Portsmouth Docks

Dear friends,

This Sunday was the Celebration of Steam weekend at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, and a good an excuse as any to take my younger son to play with steam. The League of Bournemouth Steampunks were also attending, so this was also a chance to meet some interesting folk. Unfortunately with the small bossy one dictating where we went, I didn’t get much chance to chat with anyone. Everybody looked just wonderful though.

The Dockyard is well worth a visit, even on a non-steam day; HMS Warrior in particular is just stunning. I cannot even imagine what it would be like to be one of the 66 stokers, feeding those ravenous furnaces to make steam.

But at least for the small one, today was really about the traction engines and steam rollers. I lost count of the the number of rides we went on. He returned home very tired and very happy, talking incessantly about “too much steam” after being engulfed in a damp and very noisy cloud of the stuff. Thus the steampunks of the future are grown.

For me, the highlights were the shiny brass fire pump, a Stanley in steam, and the world landspeed record holder for steam power (looking rather more streamlined than the Stanley next to it). And my favorite of the engines was a dirty black one with no name; much as a love all the brass and spotless paint, a real working roller would have been much more like this grimy one.

– Fzz