Every now and then I receive an e-mail or letter beating anything I have had in the previous month or so. And so it was when Cheryl Jewitt sent me a copy of the birth certificate of her 3x great grandmother who was born in HMS Victory in 1837.
Cheryl says: ‘I gather from my fellow Historic Trust volunteers that whole families lived on board when Victory was an accommodation ship in the harbour.
‘I feel very fortunate to have the information about her birth as registration of births only began in the September before she was born at the end of November 1837.’
Conditions on board must have been dire and certainly not conducive to childbirth.
Just six years previously the Admiralty had issued orders for Nelson’s flagship to be broken up.
But thanks to a visit by Princess Victoria in 1833 there was a surge of interest in her and thousands of people visited the ship.
Victory, ordered in 1758, laid down in 1759 and launched at Chatham in 1765, was in such a state that it is a wonder she never sank in the Portsmouth Harbour mud.
But, as we know, she was saved, partly by public subscription, and the rest is history.
• Robbie Allsopp dropped me a line care of his mother Mrs B Allsopp (née Jupp). Mrs Allsopp in now 80 and she says she recognised one of the men in a photo I published on May 22, of four men painting a barge in Portsmouth Dockyard.
She says the man on the far right was her father Edward Jupp, of the Royal Tank Regiment. The photo dates to about 1948.
• On June 4 I published a photograph from the book Portsmouth – A Portrait in Photographs by Celia and Dean Clark showing the gates to Victoria Barracks during the 1953 coronation.
Celia dropped me a line to say it was her in the Brownie uniform all those years ago.
n Ralph Cousins has published yet another marvellous booklet, this time one called Rowlands Castle in World War Two.
It contains dozens of unpublished and old photographs and if you come from that part of the world or are just interested in that period in time it is for you.
There are photographs from all around the Rowlands Castle including several railway photographs of the local station and Idsworth signal box.
Many show how little the village has changed little over the years, just the amount of traffic.
I will be publishing more pictures from the publication in the next few days.
The 128-page booklet costs £7 plus p&p and is available from Ralph on (023) 9248 4024.