News vendor was a real character on city streets

Commercial Road looking north from Arundel Street on a busy Saturday in July 1972
Commercial Road looking north from Arundel Street on a busy Saturday in July 1972
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Believe it or not this photograph by a News staff photographer dates from 1972 – yes, 40 years ago.

I find it strange that a photograph taken 40 years before this one, in 1932, would have seen a great fashion change. But apart from a few people wearing flared trousers, there is very little difference between the dress of then and today.

It was taken from the junction of Commercial Road and Arundel Street in Portsmouth where John Collier’s tailors (‘the window to watch’) was to the right of the photograph.

When I was a boy, around 1965, I had a newspaper pitch during the school holidays just where the photographer was standing.

Another news vendor close by sold the London Evening News and The Standard. I always wondered how he ever made a living selling a London paper in Portsmouth.

His call was ‘Lun’en Noos n Stan’ard’ (London News and Standard) and everyone who wanted to know knew what he was saying. Where are these people today?

Thanks to Barry Cox, our regular bus addict, we can recognise the two buses. Both Southdown of course and the front one is a Bristol VR with Eastern Coach Works bodywork.

Behind that is a Leyland PD3 with a Northern Counties bodywork. How do these people know so much?

We can also see a conductor standing to the front of the bus with his white summer jacket on.

The shops to the rear have changed a little over the intervening years as well. Woolworth’s can be seen to the left, then Littlewoods store and behind the rear bus Samuel’s the jewellers. In the distance is Marks and Spencer.

The zebra crossing holds up the traffic on a busy Saturday morning and the cars parked along Commercial Road certainly date the photo.

Apart from the Mini in the centre I do not recognise any of them. Perhaps you can help me out.

By the way, do you recognise yourself among the shoppers that day? Please let me know.