Favourite family walk always ended in the ‘monkey house’

Who remembers the monkey house in Alexandra Park, Hilsea? 				           Picture courtesy of Portsmouth History Centre.
Who remembers the monkey house in Alexandra Park, Hilsea? Picture courtesy of Portsmouth History Centre.

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Afew weeks ago we asked readers for their childhood memories and their favourite places iin Portsmouth.

Historian Jane Smith rued the fact no one mentioned Hilsea so thought she would contribute one of her best memories from the 1950s.

She sent me the picture on the rightof the rustic shelter in Alexandra Park.

Jane says it was known locally as ‘the monkey house’, was built in the 1930s and was ‘the focal point of the park’.

She writes: ‘The shelter was the last port of call on our favourite walk, right round from Hilsea Lido, all along Stamshaw Esplanade and then across Alexandra Park to Kipling Road.

‘My sister and I would play on the swings and then we would all sit in the shelter for a while.’

She adds: ‘Of course, it’s not there now, probably falling victim to the construction of the Mountbatten Centre in the late 1970s.

‘Certainly for me, it was one of those familiar places from childhood with happy memories that is now lost, although there is still a children’s playground there.’