For whom the bell tolled – spooky Hayling Island church beneath waves

A 1960 
Portsmouth Evening News diagram of good fishing in the Solent.
A 1960 Portsmouth Evening News diagram of good fishing in the Solent.
jpns-19-08-17 retro Aug 2017

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In 1960 the Portsmouth Evening News, as ever a community newspaper, gave information to local anglers about where the best fishing locations were in the Solent.

Thanks to regular contributor Eddie Wallace, who used to have his own boat, for keeping this page which he passed to me.

He tells me the diagram will be just as useful today as fish do not move far from where they were hatched. I am sure many of you local fisherman would find this interesting.

The biggest problem I always found with sea fishing was sea sickness. I am all right going and coming, but sitting in a boat bobbing up and down, I soon become most unwell. As soon as the boat starts to head for home, I feel well again.

One element of the diagram which caught my eye was Church Rocks, south of the coastguard station on Hayling Island.

When I was at school we were told that hundreds of years ago Hayling Island was overcome by a massive flood.

The small community with the church to the south of the island was flooded by a massive tide which came in but never went out. The schoolmaster even told us a spooky tale. Apparently legend has it that the church bell could be heard when the tide came and went for a long time after it was covered by the sea.

I like the caption to the east of Church Rocks where the notation says: ‘Skate, dabs but expect anything.’

North of Ryde Pier, off the Motherbank, you could expect ‘a mixed bag’.

• I cannot speak for other radio stations as I cannot tune into several at the same time, of course.

But I wonder how many other stations closed down for one minute’s silence last Sunday for those killed and injured in the London Bridge terror attack last Saturday night?

Angel Radio, based at Havant, did so at 3pm followed by the national anthem. They then played London Pride sung by Noel Coward.

A class act.

• With the cricket season well under way, no doubt there will be some first-class professional matches played out all over the country.

Unfortunately, we no longer see such games in Portsmouth since Hampshire moved to the Ageas Bowl at West End, Southampton.

However, in 1882 the full Australian side played a match against a past and present Cambridge University XI.

The match was played on the Officers’ Recreation Ground alongside Burnaby Road, Portsmouth, and although there had been some good attendances at matches played there the groundsman could not have been expecting half of who turned out.

For the three-day game, 16,000 paid admission.

It was thought the Aussies would win quite easily, but at the end of the three days the last wicket fell and the Cambridge side won by 20 runs amid scenes of great enthusiasm.

• My friend Barry Cox has loaned me a beautiful photograph taken somewhere in Portsmouth.

It shows William Miller’s bakery with a horse-drawn cart pulled-up outside waiting to go out on its round.

Miller had a steam bakery and was contracted to the admiralty to supply the navy. Shore establishments I suppose.

I have searched everything I have, but can find no reference to Miller’s bakery.

So that I can place a suitable caption with the picture, does anyone know anything about the firm?

• Another regular contributor, Ralph Cousins, mentioned to me that next month marks the 150th anniversary of the first passenger train that ran from Havant all the way to Hayling Island.

His book on everything about the Hayling branch line is still available from The Spring arts centre at Havant or via (023) 9248 4024.