Looking for a present for the man in your life?
What about this biography about local 19th century architect, Thomas Ellis Owen? (Actually women seem to enjoy it too but it is so difficult to find something for a man isn't it?) (Look below for more details).
Looking for a gift for someone who has everything?
What about this fiendishly clever jigsaw that features lots of properties in Owen's Southsea? (Look below for more details)
Hoping to stimulate a child's interest in local heritage?
Look below for more details about the Thomas Ellis Owen interactive guided walk or the poem book.
The Thomas Ellis Owen biography
Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, ‘Father of Southsea’ is an illustrated biography of Thomas Ellis Owen, the 19th century architect who laid the foundations of modern Southsea and was twice Mayor of Portsmouth. This book puts together the information collected by the Thomas Ellis Owen Research Group between 2001 and 2004. It is a hardback book that has 200+ pages with images of original maps, plans and photos. It also contains Tim Martin’s stunning colour photos of many Owen properties in Southsea and some in Alverstoke.
This book has no target audience. The detailed captions may be especially helpful to first year architecture students. It is, however, designed to be used and enjoyed by local historians, academics, Portsmouth-and-Southseaphiles, photographers, interested newcomers and people who just want a really nice book to put on their coffee table.
The Thomas Ellis Owen jigsaw
This jigsaw was created especially for the Thomas Ellis Owen festival. It depicts a number of Owen properties in Southsea drawn by John Pike who has lived in the Portsmouth area all his life. For Owen aficionados, some images are of particular interest because they reveal details that are currently hidden by high walls or foliage.
In 2004, this jigsaw was thought to be particularly apt as a way of celebrating Thomas’s birth because Wentworth revived the tradition of Victorian puzzle making by using state of the art technology to produce wooden jigsaws containing unique ‘whimsy’ pieces.
Each puzzle comes with a cotton drawstring bag and is cut in the UK from 3mm wooden board that comes from forests managed on a sustainable basis. The pieces are a pleasure to handle and slot together beautifully.
Wentworth puzzles are seriously difficult so fewer pieces are needed to create a stimulating challenge. They often feature no two pieces the same, no corner shapes and straight edges that fit in the middle. The Thomas Ellis Owen jigsaw come in two sizes:
The 140 piece puzzle costs £14
The 250 piece puzzle costs £20
(Plus £3 postage and packing to addresses within the UK but outside of the Portsmouth area).
Owen's Southsea virtual tour
There are two animated ‘guided tours’ complete with quizzes on this CD. Your tour guides take you into many Owen properties and allow a glimpse of Owen’s Southsea as it was in 2004. Only a few copies of these CDs are available now so first come first serve.
Price £10 (Plus 60p postage and packing to addresses within the UK but outside of the Portsmouth area).
The Thomas Ellis Owen children's poem
The poem called An Irreverent Poem About Thomas Owen led to the idea for the Thomas Ellis Owen Festival in 2004. This book contains lively illustrations by Renate Prowse that are designed to appeal to young and old alike. Price £4 (Plus 60p postage and packing to addresses within the UK but outside of the Portsmouth area).
This book provides scope for teachers, parents and carers to motivate young children (aged 3 upwards) to begin learning a little local history. It introduces them to Thomas Ellis Owen and provides them with a basic knowledge of what he did, who he was married to and where he lived. Once their interest has been stimulated, with a little help the children will be able to look out for other properties Thomas Ellis Owen designed in Southsea and may become quite expert at spotting architectural features on them:
"Look there's a pointy window."
"Yes, there's a pointy Gothic doorway too."
"Look at the pretty bricks."
"Yes, there's stone around the windows too."
They will also be able to ‘hunt the animals’ on buildings in Old Portsmouth. Does anyone know where the bull is that used to live there?