Friday, 26 June 2009

Ports on the Solent



Portsmouth (pronounced /ˈpɔərtsməθ/) city located in the county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Portsmouth is the UK's only island city and is located on Portsea Island. It is commonly nicknamed Pompey.

Spinnaker Tower and Harbour
The administrative unit itself has a population of 197,700, which forms part of the wider Portsmouth conurbation, with an estimated 442,252 residents within wider the urban area,Part 3 making it the 11th largest urban area in England. At the 2001 census it was the only city in England with a greater population density (4,639/km² (12,015/sq mi)) than London as a whole (4,562/km² (11,816/sq mi)), although many of London's individual boroughs had a much greater density.
A significant naval port for centuries, Portsmouth is home to the world's oldest dry dock still in use and home to many famous ships, including Nelson's flagship HMS Victory. Portsmouth has declined as a naval base in recent years but remains a major dockyard and base for the Royal Navy and Royal Marine Commandos whose Headquarters resides there. There is also a commercial port serving destinations on the continent for freight and passenger traffic.
The Spinnaker Tower is a recent addition to the city's skyline. It can be found in the recently redeveloped area known as Gunwharf Quays.
The Portsmouth Urban Area covers an area with a population well over twice that of the city of Portsmouth itself, and includes Fareham, Portchester, Gosport, Havant (which includes the large suburbs of Leigh Park), Lee-on-the-Solent, Stubbington and Waterlooville.
The suburbs of Portsmouth arguably form a conurbation stretching from Southampton to Havant on the M27/A27 road along the coast, and north to Clanfield on the A3 road.
History

Portchester Castle at night, showing the Tower's uplighting.

There have been settlements in the area since before Roman times, mostly being offshoots of Portchester, which was a Roman base (Portus Adurni) and possible home of the Classis Britannica. Portsmouth is commonly regarded as having been founded in 1180 by John of Gisors (Jean de Gisors). Most early records of Portsmouth are thought to have been destroyed by Norman invaders following the Norman Conquest. The earliest detailed references to Portsmouth can be found in the Southwick Cartularies. However, there are records of "Portesmūða" from the late 9th century, meaning "mouth of the Portus harbour".
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle entry for 501 claims that "Portesmuða" was founded by a Saxon warrior called Port, though historians do not accept that origin of the name. The Chronicle states that:
Her cwom Port on Bretene 7 his .ii. suna Bieda 7 Mægla mid .ii. scipum on þære stowe þe is gecueden Portesmuþa 7 ofslogon anne giongne brettiscmonnan, swiþe æþelne monnan. (Here Port and his 2 sons Bieda and Mægla came to Britain with 2 ships to the place which is called Portsmouth and slew a young British man, a very noble man.) The battle is attested in early Welsh sources as the Battle of Llongborth. The poem names the Chronicle's "young British man of nobility" as Geraint map Erbin.

Anglican Cathedral
In the Domesday Book there is no mention of Portsmouth. However, settlements that later went on to form part of Portsmouth are listed. At this time it is estimated the Portsmouth area had a population not greater than two or three hundred. While in Portsea there was a small church prior to 1166, Portsmouth's first real church came into being in 1181 when a chapel dedicated to Thomas Becket was built by Augustinian monks and run by the monks of Southwick Priory until the Reformation. The modern Portsmouth Anglican Cathedral is built on the original location of the chapel.



