A short history of a pseudonym

Verne Weare smBuilt as a floating accommodation block for oil and gas workers, this metal hulk started life in the early 1980s as the Safe Esperia. Chartered as troop accommodation for the Falklands War (where it was the home for one of the prison officers who was serving down there at the time – what a small world!), it was by then known as the Bibby Resolution. War over, it was towed up to New York and reroled as a prison with the somewhat uninspiring name of Maritime Facility II. From New York to Portland (Isle of, not Oregon) and another name change, this time to HMP Weare (pictured here), where it stayed until 2005 . What struck me about this painting, with HMP The Verne behind (you can just see the main entrance top right), was the tender way this imposing structure has been rendered in paint, with subdued colours and a picturesque flock of gulls (their colour complementing that of the metal) rising into the sky on a fine day. This image brought to mind the affection and sense of ownership that I have encountered amongst the staff of HMP The Verne, also a sadness at its passing (more about that in another post). Back on the Pseudonym Trail, the Weare was towed out of Portland harbour and, to complete the circle, returned to being oil worker accommodation, this time in Nigerian waters. And its current name? Jascon 27! My apologies to the artist who painted this image, I have lost my notes on the picture, so can’t include your name here until I get back to Portland in a few weeks. I revisited the picture today, and the artist is Trevor John de Pattenden.

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