Posts Tagged ‘Heritage’

Lion Gates in College Road

Lion Gate - Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Centuries ago when very few people could read or write, symbols were used as identifiers for places and great leaders in the land. The symbols’ usage receded into history with the advent of mass education. Yet these symbolic images are still all around us today. Over the years they have become absorbed into common usage – to the point that we mostly fail to notice them. Please go to the Photo Gallery to see the Portsmouth Lions  – part of the city fabric.


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The traditional British Pub sign is an art form in its own right. Some signs also portray long forgotten historical events. One of the best examples is near Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. The beautifully painted ‘Ship Leopard’ sign depicts an incident from 200 years ago. Look closely and you can see the cannon smoke. It records an event so serious it caused some Americans to call for war with Britain. It resulted in death and political embarrassment. The final outcome was that an American ship became ‘anchored’ in a small corner of England, UK, where it will remain forever.

Ship Leopard Pub Sign

Ship Leopard Pub Sign

To see a larger image, find the sign location, and to learn the forgotten history of this incident, please go to the Photo Gallery, and look for the Chesapeake-Leopard Affair.

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Jim Reed, 89 year-old veteran of World War II Atlantic Convoys, has dedicated his time and own money to researching what happened to hundreds of boy seamen, who lost their lives serving in the Royal Navy. What he has achieved is remarkable in it’s own quiet way. It is testament to his determination to put right an injustice to the long forgotten youths. For the full story and to donate to his cause, please click this link to 534 Boy Sailors Killed In Action.

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British Pathe News has a website which lists and shows it’s archive of films from a bygone era. People can search on town names, celebrity names and more. One film of interest to Portsmouthians and marine artist lovers is the last journey made by the late William Wylie. Please go to my Oral History page for details on how to view the Pathe News Archive.

Also see my posting for details of a talk about ‘Art in Dockyards and Dockyards in Art’.

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A  REPORT FROM THE NEWSPAPER  MATURE  TIMES   The voice of our generation . 2011 – 2012.

Sports archivists have uncovered never before – seen pictures of Britains first ever female football team – set up by Suffragette for the Rights of Women movement in 1881. The astonishing black and white photographs show the moment pioneering campaigners swapped their corsets for football shirts and formed ‘Mrs Grahams XI’.  Historians believe that the side helped women win the local Government vote and even sparked riots, after stepping onto the football pitch in revealing bloomers and blouses. Images of the team,  from Stirling, Scotland, were uncovered by artist Stuart Gibbs, 47 while compiling an exhibition about the history of the women’s game.

He said “They were on the cutting edge. The day after a controversial match in Glasgow the right for women to vote got the royal assent” .”The players were all part of the rights for women and the ‘rational dress movement’, so maybe the game was seen as a sign of the times and had some influence. ”

The stunning shots were uncovered by artist Mr Gibbs while researching `Moving  the Goalposts : A History of Womens Football in Britain’ currently touring the UK.  He compiled an album of pictures after scouring local libaries in Stirling. Mr Gibbs found suffragette Scot Helen Matthews, who played under the name Mrs Graham, had set up the first official womens club in the city.

The team known as Mrs Grahams XI – also the first national side-played their first official match at Easter Road ,on May 7, 1881. From that point on the team were never far away from controversy. The second game, against England at Shawfield Athletic Ground in Glasgow, on May 16 1881 sparked riots when they beat the visiting team 3-0.

Following the riots, the Womens Franchise (Scotland) Bill was given the royal assent, allowing women to vote in local government elections. This was a right women in England had enjoyed for two decades.  But the events of that day caused such a stir that a Government ban was imposed on women playing football in Scotland.

The team – which even included the world’s first black female footballer, Carrie Boustead – were considered “improper” by their male counterparts. But they battled on to eventually obtain recognition. Mr Gibbs said, “There were critics right from day one. Even women’s magazines were against it, even though you wouldn’ t think they would be. It just wasn’t acceptable for women to dress in trousers and football was considered a man’s game.

“The women had lots of fans, but they also had lots of objectors and there were a few problems caused by hooligans who tried to disrupt the game. Female teams played right through the First World War – but on December 5, 1921 the English Football Association voted to ban womens football from grounds used by its member clubs. The ban was not lifted until July 1971.

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Join Dr Celia Clark as she explores depictions of dockyards in painting, sculpture,  films, and photography.

Tickets : £ 3.00. Concessions : £ 2.00. To book your place call : 02392 523463. Or call in to Gosport Discovery Centre. Use this link for their website.


Dr Celia Clark  was one of the pioneers of the recording of oral history in Portsmouth during the 1970s. Amongst  the  work undertaken by her  over the years, was the recording of  Portsmouth  Dockyard workers  memories .

Use the following link to learn about her work to attempt to establish Portsmouth Harbour, Spithead and Isle of Wight  as a World Heritage Site

Or use this link for details of her book on the Portsmouth Tricorn.

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Horse racing expert Brough Scott, signed copies of the new edition of his grandfather, General Jack Seely’s book at Waterstones in Newport, Isle of Wight and also gave a talk on the focus of the book, legendary horse,Warrior, to an audience of 70.

This story of a real war horse was written by General Jack Seely of Brook and was  first published in 1934. General Seely was known as a local benefactor on the Island on matters of education amongst the poor by setting up a libary there. His wife Dorothy Brooke also began the charity ‘The Brooke Trust’ some 80 years ago. It still runs the Old War Horse Memorial Hospital in Cairo, and it also works in Latin America, Asia, and Africa.

This is a true story by Seely based on Warrior, who, on the fields of Passchendaele and the Somme endured the most horrific experiences. The charge into the battle of Moreuil Wood was led by Warrior, and he was one of the few  animal survivors of World War 1 .  Eight million horses, donkeys, and mules perished in the terrible conflict. Warrior was brought home to the Isle of Wight by his owner, Christmas 1918, and subsequently lived on for 33 years.

When Warrior passed away, his obituary apeared in The  London Evening Standard. It carried the heading : The Horse The Germans Could Not Kill.


It is little wonder that the film director Steven Spielberg has produced the acclaimed new film ; War Horse, based on the book by Michael Morpurgo which became the basis of a play now retold by Spielberg. But, what is not widely known is that Spielberg was the key person in establishing an  oral history archive –  Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, based in America.

Whilst working on the film Schindlers List in 1994 and  based on events of the Holocaust, Spielberg became passionate about the recording of eye witness accounts and was determined that there would be lasting evidence of what happened in history  so that future generations of people would know of the horrors that transpired and that lessons would be learned from these  events  so the it would never happen again.

The main URL is : http:/www.vhf.org/


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