Recognise these busy Portsmouth scenes?

Commercial Road in the 1940s and, inset, in 1962
Commercial Road in the 1940s and, inset, in 1962

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This is the throbbing heart of Portsmouth – Commercial Road – in the 1940s.

As well as Smarts the costumiers, the grandly named City Hall housed several traders in the 1930s including opticians, butchers and the Conservative Party.

JPNS-12-10-12-044 RW 12-10-12 commrd''Commercial Road, 1972

JPNS-12-10-12-044 RW 12-10-12 commrd''Commercial Road, 1972

Post-war, the road was widened and the site occupied by the Employment Exchange which latterly became the JobCentre and an amusement arcade.

The picture on the bottom left shows the other end of Commercial Road in 1972 before pedestrianisation and with the two public clocks roughly agreeing on the time.

Littlewoods, C&A, H Samuel, Dunn & Co, Burton’s, Marks & Spencer, Meaker’s Menswear and Stone-Dri Weatherwear are visible.

Under the clock on the right a boutique selling very seventies gear traded under the very seventies name Strictly For The Birds.

Next to H Samuel is the Classic cinema showing Blue Water, White Death, a documentary about white sharks.

It shut shortly afterwards, bowing out with a showing of The Cruel Sea in August 1972.