Sunday, July 30, 2006

Spinnaker at Night

Couldn't resist posting a shot of the Spinnaker Tower at night. I think its best to shoot it when its lit by white light, but the tower has many other colors - red, blue, purple etc etc.You can also see the new houses at Gunwharf in the shadows to the right and the lights of the restaurants just to the bottom right of the tower itself.

View Satellite image of the Spinnaker Tower and Restaurants @ Google Maps.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Coloured Blocks

These blocks were shot down at the local fishing dock/marina. They`re used to prop up the boats when they've been lifted out of the water - so they can be cleaned or painted etc. The colours caught my eye and I thought they`d make a good picture.

View Satellite image of the location of these blocks @ Google Maps.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Static Wave

One of the interestingly designed benches that visitors can sit on to admire the sea view on Southsea seafront.

Designed to mimmick a wave I would imagine! View the Satellite image to see what kind of view they have.

View Satellite Image of this location @ Google Maps.

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Seaweed freshly washed up on the beach.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Wooden Boat

This boat was moored in Gunwharf the other afternoon. It caught my eye as the wood was so well kept - polished and gleaming in the sunlight.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel

This is the new monument that was erected this year to celebrate the birthday of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Born in Portsmouth on 9th April 1806, he went on to build several notable things: The Great Western Railway, a series of famous steamships and numerous bridges. You can read all about Isambards inventions and the things he built on his wikipedia page.

The monument is quite a lavish affair with gold text and an interesting design reflecting the early days of steam below. Unfortunately theres some problem with the statue that was to go on top, either it wasn't ready or some other such misfortune so the monument stands waiting for the arrival of the great man himself.

View Satellite image of the location of the monument.
Its in the small circle of trees with sand in the middle.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Gunwharf Shopping

Just around the corner from King James Quay is the (before mentioned) Gunwharf Quays. This picture shows one of the prime shopping 'malls' that are in Gunwharf, mainly selling designer goods for much reduced prices (the prices marked always seem to change when you go to the checkout - being reduced further).

Also here is the one and only Starbucks in the whole of Portsmouth. I`m not sure if they had to give an exclusivity contract to Gunwharf for reduced rent to keep Starbucks purely a Gunwharf attraction - but at least we have Costa elsewhere.

The architecture is quite nice - modern and clean with a hint of natural materials. I`ll leave you to make up your own minds as to whether you like it.

View Satellite image of Gunwharf Quays Shopping @ Google Maps.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Prime Housing (King James Quay)

Continuing my theme of Old Portsmouth, this is an example of the new houses that are springing up everywhere. Well, not quite a usual example - this is a development by Sea Containers (one of the biggest owners of Ports and shipping lines in the world), surprising as this part of Portsmouth is no-where near the current container port.

I`m guessing there used to be a container dock here years ago and Sea Containers decided to create these houses on the land rather than let it go to waste when the dock was no longer needed. Anyway, if you want to live here, you need plenty of money! The average price for a three storey town house in this area is 375,000gbp (700,000$ - 550,000e) - bear in mind that is a 'terrace' meaning the houses are in a long row, not detached.

Still, the houses are nice and I think they fit in with the traditional mood of the area. What do you think?

View Satellite image of this area @ Google Maps.
You can clearly see the green of the gardens in the center of the shot.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Old Portsmouth and the Tower

A view of Old Portsmouth and the Spinnaker Tower from the car ferry on leaving Portsmouth.You can clearly see the masts of HMS Victory and HMS Warrior to the left and the cranes of the new Gunwharf buildings to the right. The tall white building just next to the Spinnaker Tower is the headquarters of Pall Europe (they make some kind of industrial filters).

The land with the white building is called the 'Spice Island' which, in the old days, used to import many exotic spices from the Carribean. The only cargo that Portsmouth receives these days are bananas - and they go up to the container port further up the harbour. You can see a better view of the actual Spice Island here.

