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History of Southsea Self Help Housing Co-operative


The Arts Connection

There has always been (and remains) a presence of artists within the co-op (see ‘Members’ section of this site). Early on, we had some links with the Portsmouth Musicians Collective, who for a time had Practise Rooms at the Crystal Rooms. We had members involved in the formation of the Film & Video Co-op, and the Hornpipe Arts Centre / Rendezvous Cinema.

In the summer of ’82 we made an attempt at our own short video film about the co-op. (This was during the frantic period of work on the first short life houses in Garnier St.) Regarding educational material, we had noted that there was a shortage of up to date material (Film) on Housing Co-ops. The film was never completed.

Another unrealised project was the painting of a Mural on the side of 26 Garnier St. facing the empty plot of land. The idea was to get some designs (from members) and then approach paint manufacturers to try to get a donation of paint. We got to the design stage, but for some reason it went no further. Perhaps other events overtook this.

Save It Terry Shulman
Cumberland Road Art By Terry Shulman (Click to enlarge)

We had some members involved in the early days (and currently) of Art Space Portsmouth / Aspex Gallery.  I have a memory of one ‘original’ member using part of his Fine Art Degree Show to re-construct the downstairs interior of a (squatted?) house in the Cumberland Rd. area.

In 1982, some people got together to form ‘Network’. This was an umbrella group, attempting to link, and improve communication and shared resources between the various community / arts groups. They produced a few issues of the magazine ‘Outlet’, and also organised the transport to the ’83 Leeds Co-op Fair (Spithead & SSHH).

Outlet Outlet

The famous monthly Rivers Street Ranters was frequented by all sorts: Musicians / performers, Poets / Writers. This was set up around the early ‘80’s by member Terry Shulman. Basically, if you had something to say / perform, this was the place to do it.

In 1995, Ranters organised a ‘one off’ event for National Poetry Day on Oct. 12th. Someone had the inspiration – to ‘wrap up’ one of our buildings with poetry. At first, this seemed out of the question. However, not to be defeated, we obtained a number of disused, discontinued, battered, abandoned, de-populated, deserted, forsaken, untenanted & neglected white sheets from the N.H.S Trust. We distributed them amongst our members, and others, for their written pieces. We then set about attaching them, which was no mean feat.
It was a blustery day, and we hadn’t really worked out the technology for a full ‘wrap up’. It was a lot of fun producing the resulting ‘Drape’. (See pictures).

National Poetry Day 1995 National Poetry Day 1995
National Poetry Day 1995 National Poetry Day 1995

A final point on the Arts:
From Minutes, 18.11.82:   “Rejected application   -   Grayson Perry”

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