Features still exist from a forgotten community

The houseboat High Street at Milton Locks in about 1960
The houseboat High Street at Milton Locks in about 1960
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My recent features on the fascinating, but largely forgotten, Milton Locks area of Portsmouth has provoked much interest.

Matt Spanner, of Locksway Road, Milton, has found another two rare shots of the area.

The roof and chimneys of the Thatched House pub in the distance at Milton Locks

The roof and chimneys of the Thatched House pub in the distance at Milton Locks

He adds: ‘These are believed to have been taken by a family member some time about 1960.

‘The first one shows the houseboat ‘‘High Street’’, taken from the Thatched House pub looking towards the locks. The canal was situated only a few yards to the left hand side of the picture.’

Matt’s second picture shows the shoreline taken farther back to the west.

‘The roof and chimneys of the Thatched House can be clearly seen in the centre. This must have been the only brick-built structure in the vicinity.

‘My father remembers many of the houseboats being there as a child in the late 1950s, and also at the nearby Velder Creek which is now Moorings Way.

‘An entire community lived here for much of the last century. By the early to mid-1960s they all began to disappear. Its terribly sad that this area has all but been forgotten.’

Of course the locks once marked the entrance to Portsea Island of the Portsmouth to Arundel canal and I mentioned last week the pump house at Milton, which shifted water via well and pipe from the sea into the waterway.

Eddie Wallace, from Milton, says the pump house still exists.

He says: ‘It lies along the Old Canal Walk at the rear of houses on the south side of Locksway Road near Waterlock Gardens. I think it is 280 Locksway Road, although not actually in that road.’

He also says that the railway tracks running from Fratton Station to the Town Station are laid in what was part of the brick-lined canal.

‘My grandmother, who lived near the canal, told me canal water seeped through the brick lining into the cellars of houses alongside the canal and that was one of the reasons it closed.’

He can also remember the canal toll house on the corner of Upper Arundel Street and Canal Walk (not to be confused with the Old Canal Walk mentioned above), which was demolished in 1960.