The street scene sacrificed for that magic roundabout

Burrfields Road crossing on the day it closed in April 1965, nearly 50 years ago and, below, looking into Commercial Road, Portsmouth, from Twyford Avenue in 1965 and 535 Commercial Road
Burrfields Road crossing on the day it closed in April 1965, nearly 50 years ago and, below, looking into Commercial Road, Portsmouth, from Twyford Avenue in 1965 and 535 Commercial Road
The new trackbed for the Horndean Light Railway looking south across the bridge over Southwick Hill Road, Cosham, about 1903.

NOSTALGIA: Ready and waiting, the shiny new tracks climbing Portsdown Hill

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Some of you might remember recent mention here of an old railway crossing in Portsmouth.

It was the one at Burrfields Road, Copnor, and David Janes has come up trumps with these two pictures of it on the day it closed.

The northern end of Commercial Road, Portsmouth, from the southern end of Twyford Avenue. Apart from the Air Balloon pub, everything else in this view was demolished to make way for the Rudmore roundabout. PPP-150502-150746001

The northern end of Commercial Road, Portsmouth, from the southern end of Twyford Avenue. Apart from the Air Balloon pub, everything else in this view was demolished to make way for the Rudmore roundabout. PPP-150502-150746001

April 27, 1965, was the date, he recalls – the day the new bridge over the railway line was opened – the road bridge we now all take so much for granted.

‘Crossing now closed’ reads the chalked sign adjacent to the crossing keeper’s shack.

It’s hard to believe today that pedestrians and some vehicles were allowed to cross this busy line along which trains now seem to pass at least every couple of minutes.

David, of Rectory Close, Alverstoke, has also done us proud with the other two fascinating pictures today.

The lovely building which was home to the Mavis Butler School of Dancing at 535 Commercial Road, Portsmouth PPP-150502-150736001

The lovely building which was home to the Mavis Butler School of Dancing at 535 Commercial Road, Portsmouth PPP-150502-150736001

Regular stories in The News about the bane of all our lives, Rundmore roundabout, prompted him to dig out pertinent photos.

If you are relatively new to Portsmouth, you’ll have to study carefully the picture on the opposite page to work out where we are.

Suffice to say, everything bar the pub was bulldozed to make way for the roundabout.

That pub is the Air Balloon and David was standing at the southern end of Twyford Avenue to take the picture.

A few yards farther down the road and we were on the northern extremity of Commercial Road.

‘I thought readers would like to be reminded of how it was,’ says David, who took it on Christmas Day 1965.

He adds: ‘The large Brickwoods’s sign is on the side of the Air Balloon with the gables of Garfield Road school visible behind.’ He is not certain if the tower belonged to the school.

‘On the right,’ he continues, ‘next to the Wesleyan Methodist Church, by then a storehouse, can be seen a rather pleasing residence.’

This, says David, was 535 Commercial Road, the highest-numbered address in that road.

And he thinks many of you will recall visiting it.

‘From the late 1940s until the mid-1960s it was the Mavis Butler School of Dancing.

‘I wonder how many older readers learnt to dance there?’ he muses.