Southsea Castle
In 1194 King Richard The Lionheart returned from being held captive in Austria, and set about summoning a fleet and an army to Portsmouth, which Richard had taken over from John of Gisors. On May 2, 1194 the King gave Portsmouth its first Royal Charter granting permission for the borough to hold a fifteen day annual "Free Market Fair", weekly markets, to set up a local court to deal with minor matters, and exemption from paying the annual tax, with the money instead used for local matters. King Richard later went on to build a number of houses and a hall in Portsmouth. The hall is thought to have been at the current location of the Clarence Barracks (the area was previously known as Kingshall Green). It is believed that the crescent and eight-point star found on the thirteenth century common seal of the borough was derived from the arms of William de Longchamp, Lord Chancellor to Richard I at the time of the granting of the charter. The crescent and star, in gold on a blue shield, were subsequently recorded by the College of Arms as the coat of arms of the borough.
In 1200 King John reaffirmed the rights and privileges awarded by King Richard. King John's desire to invade Normandy resulted in the establishment of Portsmouth as a permanent naval base, and soon after construction began on the first docks, and the Hospital of St Nicholas, which performed its duties as an almshouse and hospice. During the thirteenth century Portsmouth was commonly used by King Henry III and Edward I as a base for attacks against France.
By the fourteenth century commercial interests had grown considerably. Common imports included wool, grain, wheat, woad, wax and iron, however the port's largest trade was in wine from Bayonne and Bordeaux.

Round Tower
In 1338 a French fleet led by Nicholas Béhuchet raided Portsmouth, destroying much of the town, with only the local church and hospital surviving. Edward III gave the town exemption from national taxes to aid reconstruction. Only ten years after this devastation the town for the first time was struck by the Black Death. In order to prevent the regrowth of Portsmouth as a threat, the French again sacked the city in 1369, 1377 and 1380. Henry V built the first permanent fortifications of Portsmouth. In 1418 he ordered a wooden Round Tower be built at the mouth of the harbour, which was completed in 1426. King Henry VIII rebuilt the fortifications with stone, raised a square tower, and assisted Robert Brygandine and Sir Reginald Bray in the construction of the country's first dry dock. In 1527, with some of the money from the dissolution of the monasteries, Henry VIII built Southsea Castle. In 1545, he saw his vice-flagship Mary Rose founder off Southsea Castle, with a loss of about 500 lives, while going into action against the French fleet. Over the years Portsmouth's fortification was increased by numerous monarchs, although most of these have now been converted into tourist attractions.
On 13 May 1787 11 ships sailed from Portsmouth, to establish the first European colony in Australia, it also marked the beginning of prisoner transports to that continent. It is known today as the First Fleet in Australia.

HMS Warrior
Portsmouth has a long history of supporting the Royal Navy logistically, leading to it being important in the development of the Industrial Revolution. Marc Isambard Brunel, the father of famed Portsmouth engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel, established in 1802 the world's first mass production line at the Portsmouth Block Mills, to mass produce pulley blocks for rigging on the Royal Navy's ships. At its height the Dockyard was the largest industrial site in the world.
Admiral Nelson left Portsmouth for the final time in 1805 to command the fleet that would defeat the larger Franco-Spanish fleet at Trafalgar. The Royal Navy's reliance on Portsmouth led to the city becoming the most fortified in Europe, with a network of forts (a subset of "Palmerston's Follies") circling the city. From 1808 the Royal Navy's West Africa Squadron, who were tasked to stop the slave trade, operated out of Portsmouth. On December 21, 1872 a major scientific expedition, the Challenger Expedition, was launched from Portsmouth.
Gosport - Taken in 1960In 1916 the town experienced its first aerial bombardment when a Zeppelin airship bombed it during World War I.
In 1926 Portsmouth was granted city status, following a long campaign by the borough council. The application was made on the grounds that Portsmouth was the "first naval port of the kingdom". Two years later the city received the further honour of a lord mayoralty. In 1929 the city council added the motto "Heaven's Light Our Guide" to the medieval coat of arms. Apart from referring to the celestial objects in the arms, the motto was that of the Star of India. This recalled that troopships bound for the colony left from the port. Further changes were made to the arms in 1970, when the Portsmouth Museums Trust sponsored the grant of crest, supporters and heraldic badge. The crest and supporters are based on those of the royal arms, but altered to show the city's maritime connections: the lions and unicorn have been given fish tails, and a naval crown placed around the latter animal. Around the unicorn is wrapped a representation of "The Mighty Chain of Iron", a Tudor defensive boom across Portsmouth Harbour.

