The Thomas Ellis Owen play


A music hall memento: 'The 'Ouses in Between'

In July 2012 ‘The ‘Ouses in Between’ originally written and performed by Stuart Olesker and John Stanton for the Thomas Ellis Owen bicentennial celebration in 2004, was staged once again. At the time of the festival, the play received much acclaim and numerous requests for an ‘encore’. This time a new version was  directed by Emily Swain in Thomas Ellis Owen’s own home, Dover Court, which was rather poignant given that 2012 marked the 150 anniversary of his death there in December 1862.

The 'Ouses in Between offered the audience a chance to encounter a man whose vision as both architect and local worthy was celebrated and interrogated in drama and song. The first time, in 2004, the play was a resounding success so it was astonishing that this time three actors in quite an intimate setting were able to engage and delight the audience as much. At the start of the week ticket sales were slow. The First Night was more or less sold out but the organisers were quite concerned about the other performances. In the event they need not have worried. The play was so well received that word spread and ticket sales were brisk with at least one person being so impressed he booked more tickets for another night to bring his wife along.

Surprisingly, The News did not cover the play so it was pleasing that the Southern Echo did so and gave it a very positive write up.

TEO sculpture shortlisted for design award

December 2011 In September we were pleased to learn that the site of the Thomas Ellis Owen sculpture and its environs had been shortlisted by The Portsmouth Society for their 2011 Landscaping Design award. Judging of the awards took place on 15th and 16th September but unfortunately we were pipped at the post by Philip Jackson's sculpture of St John the Evangelist situated next to St John's Roman Catholic Cathedral which, it has to be admitted, was a worthy winner.

The Thomas Ellis Owen sculpture designed by John Thomson was given to the University of Portsmouth by the Thomas Ellis Owen Festival Committee and unveiled on Saturday, 11 December 2010. Designed to stimulate continued interest in Thomas's life and work, it depicts four Owen properties and is sited on the south east corner of the University Library in Ravelin Park.

Stephen Pomeroy kindly took some photos at the unveiling and has put them on Facebook. To find them go to then click on the second 'new photos' and then 'Thomas Ellis Owen and Southsea'.

Thank you Stephen!

Dan Barnard also took some photos at the unveiling and book launch and they can be found on

Thank you Dan!

A cycle ride round Owen's Southsea


April 2011 On Wednesday 22 June 2011 Sue and John Pike led the Thomas Ellis Owen bike ride that was organised by Portsmouth City Council in conjunction with Bike Week in Portsmouth. The ride included a tour of Owen's Southsea and should have been followed by an optional trip on the Gosport Ferry to take a look at Thomas Owen's work in Alverstoke. However, delving into the history of Owen's Southsea took longer than was originally anticipated so the trip to Gosport was postponed until the 2012 Bike Week. More details will be posted on this site nearer the time.

Thomas Ellis Owen's brickmaker

January 2011 Since Sue Pike's book, Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, 'Father of Southsea', was published in December she has received interesting phone calls and letters from Norman and Valerie Pycroft retired brickmakers from Hayling Island. Apparently Norman's great grandmother, Emma, made bricks for Thomas Ellis Owen in Southsea!  Here she is...

Emma Pycroft (nee Dopson) was born in 1834. Norman says she could write but not spell. This photo was taken by Welch Brothers, 213 Commercial Road, Landport. On the reverse of the image there is a statement saying "This portrait may be enlarged to life size and painted in Oil Water colors or Crayon". I wonder if it ever was.

Emma's sons also went on to make bricks in Velder Avenue, Portsmouth. The family likeness of George Pycroft (born in 1861) on the far right of the photo below is easy to spot.

The book

December 2011 Thomas Ellis Owen Shaper of Portsmouth, 'Father of Southsea' is a full colour illustrated biography and costs £25. It is a hardback book that has 200+ pages with images of original maps, plans and family photos. It also contains Tim Martin’s stunning colour contemporary photos of many Owen properties in Southsea and Gosport.


The book can be purchased directly from Sue by emailing This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by telephoning
Sue Pike on 023 92 825937.