general

SS CANBERRA

     SS Canberra was an ocean liner, which later operated on cruises, in the P&O fleet from 1961 to 1997. She was built in Belfast, Northern Ireland at a cost of £17,000,000. The ship was named on 17 March 1958, after the federal capital of Australia, Canberra. She was launched on 16 March 1960, She appeared in the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever. In the 1982 Falklands War she served as a troop ship.

     P&O commissioned Canberra to operate the combined P&O-Orient Line service between the United Kingdom and Australia. However a refit in 1974 saw Canberra adapted to cruising. Unusually, this transition from an early life as a purpose built ocean liner to a long and successful career in cruising, occurred without any major external alterations, and with only minimal internal and mechanical changes over the years. She was the first British passenger liner to use alternating current as power.

     There are several operational and economical advantages to such electrical de-coupling of a ship's propulsion system, and it became a standard element of cruise ship design in the 1990s, over 30 years after Canberra entered service. However, diesel engine and gas turbine driven alternators are the primary power source for most modern electrically propelled ships. 
Canberra had a bulbous bow, two sets of stabilizers, and two funnels side-by-side. The lifeboats, which were made from glass fibre, were placed three decks lower than usual for ships of her type.
     On 2 April 1982, Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands, which initiated the Falklands War. At the time, Canberra was cruising in the Mediterranean. The next day, her captain Dennis Scott-Masson received a message asking his time of arrival at Gibraltar, which was not on his itinerary. When he called at Gibraltar, he learnt that the Ministry of Defence had requisitioned Canberra for use as a troopship. Canberra sailed to Southampton, Hampshire where she was quickly refitted, sailing on 9 April for the South Atlantic.[3] 
     Nicknamed the Great White Whale, Canberra proved vital in transporting 3 Commando Brigade to the islands more than 9,000 nautical miles (17,000 km) from the United Kingdom. Canberra was sent to the heart of the conflict.

     After a lengthy refit, she returned to civilian service as a cruise ship. Her role in the Falklands War made her very popular with the British public, and ticket sales after her return were elevated for many years as a result. Age and high running costs eventually caught up with her and she was withdrawn from P&O service in September 1997 and sold to ship breakers for scrapping on 10 October 1997, leaving for Pakistan on 31 October 1997.

POOR OLD REX!

     The Rex cinema in Fratton Road opened in 1914 as the Globe Electric Theatre with seating for 540. In 1937 it became the 1937 and as with so many buildings at that time during World War II, it was used as a furniture store for bombed houses. The Troxy which had also been built along Fratton Road also got used for the same purpose. After the war finished the Rex was cleared out and then re-opened as a cinema until in 1983, when films became poorly patronised due to the large number of cinemas around, and it became a Pool Club. But in time that popularity fell away and so it was closed and then demolished in 2001. After lying empty for a couple of years, lack of housing was a problem and so the dreaded blocks of flats started to rear their presence and that is when the derelict site became the permanent demise of the Rex cinema.

 

FROM THE PARISH REGISTERS OF 
ST GEORGE, HANOVER SQUARE, LONDON

2nd June, 1843
Alice Maud Mary, daughter of Her Majesty Queen Victoria and His Royal Highness Prince Albert. Buckingham Palace, born April 25th, 1843.

 

 

 

PARISHES

THE JOHN POUNDS MEMORIAL CHURCH

     John Pounds Church is the home of Portsmouth Unitarians and there has been a place of worship on the site since 1662 when a Presbyterian chapel was opened. By the early 19th century the chapel had fallen into disrepair and was acquired for Unitarian worship. John Pounds remains are buried in the churchyard. 
     The original chapel on High Street and the John Pounds workshop were destroyed during a WWII enemy bombing raid on the night of 10th/11th January 1941. The foundation stone of the new John Pounds Church was not laid until 24th September 1955 and the building was not opened for worship until a year later. 
     The High Street Chapel, now known as John Pounds Memorial Church, was originally built in 1718, some 56 years after the Presbyterian movement in Portsmouth was founded by Benjamin Burgess. Prior to 1718 meetings were held in rooms on Penny Street and then later in St. Thomas's Street, in a large room above a butchers shop. The building of the High Street Chapel was largely financed by the wealthy and influential Carter family who lived almost opposite the church at No. 19 High Street.

 

FROM THE PARISH REGISTERS OF 
ST GEORGE, HANOVER SQUARE, LONDON

2nd June, 1843
Alice Maud Mary, daughter of Her Majesty Queen Victoria and His Royal Highness Prince Albert. Buckingham Palace, born April 25th, 1843.

