Portsmouth Dockyard workers could have weekly bath... in swimming pool

Stamshaw bathing pond at the end of Gruneisen Road.
Stamshaw bathing pond at the end of Gruneisen Road.
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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Earlier this week I asked if anyone knew the story behind the name of the road at the end of which was a Portsmouth swimming pool.

Although it was called the North End Swimming Pond it was actually at the end of Gruneisen Road, Stamshaw.

The United Ales pub The Mafeking in Warblington Street, Old Portsmouth.  The power station chimney can be seen on the right.

The United Ales pub The Mafeking in Warblington Street, Old Portsmouth. The power station chimney can be seen on the right.

Odd name, I thought, so asked the question. Historian Jane Smith replied.

While she was researching the pond some years ago she discovered that at least two roads were named after the company which developed the area.

Jane says: ‘It seems that following the huge expansion of the dockyard in the 1850s, somewhere had to be found for all the dockyard workers to live.

‘Portsea was too small to accommodate them all so Stamshaw, in the north-west corner of Portsea Island, was chosen.’

She adds: ‘It was developed by the United Land Company Limited and Mr Gruneisen was the secretary and Mr Wilson was the surveyor. An amenity, the Stamshaw Swimming Pond, was designed to accompany this development, and opened in 1912.’ Question answered.

Jane, who is also an expert on Hilsea Lido, then returned to the subject of the pond. ‘The forerunner of Tooting Bec Lido was built in 1906 in a similar way for the houses surrounding it.

‘As they did not have running water, the local inhabitants were expected to use it as a bath. Perhaps this was also the case at Stamshaw?

‘I do know that it had no facility for changing the water apart from at high tide, so it was thought to be like swimming in pea soup with “pea” being the operative word... ’

•Rose Craven got in touch about the picture of The Mafeking pub in Old Portsmouth.

She thinks it might have been owned by the Beehive Brewery in Warblington Street which was owned by Rose’s great great grandfather Thomas Weeks.

She sent the following extract from a Portsmouth Paper:

‘The old town again produced one successful brewery which Thomas Weeks built in Warblington Street in 1832. He was very close to the St Mary’s Street area... full of beerhouses of dubious character and which seems to have acquired the notorious reputation formerly attached to Point, possibly as a result of the commercial dock being built on the Camber, but also doubtless influenced by the presence of the Colewort Barracks in Warblington Street/St Mary’s Street area.

‘Brewing continued at Weeks’ Beehive Brewery, with its attached beerhouse, until 1895, it having been leased to William Feltham on Weeks’ death in 1870 and afterwards sold to Alexander Stannard.

‘In 1895 William Dupree acquired the business and brewing was transferred to Dupree’s other brewery at Cosham. A bonded store was built on the site of the Beehive Brewery used by Portsmouth United Breweries, Brickwoods and then Whitbread Wessex.’