Were white marks the work of the censor?

Can anyone explain these mysterious white marks? What were they concealing?' 'Picture: Paul Costen
Can anyone explain these mysterious white marks? What were they concealing?' 'Picture: Paul Costen
Two clerks on duty in James Taylors offices in Old Portsmouth. 			 (Robert James collection)

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This intriguing aerial picture of Southsea Castle provoked interest after I asked what the white marks might be on the right hand side.

The photo came from Waterlooville collector Paul Costen, who says the marks were on the original negative and not added to the print later.

I thought it might have been taken shortly before or during the Second World War.

There’s no definitive answer yet, but Dave Quinton wrote saying he thought they were censor marks obliterating machine gun emplacements and slit trenches.

He adds: ‘It’s also interesting to note what looks like a water tower on the castle and at least three machine gun emplacements on the seaward walls.’

However, if this was a military area, why was a fairground and what looks as though it might be a circus inside this zone?

But Brenda Edwards got in touch to suggest a less sinister explanation. She and her husband think they could have been large boulders being used to shore up Southsea’s sea defences, out of shot, to the east of this picture.

She believes the picture might have been taken in the late 1920s or early 1930s when Southsea Common was being developed.

The picture of the old Bedford coach being used as a greengrocers at Blackbrook Road, Fareham (below), brought back memories for Derek Knight, of Brasted Court, Milton, Portsmouth.

In 1955, when he was making deliveries for the Co-op, his driver told him of a chap in the Stamshaw area who used an old Rolls-Royce hearse to deliver fruit and veg.

Rolls-Royce took exception to this and offered to buy him a new truck if he would give them the hearse and he agreed. Can anyone confirm this story?

And, finally some names from this snap of the victorious darts team from the Fawcett Inn, Southsea, in the 1953-54 season.

Don Golding recognised his father Fred (sitting second from the left). He went on to play in the News of the World area finals. And Sue Hancock spotted her father George Davis (far right), the pub’s landlord from 1948 until 1962.