This weekend marks 30 years since HMS Warrior 1860 opened to the public at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard — and my pa, Harry Diamond, was there to watch her arrival from the top of Warrior House on the Hard!
As a child, I didn’t really think much about my dad’s office. But now, as a mother myself, I’m so proud of my father’s history — this is only a small chapter of it. But when visiting The Hard, or going out on the Solent on a ferry, it makes me proud to look up at Warrior House knowing that building was once owned by my father.
Meet my dad, Harry Diamond. He ran Trans Technology out of Warrior House on the Hard in the 80s and 90s.
“Our building, Warrior House, housed our electronics and computers company Trans Technology. We were originally in Lundy House on the corner outside Gunwharf Quays, which is now home to Green Mango, a hairdressing salon.
“We moved into Warrior House a year before Warrior came in, and named it Warrior House when we found out HMS Warrior was coming into dock at the Historic Dockyard.
“All the Ford cars were designed on our equipment. We were the first company to practice hidden line suppression.
“In the old days, in computer graphics, if you wanted to construct the shape of a car, you’d essentially build up curves using lots and lots of squares. Hidden line suppression would hide those squares and leave you with the shape of the car itself.
“Back then, we were wholly owned by an American company. Pixar used to work with our kit!
“Warrior House used to have a large digital clock on the front, but it was totally useless and display the wrong time, and the bus drivers on the interchange would use it and end up leaving at completely the wrong time!
“When we first moved there, the Hard had yet to fully constructed, and that’s when there were kids in the mud calling out for people to toss pennies down. Mudlarkers, as they’re called. There was just a road leading down to the train station.
“One day, the police were chasing a car with an armed robber in it. They chased him all around Hampshire, and he ended up on Portsea Island, right outside our office. They all converged on him — there must have been about 20 cars chasing him. Some came around one end, the others came from Queen Street, and we saw it all! And they nicked him. There were so many police cars there that day, you could have walked across the Hard on the roofs!
“On the day HMS Warrior came in, everyone was really excited, with people waiting all along the shoreline. As you can see in the photos, a huge storm was coming in, and the wind took the boat past the jetty. They had a hell of a job getting it back, because they couldn’t get tugs into the shallower waters to pull it back in. It took about an hour from where you see her in the photos to where she’s docked today.
“The Hard would also get busy with huge crowds when The Queen came. She would come down on the train and go on her yacht, Britannia, which was moored on the Hard. I had a marvellous view of Royal visits from my office window. They had to do a lot of work with the gangways before it was opened as a tourist attraction, of course.”