The Southsea attraction famed for its guns and roses

The Lumps Fort area of Southsea, the subject of a new book.'''''                                   Picture: Shaun Roster
The Lumps Fort area of Southsea, the subject of a new book.''''' Picture: Shaun Roster
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Everybody knows of it, but I suspect few know much about its history. It’s just one of those places that’s woven into the fabric of Portsmouth society without many paying it much attention.

But author Jackie Baynes is about to put that straight with the publication of her latest book which traces the history of Lumps Fort, Southsea.

When I published this picture of a circus at Lumps Fort the other day I was not sure of the date.  It turns out it was 1949 because, as Ian Thirlwell points out in an e-mail, The Evening News of July 4 that year carried an advert for the Midget Town and Circus appearing at the fort.''Ian says: 'I have a particular interest in that a great uncle of mine, Robert Thirlwell, going by the show name of Bob Bernard, had an act there, Bob's Canine Stars. There is an archive at Sheffield University, the National Fairground and Circus Archive, which holds a copy of the programme for the Lumps Fort event, though there is no date on the programme. '''The event was presented by Derek Roy, entertainer and entertainment producer in Southsea. The Midget Town was operated, if that's the right word, by an American, John Lester. He had a travelling company of midgets that went around the world.'''Interestingly, the following year, 1950, a troupe called Burton Lester's Midgets appeared at the Theatre Royal. Burton was John's so

When I published this picture of a circus at Lumps Fort the other day I was not sure of the date. It turns out it was 1949 because, as Ian Thirlwell points out in an e-mail, The Evening News of July 4 that year carried an advert for the Midget Town and Circus appearing at the fort.''Ian says: 'I have a particular interest in that a great uncle of mine, Robert Thirlwell, going by the show name of Bob Bernard, had an act there, Bob's Canine Stars. There is an archive at Sheffield University, the National Fairground and Circus Archive, which holds a copy of the programme for the Lumps Fort event, though there is no date on the programme. '''The event was presented by Derek Roy, entertainer and entertainment producer in Southsea. The Midget Town was operated, if that's the right word, by an American, John Lester. He had a travelling company of midgets that went around the world.'''Interestingly, the following year, 1950, a troupe called Burton Lester's Midgets appeared at the Theatre Royal. Burton was John's so

It’s called Guns and Roses – The Story of Lumps Fort and Canoe Lake Park and from it we learn that the fort (east of Canoe Lake) goes back to 1545.

That is when a redoubt was built to prevent a beach landing to the east of Southsea Castle.

However, as Jackie explains, the name predates the fort and was taken from Lumps Farm to the north – the owner being Ralph Lumps.

She says: ‘Old maps also show a Lumps Mill and a Lumps Lane in the area. An early reference to Lumps Fort is in the records of the Board of Ordnance in 1805. By 1822 the fort was in use as a semaphore station on the line from London to Portsmouth.’

Midgets show at Lumps Fort

Midgets show at Lumps Fort

The book, published by the Portsmouth Society, is launched next Tuesday and should be available at bookshops and outlets around the city soon after.

The caponier entrance to the Lumps Fort Rose Garden, as it was called then, in the 1950s.''''''        Picture: Hallmark Cards

The caponier entrance to the Lumps Fort Rose Garden, as it was called then, in the 1950s.'''''' Picture: Hallmark Cards

A 1950s' view of the Lumps Fort Rose Garden and surrounding earthworks.

A 1950s' view of the Lumps Fort Rose Garden and surrounding earthworks.

Summer view of the rose garden with the Southsea Model Village flag flying in the distance. ''''''         Picture: Hallmark Cards

Summer view of the rose garden with the Southsea Model Village flag flying in the distance. '''''' Picture: Hallmark Cards