The narrow Portsmouth street that simply said: ‘Royal Navy’

Narrow squeeze - Queen Street, Portsea, in the 1950s and, below, the same view today
Narrow squeeze - Queen Street, Portsea, in the 1950s and, below, the same view today
Christopher Newton had to have one of his lungs removed in an emergency operation

THIS WEEK IN 1992: Sailor shot after new year party

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I am sure there are many Portsea people who remember when Queen Street was just a narrow road running from the Dockyard main gate through to Edinburgh Road.

In the picture above we see the road at its junction with Bishop Street some time in the 1950s.

jpns-15-09-14 rw R TODAY queen street''Queen Street/Bishop Street junction today.

jpns-15-09-14 rw R TODAY queen street''Queen Street/Bishop Street junction today.

It was so narrow that cars of that period struggled to pass another coming in the opposite direction.

As I remember, many junctions had old cannon used as bollards on the corners, although it does not seem to be the case on Bishop Street.

The photo might have been taken at out-muster from the Dockyard judging by the number of bicycles coming towards the camera.

The north side of the street was demolished to widen the road when many fine old established businesses went out of business.

jpns-15-09-14 rw HMS Victory''HMS VICTORY BEFORE BEING RAISED TO ORLOP DECK LEVEL''HMS Victory before being raised to orlp deck level.

jpns-15-09-14 rw HMS Victory''HMS VICTORY BEFORE BEING RAISED TO ORLOP DECK LEVEL''HMS Victory before being raised to orlp deck level.

The atmosphere all along Queen Street, especially on a wet evening, was positively ‘Portsmouth navy’... if you know what I mean!

So, we move to the modern picture and what a difference.

As I said, all the buildings on the north side have gone and the street has been widened to twice its original width.

Further towards the dockyard new flats have been built.

It is nice to see that some of the original buildings have survived, although Queen Street will never return to the way it once was.

Below, left, is a postcard view sent in by Dave Morris, of Waterlooville, and shows HMS Victory shortly after being placed in No2 dry dock on January 12, 1922.

She was floated in and then set up on stocks, but only at this level.

It was three years later, in 1925, that she was raised to the orlop deck level giving a much smarter appearance.

As can be seen, the stern is covered in scaffolding for the gold ‘gingerbread’ to be given much-needed refurbishment.

The main yardarm is missing her port side studding sail pole.

Nearly every gun port has a window affixed as well.