The Portsmouth harbour swim which became a rite of passage

Flathouse Quay 1958
Flathouse Quay 1958

THIS WEEK IN 1993: Ballet shoes put on show in museum

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Thanks to all those who got in touch to put me right about two pictures here earlier this week.

They are the two above and below. Of the one above I said the timber stacked at Flathouse Quay, Portsmouth, was at Sydenham’s yard, Rudmore. It wasn’t.

Fruit being unloaded at Flathouse Quay, 1959

Fruit being unloaded at Flathouse Quay, 1959

Fred Bowden said the wood was piled up at Flathouse in front of the Admiralty police depot.

‘How do I know this?’ he asks. ‘I was born a few yards up Prospect Road and all the kids in the area spent their early years swimming in the quay.

‘You were one of the lads when you could swim from Flathouse to the dockyard timber pound floating in front of the royal yacht.’

Fred adds: ‘All the kids were healthy and fit and along with the bomb sites, life was never dull.’

HMS Victory Barracks 1958

HMS Victory Barracks 1958

He and Graham Clark also pointed out that the fruit being unloaded in the inset picture was also at Flathouse, not the Camber.

I also managed to move the Admiralty floating dock to the wrong side of the harbour. It was never on the Gosport side, as Dave Worsfold points out, but moored alongside the floating dock jetty, the recently-demolished Asia pontoon. Dave used to dive on her to inspect the mooring chains.

Those pictures came from the collection of Helen Mabel Smith,a former Portsmouth headteacher who died in 1990, as do the remaining pictures here today.

As ever, many thanks to all of you who got in touch. Please keep the feedback coming.

Milton Lake, Eastney

Milton Lake, Eastney

South Parade Pier, 1972

South Parade Pier, 1972