This evening I listened to a description of Portsmouth, (Hampshire, UK). Pictures flashed before me of areas mentioned, like Portsea and Southsea. I wondered if I would hear anything about North End. I think I did but it may have been merged with a general description of a wider area. There were one or two place names I had to think about. Recognition did come. Portsmouth was and still is a student city. It boasts a university.

The interviewee, an author of crime novels, lived in Portsmouth for about four years, the same sort of time period I lived there. He described this ‘island town’ as ‘rough and violent’ like its history, citing its naval roots as main cause for this disturbing picture. It also has tribal social connections in each of its distinctive areas, he said.

First, I would describe this interesting and varied coastal Port city as being just that. It is no more rough and violent than some of the major cities of the world. Sure, it has some districts that are not salubrious. That not unusual. There was poverty when I was there and there will be today. Poverty was either social, emotional, material or all three.

Portsmouth has a transient Royal Naval and student population. The naval presence will raise interesting interactions. I witnessed a few, set off by people who needed something with which to increase their working statistics. I am pleased to say, I was party to minimising at least one injustice and helping to resolve another. I also say, with sincerity, I found some really super people who were residents of Portsmouth

This author should keep his expansive literary descriptions to his books, as I presume Ian Rankin does with his Books, which are based in and on aspects Edinburgh. That is the nub, the writer has voiced ‘artistic’ aspects for his literature based in Portsmouth, which have been magnified in discussion as being totally real and everyday life in the city today.


0 thoughts on “NO, DEFINITELY NOT!

  1. The city centre after dark, depending where you were in the city centre – it is rather a large city centre – could be an uncomfortable place, like a lot of sectors of city centres elsewhere. Nowadays, service personnel are requested not to travel or wander around in uniform for obvious reasons. It is less obvious who is who, except perhaps, the students may stand out.

    The building of all sorts of weird and wonderful office and apartments blocks which hid the beautiful city hall was a travesty, a design that should have been stopped. The locals didn’t like it but they were ignored. I am sure those elements of closed in messy planning did not do anything to enhance matters within that vicinity. I could happily walk through little roads and over grassy public areas to reach the Guildhall, till those horrid developments occurred.

    In the middle of the town centre, stretching towards the port, was an elite and historical area, I don’t know if you ever found it. It was another locality I visited regularly, there were some lovely bar meals to be had within it.

    On my last visit, not so long ago, I discovered the new complicated road systems that cut into and split communities that I had known. Yet the beating heart of Portsmouth was still there, as it had always been and so were some of my long-standing friends.

  2. i’m very happy living in the area…i’d much rather live somewhere with a rich (even if somewhat rough at times) tradition and history than one of these faceless “new towns”.
    like anywhere else, locals know the places to avoid.

  3. Succinctly put. New people soon learn where to go and what is done.

    The commentary I heard was recorded in the Spinnaker Tower. I can’t say I ever went up there or, if I did, it might have been called something else.

  4. no, it’s always been called that but has only been there a few years…it definately wasn’t finished (as proposed) in time for the millenium.
    i’m afraid of heights so haven’t been up it yet but i imagine the views are fantastic…go on, google it to take a look!

  5. Ah, that explains it, the tower wasn’t built when I lived in Pompey.

    There were one or two other names the were unfamiliar. I think one may have been an exclusive mews built a year or so before I moved, not far from the library (may the old one now) for the university.

    My last couple of visits to Pompey have been to catch up with friends, which I can’t do very often, so I didn’t scout about. Mind you, there was a wild, wild gale blowing almost storm force for one visit and the ferries were cancelled. Who would want to explore in those conditions. I wouldn’t even do that at home.

    Tell me, what has happened to The Jolly Sailor? I had many super meals in there.

  6. i’m not sure about The Jolly Sailor, i’ll have to make a few local inquiries for you.
    quite a bit has changed over the years but my favourite spot remains crumbling and dilapidated as always…Fratton Park, of course.

  7. The loyalty the local team engenders is phenomenal. Fratton Park would not be recognisable if it were updated, refurbished or tarted up in any fashion.

    The Jolly Sailor, if memory serves me correctly, was on the road to Portsea. It was an old pub, well run, evocative in its decor and had a restaurant that provided good service and food that was second to none. I wonder if it still exists, or what has developed into its place.

  8. i’ve looked into the matter for you and have the following snippet, retrieved from
    “The Jolly Sailor, Clarence Parade, is reported to be reopening soon, though it is likely to be marketed as a restaurant rather than a public house. It is presently uncertain as to whether its traditional name shall be retained.”

  9. I say, how exciting to see it in situ again! The extra name given since I last provided custom, is rather superfluous. The restaurant was downstairs (cellar level I suppose) and really, really good.

    When the ‘present name’ is mentioned, I wonder whether the extra label will be removed and the long standing JS will be retained. Or, another possibility would be the previous and original name that I never knew it by, given in 1948 when it opened.

  10. it is nice to see favoured old haunts again, isn’t it?
    i have a bit of a pet hate when it comes to people changing pub names…i think they ought to remain just as they were on the day they first opened their doors all those years ago.

  11. You have a point, as pub names are like historical markers, which if you have any sense of posterity or past, you would treat with much more respect.

    I really do not like the addition to the Jolly Sailor’s name, especially with the twee phonetic brand spelling; what on earth was it needed for? Then again, the Jolly Sailor was not called that at first inception either. A landmark from 1948 for another, older generation, would be completely missed,very much lost.

    There was a pub or a bar called the Jack Tar, but whether that was in Pompey or not, I do not correctly recall.

    It would be very thoughtful if there are to be name changes, if the previous name could be mentioned…such as “Cool Logs” previously known as “Over The Coals”.

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