general

HMS TRINCOMALEE

     Trincomalee is one of two surviving British frigates of her era and was built in Bombay, India in teak, due to oak shortages in Britain as a result of shipbuilding drives for the Napoleonic Wars. The ship was named Trincomalee after the 1782 Battle of Trincomalee off the Ceylon port.
Work on the Trincomalee began in May 1816. Ceremonially an engraved silver nail was hammered into the ship's keel by the master shipbuilder, this being considered vital for the ship's well-being, according to tradition.  With a construction cost of £23,000, Trincomalee was launched on 12 October 1817. Captain Philip Henry sailed her to Portsmouth Dockyard, where she arrived on 30 April 1819, with a journey costing £6,600. During the maiden voyage the ship arrived at Saint Helena on 24 January 1819, where she stayed for 6 days, leaving with an additional passenger, a surgeon who had attended Napoleon at Longwood House on the island.
     After being fitted out at a further cost of £2,400, Trincomalee was placed in reserve until 1845, when she was re-armed with fewer guns giving greater firepower, had her stern reshaped and was reclassified as a sixyh-rate spar-decked corvette.Trincomalee departed from Portsmouth in 1847 and remained in service for ten years, serving on the North American and West Indies station. During her time, she was to help quell riots in Haiti and stop a threatened invasion of Cuba, and serve on anti-slavery patrol. In 1849, she was despatched to Newfoundland and Labrador before being recalled to Britain in 1850. In 1852 she sailed to join the Pacific Squadron on the west coast of America.
     Trincomalee finished her Royal Navy service as a training ship, but was placed in reserve again in 1895 and sold for scrap two years later on 19 May 1897. She was then purchased by entrepreneur George Wheatley Cobb, restored, and renamed Foudroyant in honour of HMS Foudroyant, his earlier ship that had been wrecked in 1897.
     She was used as an accommodation ship, a training ship, and a holiday ship based in Falmouth then Portsmouth. She remained in service until 1986, after which she was again restored and renamed back to Trincomalee in 1992. Now listed as part of the National Historic Fleet, following her recent restoration Trincomalee has become the centrepiece of the National Museum of the Royal Navy based in Hartlepool.

     Trincomalee holds the distinction of being the oldest British warship still afloat as HMS Victory, although 52 years her senior, is here in dry dock in Portsmouth Dockyard.

 

LANGSTONE MILL

     The mill sits on the edge of Chichester Harbour, where the waters between Langstone Harbour to the west and Chichester to the east mingle, and a thousand years of industry and activity have given way to a beautiful bird and nature reserve.
The old mill, now a private residence, was a working mill itself built across a creek, built in 1800-1832 on brick piers and the oldest part, an attached windmill, built in 1720-1740. Barges could be brought up to the mill for transporting the milled goods away around the coast.
The mill operated two ten foot wheels, one set higher than the other to make full use of the stream feed and the tide, which was kept behind tide gates. The black windmill is a distinctive feature of the landscape, its tarred outer skin resilient to the full force of the coastal weather.

 

 

 

PARISHES

THE WORLD’S OLDEST MAN

     A British former university lecturer has inherited the title of the world’s oldest man after the previous Japanese holder died aged 112. Robert Weighton was born in Hull on March 29th, 1908 and now lives in Alton. What a tree that will be.

NAPOLEON’S BURIAL

     Napoleon III, a nephew of Napoleon I, expected to be buried in the vault of the church of Saint-Leu in France, but the French rejected him in the aftermath of the Franco-Prussian War and, like previous French exiles he preferred the free air of Britain to any other country as the place to live out his enforced retirement in exile. He died in January 1873 and was buried in Chislehurst, Kent.

 

WHAT’S THE …………

     The small peninsula called Point which shields the Camber from the waters of the Solent was beyond the fortifications of the old town of Portsmouth - after 1867 it was reached through King James’ Gate - and was also outside the jurisdiction of the magistrates. It was a teeming area with a high density of public houses and brothels and earned itself the nickname of Spice Island.
     There are still several pubs on Point and it has retained some of the old atmosphere around Broad Street and the lanes leading off it. One interesting building to survive is Quebec House in Bath Square. Now a private house it was built by public subscription in 1754 and is a very early example of a sea bathing establishment.

     The sea defences of Point include the Round Tower, the Eighteen-Gun Battery, and Capstan Square which is on the north side of the Square Tower. And from the top of Point there is a fascinating view of the harbour.

 

ROYAL DEATH

     Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha died at Windsor Castle on 14th December, 1861 aged 42. The cause of death was given as typhoid fever, but chronic stomach cancer was more likely. He and Queen Victoria had nine children.

 

FROM THE ARCHIVES

24th January, 1905 Eastern Daily Press
     Joseph Billings, fishmonger, appeared before Norwich magistrates charged with keeping a refreshment house open during prohibited hours. According to the Eastern Daily Express, a police constable testified that he’s seen three youths ‘eating fried fish and chipped potatoes’ in Mr Billings’ shop at 11.15pm - just before the deadline. The magistrates dismissed the case on the grounds that it couldn’t be proved that a fishmonger’s was a refreshment house.

 

THE FIRST SURGERY

     In 1865 Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first woman qualified to practise medicine, opened for business at 20, Upper Berkeley Street, London. She had passed the examination set by the Society of Apothecaries, who then changed the rules to stop more women gaining a licence.
Beginning the need for poor women to receive medical help, Elizabeth set up the St Mary’s Dispensary for Women and Children in 1866.She still did not have a medical degree, however, as British medical schools refused to admit her. She therefore learned French and applied to the Sorbonne in Paris, where, in 1870, she was at last awarded a doctorate of medicine.

 

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     By order of the Prime Minister, we are not allowed to hold our meetings for the foreseeable future. This means that our website pages will be our only communication to our members and patrons and so we are very grateful as this usually totals over 2,000 each week. However, our computer network is also ‘down’ at the moment due to the wind and rain that has battered us recently, but that reconnection is underway by our supplier.
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THE GRAND THEATRE

     Southampton’s old Grand Theatre, which at one time stood almost opposite the Civic Centre, attracted some of the biggest names in acting. Among those to appear on the stage were Henry Irving, Lily Langtree, Ellen Terry and Julia Neilson. The Grand survived the bombing of the Second World War and re-opened after peace returned, remaining so until the curtain was brought down for he last time in 1959.

 

DID YOU KNOW?

     Nostalgia for telephone boxes and pubs has seen them become Britons’ top priority for urgent preservation, Historic England figures have revealed. More than half of the urgent requests come in for telephone boxes once located in Devon. Well I never!

 

OCCUPATIONS

leather cutter - cutter of leather in the manufacture of shoes in medieval times. Generally worked in the same buiding as shoemakers. 
marriage house keeper - Keeper of a ‘chapel’ for marriages before the laws of marriage were regularised. The person conducting the marriage was often a publican or other non-minister of religion and collected a fee for the ceremony.
novice monk/nun - Entrants to monasteries had to pay a fee in either cash or land to train as a monk. Novices were on probation for a year and could not join a monastery under the age of 18
poetaster - A petty poet who sold or read his own work in exchange for small amounts of money.
sedan carrier - Carrier of a 17th/18th century form of carriage in which two poles were used to carry a passenger chair (sometimes covered), with two men carrying, ne man being at the front and one at the back.

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