Pompey Shoreline

I have been trawling through my old photo’s. This one does not exhibit anything special, photographically. But it does contain some interesting buildings/structures, demonstrating how Portsmouth has changed through the years.Pompey_Shore_DSC02193.JPG_Adjusted

Starting at the lower left, the white building, is Quebec House which was built c1754 by public subscription as a bathing house !!! It apparently containsĀ baths which were replenished by harbour water.

I’m not sure I would have wanted to bathe in waters from the harbour, in times past. It would be dubious even in todays era with our modern sewer systems.

Up, and to the right of Quebec House, the tallest building at 560 feet, is The Spinnaker Tower. Conceived as a Millenium project it was given the go ahead in 1995. One of three designs which the local people could vote for, the Spinnaker won 60% of the votes. Various obstacles delayed the start of construction which commenced in November of 2001. The project was completed and finally opened in 2005. Named The Spinnaker, it represents a sail billowing in the wind. The tower is visible from over 23 miles away and its three viewing platforms give fabulous views overlooking the harbour, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, the Isle of Wight and all the surrounding towns and suburbs.

Back down at sea level and running left to right is the Round Tower and The Hot Walls. Part of the ports old fortifications the Round Tower overlooks the entrance to the Harbour. Although a tower, built of wood, existed in the mid 1400’s, a stone tower was constructed in the 1490’s. A series of ramparts were later added, connecting with the Square Tower (just out of shot). The small section of beach below these ramparts, to the right, is called the “Hot Walls” by locals, asĀ it acts as a sun trap heating up the walls.

Yet another change of architectural style, the tall blue tower, above the Hot Walls. Officially known as East Side Plaza Tower, it is commonly referred to as The Lipstick Tower because of its shape. This residential tower is 331 feet tall and was completed in 2008.

I hope this was of interest to you. I’ll see if I can dig out some more photos.

Diamond Days

Earlier today I was one of the many,waiting for HMS Diamond to kick off the Jubilee weekend. I joined the crowds all along the “hot walls” although I was stood on the beach. They may be called the “hot walls” but the weather had other ideas, being rather overcast. Nevertheless, there were quite a few folks down to watch and listen to HMS Diamond give and receive the salute. Meridian TV had their cameras on the Round Tower and Sky TV had their helicopter hovering over the harbour entrance. At some point I could hear bagpipes but never once did I see the source.

At this time Diamond was stationary, way over towards the Isle of Wight, while ferries and yachts hustled in and out of the harbour before all shipping movements were stopped. These two patrol craft came out to meet and escort Diamond in.

P275 - HMS Raider
P275 – HMS Raider
P279 - HMS Blazer
P279 – HMS Blazer

A number of tugs came out of the harbour, moved along parallel to the shore before turning about and coming to rest just off shore from where I was standing. These modern tugs can virtually turn on the spot and for a few minutes they pirouetted, performing a maritime ballet.


Eventually, the moment we had all been waiting for arrived. HMS Diamond made her way towards the harbour. The two patrol craft providing an escort. Two of the tugs also lined up, ready to salute HMS Diamond who had started her salute. In this photo you can just see the smoke created as she fired a broadside. I was rather hoping she was going to fire the 4.5″ gun on the bows but you can’t have everything.

HMS Diamond - Jubilee Salute
HMS Diamond – Jubilee Salute

Diamonds salute was answered by several shots fired by the folks at HMS Dolphin (Fort Blockhouse). That gun makes one hell of a bang and you can feel the shock wave as it hits you on its way across the water then again as it bounces off the “hot walls”. Once again the only visible indication is the smoke created by the firing.

Jubilee Salute from HMS Dolphin

As Diamond closed on the harbour entrance the tugs provided a salute of their own by creating water cascades.

Diamond Cascade
Diamond Cascade

As she was entering the narrows between the Round Tower and HMS Dolphin, a flight of helicopters in “diamond” formation overflew HMS Diamond along with an RAF Typhoon.

Diamond Flypast
Diamond Flypast

And finally the crew of HMS Diamond gave a rousing cheer easily heard by the watching crowds.


The end of the spectacle but a fitting start to the Queens Jubilee weekend.

%d bloggers like this: