Behold(er)! They contained gas and they fascinated us

GAS The holder at Emsworth being dismantled recently. 
                Picture: Dorothy Diamond
GAS The holder at Emsworth being dismantled recently. Picture: Dorothy Diamond
Bob Sivewright with quick-thinking newsboy Chris Turner

THIS WEEK IN 1992: Couple saved from gas leak by hero newspaper delivery boy

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Isn’t it amazing how people become attached to the strangest things? Do you remember the two massive gas holders at Hilsea Gas Works?

They were part of the city landscape for many years alongside the railway line and much missed when demolished.

Whisky, the much loved pet of Des Whitby

Whisky, the much loved pet of Des Whitby

For the rest of this month there’s an exhibition at Emsworth Museum on the history of the Emsworth gas holder.

It was built in 1933/1934 on the site of an old gas and coke works and became redundant in 2012. It had been an important part of the Emsworth skyline for more than 80 years and people either loved it or hated it.

It is believed Emsworth yachtsmen often used it as a marker as they sailed up the harbour to their moorings.

Now it is no more and another feature of past life has disappeared forever.

Can you imagine how proud these young naval cadets must have been to be inspected by no less than King George VI when he visited Portsmouth on September 30, 1942?
It must have been a great occasion for the lads and I wonder if there are any still about who recognise themselves and remember that day?

Can you imagine how proud these young naval cadets must have been to be inspected by no less than King George VI when he visited Portsmouth on September 30, 1942? It must have been a great occasion for the lads and I wonder if there are any still about who recognise themselves and remember that day?

Des Whitby saw the photograph I published of the two dogs standing on the muzzle of the battleship Leviathan and it made him wonder if his dog might be a descendant of the one pictured standing on top of the gun barrel.

Des says HM ships had their pet dogs, cats and many other more exotic livestock, regardless of any quarantine laws.

When in port the dogs roamed about, fraternising with other ships’ dogs and those ashore.

Des was stationed in Malta from 1950 to 1952 and he and his wife inherited their dog Whisky from a family returning to the UK in 1951. They were his sixth owners.Apparently he was born in Malta in 1948 to the ship’s dog in HMS Phoebe.

Dave Milbourne, from Toronto, was visiting Portsmouth in 1987 and was thrilled to be at the harbour when HMS Warrior 1860 arrived. He sent me this photo of tugs guiding the ship to her new berth alongside The Hard, Portsea.

Dave Milbourne, from Toronto, was visiting Portsmouth in 1987 and was thrilled to be at the harbour when HMS Warrior 1860 arrived. He sent me this photo of tugs guiding the ship to her new berth alongside The Hard, Portsea.

Just like the dog shown in the original photo, he could perform all sorts of tricks. His favourite was, standing on both front legs to pay a call of nature while at the same time perambulating around a lamppost.

When the family were due to return home in 1952 they couldn’t bear to pass him on again so they sent him ahead into quarantine in the UK. It cost half-a-crown a day for six months, a lot of money at that time, but well worth it.

He lived for a further 12 years, living through several house moves and is buried in Des’s garden.