A home from home that gave comfort to thousands of sailors in Portsmouth

Duchess of Albanys  Sailors' and Soldiers'  Home, later Aggie Westons Royal Sailors' Rest.
Duchess of Albanys Sailors' and Soldiers' Home, later Aggie Westons Royal Sailors' Rest.
Hampshire's Jimmy Gray and Roy Marshall walk out to open the batting at Burnaby Road in a 1950s match

PICTURE GALLERY: Memories of Hampshire cricket at Burnaby Road

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Most of you will think that I have got the title of this building wrong as we knew it as Aggie Weston’s Royal Sailors’ Rest or Aggie’s as it was always shortened to.

Built in 1908, it was located on the corner of Edinburgh Road and Unicorn Road, Landport, Portsmouth.

The Essoldo cinema on the corner of Devonshire Avenue in 1961.  Picture: Barry Cox

The Essoldo cinema on the corner of Devonshire Avenue in 1961. Picture: Barry Cox

The building is still there of course.

It was built as the Duchess of Albany’s Sailors’ and Soldiers’ Home in competition, I suppose, to Aggies which could be found around the corner and northward along Commercial Road.

That massive building was destroyed on the night of January 10/11 1941.

In 1951 Aggie Weston’s purchased the Sailors’ & Soldiers’ Home and converted it to the Royal Sailors’ Rest.

In the  distance  can be  seen a royal yacht  departing Portsmouth with  a destroyer  escort astern. I say a  royal yacht  as I think  this  photograph  predates  1953  when the  last royal yacht, Britannia, was launched. The  destroyer looks  a little  pre-war as well, but I stand to be  corrected.
I have  a feeling it might be HMY Victoria & Albert III in the  distance  which  was in  service  from 1901 until 1939.

In the distance can be seen a royal yacht departing Portsmouth with a destroyer escort astern. I say a royal yacht as I think this photograph predates 1953 when the last royal yacht, Britannia, was launched. The destroyer looks a little pre-war as well, but I stand to be corrected. I have a feeling it might be HMY Victoria & Albert III in the distance which was in service from 1901 until 1939.

Farther along in Edinburgh Road was the Trafalgar Club which later closed and became a Wetherspoons Lloyds Bar. That has also since closed.

With the cutting back of naval personnel, the sailors’ rest closed and became a homeless people’s centre called the Portsmouth Foyer.

It has since been renovated and has now become affordable apartments.