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Edward King exhibition shows Portsmouth's past in paint

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Edward King

A series of paintings depicting Portsmouth during the Blitz are at the heart of a new display at Portsmouth Museum opening on Thursday 24 March.

Distinguished artist Edward King was living in the city during the Second World War and documented the aftermath of air raids in his paintings. The new display, Edward King: a life in art, brings together around 70 paintings, including the Blitz series, as well as photographs, archival material and objects from Portsmouth’s museum collections.

Many of the buildings recorded by King were demolished for safety reasons in the post-war redevelopment of the city. The exhibition also features King's paintings of the houseboats at Milton Locks and the grounds at St James' Hospital where he stayed from 1926 until his death in 1951.

Born in 1862, King trained at the Slade School of Art with Walter Sickert and was friends with many well-known artists including James McNeill Whistler and John Atkinson Grimshaw. He exhibited frequently at the Royal Academy and is said to have influenced the young Vincent Van Gogh who admired King's 'striking, powerful virile drawing'.

King's impressionistic style is evident in his series of Blitz paintings and complements the forms and colour of the demolished brickwork.

As a young man King was a prolific artist whose illustrations appeared in Punch magazine and the Illustrated London News. In 1925, just as his work was gaining wider recognition, he suffered a breakdown after the death of his wife and became a patient at St James' Hospital where he was encouraged to continue painting to help with his recovery.

Cllr Linda Symes, Portsmouth City Council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure & Sport, said: "This unique collection is a fascinating combination of fine art and local history. King captured an important piece of Portsmouth's history, the devastation caused by the Blitz, which ultimately shaped the city as we know it today. I hope people take the opportunity to admire his work and see how our city once was."

The collection will be on display until spring 2017. Portsmouth Museum is open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am - 5pm. Admission is free.

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Soundsational Performances at Portsmouth Guildhall

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More than 250 young singers, dancers and musicians took to the Guildhall stage on Wednesday (9 March) for a night of music and entertainment. Soundsational, was produced by Portsmouth Music Hub, and brought together students, aged from 11 to 18, from nine local Schools, Colleges and Academies.

There was a wide range of acts on offer for the hundreds of families and members of public who filled the Guildhall. Portsmouth Music Hub's own Rock Band performed tracks from Coldplay and The Beatles, and in a tribute to David Bowie they played his legendary hit Starman. South Downs College danced and sang to Cy Coleman's The Rhythm of Life, and Charter Academy's Swing Band took the audience back to the Big Band era with In the Mood and Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy.

The evening included performances from St. Edmund's Catholic School, Highbury College, Admiral Lord Nelson School, Portsmouth Academy for Girls, Springfield School and Portsmouth College. The night included an unforgettable performance from Lionel Bart's musical Oliver, with Trafalgar School students singing and dancing to Oom Pah Pah!

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The concert came to an end with more than 150 students filling the stage for a Massed Choir performance of Bob Marley's One Love and Take That's Rule the World.

Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub said after the concert: "It's been a stunning night. With the support of Portsmouth Guildhall we've been able to give hundreds of young people the chance to experience live performance in one of the biggest and most exciting venues. Seeing the dedication, the commitment, a few nerves but plenty of talent from so many young people has been has been truly inspirational."

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Young people and employers urged to consider apprenticeships

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Apprenticeships can take you anywhere. That's the message for Portsmouth young people and employers in National Apprenticeship Week (14–18 March).

During the week, Portsmouth City Council is promoting apprenticeships as a great career move for many young people, and a valuable opportunity for businesses. Apprentices and managers from the council will feature in publicity, encouraging people to find out more.

The council employs 41 apprentices across its services, with more in the pipeline. Like other apprentices, they get work experience and on-the-job training, boost their skills and gain qualifications – all while getting paid.

Jordan Salvage, 20, a legal apprentice with the council, said: "Being an apprentice works for me because it gives me a good career path and practical experience. You study and get paid, which is great."

Maxine Jackson, an estate manager with the council, said: "Hiring apprentices has been a great success for our housing services. It's bringing in new blood. Our apprentices could be the managers of the future."

