Welcome to my world!

The reflections and comments of a resident in Southsea, Portsmouth, England.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Remembering the raid on Entebbe – 40 years on

TV historian Saul David comes to The Spring


The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre is delighted to welcome Professor Saul David to speak about his latest book, Operation Thunderbolt.

It’s now 40 years since the daring rescue of the hostages trapped on Air France flight 139, which was forced to land at Entebbe in Uganda – then under the dictatorship of Idi Amin. The Israeli military mounted a complex but ultimately successful operation to free the hostages, who numbered more than 100.

Saul David is a historian, broadcaster and critically-acclaimed writer. Born in Monmouth, he began his education at a tiny school where half of the pupils were his cousins. He traces the start of his love of history to a teacher at his second primary school, and then to sixth-form teaching at Ampleforth College. He began writing his first history book at the age of 25.

Saul recently presented World War Two: A Timewatch Guide for BBC2. He has presented and appeared in a number of BBC documentaries including Zulu: The True Story, Time Commanders, and The Greatest Knight. His other non-fiction books include The Indian Mutiny: 1857; Military Blunders: The How and Why of Military Failure; Zulu: The Heroism and Tragedy of the Zulu War and Victoria’s Wars: The Rise of Empire. He has also written two historical novels.

Operation Thunderbolt was an Amazon History Book of the Year for 2105, and after his talk Saul will be signing copies of the book, which will also be available to purchase.


The talk will take place at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre, on Thursday 22 September at 8pm. Tickets cost £16, or £14.40 for concessions. You can book in person at The Box Office, call 023 9247 2700, or visit our website at www.thespring.co.uk





Monday, 5 September 2016

The irresistible attraction of Sherlock Holmes

The silhouette of Sherlock Holmes, with his deerstalker hat, pipe and magnifying glass, is instantly recognisable. The stories have been translated into many languages, and new stories are always being written. All over the world actors have made their name by playing the famous – and infinitely malleable – detective, and groups meet to discuss and dress as characters from the stories.

But what is behind this extraordinary attraction to the character of Holmes? 


Go along to the Spring Arts and Heritage Centre, to listen to Michael Gunton, Senior Archivist at Portsmouth City Library,  who will explore some of the reasons for our enduring fascination with Sherlock Holmes. Perhaps due to the hugely popular television series starting Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman, Holmes is often mistaken for a historical figure, rather than a fictional creation.

An extensive collection of items relating to Conan Doyle is housed in the Library’s second floor history suite, and Michael Gunton has been involved with it since it was bequeathed to the Library in 2004 by Richard Lancelyn Green – generally considered the world’s foremost scholar on Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes. He has extensive knowledge of the time spent by Conan Doyle in the Portsmouth area; for example, Conan Doyle’s first doctors’ practice was located in Southsea.

It was while living in Southsea that Conan Doyle began his second career, as a writer of fiction, and the first two Sherlock Holmes tales, A Study in Scarlet (1887) and The Sign of Four (1890) were written during his time here. Michael Gunton’s talk will take place on Thursday 15 September at 7.45pm; tickets are £6. You can book in person at the Box Office, or telephone 023 9247 2700, or visit The Spring’s website at www.thespring.co.uk.