21 ways that coal played a role in Portsmouth life

Wonderfully interesting scenes of times gone by.

Wednesday, 26th May 2021, 4:32 pm
After coaling ship. Ships were all powered by furnaces.
Here we see some of the crew from the turtle-back destroyer HMS Chamois. 
Bottom centre of the photograph is the ship’s pet and to the left of it is George Harwood. He was the grandfather of George Millener who loaned us the photographs. Picture: George Millener collection
After coaling ship. Ships were all powered by furnaces. Here we see some of the crew from the turtle-back destroyer HMS Chamois. Bottom centre of the photograph is the ship’s pet and to the left of it is George Harwood. He was the grandfather of George Millener who loaned us the photographs. Picture: George Millener collection

There are some great old images in this selection including collier Pompey Powerarriving at her unloading dock opposite the power station and ‘Pompey Light’ in dock, where the Isle of Wight car ferry now leaves from.

You will see what happened inside the bunker at Fraser & White Ltd the coal merchants and the horse drawn coal wagons lining up and being loaded outside in East Street.

Also featuring is a fantastic aerial of the Old Portsmouth Power Station around 1948 and a few images of the sailors that used to coal the ships at the quayside.

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Little sisters Elizabeth and Ida Fitzjohn, with their grandmother Charlotte, who was the licensee of The Coal Exchange (now The Spice Island Inn) in Old Portsmouth.

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Sisters at The Royal Hospital Haslar in Gosport, huddle around a real coal fire in this undated picture
The inside of Fraser & White's coal bunker close to the Bridge Tavern, Old Portsmouth
Collier ‘Pompey Power’ arriving at her unloading dock opposite the power station. Picture: Barry Cox collection
Old Portsmouth Power Station circa 1948. To the bottom left is the Camber with the coal hoppers of Fraser & Whites the coal merchant. Unloading at the wharf is a large collier with three barges alongside. At the pointed end of the coal wharves can just be seen the Bridge Tavern which is dwarfed by them. Above the Bridge Tavern is the lock for the coal barges that brought in coal for the power station. The covered travelators for taking the coal up and over Gunwharf Road can be seen. Above the lock are the buildings of HMS Vernon. To the bottom right can be seen Oyster Street which at this time passed into White Hart Lane and since these times a block of flats have been built over it. St Thomas Street passes behind the cathedral with many of the buildings just bomb sites. The bank now a residential building on the corner of Highbury Street can be Cleary seen. The east end of St Thomas's Street and Warblington Street leading into St Georges Road close by Landport Gate are both bomb sites. To the top right hand corner can be seen the United Services cricket ground where, up until the Rose Bowl was built, Hampshire played first class cricket. Above the power station chimneys the railway line from the Harbour station to Portsmouth & Southsea High Level can be seen running along its tree lined route.
Pompey Power collier launched 1948
John Woods, of Reginald Road, Southsea, sent in this picture. He wrote: ‘This is a photograph of my father, second lorry from the right (RY419). It is dated 1931. If I remember rightly, it was taken at the Fratton coal yards.’
British sailors covered in coal dust after coaling ship.
The Russian warship Slava being coaled in Portsmouth. But when?
Coal wagons waiting to be loaded from the giant bunker in East Street, Old Portsmouth. Picture: Courtesy of Terry Piper
The collier Pompey Light in dock where the IoW car ferry now leaves from. Picture: Graham Stevens Collection
A collier tied up alongside the Camber dock, a long gone scene at the Camber, Old Portsmouth now. We can also see Nyassa the Bell & Co steam vessel registered in Cowes making her way out to the harbour. Picture: Barry Cox collection
Relaxing after coaling ship. Long before the days of oil and nuclear powered ships, coaling was the order of the day. Picture: Courtesy of George Milliner.
Fraser & White’s Ltd coal merchants. The poster in the widow explains how coal gas can kill! Picture: Mick Franckeiss
Residents celebrate VE Day in Clarence Square, Gosport, May 1945. Clarence Wharf, Fraser & White Coal Merchants building is on the right.
Inside one of the coal hoppers at the Camber, Old Portsmouth. Unloaded from a collier and then loaded on to lorries sometime in the 1940's /50's. The coal is being loaded into a smaller hopper so that the coalmen can load their sacks seen on the back of the steam lorry. A fascinating scene of times past when every house in the city was coalfired. Fraser and White Ltd had their head office at Town Quay, Old Portsmouth. Picture: Courtesy of Mick Franckeiss
Paddle steamer Whippingham at anchor off Southsea beach after coaling duties is the PS Whippingham. The black ball indicates that she is at anchor. Picture: Mike Nolan collection
Cranes and collier Seaford registered in London in the Camber There can't be many people who can remember the cranes working in the Camber unloading coal from a collier. Picture: Graham Stevens.
J R Wood & Co Ltd coal office at the corner of Watergate Road bombed during the blitz
Coal being unloaded at the Camber, Old Portsmouth