Catalogue of rarely-visited places is a labour of love

Bryan Ferry

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Brian Hopkins is clearly a man with a mission – and a very worthwhile mission it is too.

For as we report today, he is intent on reminding us of some forgotten treasures in our midst.

It has been something of labour of love. For the past month or so, the 29-year-old has foot-slogged his way around the area – and occasionally into some slightly difficult terrain – as he has charted places that might otherwise remain in relative oblivion.

Some of course, are quite well known, including the historic fortifications at Hilsea Lines that protected Portsmouth from an attack from the north (an attack, of course, that never came).

Others though are perhaps not so familiar. They include the wartime tunnels and the radio station carved within Portsdown Hill, the Mulberry Harbour segment in Langstone Harbour, and the Japanese Zen garden at Southsea.

Brian has catalogued ten locations and says of them: 'They may be places that are out of sight, or that people go past every day, but perhaps the public are not aware of their history and significance.'

He's right and it is good to see someone who has the get-up-and-go to seek to ensure that places of significance get a little more attention.

We can't keep everything, but it's true that once a relic of the past is destroyed or allowed to rot, it cannot be retrieved.

Some, like Hilsea Lines, have protected status, but it's important in such examples that the public cares enough about a place's history for it to stay in the collective mind when decisions are made about improvements and protection.

We have wonderful crowd-pullers such as the Spinnaker Tower, HMS Victory and the many more magnificent attractions that this area has to offer.

But it's vital that we look after the small as well as the big.

Brian's work will help in that process and we salute him for that.

And if you're looking in a few days' time at how best to walk off the effects of the Christmas turkey, what better than to sample one or two of the hidden treasures he recommends?

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