Portland Railways what do you remember?

First planned recording sessions will be taking place soon and we will be out and about in the community over the summer with what we hope will be an interesting display. Please come and talk to us, especially if you have an interesting piece of social history connected with the line or maybe you just want to find out more about the railway and its fascinating history.

Web Site Change

We are currently trying a new style of web site so as to get the large number of posts into a more manageable form. Logos etc will be aded over time and who knows even the theme may change.

This site has been running since we formed as a CIC in 2012 so there are a considerable number of posts representing the wide variety of arts projects and performances we have been involved in. In 2016 with the educational situation on Portland and Martyn no longer working on the island we took the opportunity to re group and take stock.

As a CIC we have evolved again, now being involved in a Heritage Lottery history project. We hope to have some new music and arts strands running again soon.

Let us know what you think of our new web site.

An interesting artefact

An artefact has been donated to the project. A non working model of a locomotive used on the line in the 50s. The engine could be made to run but will most likely be left as it is so it can be passed round, handled etc. It is a very nice example though with wrong number and logo for the 50s (from the later 1950s) The fact that things are wrong could stimulate discussion on its own. Perhaps once the project is complete I’ll get it working?

Social Media posts

We are aware that our site hasn’t been posting to our Facebook and Twitter feeds for some time. We are currently working to resolve the issue.

With so much exiting stuff happening it is even more important our feeds are up to date.

In the news.

As well as the Wesex FM interview I recorded last week there has been an article in the Dorset Echo and it has already generated some responses.

Article can be found here


Heritage Lottery Project

Recorded an interview on Monday that was broadcast on Wessex FM to raise interest in the project. Big thanks to Justin at the station for organising it.

Also made a few useful contacts with interesting stories that will need following up.

When the Railway ran to Portland, what do you remember?

Portland Rocks, previously known for its music and art workshops, has secured funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for an exciting project collecting the memories of those who knew and used the railway line from Weymouth to Easton, Portland; a social rather than technical history of the line.

Having lived on Portland in Dorset for the last thirteen years, Director Martyn Mullender said:” I have become increasingly fascinated by the railway that ran from Weymouth along Chesil Beach and then climbed from sea level to around 285 feet above. It then followed a circuitous route around the cliffs to arrive at Easton.”

 As many will know, the railway to Easton closed to passengers in 1952 and finally to all traffic in1965, over 50 years ago.

 Martyn remarked: “The line was unique in many ways: the traffic it was built for, the manner of its working, the challenges of getting the line built and the protracted amount of time this took. There will still be some residents and former residents with memories of the line that form a vital link to its history, which have not been recorded. Using audio visuals and the Internet, we plan to record as many memories as possible, making them available to the public for research or even genealogical purposes. “

 An online archive will be created, including photos and transcribed recordings, which will be placed with the Dorset History Centre and freely available online. The project has received letters of support from the Portland Museum, National Railway Museum, the Professor of Railway Studies at the University of York and local historian Stuart Morris among others.

 In order to develop the project, Portland Rocks will be recruiting a small group of volunteers, for which a letter of application is available at www.portlandrocks.co.uk or can be collected from and returned to the Island Community Action office in Easton, Portland, if people would like to register their interest in supporting the project.

 The project will run until November 2018 and Portland Rocks also hopes to run an arts project linked to the research, involving visual and sound art in September 2018, if they can secure further funding.

 The proposal includes taking display boards of information currently available to local events and gathering evidence from people who come along to talk about their memories of the railway.

 If you wish to know more about this proposal, please contact Martyn Mullender at: portlandrocks@live.co.uk


We are back!

After some difficult times Portland Rocks has secured funding for an exiting and substantial community arts project taking us in a new direction.

Once all is in place a full announcement will be made.

Still here

Yes we are still quiet. However, one large funding bid has been submitted awaiting a decision another will be submitted within the next week or so and two more are in the pipeline. We hope to be active again in the new year.

