England Expects

victoryYou are still able to visit HMS Victory which is undergoing a major restoration, while in the dockyard I decided not to go on board not due to the repair work but due to the numbers visiting during this 1/2 term and the amount of people going on board. I will return later in the year. Victory looks rather sad at present with tarpaulins covering work and her must tops removed. A couple of pictures below avoiding current repair works.

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Portsmouth Historic Dockyard


Sail and Steam HMS Warrior 1860

Sail and Steam HMS Warrior 1860

On many teenage holiday spent in West Wales I can recall the hulk of a great iron ship used as an oil barge near Pembroke Dock. HMS Warrior is now restored and one of the historic ships open to the public in Portsmouth Dockyard.  Launched in 1860 and although resembling her forerunners such as HMS Victory with figurehead, gun-decks arrangement (but some what larger) and the officers accommodation at her stern. This steam and sail steel steam powered warship was the most advanced “warship” of her time.


A Portland Church

St Georges Church  Portland is a grade 1 listed  church  now in the care of The Churches Conservation Trust  built between 1754 and 1766. The stone for St Georges was supplied by the same stonemason who supplied the stone for St Paul’s Cathedral.  The glass for the windows was all clear glass with the only stained glass window being added in Victorian times. The Church sits in a churchyard with over 2000 headstones.  Many are quite elaborate probably due to the number of stonemasons found on Portland.

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Lighthouses of the UK Portland Bill a Lighthouse with cannons

There has been a Lighthouse on Portland Bill for the best part of 300 years The current Lighthouse at Portland Bill is a grand building painted in Red and White stripes,standing 43 metres high.

1798, when Napoleon threatened invasion, two 18lb cannons were installed at the lighthouse.

A  tall  stone obelisk was built in 1844 at the Southern tip of Portland Bill as a warning of a low shelf of rock extending out into the sea, which still stands near the current lighthouse. The lighthouse was  automated in 1996  the range out to sea of the light is 25 nautical miles.portland bill light houseportland bill light house 2portland bill light house1portland x100 064

Protecting Portland Harbour

Verne High Angle Battery

high angle gun

taken from display board at the battery this picture shows the high firing angle of the guns this ensured shells dropped down onto passing ships but remained hidden from view.

Built in Portland stone and concrete as part of Britain’s Coastal Defences in 1892 located in a disused Portland Stone quarry at the northern end of the island. As the battery was built down in a quarry the guns were hidden from view of any passing enemy ships, Gun BatteryGun Battery 2Gun Battery 1The six ,9 inch  high angle guns that weigh 12 ton each fired to ensure their shells dropped down to inflict maximum damage on the less well protected upper decks of any attacking vessel. (2 other gun pits were built but guns were not fitted) The supply of shells were stored in two tunnel magazines, one at each end of the battery, using a short rail to transport the ammunition. The tunnels were roofed with earth and grass, and were therefore protected from enemy fire. Between the magazines were bombproof gunners shelters, two store buildings were built to the rear. There was no need for on site barracks, as the troop’s main accommodation was within the adjacent Verne Citadel buildings.

Beer you can not drink.

Walking down the main Street in Beer, East Devon you follow a small stream heading for the sea. The road slopes sharply  and you soon arrive at a single beach at a break in the cliffs. A beach with its bygone picture postcard views of a small, brightly colour fishing fleet with boats pulled high  up onto the beach. Nets, crab pots, winches and faded coloured floats add to its charm.  There is the added bonus of being able to watch fishermen landing their catches of fresh fish, crabs, lobsters and scallops, some are taken by lorry off to local markets but some are sold in a little fish shop right on the beach.


Tanks for the memory

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This monument is in fiberglass it is the prototype for a bronze now in London

Bovington Camp is the main area for The British Army Tank Regiments within the site is Bovington Tank Museum which houses the best collection of tanks anywhere in the UK. The museum traces the development of the tank from WW1 to the modern day Well worth a visit.

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There is more to Broadchurch (West Bay) than whats on the TV

St Johns Church West Bay near Bridport

The Church font was originally used in a sail loft facing the harbour. In 1862 it had been opened as Bridport Harbour’s own place of worship, first recorded as St Andrew’s Mission Church. Later in 1897 it became more affectionately known as ‘The Little Upper Room’ and remained in use. While local workers contemplated the construction of a new church. St John’s was built in 1936 to a design by Randall Blacking, an eminent church architect.Light and airy this Church feels like a seaside Church with carved figures of St Nicholas the Patron Saint of Sailors. The east window, consisting of five stained glass lights, also designed by Blacking, was dedicated in 1959 to both his memory and that of Canon Farrer, a much loved Rector of Bridport for over 20 years. The main feature is ‘Our Lord in Glory’ and at the base are the words “They that go down to the sea in ships and occupy their business in great waters, these men see the works of the Lord and his wonders in the deep.” The sailing ship at the bottom left corner is the Brigantine ‘Mary Hounsell’ built in the harbour in 1833, also the lighthouse of Portland Bill whose flashing light can be seen from West Bay is in the glass. Around the sides are many ship models and ships in bottles.

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