Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Staff reflect on their highlights of 2010

Looking towards the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard office at the start of December

As 2010 starts to draw to a close, the staff at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard office have been reflecting on their highlights of the year, both personally and professionally and we wanted to share them with you all!

As an ex- Royal Marine from before the days of GPS, I am a bit of a ‘maps anorak’ and so my personal highlight on site in the past year was when the Mary Rose Trust staged a temporary exhibition - Mapping Portsmouth's Tudor Past, which brought together, for the first time, several important maps from The British Library, UK Hydrographic Office and the Admiralty Library.

All but one of these maps were hand-drawn and works of art in their own right. They provided a unique and fascinating insight into Tudor Portsmouth and the view of their world 500 years ago. It was quite remarkable to be able to compare them to the Portsmouth of today, to note how different parts of the City have developed in different ways, but others not at all where the same buildings and activities are still there. I was also amazed how maps produced free-hand, so long ago and without the benefits of modern technology, could be so accurate and consistent.

To be able to show our visitors artefacts of this quality and rarity is always a real boost for the Historic Dockyard and demonstrates how effective careful partnership working behind the scenes can be. We hope to continue a series of similar, high quality and rare exhibitions in the future.
Robert Bruce - Managing Director

My highlight of the year has, of course, been starting my new position here at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. I have loved settling into the PHDL team and, in particular the Advanced Sales Office. I've had lots of little highlights over the last eight months but if I were to pick one in particular, it would have to be successfully welcoming over ninety coach groups to the Victorian Festival of Christmas last month. With planning and team work everything went smoothly.
Emma Abrook - Sales Team Leader

Navy Days 2010 was a personal highlight for me as I really got to stick my teeth into the event and help to organise the re-enactments and entertainment that took place on the Heritage part of the site as well as the large event footprint as a whole. It gave me goose bumps when I saw the visitors enter and it was great to have a walk around and see all what was going on and how it all came together. I got to work with such a wide variety of people from all sources and I learnt so much from it. The personal highlight was sitting on South Railway Jetty at the end of the day with a whole mismatch of people and colleagues and having a pint in the glorious sunshine! :o)
Amy Cosgrave - Events Assistant

A memorable event for me happened in November when Chris Winder dressed as The Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz climbed the mast of HMS Warrior in aid of charity; despite being terminally ill himself. The climb was arduous and took a long time; but the sheer joy on Chris’s face at reaching the top of the mast was very moving.
Elaine Arkell - PA to Managing Director

On a personal 'General Marketing' note it is seeing my outdoor campaign plan come to life with HMS Victory on buses (we are still on them 4 months on!), on large 48 sheets at the side of roads and throughout the 'Museum tunnel' that links the V&A Museum and the National History Museum in London. It was also great to see our 'Portsmouth' destination campaign on trains and on train station platforms throughout London.

But on a broader Portsmouth Historic Dockyard note, it has to be stood in the cold with colleagues at our Festival of Christmas weekend in November, with real snow starting to fall for the first time in the events' history. It was a great weekend and the snow made it extra special, my favourite Festival of Christmas so far. Bring on next year's!
Happy 2011 to all.
Holly Langridge - Marketing Executive

My highlight of the year has to be our one-off events with the Royal British Legion which have resulted in widespread press coverage across print, radio and TV, but have also been very moving and worthwhile. There was the Hampshire Poppy Launch in Victory Arena focusing on the Afghan generation but also the March for Honour, with a Navy team marching from HMS Victory to Wootton Bassett to collect a book of remembrance with the other services and then delivering to the Royal Albert Hall on Armistice Day. I was extremely proud to be a part of a very worthwhile cause.

Oh and I can’t forget Navy Days, hard work but immense fun and good to get to work with not only my Navy press colleagues but the outside broadcast team at BFBS Radio!
Melissa Gerbaldi - Press Officer

My highlight has been seeing the success of Navy Days and Festival of Christmas. The marketing plans for both events are quite extensive; involving a lot of hard work so to see the site so busy with lots of people here enjoying themselves was great. (And it is always good to meet and exceed targets!)
Kelly Haswell - Marketing Executive

My highlight of 2010 was the introduction of our exclusive Loyalty Club members events.

In April this year, we introduced our first Loyalty Club event, which was a huge success with great feedback received from our members.

The event took place on board HMS Warrior 1860 where Roger Paine, author of Call the Hands: A Collection of Naval Yarns gave a fascinating and amusing account of life in the Navy and Rum tots were enjoyed by all! The afternoon came to an end with an exclusive tour of the ship and refreshments.

The success of this event was repeated at the Mary Rose Museum in September with a talk by Chief Executive of the Mary Rose Trust, focusing on their Tudor Maps exhibition. Guests were fascinated by the talk and were treated to a tour of the museum and again the feedback was so positive.

It was excellent to be able to offer exclusive opportunities for our Loyalty Club members, to repay their commitment to the site and to get the know them. It also meant that members could meet the people behind the scenes and for them to meet other members too.The next one is already being planned for early 2011!
Zoe Gill - Public Relations Executive

My first highlight of 2010 is returning to work for PHD!

My second highlight was at 5:30pm on Monday 29th November after the A Victorian Festival of Christmas de-rig was complete. The site was so spick and span you wouldn't have known that there had been 25,000 people in over 3 days playing in the snow, starting their Christmas shopping, being entertained by all sorts of Victorian characters and visiting all of our wonderful attractions. It was such a huge feeling of achievement and relief for me to know that all that work happened safely and successfully. So on Tuesday 30th November I had a celebratory duvet day!
Terri Hall - Events Executive

My highlight of 2010 from a personal point of view had to be the introduction of a new online ticketing system. Portsmouth Historic Dockyard has always sold tickets online, but our customers had to exchange them in our Visitor Centre for one of our standard tickets, meaning there was no real advantage to buying online. Now you can buy tickets from our website, print them at home and get them scanned at each of our attractions, meaning you jump the queues in our Visitor Centre and can get straight on with your visit.
Phil George - IT Controller

A highlight in the account’s team’s year, was when we managed to stump the Auditors by receiving no queries or comments relating to our year end accounts!! Something I have been striving 5 years for!

My own personal highlight was being outside at the Festival of Christmas when it actually snowed!! It certainly brought a touch of magic to the event when all the children around me were gasping with delight.
Chantelle Millington - Finance Manager

It's been a really full year with lots going on and really no one day is the same. My personal highlight though is the way that we have reached out to the local community and our partners in the region to ensure that we play a significant role in 1) the cultural everyday life of our visitors 2) a wider economic role. We've run Dockyard on your Doorstep and the current library card offer to make it even easier for local residents to visit. We've strengthened really good partnerships with the City Council/County Council and other attractions/businesses in ensuring that Portsmouth is a must-see destination. And the team have worked tirelessly in supporting other initiatives through additional project work; secondments and trusteeships to share the vast knowledge and expertise we've built over the years in tourism; customer service; marketing and PR and to challenge them to achieve even more!
Jacquie Shaw - Head of Communications

Well they were our highlights, but what were yours....? We look forward to hearing from you and sharing even more from behind the scenes of Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in 2011!


  1. My personal highlight has been following your wonderful organization on your website via Facebook. Very inspiring for those of us who regrettably haven't been able to actually visit you during the year.

    Merry Christmas and have a wonderful 2011!

    Jakob Seerup
    Royal Danish Naval Museum