A city centre on the cusp of dramatic development

The Painters Arms (extreme left), Lake Road, Landport, Portsmouth, about 1958

The Painters Arms (extreme left), Lake Road, Landport, Portsmouth, about 1958

The Princess Anne was the fourth SRN4 built at BHC Cowes. The other five  were: The Princess Margaret, Swift, Sure, The Sir Christopher and The Prince of Wales.

Hovercraft that crossed Channel in 40 minutes with 400 passengers

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The five photographs here today were all taken by John Apps towards the end of the 1950s.

They show the centre of Portsmouth still bearing the raw scars of the Second World War.

A tethered horse on a bomb site in Lake Road, Portsmouth, with Martha's pub in Commercial Road behind its head

A tethered horse on a bomb site in Lake Road, Portsmouth, with Martha's pub in Commercial Road behind its head

Bomb sites abounded, but there was a sense of some kind of revival in the air as tower blocks began to rise as the city was redeveloped.

John, of Court Lane, Cosham, was living in Cornwallis House, off Cornwallis Crescent, Landport, when he took the pictures – all of them in the Commercial Road, Lake Road and Charlotte Street area. He thinks most were snapped about 1958 or slightly earlier.

The main picture shows a fire engine outside the Painters Arms in Lake Road with Charlotte Street on the other side of Commercial Road. To the right of the pub is the long-gone Co-operative Self Service Food Hall.

Of course, the Painters Arms is still there, one of the very few remaining traditional pubs left in the city centre. Built at the turn of the 20th century for Brickwoods, it replaced another of the same name that was demolished close by.

John’s picture of the horse will ring bells with many readers. He says: ‘It’s a scene which many will recognise – the days when horses for rag and bone men and fruit and veg traders were tethered to eat the grass on bomb sites.’

The picture was taken looking west from the corner of Lake Road towards what is now Market Way. The horse’s head obscures Martha’s pub.

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