Blue plaque unveiled for sailing legend Sir Alec Rose

THE home and business of a Southsea sailing legend have been commemorated with the installation of a blue plaque.

By Fiona Callingham
Thursday, 21st March 2019, 8:22 am
Updated Thursday, 21st March 2019, 8:26 am
The plaque was unveiled in Osborne Road, Southsea. Picture: Malcolm Wells (190320-5199)

Yesterday morning a crowd gathered to see the new sign in Osborne Road that shows where iconic round-the-world sailor, Sir Alec Rose, once lived and worked.

Currently the site of a Ken's Fried Chicken, the premises used to be a grocery store run by Sir Alec and his wife Dorothy during the 1960s and 70s.

Sir Alec was knighted after single-handedly circumnavigating the world between 1967 and 1968 in his yacht the Lively Lady.

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Businessman and sailor Alec Rose waving from his boat 'Lively Lady' as he arrives at Plymouth following a 28500 mile round-the-world voyage, England, July 4th 1968. (Photo by Dennis Oulds/Central Press/Getty Images)

For sailor Alan Priddy, who sailed Lively Lady around the world between 2006 and 2008 and spearheaded its recent restoration, the revelation of the plaque was an important moment. 'Sir Alec was my role model,' he said.

'This was an idea that we had probably back 2008, it has taken a while but I have always fought for him and I will continue to do so.

'For me Sir Alec represents what Portsmouth is all about, even though he wasn't from Portsmouth originally. He was an achiever.'

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British sailor Alec Rose ((1908 - 1991), formerly of the Royal Navy, on board his yacht 'Lively Lady', 25th August 1966. (Photo by Wood/Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Council leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson praised the sign's installation but felt another plaque was needed closer to the ground. He said: 'I'm really pleased. But I do hope we can also install one lower down to make it eye-level for people so they can read it.

'Sir Alec Rose is an important historic figure for Portsmouth. He was an ordinary man who wanted to do something extraordinary. We must celebrate what ordinary people can do.'

David Evans, monuments officer at Portsmouth City Council, added: 'We have been looking to do this for quite some time.

'I would like to say thank you to the owner of the kebab shop, Mr Saleem Ahmed, for giving his approval for us to do this.

'It is great that we are finally able to do this.'

There are seven other blue plaques in the city including one for actor and comedian Peter Sellers in Castle Road and one for author Rudyard Kipling in Campbell Road.

Labour Cllr Judith Smyth who represents St Jude ward, where the new plaque was installed, said: 'I have lived in this area for well over 40 years and I remember coming to his grocery store before I realised what a great sailor he was.

'And there are many more people that come from Southsea that are really important, we could do with more blue plaques in the city to commemorate them.'

Lively Lady was restored by the Hayling Yacht Company and sailed back into Port Solent in July last year