Yes it has been a long time but as you know there have been turbulent times in education on Portland meaning big changes. When we return we will be bigger and stronger so watch this space as they say.


‘Impossible Architexture’

At a recent B Side retrospective on the work of Joe Stevens I happened to meet up with David Oates who did a great sound art project with our young people as part of the cultural Olympiad. Hear they are:




New release for the Portland Rocks On label.

Mumjum has written and recorded a new track with a huge thank you to Steve Garden who played guitar on the track and acted as an additional set of ears during the mixing process.

The track is called Saturday Night and a percentage of the profits will go towards supporting community music in the Weymouth and Portland area.

Listening in the sunshine.

I’m sure we all have our favourite summer music that we just have to listen to when the weather is good. For me it just has to be the album ‘Rumours’ by Fleetwood Mac as it has been with me since my teenage years and will always remind me of long summer days, it just has that feel.

What is your favourite summer album or track?

Th Ebacc Debate

Declining numbers of students are taking the arts at GCSE. This week, after an online petition achieved over 100,000 signatures the issue was debated in parliament. Read about the debate here

Jazz for cows!

If only I’d known this when I was growing up I would have started playing jazz earlier. I assume jersey cows enjoy jazz though they might prefer big band swing!


Community Music Survey

We regard this as a very important piece of work to assess the musical needs of the Weymouth and Portland community. As a result of this survey we will target work where a need is demonstrated and try to offer what the community have requested.

Please fill in the survey here

The survey will keep being posted across the summer and new music strands for development will begin in September to coincide with the start of the new educational year.

Many thanks for taking the time to help us.

Please fill in our music survey.

Portland Rocks would like to offer music tuition on a range of instruments across the Weymouth and Portland area at affordable prices to both adults and children. In addition we would like to offer opportunities for group music making. The lessons/activities would take place outside school hours, late afternoon, early evening at a venue or venues to be decided.

In order for us to assess the likely demand please take time to fill in our survey (takes just a few minutes). We would like to collect some basic information such as which instrument you would like to play, what you think is a reasonable cost and anything in particular you feel we should offer that is not offered locally. We also offer you the chance to leave contact details so we can keep you up to date with developments.

The survey can be found here. Thank you for your time.


Still here!

Though we have been quiet for a while things are still happening including the download label which is now up and running.

There will be an announcement regarding future developments soon.

Include expressive arts subjects in the Ebacc

The English Baccalaureate, or Ebacc, is a standard which maintains that English, maths, science, a language and a humanity define a good education. The exclusion of art, music, drama and other expressive subjects is limiting, short sighted and cruel. Creativity must be at the heart of our schools.

Please sign  the petition here

Portland Rocks On! The YouTube channel

The download label now has a YouTube channel where we will be adding our music. Hopefully in the future we will get funding for a project to create videos for our releases.

In the meantime please subscribe to our channel here

What David Cameron says!

The Prime Minster David Cameron made a speech on 11 January which linked the need to ensure children have access to arts and culture with improved life chances, talking about the ‘opportunity of culture’.

‘Britain is blessed with some of the most awe-inspiring cultural treasures on the planet. Our museums, theatres and galleries, our exhibitions, artists and musicians, they are truly the jewel in our country’s crown. And culture should never be a privilege; it is a birth right that belongs to us all.’

David Cameron Life Chances speech


While recognising the importance of access to arts and culture to improve children’s life chances, the Prime Minster appeared to be unaware of the inherent contradiction in of promoting the English Baccalaureate as a measure for improving ‘innovation, creativity, problem solving’.

The English Baccalaureate (EBacc) is actually driving the arts out of schools. Since 2010 there has been a fall of 14% in the take up of Arts GCSEs and we know from Ipsos Mori research when the EBacc was first implemented that schools were removing arts subjects from the curriculum. 21% of schools with a high proportion of free school meals removed an arts subject as a result of the EBacc – precisely the children who David Cameron says need their life chances improved.

Source: The Cultural Learning Alliance.