Portland places – Then and now series

Church Ope Cove
May 30, 2015
Portland Bill in 1934 video
June 3, 2015

Portland places – Then and now series


Portland changes over time

As with anything in life, the only constant is change, Portland is no exception.

With that in mind I thought a great post series would be a then and now series, sharing various pictures of places as you guessed it, then and now. 😆 The good thing is so many great pictures exist out there so I’m hopeful some of you may well have some interesting ones too.

Let’s start the series off with a part of Portland that has changed alot of the years.



chiswell cottage

An old sturdy fishermans cottage, Portland had two main trade in days gone by, stone and fishing, the fishing community were mainly in the underhill area, this being the main street behind the beach it’s no surprise they were sturdy buildings like this!

The stone industry was of course mainly up tophill.

You can see in the picture above that there were also some fairly big cottages behind it, and almost on the beach itself. No sea defence wall then!

So, what’s there now?

As you can see the building on the right has changed little. Although it is a home now, so a different use to back then no doubt, not sure what it was back in the day, if anyone knows, would be interested to hear from you. You could comment directly below this post if you like.

It looked to be something other than a home to me.

It seems amazing they built homes right on the back of the beach, I mean without the sea wall I dread to imagine what it would have been like when the “sea came over” in our lifetimes. Just last year it indeed came over and flooded Chiswell.

Brave, crazy? 🙂

Let’s see another part of Chiswell.


chiswell and brandy row

I am a little confused in all honesty as to whether it is where I think it is, two places come to mind, the same as the now picture below this, or behind Chiswell looking down towards Pebble lane from the cove inn car park.

The semi ruined homes on the right look fascinating, I wonder what happened there?

As there was no sea defence I imagine the sea came over all too often, yearly wouldn’t surprise me, the people must have some sleepless nights in rough winters.

Quaint in the summer, brutal in the winter. 🙂

So, what’s there now? Presuming it is the right place.


If it is correct… I think I should be stood alot further back, as the house on the immediate right looks to be the same as the one on the right further down in the old picture, BUT there are steps there now and the sea wall…  so I am guessing the houses and cottages the sit this side of the building are long gone.

The last building on the right of this is also a ruined old cottage as you can see below.  You can see to the right are the steps and the sea wall.


It’s a shame most of the cottage ruins are long gone but the sea wall needed building.

More Chiswell.


old chiwell towards brandy row

Looking the opposite way up Chiswell, almost from opposite my own home. 🙂 Nice to see the cranes on the hills in the background.

On the right you can see the side of the building with the arched windows seen in the first picture above. The old cottage sat in that gap.

Looking directly forward here you will see the old pump, the well, hence Chiswell. As with other parts of Portland with names ending in well, they are around wells. 🙂

My dad lived in what’s now the mermaid cottage as a child, that is the cottage on the other side of the gap where the first pictured cottage sat.

Interesting Chiswell doesn’t look that different at a glance. So many of building made to last, and last they have.

So, how does this scene look now?


Not that much different eh? I am perhaps stood a little too far back but you can see clearly what’s changed or not.

The well has long gone, I guess it was the focal point for Chiswell.

The big white building on this picture is seen right behind the pump in the old picture. I think it’s pretty amazing to see these buildings stand the test of time, in what is probably the most awkward place to live on Portland back in those days. Made of stern stuff, just like the people themselves.

Is it really that risky you ask?

chiswell flood doorstep
The mermaid cottage my dad lived in on the direct left. That is a 70’s picture I believe.

It has been worse than this. The picture below is the exact 180* to the one above. Maybe the same year, I am not sure.

chiswell flood brandy row
Either way, it’s a risk here in the rough winter nights, especially at high tide. No sea wall in sight!

Not the best place to park your car either. 😆

Chiswell, quite an established part of Portland I’d say. 🙂

The first in the now and then series. I hope you liked that, please do share using the buttons below, or add your comment below, we would love to hear what you think.

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