Fire was not the first one to hit Southsea seafront

The fire at the Royal Beach Hotel, Southsea, in 1911
The fire at the Royal Beach Hotel, Southsea, in 1911

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Last month’s big fire on Southsea seafront, which destroyed the building that once housed the old Joanna’s nightspot, has echoes in history.

It prompted George Malcolmson, the archivist at the Royal Navy Submarine Museum in Gosport, to delve into his collection of photographs taken by the famous Southsea photographer Stephen Cribb.

The News from June 12, 1974 featuring the South Parade Pier blaze

The News from June 12, 1974 featuring the South Parade Pier blaze

And he found this one from July 1911, showing the nearby Royal Beach Hotel on fire.

The hotel is opposite South Parade Pier and, of course, that too has suffered its fair share of disasters.

The most famous of those was in June 1974, when the pier burned down during the making of the Ken Russell film Tommy.