 

AN ODD PARISH REGISTER ENTRY

     An entry from the 1801 burial register of Creeting St Mary in Suffolk, reads:
Elizabeth alias ‘Sally’ Woods was a dwarf who lived in the lane on Creeting Hills, still named after her. When her cottage fell down, she lived on in the chimney and when she was buried, the length of her coffin was thee feet four inches, its width one foot one inch and a half, its depth one foot nine inches.

 

THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT

     Often when we are indexing records, we come across odd items in registers or pieces of paper. I came across probably the most bizarre one I have seen when indexing some Funeral Directors records recently.
* I direct my Executors to arrange that my body be dressed in a loose-fitting shroud so that I can use my arms.
* I direct my Executors  to arrange to have buried with me a light hammer through the handle of which passes a cord which is then tied around my wrist so that I could use the hammer to hit the inside of the coffin.
Can you get more bizarre than that?

 

HMS WARRIOR SEASONALLY

     The fastest, largest and most powerful warship in the world when she was launched in 1860. Such was her reputation that enemy fleets were intimidated by her obvious supremacy and deterred from attacking Britain at sea - yet she never fired a shot in anger.
     She was built in response to the French armoured frigate La Glorie, the first armoured warship, and is recognised as one of the Royal Navy’s most historically important warships. On her first voyage she caused a sensation; people crowded to see her and she was considered invincible. The combination of iron sides, which offered protection from the exploding shells and the ability to carry large guns, changed the nature of marine warfare.
     Nowadays, of course,  she lies in Portsmouth, and here, at this time of the year, she is lit up for the season of Christmas.

 

THE CULLINAN DIAMOND

     Princess Mary of Teck, later Queen Mary, had been engaged to the Duke of Clarence before his death in 1892, and year later married his younger brother, later George V. The Cullinan diamond, the biggest diamond ever, and found in the Transvaal in January 1905,  was presented to Edward VII in 1907 and cut into several large stones. It is now in the Royal Sceptre.

 

information

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OUR MAIN WEBSITE AND

THERE IS ALSO A SUPPLEMENT

ON FACEBOOK WITH LOTS MORE PHOTOGRAPHS AND DESCRIPTIONS

 

 

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on Tuesday 14th and 28th

IN THE MONTH OF JANUARY, 2020 

 

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THE NUMBER OF VISITORS TO OUR WEBSITE IN THE PAST WEEK

was 3,834

and has now reached 713,4303

Total updated 13th January, 2020

 

 

REMEMBER

     Letters of Administration give very little information but do give the name or names of the people to whom administration of the estate was granted. Their relationship to the deceased is usually also given. The addresses supplied may prompt a census search.

 

100 YEARS AGO

     Portsmouth - The School Board and its assistant teachers are disputing over a regulation which enforces attendance of teachers at school by five minutes to eight in the morning, In consequence four teachers have been dismissed and nine others have resigned. The remaining teachers refuse to fill the spaces of the dismissed men, so something like a strike appears imminent. The union is supporting the teachers and the officials of the organisation state that the teachers who are leaving Portsmouth have nearly all obtained engagements under the London School Board.

 

OH DEAR!

    Just a few years ago we had to enlarge our home and increase the size of our computer network but since then almost half of our members started to fall to the es that have been very common in their place. Dementia, heart attacks and a few others have opened up spare capacity for our researches, so much so that it was always a rarity to see a vacant computer.      However we do have some spare capacity now and would welcome anyone interested in finding out about their past ancestry. If you are one of those, well why not pop in and see us and we will see between us how we can help. Details ouf our opening dates and times you will find on our Diary page on this site and regularly in the Portsmouth NEWS.

 

OCCUPATIONS

cockney - As well as indicating a resident of London who was born within the sound of the bells of Bow church, the term was once used in contempt to describe an effeminate man.
coxcomb - A jester. In medieval times the word was used colloquially to mean enyone who made a fool of himself.
governor - Anyone in charge of others, but especially one who carries out the wishes of a higher body such as a king or a government department. Originally it meant someone who was put in place to direct the actions of others. It derives from the Latin 'gubernare' meaning 'steering'.
long day man - A cab driver who worked during daylight hours but extended work into the night time.
picker - Various trades. Someone who sorts or picks out items. Also a shuttle caster in a cotton mill. Also same as a linter. Also a worker on a stone quarry who opens up a rockface with a pick, ready for work by the sawer. Also a fruit picker. 

 

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