Short-lived fast patrol boats made of glue and wood arrive in Old Portsmouth - Nostalgia

On the right is the fast patrol vessel Ferocity with wood stock hull being towed in alongside. Picture: Graham Stevens
On the right is the fast patrol vessel Ferocity with wood stock hull being towed in alongside. Picture: Graham Stevens
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Another from the Graham Stevens collection and we see Ferocity arriving in the Camber.

Ferocity, was a Vosper private venture based on the Brave class of naval fast patrol boats.

The Smith brothers who were well known in Portsmouth  in their time. Picture:: Patricia Phillips

The Smith brothers who were well known in Portsmouth in their time. Picture:: Patricia Phillips

Alongside, being towed, is a wooden stock hull of the same type arriving from the Portchester shipyard.

The Brave class of fast patrol boats were an expensive vessel to build and so Vosper Ltd designed their own. Of timer and glue construction, the cost was kept down.

Two of the craft were ordered by the German navy but later transferred to the Royal Hellenic Navy in 1967.

Recent information shows that Ferocity was commissioned into the Royal Navy as a tender to Brave Swordsman but was decommissioned after a fortnight! She was last heard of in the Middle East. Does anyone know more about Ferocity?

Can you imagine letting children use a slide some 12ft from the ground today? Picture: The News archive

Can you imagine letting children use a slide some 12ft from the ground today? Picture: The News archive

n Lined up are the Smith brothers with sailor John, former promoter Jim, and boxer Jack.

In later years John promoted wrestling at the Theatre Royal which was always well supported within the city.

Jack was a boxer who made a reputation for himself when boxing was well supported in Portsmouth with several boxing clubs.

n I am sure that the health and safety people would have a fit today if children were allowed up a slide that was a good 12ft above the ground. And no safety net.

Imagine if this magnificent edifice still stood in Old Portsmouth. It was one of the gates to and from the old town.

Imagine if this magnificent edifice still stood in Old Portsmouth. It was one of the gates to and from the old town.

But in days not too distant these slides were the norm in parks. Perhaps children had more sense back then and played by the rules – look after yourself, play safe and you will be safe.

I can remember using these slides. We used to rub candle grease down the brass plates that made the slide. After it had been polished by many backsides the slide became very fast indeed. We even slid down upside down on our backs.

Alas, such joys have been taken from modern children.

n As we know, Old Portsmouth was once surrounded by ramparts to protect the old town from invasion.

To pass through the ramparts there were several gates built into the fortifications, including Landport Gate and King William Gate.

Here is the later Quay Gate of 1734. There was another of the same name dating from Elizabethan times farther to the right but bricked up.

I see on documents that Quay Gate was also known as King George Gate but then I have a photograph of Landport Gate which also states the same! 

Sadly, Quay Gate, was torn down in the 1870s when the ramparts were disposed of.