The war is over... so bring out the pantomime horse!

Locksway Road, May 8, 1945
Locksway Road, May 8, 1945
Looking down London Road circa 1903. The Horndean Light Railway tracks are on the right.  Picture: Barry Cox Collection

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It’s May 1945, the war is over at last, and what’s the first thing any true Brit does? Get out the pantomime horse costume, of course.

This marvellous picture from May 8 of that year was taken in Locksway Road, Milton, Portsmouth, as residents finally let their hair down after the Second World War.

The chap in the shorts is having fun with the horse using what looks like the carrot and stick approach. And the relevance of the top-hatted, blacked-up horse chaperone? Who knows? Perhaps it’s a quaint old Milton custom.

In the background is the Old Oyster House which dates from the 1880s but was rebuilt in 1930 by celebrated local architect Arthur Edward Cogswell. You can see it in the background of the modern street scene.

The letters SWS painted on the wall indicates a wartime Static Water Supply, a large water tank that was used by firefighters and residents in the event of a loss of supply.