Portsmouth community celebrates unveiling of new Mudlarkers plaque

IT's a tradition stretching back generations.

Tuesday, 24th January 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 24th January 2017, 9:08 am
Families of those remembered on the newest Mudlarkers' Plaque. Picture by: Kathryn Dawson Photography

Now the Portsea community has come together to celebrate the unveiling of a second plaque remembering the mudlarkers who once entertained passers-by off The Hard in return for coins.

The new one has the names of 30 extra people and has been fitted to the existing Mudlarkers’ Statue.

The project was led by former Lib Dem councillor Margaret Foster, who says she was a mudlarker in her youth.

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She led efforts to get more names added to the statue to ensure people always remember what was a large part of Portsea’s history.

She said: ‘This is never, ever going to be repeated again. It’s the end of an era.

‘This is about showing what deprivation was like after and before the war.

‘There was a lot of deprivation in Portsmouth, especially after the war.

‘And it wasn’t just children that were mudlarkers, there were men as well.’

Residents who had their names added spoke of their pride.

Keith Kneller was born in Portsea and now lives in Australia.

He said: ‘I’m really proud to have been born a Portsea boy and I am pleased to have had my name added to the statue.’

Former Portsmouth resident Alice Bache said: ‘I am very pleased and very surprised to have had my name added.’

Glenda Patilla said: ‘It was so good to see my brother, Ray ‘Polly’ Hart, have his name added. It was an emotional day.’

Val O’Shea said: ‘It was very emotional and a big thank-you to my son Steven, for having his dad Paddy’s name added to the statue.

‘Paddy absolutely loved fishing and loved the sea and loved The Hard. A big thanks to Portsmouth City Council and Margaret.’