People with a connection to Portsmouth can now search the collections of the city’s museums to discover weird and wonderful historical artefacts from their local area.
Portsmouth City Council’s museums service has launched a new and exciting online catalogue that brings history to life and allows people to search for history from their area of the city – right down to the street they live on.
The catalogue covers a range of subjects, including entrepreneurial women, ancient artefacts and paintings showing parts of Portsea Island when it was still farmland. The catalogue can be searched by area or street name.
The project is a celebration of the work the museums service has undertaken over 120 years to collect artefacts from the local area. Some of the featured objects are on display at Charles Dickens’ Birthplace Museum, Cumberland House Natural History Museum, The D-Day Story, Eastney Beam Engine Houses, Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery or Southsea Castle. Others are not currently on show, but now local people and others can enjoy the rich collection of Portsmouth’s history in digital form wherever they are in the world.
Just some of the items available to view online are:
- A bronze plate with enamel details found at Bevis Grave on Portsdown Hill. This was a long earth mound put up over 1,100 years ago to cover a large group of graves.
- An oil painting of Farmer Kent’s Farm in North End in 1900, by H.C. Bryant. What was then farmland is now the area of Stubbington Avenue.
- A Hamak vegetable peeler. The patent for this device was filed by Ilse Elizabeth Fader and Blanche Angele Hamak in 1946. We have not been able to find out more about them or the peeler they invented. Hamak was a Farlington-based company.
- A board from the 1970s listing fares for the Eastney-Hayling Island ferry (tickets cost 11p or 22p).
- A saddler’s shop sign from Landport in the 1900s in the form of a full-size horse’s head, made from carved wood.
- A wooden rocker seat for a young child, decorated with a clown transfer. The rocker seat was bought for Michael O’Hara in about 1955, the year he was born. The O’Hara family lived at Leigh Park and also Somerstown.
Cllr Steve Pitt, Leader of the Council, with responsibility for culture, said: “As a Pompey local born and bred, I’m really excited about Portsmouth museums’ newest launch. I hope lots of locals, whether they still live here, or have moved away and are looking for a taste of their roots, will dive deep into the depths of our amazing history, be fascinated by these objects, and talk to one another about the strangest thing the museum has from their area!”