Memories of Brunel

John Evans thinks he recognises 'Mrs Ball' in this picture of Britain Street, Portsea, Portsmouth, from 1929
John Evans thinks he recognises 'Mrs Ball' in this picture of Britain Street, Portsea, Portsmouth, from 1929
Opening of the new school by the home secretary in October 1927. The headmaster, Canon Barton, is on the lowest step, on the left. Dorothea Barton is possibly there, somewhere. (PGS Archive)

NOSTALGIA: A red bluestocking at Portsmouth Grammar School

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The sad demise of Brunel’s birthplace in Britain Street, Portsea, Portsmouth, prompted John Evans to get in touch.

He was born in 4, Little Britain Street and says Isambard Brunel had lived on the other side of the road ‘between Stockers pub and the alley that went down to the Portsea Girls’ Free School’.

John, of Walmer Road, Fratton, added: ‘Years ago I worked for the SEB and cut off the electricity to Brunel’s house.

‘There was a round plaque on the wall to show that Brunel was born there, but somebody removed it and probably sold it for scrap.’

And John thinks he recognises one of the women in the picture - a Mrs Ball. ‘When they pulled the houses down I think she was rehoused in Paulsgrove.’ Can anyone confirm this?