Old Portsmouth
The city was bombed extensively during World War II, destroying many houses and the Guildhall. While most of the city has since been rebuilt, developers still occasionally find unexploded bombs. Southsea beach and Portsmouth Harbour were military embarkation points for the D-Day landings on June 6 1944. Southwick House, just to the north of Portsmouth, had been chosen as the headquarters for the Supreme Allied Commander, US General Dwight D. Eisenhower, during D-Day.
After the war, much of the city's housing stock was damaged and more was cleared in an attempt to improve the quality of housing. Those people affected by this were moved out from the centre of the city to new developments such as Paulsgrove and Leigh Park. Post-war redevelopment throughout the country was characterised by utilitarian and brutalist architecture, with Portsmouth's Tricorn Centre one of the most famous examples. More recently, a new wave of redevelopment has seen Tricorn's demolition, the renewal of derelict industrial sites, and construction of the Spinnaker Tower.

Portsmouth Harbour, taken from Gosport showing Portsdown Hill in the centre and the city of Portsmouth on the right including the home of the Royal Navy, HMNB Portsmouth.

Fawley is a village and parish in Hampshire, England.
It is situated in the New Forest on the western shore of the Solent, approximately 7 miles (11 kilometres) south of Southampton. Fawley is also the site of an oil refinery, operated by Exxon-Mobil, which is the largest facility of its kind in the United Kingdom. Fawley Power Station is also located less than a mile to the south east of the village.

The village of Fawley

A settlement has existed at Fawley for many centuries, and the village itself was recorded in the Domesday Book. Other areas in the parish can boast remains from the Stone Age and Roman occupation. According to the Open Churches Trust, a church at Fawley was first recorded in 971. The present church (All Saints) was built between 1170 and 1340. This church still exists and is the parish church of much of the surrounding area. The arrival of the Esso oil refinery in 1921 transformed a sparsely populated agricultural area into an industrial centre with a population of around 14,500. Modern Fawley is smaller and less populous than its more recently founded neighbours, Blackfield and Holbury, but remains the administrative centre of the parish.
Other villages within the parish of Fawley include Calshot, and Lepe, which both possess shingle beaches and attract significant numbers of tourists and local visitors during the summer months.

Fawley oil refinery and chemical works

Fawley oil refinery viewed from Southampton Water

An oil refinery was first established at Fawley in 1921 by the Atlantic Gulf and West Indies Company. The site was chosen because a large amount of land was available for development, as the area was not heavily populated, and because of Fawley's position on the Solent. This provided access to the large amount of water used in the refining process, and also made it possible for crude oil to be brought to the site in ocean tankers by sea. Proximity to Southampton was also a factor, as at the outset much of the plant's output was used to supply liners using Southampton docks.
The refinery is now owned by Esso, which acquired the site in 1925. It was rebuilt and extended in 1951 and is now the largest oil refinery in the United Kingdom. The site also houses a chemical facility operated by Exxon Mobil and Nalco. As in earlier years, crude oil is brought to the site in tankers, making use of the docks which extend for 1.5 kilometres and are the largest independently owned docks facility in Europe. Over 3,000 people (including many contractors) are employed at the site.

Cowes
Best known as the world's premier yachting centre, Cowes is the Island's main port with a natural harbour at the mouth of the Medina river. Yachtsmen from all over the world participate in the season's prestigious sailing events, of which the best known is Cowes Week, held annually at the beginning of August.





Cowes and East Cowes grew from a huddle of fishermen's shacks around two coastal forts built by Henry VIII on opposite banks of the River Medina and named after the two off-shore sandbanks or cows. The towns are linked by an old-fashioned chain ferry and have a tradition of fine ship building, dating from the reign of Elizabeth I. Then came the yacht building industry, as sailing became a popular sport, endorsed by the royal family. In 1854, the Royal Yacht Squadron was moved into Cowes Castle, the former Tudor fort, and the name of Cowes has been synonymous with yachting ever since.

