Portsmouth and Southsea - such an interesting trip.
Early in the summer we spent a few days in Bournemouth, Portsmouth etc. Well, our tickets to the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard were valid for a year, so we decided to go back. We stayed in another lovely old Victorian hotel, had an interesting walk round old Portsmouth, toured the submarine, and we still have not seen everything the place has to offer.... Battleaxe would totally recommend a (long) visit to Portsmouth - there is just so much to see and do.
Charles Dickens described her as:
'A black vicious ugly customer as ever I saw, whale-like in size, and with as terrible a row of incisor teeth as ever closed on a French frigate'
Built for both steam and sail, her statistics are staggering. The ship was protected by iron plating 4.5 inches thick, backed by eighteen inches of teak, giving her an overall weight of well over 9000 tons. Philosopher and I contemplated the huge ship floating quietly in the water, and marvelled that water alone could hold the thing up.... Eeeerr - OK. Guess how heavy the world's largest cruise ship, the 'Harmony of the Seas' is.... wait for it.....227,000 tons. Now, how does that float?
The massive propeller had to be raised when the Warrior was under sail - this took the muscle power of 400 men. Dealing with the anchors was nearly as bad. The ship had four, each weighing 5.6 tons. Raising each anchor needed 100 men on a capstan, and could take 4 to 5 hours. The ship was clearly not into quick getaways, but she could travel at over 17 knots using both sail and steam. Her sails covered an overall area of 37,546 square feet - imagine the effort need to hoist that lot.
Working conditions for the men were better than in the days of the Victory. At least they could stand up below decks, even if they still slept in hammocks slung between the guns. The worst time was had by the stokers, who worked below the water line in hot, airless conditions, shovelling coal into the forty furnaces which powered the huge engines.
|More room below decks - but still 18 men would live round each gun|
|They even had washing machines|
|Part of the engine|
I particularly liked the skeleton of the ship's dog.
|The Mary Rose|
|The ship's dog.|
|Queen's Hotel Southsea|
|Glass dome in the hotel foyer|
|View from our balcony|
|Oops - that ship is a bit close|
|The Portsmouth Naval War Memorial|
|Arrival of the hovercraft|
|Looks a bit threatening....|
|View from the Round Tower|
|The Square Tower|
I saluted, but in vain. All that passed was an Isle of Wight ferry, with just a couple of old geezers on deck, who gawped at me as if I was mad.
|Battleaxe reviews the fleet|
|And the salute is returned - no, this is from the internet - Trafalgar day at Portsmouth 2005|
|And the boys waved from the mast spars - no, internet again.|
At Spice Island we found a multi-story boat park, and the Portsmouth fishing fleet. We didn't go up the Spinnaker tower - have to leave that for another time!
|Multi-story boat park|
|The fishing fleet|
|We didn't go up the Spinnaker Tower|
Later, we drove to Gosport, searching for the addresses of some of Philosopher's relatives who lived there when he was little. We didn't have much success, but we ended up right by the Submarine Museum. Our seemingly limitless Dockyard tickets entitled us to go in, so we decided to call into the cafe for lunch. Curses, cafe was closed, so we ended up going round the resident WW2 era submarine, the HMS Alliance.
If you go to the Dockyard, don't miss the Submarine Museum. You can get there from the main site on a water bus.
Finally - a coincidence. Look what was setting up opposite the hotel as we left.... Hope the performing cats are doing OK!