Mysteries of long-forgotten Portsmouth streets revealed pre-demolition

Henrietta Street with The Mystery pub at the end in June 1964. Inset is the original picture of the backs of some of these homes, complete with tin baths.
Henrietta Street with The Mystery pub at the end in June 1964. Inset is the original picture of the backs of some of these homes, complete with tin baths.

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It’s amazing what a seemingly innocuous picture of some back-to-backs with tin baths hanging in the yard can lead to.

Since I first used the picture of Henrietta Street, Portsmouth, there have been several readers’ stories based around their bath-in-front-of-the-fire escapades.

Tin baths hanging in the back yards of Henrietta Street, Landport

Tin baths hanging in the back yards of Henrietta Street, Landport

Now I discover that regular contributor David Janes, from Alverstoke, Gosport, took a series of pictures which charted the Somers Town’s street’s demise in the 1960s.

He says a photographic record of the backs of homes such as these is a rarity.

David managed to work out, thanks to the spire of The Mystery pub peeping above the houses, that the picture was taken from the drive adjacent to No26.

This led to premises behind the houses in Henrietta Street used in the 1920s, at least, by WH Enfield, a coal and coke merchant.

Henrietta Street with The Mystery pub at the end in June 1964. Inset is the original picture of the backs of some of these homes, complete with tin baths.

Henrietta Street with The Mystery pub at the end in June 1964. Inset is the original picture of the backs of some of these homes, complete with tin baths.

David says: ‘The Mystery places the view as taken from the north side of Henrietta Street, the even-numbered side.

‘The block wall on the right places the properties being, from the left, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34 and 36.’

And he has sent me four of his pictures tracking the street’s closure and demolition.

A view across Henrietta Street, Somers Town, to the west side of Warwick Street. The east side has already been demolished. September 19, 1964.

A view across Henrietta Street, Somers Town, to the west side of Warwick Street. The east side has already been demolished. September 19, 1964.

Warwick Street, Somers Town, Portsmouth, after demolition looking towards Gloucester Street, January 1965. Note the horse-drawn cart, derelict car on its side, another car and a lorry on what has become waste land. The premises of the beer retailer still stands... but not for long.

Warwick Street, Somers Town, Portsmouth, after demolition looking towards Gloucester Street, January 1965. Note the horse-drawn cart, derelict car on its side, another car and a lorry on what has become waste land. The premises of the beer retailer still stands... but not for long.