Hidden Places Around Portsmouth: Edifice and Architecture

Pulling up the (metaphorical) drawbridge… [Image © John Callaway 2020].

Local resident and photographer John Callaway gives us a glimpse into Portsmouth’s hidden places with his stunning photography. This week John heads off to one of Pompey’s favourite local tourist spots and history sites, Portchester Castle, and gives us an insight into his creative process.

I promise that I don’t go looking for photographs that can be used to illustrate the internal workings of my mind during these dark times…but sometimes there’s a narrative that emerges when I start the process of selecting what to post here, or if, and how I’m going to process the images.

(i): Rickety structure in splendid isolation ✔︎

(ii): Tide going out ✔︎

(iii): Washed out colours and a sepia tinge suggesting halcyon days of yore ✔︎

(iv): Signage that could be construed as ironic ✔︎

(v): Historical buildings dating back to a time of Empire ✔︎

(vi): Dark clouds gathering ✔︎

Edifice… [Image © John Callaway 2020].
In the dark mists of time, Brother Reg asked a question which could similarly be asked today, although replacing the Romans with the EU…

But I digress.

So here’s a brief history of Portchester Castle, seen in the photograph below.

Portchester Castle was begun as a Roman fort, one of the series of coastal forts now known as the Forts of the Saxon Shore. These forts were built over the course of the 3rd century, to meet the threat presented by Saxon pirates who were then raiding the south coast of Roman Britain. Portchester can probably be identified with Portus Adurni, one of a series of forts along the south and east coasts of Britain recorded in the Roman military manual, the Notitia Dignitatum.

‘It seems clear that the fort was founded here because of its commanding position at the head of a huge natural harbour. We have no clear evidence for the date of the original fort, but coins recently found on the site date it to after about 268. Given its evident relationship to the harbour, it may well be that the fort was founded by Marcus Aurelius Carausius, the man appointed by the Emperor Diocletian to command the Roman fleet in the Channel in about AD 285.’ [Source: English Heritage]

Pulling up the (metaphorical) drawbridge… [Image © John Callaway 2020].
Today the structures in the harbour seem to be a little less sturdy, and lacking a clear purpose. Sound familiar?

Jetty… [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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