Last year Andrew Neagus treated the History Society to an early and light-hearted history of Portsmouth and its Dockyard. This month’s meeting. His second instalment covered the period of 1780 – 1860. By this time the Dockyard had become the largest Industrial complex in the world. It supplied the Navy and the growth of trade to the ever-expanding colonies. Portsea, the residential area was growing rapidly, housing many Dockyard workers. The point, which was protected by fortresses became a bawdry area, with 44 pubs/ brothels servicing the community and the sailors who came ashore. It was an area of poverty, squalor and filth, even though people worked, the pay was paltry. Press gangs operated to provide recruitment for the Navy, they toured the pubs and whore houses Many pubs had secret rooms for people to hide in when the press gangs arrived.
After losing the American War of Independence, Portsmouth became the departure point for the ships to the new colony of Australia, carrying both convicts and emigrants, the first ships carried 800 men and 200 women as well as vast quantities of supplies. The journey was 15000 miles and took over 8 months. The women’s ships were manned by sailors, and although there were many deaths throughout the convoy, more people arrived in the new world than those that had left (work it out for yourselves!). Convicts prior to departure were held in Hulks moored in the Harbour. By 1805 the Dockyard was huge. The threat from Napoleon saw the departure of Nelson for Trafalgar, before boarding Victory, he took a short detour to Bembridge to say his farewells to Emma Hamilton. His eventual triumph saw the Navy assume unrivalled power for the next 100 years. During this period the Dockyard expanded rapidly with the creation of the new Gunwharf and the Royal Clarence victualling yard at Gosport, which was huge, creating work and consequently Gosport expanded rapidly.
Andrew spoke of many of the famous sons of Portsmouth including Henry Ayers, who discovered the large rock in Australia which was named Ayers Rock after him. John Pounds who founded Ragged schools, became the inspiration for the Barnardo’s homes for children. Isambard Brunel and Charles Dickens were also born here. One person of notoriety was Jack the Painter, who supported the American War of Independence and tried to blow up the Dockyard, ending up being hung from the highest ever point of anyone hung, being the yard-arm with his body displayed at the harbour entrance in a gibbet for years thereafter.
From the growth of the Dockyard we learnt about the expansion of Portsmouth itself including the growth of Landport, and Southsea. He covered the building of the Canal and the Railway, the construction of the massive defences around Portsmouth and in the Solent, now known as Palmerston’s Follies. The development of Southsea by the Victorian architect, Thomas Owen, the creation of Southsea Common, kept clear of buildings in order to allow an open field of fire for the military. Thomas Owen financed, designed and built St Jude’s church, the spire of which was extended to provide a navigation point for ships entering the harbour.
We look forward to Andrew’s third instalment with eager anticipation.
Titchfield History Society paid host to the Beaulieu History Society. Their first stop was a tour of the Abbey, given by Marilyn and Colin Wilton-Smith, luckily the heavy showers forecast did not happen. They were particularly interested in the Abbey due to the connections they have through Lord Montague of Beaulieu who is a descendant of the Wriothesley family, the second earl being married to Mary Browne, the daughter of the 1st Lord Montague from Cowdray Park in Midhurst.
We then proceeded to the Barn, where we had arranged a ploughmans lunch for them, with a talk on the Barn itself given by Ken Groves, our President.
Back on the coach which took them to the village, a short walk through to the Church where they were met by Richard Boden and David Mugford, who gave different insights into the church and some of its benefactors. Again special interest was taken on the Southampton Monument.
A big thank you to all the people who helped make the day go well.
This month many events are being organised across the country for Heritage Open Days.
The web address is here.
Ken Groves, President of the Titchfield History Society, raising the new flag outsider his home in one off the oldest parts of Titchfield.
Residents in Titchfield wanted to freshen up the first impression on entering the historic village of Titchfield. The old entry signs were a bit battered and did not do the historic village any justice. The first challenge was how to best summarise Titchfield as a historic village, so in 2017 Sean Searight took the lead in chairing a team of local enthusiasts who decided an emblem was the best way to pack the key historic places and moments into a colourful emblem. Designs started over some beers in the Queens Head pub and became more colourful as the evenings progressed!
The design was finally completed in 2018 and was then presented through consultation processes at village fetes and other media channels. Once endorsement had been secured earlier this year, it was agreed that the signs should be up and ready for July’s Village in Bloom Competition. Look out for the new fresh signs as you drive through: Saint Margaret’s Lane, East Street and Posbrook Lane. Many thanks must go to those locals who helped to organise the purchase and fitting of the new entry signs: Mark Rowe, Kevin Fraser, Phil Burner and Joe Folland (from the Traffic Department in Hampshire Highways).
More recently residents have proudly raised their emblem in the form of banners, flags and bunting erected in their Christmas tree stands and across the frontages of their homes and businesses. Saint Peters church started the celebrations off on Saturday 13 July with emblem bunting fluttering across the entrance for a wonderful wedding! The village emblem colours are out in force complimenting the wonderful flowers planted by enthusiastic locals ready for an amazing Village in Bloom in July.
Speakers for the 2019 – 2020 programme have now been confirmed.
Dates and speakers are:
September 17th 2019
Wig, Powder & Windows ~ Phoebe Merrick
Mills & Milling ~ Martin Gregory
Harlots, Dung & Glory Pt II ~ Andrew Negus
George Watts Memorial Lecture ~The Restoration of the Market Hall
January 21st 2020
William Cobbett ~ Richard Aldous
Slavery ~ Amanda Richardson
History of Coinage ~ Dave Walton
Strangers & Aliens ~ Cheryl Butler
Following a visit to Titchfield by the Bishops Waltham Society earlier this year, members of the History Society were invited to a reciprocal visit to The Palace at Bishops Waltham for a Summer picnic. We gathered in the magnificent grounds for our picnic, where we dodged an early shower and went on to enjoy a tour of the museum and Palace buildings. Our historical knowledge of Hampshire was also tested with a quiz which we enjoyed, and I believe we did not disgrace ourselves. We are hoping to build on this relationship as both places have so much in common.
It was the hottest day of the year for our outing this year, luckily, we had chosen to visit venues which were mainly indoors.
Our morning took us to the Hospital of St Cross in Winchester, which was founded by Henry de Blois. After morning refreshments of coffee and homemade cakes we were given a tour by one on the brothers. This took us into their beautiful gardens, their magnificent private chapel, the ancient medieval hall and old kitchen after which we received the Wayfarers Dole of bread and ale. Apparently if you are over 60 have no criminal record and do not own a property you can apply for residence in these beautiful surroundings. I believe the only other stipulation is that you attend church on a Sunday, what is there not to like?
Off to the local pub for lunch, back on the coach and a short journey around to Winchester College. Again, a guided tour was given, although some parts were out of bounds due to works being carried out. By this time, we were hot and tired, so back on the coach for a short journey home. A thoroughly enjoyable and interesting day.
Marilyn Wilton Smith