the state of boiler rooms. So hopefully not being too big a bore, here is my experience of our wonderful Port vistors in 2015:

Bramble Bank cricket match 2015
Bramble Bank cricket match August  2015 (Royal Southern Yacht Club)
Hoegh Osaka leaning on Bramble Bank, Southampton Waters in January 2015
Hoegh Osaka leaning on Bramble Bank in The Solent in January 2015

Bramble Bank is a shallow area between Southampton shipping lanes and a cricket match takes place there on Boxing Day at low tide and in August.

Hoegh Osaka is one of the worlds largest container ships at 51,000 tonnes. Last January it had to ground itself deliberately on Bramble Bank in Southampton Waters when it got into difficulties after loading 1,400 new luxury vehicles from the Port of Southampton. Hoegh Osaka also made it to the BBC’s Year in Pictures for 2015: http://www.bbc.com/news/in-pictures-35102257.

In March, the Queen officially launched the P&O cruise ship Britannia from Southampton.  in May the crowds came to see Cunard’s three Queens: Victoria, Elizabeth 2 and Mary 2 all set sail together from Southampton – an event that was later repeated in Liverpool.

In March, the Queen officially launched the P&O cruise ship Britannia from Southampton. In April was the official launch of Athem of Seas pictured in my heading and in May the crowds came to see Cunard's three Queens: Victoria, Elizabeth and Mary all set sail together from Southampton - an event that was later repeated in Liverpool
In March, I went to see The Queen officially launch the P&O cruise ship Britannia from Southampton where the ship is registered. At the time she was the world’s biggest cruise ship, but there is fast-paced race on as to who can build the biggest cruise ship, so this may be overpassed now.
Royal Caribean's Anthem of the Seas was launched in April. She moors regularly between Dock Gates 8-10 and can be viewed from the town walls from West Quay.
Royal Caribean’s Anthem of the Seas was launched in April. She moors regularly between Dock Gates 8-10 and can be viewed from the town walls from West Quay.
Anthem of the Seas viewed from Forest Walk, Southampton. The building on the right belongs to Royal Caribbean
Anthem of the Seas viewed from Forest View, Southampton. The building on the right belongs to Royal Caribbean
4 Vessel Virgins set sail from our Coast in May. The three Cunard Queens Victoria, Elizabeth 2 and Mary 2 all set sail together in May. Anthem of the Seas passes them first to quite a bit of horn-blowing and flag waving.
Four vessel virgins set sail from our coast in May. The three Cunard Queens: Victoria, Elizabeth 2 and Mary 2 all set sail together. Anthem of the Seas passes them first to quite a bit of horn-blowing and flag waving.
Getting ready for a good view of the three Cunard Queens sailing. May 2015
Getting ready for a good view of the three Cunard Queens sailing. May 2015
Queen Mary 2 dwarfing The Calshot Spit
Queen Mary 2 dwarfing The Calshot Spit
In July I enjoyed an interesting day out on Enterprise with top researchers from Southampton University's Oceanography Department
In July I enjoyed an interesting day out on Enterprise with top researchers from Southampton University’s Oceanography Department
The Calshot Spit
The Calshot Spit
Hoegh Target is the world's largest car transporter with deck space the size of 10 football pitches and able to carry enough vehicles for a 26-mile traffic jam. She called to see us in August.
Hoegh Target is the world’s largest car transporter with deck space the size of 10 football pitches and able to carry enough vehicles for a 26-mile traffic jam. She called to see us in August.
Some giant pleasure boats also arrived for the Southampton Boat Show in September 2015
Some giant pleasure boats also arrived for the Southampton Boat Show in September 2015
P&O's Azura at Ocean Terminal, Autumn 2015
P&O’s Azura at Ocean Terminal, Autumn 2015
Ships as big as blocks of flats
Ships as big as blocks of flats
Oceana
Oceana
Old and new tie alongside each other.
Old and new tie alongside each other.
SS Shieldhall is a working heritage steam ship. During Heritage week she offered free cruises around the Solent. http://www.cruisesouthampton.com/markers/ss-shieldhall
SS Shieldhall is a working heritage steam ship. During Heritage week she offered free cruises around the Solent. http://www.cruisesouthampton.com/markers/ss-shieldhall

 

September: Sarah Harrison Band plays on board SS Sheildhall as part of a free music in unusual places festival in Southampton http://www.cruisesouthampton.com/markers/ss-shieldhall
Sarah Harrison Band plays on board SS Sheildhall as part of a free music in unusual places festival in Southampton. October 2015 © Southampton Old Lady
And our regular Red Funnel ferries shuttling back and forth from the Isle of Wight
And our regular Red Funnel ferries shuttling back and forth from the Isle of Wight

 

Victorian Festival of Christmas 2015

Oliver characters: Mrs Bedwin, Bill Sykes with his dog Bullseye and Nancy.
Oliver characters: Mrs Bedwin, Bill Sykes with his dog Bullseye and Nancy.

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 show on YouTube (by photographer Steve Spurgin)https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0mPDpbDtbO8

Most chimney sweeps were children.
Most chimney sweeps were children.
The prostitutes
The prostitutes
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Mr Darcy, Florence Nightingale, Prince George, Lady Pennywhistle.
Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Mr Darcy, Florence Nightingale, Prince George, Lady Pennywhistle.
Queen Victoria with John Brown
Queen Victoria with John Brown

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.

charles_dickens_plaque_portsmouth

 

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.

Suffragettes
Suffragettes

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.

Victorian Dinner Party
Victorian Dinner Party

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!

Police with penny farthing bicycles.
Police with penny farthing bicycles.
Children learn about Victorian history by dressing up
Children learn about Victorian history by dressing up

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.

Father Christmas at the helm.
Father Christmas at the helm.

For more info about Portsmouth Historical Dockyard visit: www.historicdockyard.co.uk

CCTV & Phoenician Eye

Weekly photo challenge: eye-spy

2 for 1:

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Firstly: A winking ‘Smiley’ sign to let people know that they are being watched by close circuit television, and not to get up to mischief on Bognor Regis beach in England, UK

Phoenician eye

Secondly: A large sailing dinghy in Southampton, England. Still popular, especially in Europe, a Phoenician Eye on each side of the bow of a boat is believed to ensure safe guidance through the seas. The Phoenicians were the first that we know of to use eye symbols in this way. It was later adapted by the Egyptians who named it the Eye of Horus.

If you would like to take part the link is here: <a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/eye-spy/”>Eye Spy</a>

Weekly Photo Challenge: Victory

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: “Victory.”

Canon on board HMS Victory, Nelsons 104-gun flagship which won the Battle of Trafalgar
Canon on board HMS Victory, Nelsons 104-gun flagship of a fleet which won the Battle of Trafalgar

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.

Sleeping quarter onboard HMS Victory
Able seaman bunks onboard HMS Victory
Officer's Uniform displayed onboard HMS Victory
Officer’s Uniform displayed onboard HMS Victory
Nelson's Column guarded by Lions in Trafalgar Square, London
Nelson’s Column guarded by Lions in Trafalgar Square, London

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.

HMS Victory is one of the most visited museum ships moored at Portsmouth Historical Dockyard www.historicdockyard.co.uk
HMS Victory is one of the most visited museum ships moored at Portsmouth Historical Dockyard
Plaque on the part of the Deck where Nelson Fell at Trafalgar despite winning the battle.
Plaque on the exact part of the deck where Nelson Fell despite winning the Battle of Trafalgar.

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/