Hidden Places Around Portsmouth: Barely Afloat

Local resident and photographer John Callaway gives us a glimpse into Portsmouth’s hidden places with his stunning photography. This week, John heads to Fishbourne and Chichester Harbour.

The thing about photography is that sometimes a different narrative begins to emerge when you review the images that you’ve taken. Today’s walk was along a public footpath leading from St Peter and St Mary’s church in Fishbourne, along the eastern side of Chichester Harbour to Dell Quay, (and beyond, but that’s for another day).

2006 document published by Chichester District Council indicates that after the Norman Conquest, Dell Quay was one of the five main ports for Chichester. From the early 13th century, it rose in importance, exporting grain, timber and wool and importing coal, wines, cloth and building materials. In 1353, Chichester became a Staple Port, that is, one officially empowered to deal with the export of wool. Within Chichester Harbour, Dell Quay was the only official ‘Port of Landing’ for foreign trade.

The document goes on to detail the commercial rise and fall of the port, concluding that ‘by the mid–1920s almost no trade came through Dell Quay, and commercially Chichester Harbour was all but dead…’, as it could no longer maintain adequate connections with Chichester.

And history repeats itself on a larger scale, as we appear to be governed by those that would pull up the ladder rather than maintain links to our nearest neighbours. Despite such close proximity they would rather anchor us in splendid isolation whilst we slowly fall into disrepair and lack of functioning.

Moored. Image © John Callaway 2020
Private. Keep Off. Image © John Callaway 2020

This article was originally published on John Callaway’s website, Ideas & images from Portsmouth and beyond. You can read more of John’s writing on his website and also see his live music photography.

Images by John Callaway.

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