Kids loved the miniature railway - and so did dads

The miniature railway on Southsea Common
The miniature railway on Southsea Common
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A magnet for all youngsters, whether they lived locally or were spending their fortnight’s holiday in Southsea – the miniature railway on the Common.

It had real engines and tenders with their own station, tunnel and signals. It drew a host of fathers who no doubt envied the fortunate man who was lucky enough to drive this little beauty.

If you could afford to enjoy the better things in life then a sun hut was the ideal way to avoid crowded Southsea beach. The huts, situated between South Parade Pier and Eastney, were very popular and became a home from home, both for long-term visitors and residents who loved to spend summer weekends relaxing outdoors. This picture was taken in 1938.

If you could afford to enjoy the better things in life then a sun hut was the ideal way to avoid crowded Southsea beach. The huts, situated between South Parade Pier and Eastney, were very popular and became a home from home, both for long-term visitors and residents who loved to spend summer weekends relaxing outdoors. This picture was taken in 1938.

The engine ran on a nine-and-a-half-inch gauge track on its regular excursions around the common.

It was 1929 when a large area was set aside by the council as a children’s park.

The railway, a boating lake, paddling pool, sandpit and swings were a huge success, aided without a doubt by the 1929 guide book issued by the council which included a full-colour, 40-inch panorama of Portsmouth painted by the marine artist William Wyllie.

More than 30,000 guide books were issued that year, many of them sent around the world.