Heaven and hell

13 September 2018

Back on the first floor we entered the upper gallery of the hospital chapel. In front of us was a glorious stained glass window and a beautifully painted ceiling. For the poor wounded soldiers, fresh from the horrors of the front line, the sense of peace and quiet here must have felt a little like heaven. We stood for a moment or two drinking in the atmosphere and then walked slowly along the line of pews reading the stories of some of those who once worshipped here.  Continue reading Heaven and hell

Climbing to the top of the chapel

13 September 2018

When we stepped inside the chapel it was empty except for the lady who sells tickets for the tower tour and a single guide. Entry to the chapel is free but there is a small charge to climb the one hundred and sixty six steps to the top of the forty six metre high tower. This was what we’d walked so far for and £3.50 seemed a small price to pay for a birds eye view of the park. Continue reading Climbing to the top of the chapel

Postcards from Victoria Country Park

13 September 2018

We left the beautiful new benches and set off across the park, our heads filled with the lost and wounded soldiers of so many wars. Neither of us said much as we walked across the grass of the cricket pitches towards the distant chapel. We were too busy thinking of all those past sacrifices made so we could live in freedom. War is neither good nor glorious but, when the alternative is to sit back and let evil and injustice prevail, it becomes an unpleasant necessity. Today we would be remembering those who gave so much.  Continue reading Postcards from Victoria Country Park

Gravehunting, a photographer’s story

8 September 2018

Several months ago I saw a photograph of Francis Godolphin Osbourne Stuart’s grave on a Facebook local history page and discovered it was hidden somewhere in the Old Cemetery. This little bit of knowledge set off a search that would take up my Saturday mornings for the whole of the summer. The Old Cemetery is huge and maze like. This summer it was also very overgrown. With no idea of where the grave was it was never going to be easy but a walk in the Old Cemetery is never a hardship.  Continue reading Gravehunting, a photographer’s story

Memories of the early 1970’s – strikes power cuts and bombs

January to August 1972

1972 began with a coal miners’ strike. As our coal fire was long gone, replaced by a far less attractive but much more practical gas fire, this didn’t seem to be a big concern for us, at least at first. Even so, I had a sneaking sympathy for the miners’ demands for more money. Spending all day in the dark at the bottom of a dirty mine seemed a horrible and dangerous job, deserving of a rich reward, especially when the Prime Minister earned so very much and seemed to spend most of his time sailing about on a yacht. Continue reading Memories of the early 1970’s – strikes power cuts and bombs

Titanic tales from Bitterne Village

4 September 2018

When RMS Titanic sank hardly any area of Southampton was untouched by the tragedy. Earlier CJ and I explored the streets of Bitterne where some of the crew of the ship once lived. Now, we were at the top of the hill in Bitterne Village, looking for three more houses. A lot has changed since 1912. Many houses were lost in the 1980’s when  Bitterne bypass was built, others were demolished to build the Bitterne Leisure Centre, the Bitterne Library a Health Centre and a large doctor’s practice. Whether we would find any of the houses we were looking for intact remained to be seen.  Continue reading Titanic tales from Bitterne Village

Titanic tales from the Bitterne crew

4 September 2018

When the world’s most luxurious liner began recruiting crew on 6 April 1912, it seemed like a dream come true for the people of Southampton. After the national coal strike, unemployment in the city was high and families were living hand to mouth on charity handouts. The dream turned to a nightmare on 15 April when, five days into its maiden voyage, Titanic, the unsinkable ship, sank. Over five hundred households in the town lost at least one family member. Today, armed with details from a crew list published in the Daily Echo, CJ and I decided to explore some of their stories. Continue reading Titanic tales from the Bitterne crew

Southsea rock garden

2 September 2018

There was no sign of the fast boys by the Pyramids when I got there. It was still a little early and running is not an exact science so I wasn’t overly worried. Knowing they’d be back fairly soon, I didn’t want to stray too far but, right next to the Pyramids, is Southsea Rock Garden, the perfect place to while away the time.  Continue reading Southsea rock garden

The changing fortunes of Southsea Castle

2 September 2018

Like most of Henry VIII’s castles, Southsea is a short squat affair. Even as I got closer, it didn’t look any more like my idea of a castle but, of course, today was by no means my first visit. Probably, with a little more warning of today’s walk, I’d have done some research and found something different to look at in Southsea. F.G.O. Stuart took several photographs of the place I could have recreated if I’d had copies on my phone. Still, the castle was there and I had time on my hands. Besides, even familiar places can hide surprises.

Continue reading The changing fortunes of Southsea Castle

A brief history of Southsea, a church and an awful lot of monuments

2 September 2018

The fast boys decided to go for a run in Southsea this morning and, as it was a beautiful sunny day, I thought I’d go along too. We parked up near the Pyramids, fed the parking machine and met up with Rob, Mark and Gil. Then the fast boys ran off and I was all alone to wander, just how I like it.  Continue reading A brief history of Southsea, a church and an awful lot of monuments