Cowes Sea Front

Shopping in the narrow pedestrianised High Street is a delight,
with some excellent shops, many catering for the yachting fraternity. The town also has an array of fashionable clothing shops, gift shops, delicatessens, cafes, restaurants and lively pubs. The high speed passenger catamaran service to Southampton is centrally located at Fountain Quay, where you will also find the Tourist Information Centre. Above the High Street and overlooking the Solent is Northwood House and Park. This classical style mansion was built in 1837 and given to the town in 1929, together with its 26 acres of grounds, which now provide public tennis courts, bowling greens, putting green and a children's play area. At the edge of the park stands St. Mary's Church, its landmark clock tower, designed by John Nash, was retained when the church was rebuilt in 1867.
East Cowes is where you will find the magnificent Osborne House, former seaside holiday home of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and preserved much as it was when the Queen died here in 1901. Nearby is St. Mildred's Church at Whippingham, where the royal family worshipped. Both buildings were designed by the Prince Consort.

Gosport
Gosport is a town, district and borough in Hampshire with around 79,000 resident inhabitants, with a further 5-10,000 during the summer months, situated on the south coast of England. Part of the South Hampshire conurbation, it lies on a peninsula on the western side of Portsmouth Harbour opposite the city of Portsmouth, to which it is linked by a pedestrian ferry.
Until the last quarter of the 20th century it was a major naval and military centre associated with the defence and supply infrastructure of Portsmouth Harbour. With the decline of these activities, many of its fortifications and installations, such as Fort Blockhouse and Palmerston Forts like Fort Brockhurst, have been opened to the public as tourism and heritage sites, with extensive redevelopment of the harbour area as a marina. Stokes Bay and the Solent are popular areas for yachting. Other tourism sites in Gosport include the Royal Navy Submarine Museum based just outside of Fort Blockhouse, the Explosion! exhibition, the Gosport museum and Little Woodham.

History
The Rowner area of the peninsula was known to have been settled in Saxon times, mentioned in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles as Rughenor (Rough bank or slope). Both Rowner and Alverstoke (a village now within the boundaries of Gosport), the name coming from the original point where the River Alver entered the Solent at Stokes Bay, were included in the Domesday Book. Settlements in the wider region date back much earlier. Rowner is recorded as being the earliest settlement of the peninsula with many Mesolithic finds and a hunting camp (presently sealed under the reclamation site) being found, tumuli are located on the peninsula (all investigated). Bronze Age items found during a 1960's construction in HMS Sultan included a hoard of axe heads and torcs (now stored by Portsmouth museum services). A three-celled dwelling unearthed during construction of the Rowner Estate in the 1970s points to a settled landscape. Adjacent to the River Alver which passes the southern and western edges of Rowner can be found a Norman motte and bailey, the first fortification of the peninsula, giving a high vantage point over the Solent, Stokes Bay, Lee-on-the-Solent and the Isle of Wight. The Rowner estate and HMS Sultan are situated upon the former Naval air station, first known as RAF Gosport and later as HMS Siskin and gives its name to the local infant and junior schools. The barracks at Browndown (Stokes Bay) were used in the first series of Bad Lads Army.
The borough's name - an early name was Goseport - is believed to derive from "goose". An alternative etymology "gorse" (from the bushes growing on local heathland) is not supported by the regional name for the plant, "furze". A third, found in the Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales and used in the town's motto, "God's Port Our Haven", claims a derivation from "God's Port", King Stephen's thanks in 1144 for safe landing in a storm. This, however, is a 19th century invention.
Royal Hospital Haslar, formally the last military hospital of the U.K. was closed as a military site in March 2007. It was opened in 1753, serving military personnel and their families, later also serving the community of Gosport. The hospital will now be used by the N.H.S. until the completion of the ongoing redevelopment of Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham, Portsmouth at which time the site will be closed. Within the grounds, situated next to Haslar wall on the Solent can be found graves of Turkish prisoners of war in tranquil settings overlooking the busy waterways between the mainland and the Isle of Wight. These graves have led to the disparaging nickname of Gosport (especially by those living in Portsmouth) as "Turktown".

1 comment:

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