Portsmouth is best known for its longterm association with the Royal Navy. Its naval dockyard was at one time the world's largest employer of a civilian workforce. While there can be no dispute that the navy, for many centuries, totally dominated the town, it was not, by any means, the only employer. Others were active in the various service industries that met the needs of those employed in the dockyard or the navy: a largescale tailoring industry that initially began in the production of service uniforms, but rapidly expanded to meet more general needs far beyond that of Portsmouth; brewing, with Portsmouth boasting more pubs per head of population than any other city in the UK; and, of course, entertainment, as its many theatres, cinemas and music halls provided alternative diversions for a large population of off-duty sailors.
Portsmouth at Work explores the life of Portsmouth and its people, from pre-industrial beginnings through to the present day. In a fascinating series of contemporary photographs and illustrations it takes us through the phenomenal growth of the naval dockyard and the city's role as a major seaport, the part it played in both world wars and subsequent conflicts, and into the twenty-first century as Portsmouth has adapted to the reduced size of the British Navy with the development of other industries.
Philip MacDougall writes books for Amberley on southern England, but with a particular interest in the military and naval complexes that arose in and around South Hampshire (especially Portsmouth), coastal Sussex (especially Chichester) and Kent (especially Medway). As a social historian, he is interested in the people and the resources of those areas and the support provided for each of those military complexes. Possibly that interest was first sparked by having a distant ancestor who served as Nelson's secretary during the 1790s and who first joined the future Admiral at the Great Nore anchorage and which lies off North Kent. As well as the author of a number of published books, Philip has contributed biographical material on selected naval officers for the widely-acclaimed Dictionary of National Biography. A speaker at events, both local and national, he offers a wide-range of talks connected with the books he has written.