View Satellite view of The Spice Island @ Google Maps.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Trafalgar 200: Fireworks 9/9

'The Finale'

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Trafalgar 200: Fireworks 8/9

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Trafalgar 200: Fireworks 7/9

'The Ballet Dancers'

Monday, July 17, 2006

Trafalgar 200: Fireworks 6/9

More Palm Trees

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Trafalgar 200: Fireworks 5/9

'The Smiling Face'
I have no idea how they created a smiling face in fireworks.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Trafalgar 200: Fireworks 4/9

'The Palm Trees'

Friday, July 14, 2006

Trafalgar 200: Fireworks 3/9

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Trafalgar 200: Fireworks 2/9

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Trafalgar 200: Fireworks 1/9

An amazing fireworks spectacular at the end of the reinactment blew everybody away - apparently the display was set up by the same guy who made the Sydney New Year 2000 fireworks on the Harbour Bridge. Anyway, the next 9 pictures will give you some idea of how it was to be there.

Trafalgar 200: Darkness approaches

This was taken during the reinactment of the Battle of Trafalgar. Nelson walked through the crowds to meet a waiting boat - then he was taken to a mock up of HMS Victory (the real ship is actually on display in the Historic Dockyard and you can walk around it) and the battle commenced.

Due to the huge amount of people there is was rather a crowded event, people pushing and shoving to get to a good vantage point. I didn't stick around here for long and made my way to a deserted bowling green where I thought I might get some nice pictures of the fireworks. And I did ;)

View Satellite image of HMS Victory in Portsmouth Dockyard @ Google Maps.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Trafalgar 200: The Giant Viewscreen

This is the viewscreen that the BBC rigged up for visitors to watch the fleet review. I took this picture because of the couple in the center of the picture - certainly very English! There was also a reinactment with people dressed up in traditional soldiers costumes (you can see one man on the right wearing his).

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Trafalgar 200: All at sea

A view of some of the ships that were in The Solent for the Fleet review. In the distance is the Charles de Gaulle, pride of the French Navy, one of the tall ships next to that and the funny little floating platforms in the foreground are the fireworks which lit up the sky in the evening. More on them later!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Trafalgar 200: The Crowds

I thought I`d post a small selection of highlights from Trafalgar 200 - for those of you who couldn't make the festivities last year. Trafalgar 200 was the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

I was there armed with my camera of course. From the sheer number of people there, you could tell something a bit special was going to happen. First there was a re-enactment of the battle in old sailing ships just off Southsea, the entire fleet from around the world had gathered out at sea for a fleet review by the queen and it was all culminated by a fantastic fireworks display - probably the best I`d ever seen. The following pictures will show some of the highlights. I hope you enjoy them!

View Satellite image of the location of this shot @ Google maps.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The other side

I called this picture 'The other side' as this location is exactly opposite on the island to the previous posting. This is whats known as 'Gunwharf Quays' which is the newest up and coming housing, retailing and entertainment area on Portsea Island. As you can see from the picture, its in a similar style to West Point (last post).

Credit to them, they have tried to keep something of the old Naval base here, the crane in the distance for one! You can find shops, pubs, bars, clubs, attractions, cinemas here - you name it. Also, its the home to the Spinnaker Tower (see previous post) which is located at once corner.
At the moment they're completing the final phase of the housing area which includes a huge 26 storey block of apartments/offices (just to the left of where I shot this).

One thing puzzles me - they seem to be making Gunwharf an entity of its own, kind of an island within an island. The place is surrounded either by high walls or new apartment blocks so once you walk through the gate its like you're in a new town. In other words, it doesn't quite fit in with the landscaping of Portsmouth in general.

Oh, and the housing is expensive once again. Around 275,000 gbp (400,000e or 500,000usd) for a 2 bedroom apartment. Not sure if I would pay that much even if I had the money!

