When Empire Day was something to celebrate

A magnificent photograph looking south over Portsbridge with the Hilsea arches in the background. 		                   Picture: Barry Cox Collection

Where there’s a wheel there’s a way – straight down Portsmouth tramlines

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There was a time when the British Empire was celebrated every year with events going on all over the globe.

There was a chant that schoolchildren used to call out during their celebrations, ‘Remember, Remember Empire Day, the 24th of May.’

With the running down of the British Empire in the 1950s the day was altered to Commonwealth Day and celebrated on the Queen’s official birthday, June 10.

It was later altered again to the second Monday in March.

The picture, right, is of a close formation of Avro Anson aircraft taking off from Thorney Island, near Emsworth, on Empire Day, 1939.

n Every house seems to have high fidelity CD players.

But in the days of LPs and singles a record player was needed and, below right, we see one of the best that could be purchased.

It was on sale in 1972 for £184 at Bentley’s, in Havant’s East Street, which was the equivalent of at least six weeks wages for most working people. It must have sounded quite superb.

With the popularity of long playing vinyl records coming back into fashion, I wonder if the radiogram will begin to make an appearance once more.

n David Grieg’s stores were one of the city’s favourite shopping locations.

Their ham on the bone was everyone’s favourite.

Below left, are some prices from 1972 with large brown eggs at 26p a dozen and greenback bacon rashers at just 32p a pound.

n Her messdecks once echoed to the sound of 1,500, sailors and her tannoy boomed out bugle calls from a Duty Royal Marine.

Her massive engines drove her into action in the Atlantic in 1941, the Bismarck action in the same year, up in the cold Arctic 1942-43 and, at the end of the war, against the Japanese in 1945.

Her 10, 14in guns could easily send shells 25 miles.

The picture, on the opposite page, was taken in June 1950 and we see the battleship HMS King George V leaving Portsmouth Dockyard.

She is being towed to Gareloch, in Scotland, to be mothballed. She was broken up in 1958.

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