St Michael’s Road, then and now

St Michael's Road today
St Michael's Road today
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It’s a familiar sight to students in the daytime and revellers in the evening, but St Michael’s Road, near the University of Portsmouth and Guildhall Walk, has a long history.

We can see a picture looking north along St Michael’s Road, taken around 1920.

St Michael's Road pictured around 1920. Notice the Register Office to the right, St Michael's Church and the King James's Gate on the left.

St Michael's Road pictured around 1920. Notice the Register Office to the right, St Michael's Church and the King James's Gate on the left.

To the right of the image is the Register Office and further along is the Seamen’s Orphanage and St Michael’s Church.

The original institution was founded in St George’s Square in October 1851, being titled The Seamen and Marines’ Orphan Home.

At first there were just 27 children and a day school only used for ‘schooling for the education and clothing the orphans of seamen and marines.’

Ten years later there were 312 scholars and it moved to larger premises in Lion Terrace, off Queen Street.

On April 20, 1876, a new building was opened by the Duke of Edinburgh in St Michael’s Road for orphan girls only, the boys only being fed and clothed.

Under the Education Act of 1894 the school was closed to boys, who were all moved elsewhere.

The Register Office was closed in the 1970s and turned into a pub.

It was mainly used by students from the technical college and later the university.

It has since closed and is being renovated and turned into student accommodation.

To the left of the image is the King James’s Gate, which formerly stood in Broad Street. It was re-erected, although not in its entirety, in 1881.

It was the original entrance to the Officers Recreational Ground.

The gate has again been re-erected as the gate to the same ground but in Burnaby Road.