April is the cruellest month …

TS Eliot wrote¬†that April is the cruellest month in his epic poem, The Wasteland – one of my favourite poems which, when I read it again and again, I see other connotations, other meanings, other visions. Yet, conversely, it is the months of April and May that I look forward to the most in my…

A new dawn rises for South Parade Pier, Southsea

Friday 14th April 2017 was a great day for the people of Portsmouth. It’s been five long years since South Parade Pier, a Grade II listed Victorian Pier, closed its doors and many of us feared that it would never reopen. It’s taken investment from a private consortium of local businessmen to repair and re-open…

A sea of Bluebells

I wonder what it is about that deep blue, almost lilac, hue that sets pulses a-pumping? If it isn’t travelling miles to see a field of lavender, it’s doing the same to see a field of bluebells in a woody glade. So this being bluebell season, and as I’m located in the heart of Hampshire,…

The Model Village

This Easter saw the successful re-launch of a much-loved tourist institution – The Model Village in Southsea. It was once run by a Mr West who also owned the two shops fronting South Parade Pier and wonder of wonders, I used to work for him at weekends. Although work was a sideline – we actually…

Canoe Lake AKA Swan Lake

I used to live around the corner from Canoe Lake – and one day will probably do so again – and regularly walked its circumference on my way home from school. I’ve always enjoyed it on fair days and foul. So just how old is Canoe Lake, which is now a central player and attraction…

Semaphore Relay?

I’ve just seen an interesting little snippet about Lumps Fort, Southsea online. Apparently although rebuilt extensively in Victorian times, Lumps Fort dates back to the Middle Ages – around the 1500’s – and was an earthworks fort. Once you start to look, understanding what you are seeing, the skeletal remains of the fort become more…

The real Cockleshell Heroes

One sunny Sunday afternoon this March, I went for a stroll around the Canoe Lake area of the Southsea seafront and came across a plaque denoting the words, The Cockleshell Heroes. Being a bit of a fan of vintage film, I seemed to recall a film of the same name with Jose Ferrer and Trevor…

A new investigation into the past …

As readers of this blog will know, last week, I discovered the youth of my Great Aunt and Uncle and found out that they were intrepid travellers, regularly visiting Europe and Africa in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s and 50’s. A couple of images however reveal a family mystery which I hope, over the next few…

Hundred Acres, Hampshire

I have to admit to an intense interest in anything historical – the annoying child who always asks the question, why? So when heading to the woods with my more knowledgeable historian brother, I asked the inevitable question – wonder what the reasoning is behind that road name – 100 Acres Road. This is what…

#Waterlooville200 – In the news

This week marks the 200th anniversary of the founding of the place where I live – #Waterlooville200 here in Hampshire, close to the coastal city of Portsmouth. Our town was, as one might expect, named after the battle and there are many local reminders named in honour of the key individuals – Nelson, Wellington and…