View a Satellite image of this area @ Google Maps.
In the image you can clearly see the apartments around the edges of Gunwharf Quays.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

There was a time

Over in the Eastern side of Portsmouth island is the former location of the business school. The University had nice old buildings here which dated back to the 1940's or so. Anyway, time and progress happened, the Business school moved to the west side of the island to a brand new building and the old school was demolished to make way for... you guessed it, more housing. And this picture is the end result. Its not cheap housing either, Portsmouth has some of the most expensive real estate in the country as you can see from this link

I`m not complaing about this building - I quite like the Scandinavian styling, the light and airy feel of the place - its just a shame they had to demolish the old building and not preserve it or restore it even making it into housing.

View Satellite image of this location @ Google Maps
Funnily enough, this satellite image shows the old building in part demolished state

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

A Famous Face (or two?)

What is so special about this house you might be asking yourself? Well, its actually the birthplace of Charles Dickens. As the official website of the house states:

"The famous writer Charles Dickens was born in this modest house in Portsmouth, England in 1812. The house has miraculously survived and is now preserved as a museum furnished in the style of 1809 which is when John and Elizabeth Dickens set up the first home of their married life there.

They had no idea that their eldest son would go on to become one of the most internationally famous writers popular across the world for his novels and short stories. John Dickens came to Portsmouth when his job in the Navy Pay Office was transferred from London. They stayed here until 1815 when his job demanded that he return to London. Charles Dickens only lived in Portsmouth for the first three years of his life but he returned to the town on three occasions. Once he returned to research background information for his novel 'Nicholas Nickleby', and on two occasions later in life when he was a famous writer to give public readings of his work. On his last visit in 1866 he tried to find his birthplace but was unsuccessful, however it is now clearly signposted so visitors can find it easily!"

Portsmouth has many famous former residents among them: Charles Dickens, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (the museum here has an entire collection of his memorabilia including his notebook) and Peter Sellers was born here (above a Chinese takeaway).

Since Charles Dickens was here the city has changed a lot, and I`m not sure he would appreciate the huge city housing blocks that have sprung up nearby.

View Charles Dickens Birthplace @ Google Maps.

(The house is in the center of the shot, one of the terrace of four. If you follow the road up, you`ll find its large neighbours)

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Estuary

In this part of the world, the tide comes in and goes out twice a day - every six hours. As Portsmouth is on an island (albeit a small one) this means the entire place goes high and dry twice a day, and this is the scene at the top of the island at that time.

On the left of the picture you can see the 'Portsmouth Sail' which is designed as a kind of 'symbol' that you're entering the city - its right next to a major junction of two motorways that meet right in that spot. IBM UK headquarters is located up there as well. A cycle track runs all along the Western side of the island and thats what you can see as you follow the right side of the picture.

As you can imagine, on a hot day this area does smell a little. To the left, out of sight, is a large scrap yard - there are constant rumours that its going to be developed into ... something. But those rumours just seem to be just that, rumours!

View a Satellite image of the location of this shot @ Google maps.

You can clearly see the scrap yard to the left and across the other side of the motorway, if you move the image you can follow the cycle track upwards towards the top of the island.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

The Spinnaker Tower

Ah yes. The Infamous (at least around here) Spinnaker Tower. Completed in 2005, only 6 years late (it was originally supposed to be called the Millenium Tower). Personally I think its rather a nice addition to the skyline here in Portsmouth. You cant go anywhere on the whole of Portsea Island without catching this in the corner of your eye.It sits right at the entrance to the harbour, when arriving by ship its quite a dramatic sight.

A few problems were associated with the building of the tower - the concrete cracked, the tower went overbudget and then when it was due to open an executive of the city council got stuck in the glass elevator on the outside for some time! I`m still not sure the glass elevator even works to this date.

Visitor numbers have, however, surpassed expectations with over 250,000 coming to take the lift or walk the stairs to the top. I haven't yet ;) A later picture on the blog will be a night time shot of the tower - they change the color according to... well, something known only to them. Personally I think the white spot lights are most effective against the night sky.

View Satellite image of the the Spinnaker Tower @ Google maps

An interesting shot as it currently shows it before completion.