47 rarely-seen photos showing the never-ending transformation of Portsmouth's Commercial Road

Many places in Portsmouth have undergone a massive transformation over the years, but perhaps none more so than Commercial Road.

Friday, 9th October 2020, 6:29 pm
Classic cinema in Commercial Road, opposite Arundel Street junction and the lowering a 10-inch main pipe by Portsmouth Water Company in the foreground.
Classic cinema in Commercial Road, opposite Arundel Street junction and the lowering a 10-inch main pipe by Portsmouth Water Company in the foreground.

Portsmouth’s teeming thoroughfare is the city’s main shopping precinct and is now home to many of the UK’s biggest retail brands.

While the retail sector is unrecognisable from decades ago, Commercial Road has always been the hustle and bustle of the city centre in Portsmouth – as shown by these rare photos below.

We’ve had a look back through the archives to find some of our favourite photos from 1906 to the 1960’s.

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Crossing Commercial Road at the junction with Edinburgh Road, but where are the girls parents?
A wonderful photograph of pre-war Commercial Road, Portsmouth, at its junction with Charlotte Street. A policeman directs traffic.
Flooding outside the goods sheds in Commercial Road. The boy’s face in the centre says it all. Flooding in Commercial Road taken from inside the gates of the railway goods shed.
Princess Elizabeth's motorcade heading north along Commercial Road in 1951. Notice the photographers on the ledge to the left.
A close up of the girls pushing their cycles through a bombed out Commercial Road. But who are they? Mcllroy's Store pictured behind.
The Osborne Hotel, Commercial Road. Mile End. Undated
Commercial Road/Church Street junction about 1960
The Post Office in Commercial Road on the corner of Stanhope Road 1970's. The Guildhall clocktower to the left.
No more Post Office The site of the former Post Office in Commercial Road. To the rear was the sorting office.
Edinburgh Road/Commercial Road junction in Edwardian days. PC George Poore seeing another two children across Commercial Road
An aerial of Old Commercial Road
Long gone and built over here we see the sailors return, Commercial Road, Mile End, Portsmouth
Commercial Road 7th August 1960
Flooding under the railway bridge in Commercial Road in August 1911.
May Day parade at Sultan Road/Commercial Road junction When Portsmouth celebrated May Day. A view along Commercial Road with Sultan Road to the immediate left.
Tracys Furniture Store Commercial Road/Thomas Street Corner, March 1964
Amazing old advertisements on the wall. Post Office Commercial Road, May 1964
Commercial Road circa 1953 A marvellous view along Commercial Road circa 1953. All Saints Church bell tower peeks over the rooftops in the centre.
Band parade pass the Royal Sailors Rest, Commercial Road, Landpor. We see what looks like a cadets band parading.
Commercial Road looking south Commercial Road in the late 1950's perhaps. Someone is passing the time of day with the policeman on point duty. Stores Jarreds and H Samuel can be seen on the right, while a Mothers Pride Bread delivery takes place on the left.
The human cannonball gun seen passing along Commercial Road. Undated
Circus elephants pass Meakers in Commercial Road. The elephants are either from Billy Smarts or Chipperfields circus
Looking south along Commercial Road in either 1956 or 1960. The attention was caused by the circus parading through the town. We see the familiar Marks & Spencer on the right.
A flooded view under Commercial Road railway bridge A superb view looking towards the high level platforms of the Town Station with commercial Road passing underneath.
A view of the Corner House Restaurant in Commercial Road, with the Hippodrome Theatre on the left. Undated
J Parkhouse signage on the corner of the Landport Drapery Bazaar store in Commercial Road.
Finlay’s and Peter’s Place. A look under Commercial Road railway bridge in 1956. The Guildhall surrounded by scaffolding.
The Memorial Gate, The Royal Portsmouth Hospital The former main gateway into the ‘Royal’ in Commercial Road as the Royal Portsmouth Hospital was always called.
Commercial Road from under the railway bridge. A marvellous period scene in Commercial Road, Portsmouth circa 1935.
Fuller & Son’s drapers store in Commercial Road, Landport, just up from Charlotte Street junction. PQR on the building.
The corner of Edinburgh and Commercial Road, 1946. A dramatic scene on the corner of Edinburgh Road with the burnt out remains of the Centre Hotel.
A very busy street scene along Commercial Road, Portsmouth.
Removed from the face of Portsmouth Commercial Road, Portsmouth before the M275 wiped it from the face of the city. Herbert Street to the left.
Northern end of Commercial Road. An undated photograph of Commercial Road but the late 1960's.
Tidal flow lights along Commercial Road In 1970 two-way tidal flow traffic light was introduced to great success. The Air Balloon pub on the right.
Easter Parade along Commercial Road circa 1906. We are looking south along Commercial Road with the Monarch pub on the corner of Charlotte Street.
Commercial Road shortly after being made into a precinct in 1972.
Looking south along Commercial Road ten years after the blitz on the city. Arundel Street coming in from the left.
Commercial Road on a busy 1964 day. A marvellous memory of when Commercial Road was the place to be on a Saturday.
Out-muster from the dockyard, 1939 Dockyard men at out-muster for a dinnertime break turn from Edinburgh Road into Commercial Road. Store J Levy & Co and Barclays Bank behind.
Northern end of Commercial Road circa 1970. How the city once looked before the motorways took over.
The northern end of Commercial Road south of Lake Road about 1960/61. Marks & Spencer on the left and the Halford cycle and motor supplies store on the right
The top end of Commercial Road in 1969, with Charlotte Street in the centre.
The war is over-lets go shopping Looking north along Commercial Road from Arundel Street junction around 1946.
Commercial Road/Edinburgh Road junction A mid-1960's photograph with police officers controlling traffic here and in the distance.
The junction of Commercial Road and Craswell Street sometime after the mid 1960's and early 1970's. Hardy's furniture store can be seen behind.
Classic cinema in Commercial Road, opposite Arundel Street junction and the lowering a 10-inch main pipe by Portsmouth Water Company in the foreground.