‘Take us in mister, I wanna see Flash Gordon at the Bug Hutch’

The Essoldo cinema on the corner of Devonshire Avenue in 1961.  Picture: Barry Cox
The Essoldo cinema on the corner of Devonshire Avenue in 1961. Picture: Barry Cox
Super parents Cora and Gerry Watson

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Our picture earlier this week of the Essoldo cinema on the corner of Eastney Road and Devonshire Avenue, Eastney, sparked memories for Tony King. He recalls it well having lived in Devonshire Avenue from 1940 until 1957.

He remembers when it changed from the Electric Theatre to The Regal, although it had a less than complimentary nickname. ‘It was often referred to by the rude sobriquet of The Bug Hutch and sometimes even less politely as the Itch and Scratch,’ he says.

Regular Remember When contributor Clare Ash has been following our stories about Portsmouth women complaining about their delayed pensions and thought you would be interested in this picture from 1946.
These campaigning spinsters (now theres a word you dont hear often these days) wanted pensions at 55...

Regular Remember When contributor Clare Ash has been following our stories about Portsmouth women complaining about their delayed pensions and thought you would be interested in this picture from 1946. These campaigning spinsters (now theres a word you dont hear often these days) wanted pensions at 55...

Tony adds: ‘In the latter days of the war there used to be a young chap employed by the cinema manager to keep us rowdy youngsters in order when we were queueing. I think his name was Dougie.

‘I used to watch every episode I could of the Flash Gordon serial and as this was more often than not coupled with an A film it wasn’t easy to get in.

‘Along with other hopeful fans I used to hang around the door importuning adult patrons to ‘‘take us in, mister’’, and once inside I would scurry off to be with my friends.

‘When out of funds some youngsters would gain access via the toilet and staff would turf out any who couldn’t produce a valid ticket.’

This  picture is called The Camber By Day and was drawn in 1950 by Terry Porter when he was 14. Its where they used to bring in fishing boats and load coal into barges, he says. Today the Americas Cup building sits on the coal facility.

This picture is called The Camber By Day and was drawn in 1950 by Terry Porter when he was 14. Its where they used to bring in fishing boats and load coal into barges, he says. Today the Americas Cup building sits on the coal facility.