Later this year seven more young people will join the council to work as social care and catering apprentices in residential homes.

A recruitment event for social care apprentices, also including other care providers, is planned for the summer.

Cllr Luke Stubbs, the council's Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, said: "The council is right behind National Apprenticeship Week because apprenticeships give local young people the opportunity to train and develop while they work, setting them on the right track for the future.

"We're totally committed to employing apprentices, because it means we can help young people find careers, develop our workforce for the future, and bring on new staff where we have shortages of the right skills."

Young people looking for local apprenticeships can go to www.gov.uk/apply-apprenticeship

For more information on council apprenticeships, or the summer recruitment event, the contact details are This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 02392 688 236.

Employers can find out more by searching "employ apprentice" at www.gov.uk

National Apprenticeship Week is co-ordinated by the National Apprenticeship Service and is designed to celebrate apprenticeships and the positive impact they have on individuals, businesses and the wider economy.

Some national facts:

  • Up to 28,000 apprenticeship vacancies are available online at any one time.
  • Apprenticeships are available in 1,500 job roles, covering more than 170 industries.
  • There are 75 higher and degree apprenticeships available. These include job roles ranging from legal services to banking and engineering.
  • A quarter of former apprentices had received a promotion within 12 months of finishing,
  • 89% of apprentices said they were satisfied with their apprenticeship.
  • 83% of apprentices said their career prospects had improved.
  • Traineeships are a great stepping stone. 84% of providers and 94% of employers consider them an effective way of increasing young people’s chances of finding paid jobs and apprenticeships.
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Plans announced for £100,000 butterfly house

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Cumberland House web

Plans have been announced to rejuvenate a much-loved Portsmouth family attraction, Cumberland House butterfly house.

Portsmouth City Council and the Friends of Cumberland House group are working together to replace the existing butterfly house with a £100,000 modern facility.

The existing butterfly house was added to the building in 1986 but and is badly in need of repair.

A new state-of-the-art structure would allow a wider range of species to be kept in conditions similar to their natural habitat, which can't be replicated in the existing house.

The work may bring about opportunities to improve other parts of the site, particularly the garden. There are hopes to replant the area and create a better habitat for native species of butterflies as well as making it an attractive venue for events.

Cllr Linda Symes, the council's Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure & Sport, said: "Cumberland House's butterfly house has been a popular attraction for generations of Portsmouth families and I'm delighted by the prospect of making it even better. We have an opportunity to enhance the butterfly house and bring it up to the modern standards you would expect of a visitor attraction and improve the gardens in which it sits."

The council has earmarked £40,000 for the project and is working to secure further funds while Friends of Cumberland House will be working with the local community to raise funds for the scheme. Timescales for the work will depend on the progress of fundraising efforts.

Anita Stepnitz joint-chair of Friends of Cumberland House said: "We're thrilled to be embarking on this very exciting project which can help the butterfly house reach its full potential. We're grateful to the council for supporting this and will be announcing further fundraising plans as soon as we can."

Cumberland House is home to Portsmouth's natural history museum and showcases a selection of the city's 114,000 natural science specimens in addition to the butterfly house and a new bee hive. For more information visit portsmouthnaturalhistory.co.uk

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New walking group for people with dementia

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A free walking group for Portsmouth residents living with dementia and their carers is being launched on Tuesday, 5 April.

The weekly walks are organised by Portsmouth City Council and provide a way of staying active, companionship and a change of scenery and will take in a variety of routes.

Walkers will meet at the John Pounds Centre, Queen Street, at 1.30pm every Tuesday with the walk taking place from 2pm-4pm.

Locations lined up for walks include Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, Gunwharf Quays and Victoria Park, with each walk including a break for refreshments.

Cllr Luke Stubbs, the council's Cabinet Member for Health & Social Care, said: "It's great news we are launching this new walking group and helping people stay healthy and socialise. Getting out and about and being active is of benefit to everyone in society and groups like this can provide vital support for both people living with dementia and their carers."

Places must be booked in advance so organisers know how many people to expect. Walkers should bring money for refreshments and dress appropriately for the weather on the day.

For more information or to book a place contact Nicky Ansell on 02392 841 762 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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