A great Pointer to life in vibrant and violent old Portsmouth

A car over the side of The Camber
A car over the side of The Camber
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As we know, a person born within the sound of London’s Bow bells is a Cockney. So I wonder if someone born within the sound of the old chain ferry could be called a Pointer, an old phrase for people living at Point, Old Portsmouth.

I ask as a new book being released on Saturday has been written by Gower Lloyd who, although not born at Point was conceived there and lived there from the age of a couple of days after being born at St Mary’s Hospital, Milton.

Site of the old tram shed and site of William Wyllie's studio.

Site of the old tram shed and site of William Wyllie's studio.

His father is a Welshman who settled at Point many years before Gower was born.

Gower’s new book A History of Point – Portsmouth’s Spice Island covers the period from 1400 to the present. All today’s pictures come from his book.

It describes the former island from when it was first inhabited and covers all the goings-on in a place that must be considered unique.

The book is something Gower had been thinking about doing for some time. He lived at Point for the first 25 years of his life and has been associated with the area for more than 60 years.

The cover of Gower Lloyd's book.

The cover of Gower Lloyd's book.

The A4-sized book has 200 pages and 190 photographs and costs £19.95.

It will be available at Southsea Market, Palmerston Road, on Saturday from 9am-5pm.

The author will be there to meet you and sign copies and he will be there again on Saturday, December 5.

Portsmouth Point, part of which was first built on in the 15th century, is a unique place with a fascinating history.

It is known locally as Spice Island, possibly because of all the spices and Eastern goods that passed through it when the East India Company and its large fleet of ships were regular visitors in the 17th and 18th centuries.

The book attempts to give readers an idea of the colourful place this must have been throughout its history with mariners visiting from all parts of the world.

It was visited by ships’ companies of both the Royal Navy and Merchant Navy and sailors from many foreign ports.

At one time during its history it boasted nearly 50 pubs, together with beer houses, within its tiny geographical area.

Point was an island for many years with King James’s gate at its entrance and a bridge beyond.

This put it outside the town of Portsmouth, which contributed to its reputation for lawlessness and notoriety.

The Sally Ports, used by many sailors for coming ashore and later leaving to voyage abroad to fight sea battles, were also used on numerous occasions for the departure of fleets setting off to establish colonies and aid the expansion of the British Empire.