Southsea clock is older than we think

The floral clock in 1940.

The floral clock in 1940.

The picturesque cottages that once sat behind the original Coach and Horses pub at Hilsea, Portsmouth.

Quaint old farm cottages were behind Coach and Horses pub

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In March last year I wrote about the floral clock in front of Southsea Castle and my gardening colleague Brian Kidd thought it was placed there about 1949. It was said it was presented to the citizens of Portsmouth for their bravery during the war.

But Mark Newman tells me it is at least nine years older.

His late father John, who later became a police constable in the city, told Mark he went off to Dunkirk as a 12-year old in a tug to assist in the rescue in May 1940. Mark set about researching the story but discovered nothing. But he did find this photo of the clock which was published in The Evening News in 1940. The clock must have fallen into disrepair during the war years and been refurbished and presented once again in 1949.

Oddly, spelt out in flowers is Nelson’s famous signal flown at Trafalgar with a slight difference. It reads: ‘England Expects This Day That Every Man Will Do His Duty.’ Where ‘this day’ came from can only be guessed. I know it’s a long time ago but can anyone remember the clock when first presented to the city?

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