Sailor arrested

It would take  someone of the age of 55-plus to remember this scene along Commercial Road at the junction of Church Street.

NOSTALGIA: A Portsmouth scene unrecognisable today: Commercial Road in its pomp

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On this day in 1888 it was reported that two Dockyard policemen visited ‘a house of ill-repute’ in Southampton Row, off Queen Street, Portsea, on business.

They found a sailor who was absent without leave, arrested him and were about to take him back to the Dockyard when they were ‘set upon by several roughs of the neighbourhood’.

According to a correspondent in the Hampshire Telegraph, the men assaulted the policemen allowing the sailor to escape.

Subsequently, no action was taken against the culprits.

The newspaper described them as ‘brothel bullies’ and argued that the police should be better supported in their ‘arduous and disagreeable duties’ – John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.