Portsmouth Shanty Men
The Portsmouth Shanty Men were originally formed in 1978, at the request of the organisers of Christchurch Folk Festival.
In those dim and distant days, most festivals ran shanty singarounds as part of the pub session scene and that year the group booked to host them Christchurch sessions had to pull out at very short notice.
Rather than cancel the sessions outright, the organisers contacted club organisers in Portsmouth, reasoning (falsely as it turned out) that as the South Coast's premier Naval base, the city would have a strong tradition of shanty singing. The word was quickly passed around the Portsmouth clubs and various resident singers asked to help out in return for a free festival ticket. Thus it was that a motley crew, including Sooty Broughton, Tom Lewis, Bernard Potter, Brian Dennett, Nick Gough and Brian Ingham arrived in Christchurch on a sunny Friday evening to find themselves billed as The Portsmouth Shanty Men.
The rest of the weekend's memories tend to be blurred in an alcoholic haze, but we remember that we had a good time and no-one actually threw anything at us!