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