General

DEDICATED TO HELPING OTHERS

     Among the men and women who dedicated their lives to helping others, two have a special place in the annuls of Portsmouth - Father Robert Dolling and Miss Sarah Robinson.

     The priest's legacy to Landport was St Agatha's Church, conceived in rading controversy. which, for different reasons, flared up again and again in post-war years,

     Hitler's bombs wiped out the old slum parish described in a book by Father Dolling, but the church miraculously escaped destruction, only to become a bone of contention in road-building and Dockyard extension schemes, in the path of which it defiantly stood.    

     Father Dolling championed the slum dwellers nof his parish and mimistered to their bodily and spiritual needs with a tenacity of purpose which inspired the warm affection of his people.

     His High Church principles brought him into conflict with his Bishop over the furnishings and rites to be observed in the new church. In the end, rather than to submit to the wishes of his eccliastical superiors, he quit the parish, to the deep sorrow of his flock.

     The doomed church on which he lavished such care became a naval store in 1957, and efforts to save the graffiti of Heyward Sumner, a friend of William Morris, were unsuccessful.

 

     Sarah Robinson enjoyed the distinction of having her effigy burned on Southsea common. Her zeal in steering soldiers away from the sharks and harpies who battened on them in Portsea brought down on her head tne vicious detestation of those whose business she was threatening. Mud was literally thrown at her in the streets, and her proteges were mocked as "Miss Robinson's lambs".

     Her Highly coloured descriptions of the seamier side of life in Portsmouth, delivered at gatherings of out-of-town sympashizers whose purse-strings she endeavoured to loosen, also aroused the indignation of councillors and respectable citizens, who accused her of exaggerating to play on subscribers' feelings.

     She became known as the "Soldier's Friend". Women who were also ready to act as soldier's friends, at a price, had other words to describe her. The hostel she founded was later taken over by the Y.M.C.A.

     A block of flats in Portsea, where she worked for twenty years up to 1892, now bears her name.

 

Parishes

St Mary's CHURCH, KINGSCLERE

     St Mary's  Church at Kingsclere is famous for a most unusual decoration, a weather-vane in the shape of a bedbug, seen on the left-hand side of the tower. It is a very tasteful bed-bug, with six little crosses for legs, and another for its tail. The story goes that back in the early thirteenth century King John was hunting in the area. A thick fog prevented him returning to his hunting lodge on Cottington Hill and he had to spend the night at the local inn in Kingsclere, where his rest was much disturbed by the depredations of bed-bugs upon the royal person. King John was so annoyed by his disturbed night that he ordered an effigy of a bed-bug to be erected on the church tower and a depiction of the insect remains there to this day.

 

THE LONGEST ROUTE

     In the 1930s, when trams were one of the main forms of transport in Southampton, a passenger who travelled every day to work at the docks from Shirley was estimated to clock up 4.125 miles every year. The longest route local people could take was from the Floating Bridge, through the town centre and Sholing to arrive on the other side of the Itchen, six-and-a-quarter miles later.

 

NEW FINDMYPAST

     Thousands of records of Middlesex Baptisms have been added this week from Ealing, Harrow, Hayes and Hillingdon.

Royal Air Force personnel records, 32,000 in number, appear in a new database and are the names of personnel  who were mantioned in dispatches during the Second World War. 

     The records can be searched by name to find an individual's rank, service number and the year they were commended.

The records may also be found in the London Gazette which you can find on the gazette.co.uk.

 

SIR JOSEPH'S FRUIT

     At Locks Heath, west of Fareham, where the Sir Joseph Paxton pub in Hunts Pond Road is not only named after the famous 19th-cenury botanist, but also commemorates the variety of strawberry he developed. From the 1860s until the mid 20th century, there was an important local strawberry-growing industry in the Locks Heath area. The Sir Joseph Paxton strawberry was particularly popular, and was so widely grown on Locks Heath that the nickname of 'Jo pickers' was given to the itinerant strawberry pickers employed to harvest the fruit during the strawberry season.

Information

YOU HAVE FOUND

OUR MAIN WEB SITE AND

THERE IS ALSO A SUPPLEMENT

ON FACEBOOK WITH LOTS MORE

PHOTOGRAPHS AND DESCRIPTIONS

 

THE NUMBER OF VISITORS TO OUR WEBSITE IN THE PAST WEEK

was 48,000

and has now reached 2,949,145

Total updated 15th August, 2021

 

THE DREADED PANDEMIC

 END IS GETTING CLOSER

     This was the heading I used for previous updates, but with the indecisions that still are affecting us between the Council who have said "yes" to re-opening and the church authorities saying, well I don't think I really know, but we have been given the date for officially opening as 12th October.  This still stands but whichever way it goes we are still having problems. We normally close for the month of August and so with less than two other months decisions to be made, we must be looking to September for someone to say "yes" to us. This really saddens me, but as you can see, we really are still stuck through nothing of our doing.

     Thankfully our websites are still proving popular and are therefore keeping us in touch with people all over the world, but my end of reasoning this time is frankly "I just do not know the answer" and we could become a victim of the 'Dreaded Pandemic' using the words I started with. As you will probably have seen, our county society have moved into the Hampshire Record Office and it is always sad when amalagamation take place to possibly guarantee existence. We wish them well.

The pandemic has reduced our membership too, and so we want to push our membership up as we are now on our own in this area and wish to maintain our position.

     Why not come and join us and so strengthen our position. Just send us an Email and you will be very welcome.

 

OCCUPATIONS

Luddite -  Originally one of a group of factory workers looseley joined in a movement to smash factory machinery which was taking away the jobs of manual workers Later the term was applied to anyone who refused to take on new ideas or working methods.

oblate - Usually the child of a wealthy person who was put into a manastery to be taught there.
pantaloon maker - Prior to the mid-1800s, only used to describe a maker of the type of mens 'long johns', being stockings and under-breeches all in one. 

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