Do you remember these memorable shops and pubs in Portsmouth?

I asked if anyone could name the cars featured in last Monday’s photograph of the Essoldo in Kingston Road, Portsmouth, which I’ve republished here. Ian Heath came up with the answer.

By Bob Hind
Saturday, 6th June 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Saturday, 13th June 2020, 11:18 am
Looking south down Kingston Road, Portsmouth. The pub is the Whitehall. Picture: Mike Nolan collection
Looking south down Kingston Road, Portsmouth. The pub is the Whitehall. Picture: Mike Nolan collection

He says: ‘The first one is a Fiat 124. They were produced from the mid-1960s until the middle of the’70s and I can remember them on the road, so they must have been quite popular. The G-reg. is, I think, 1968-69.

'The second one is, of course, a Mini, an early model and, I believe, either a Morris Mini Minor or an Austin 7.

‘The third one is a BMC ADO 16. Remember the Austin and Morris 1100? This one is, I think, a Riley Kestrel.’

Ian continues: 'It was more up-market than the basic model and came as an 1100 or 1300. There was also a Wolseley ADO 16, which was similar to the Kestrel.

‘However, comparing the radiator grilles on the internet, I think this is the Riley. Riley and Wolseley had long since ceased to exist separately and this was an example of what the motor industry calls "badge engineering".

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‘Incidentally, these cars are still popular, especially the various “posher" marques, particularly in Japan. ‘Oh, and ADO meant "Amalgamated Drawing Office", as the British Motor Corporation was an amalgamation of Austin and Morris. It makes me weep for the days when we produced home-grown, quality, volume-manufactured British vehicles!’

In the distance is the Bedford Arms pub then Bedford Street. Next to that was the Kresta baby carriage company . What was at the building up for sale I have yet to find but in 1947 it was a Chapman’s Laundry receiving office. The next pub along is the Whitehall and then Malthouse Road. U-Name-It was a buy, sell and exchange store and between that and the Essoldo was Gordon Roberts’ photography shop.

With most of these buildings having been demolished and a petrol station built the whole scene has changed completely since the 1970s.

- One thing we do not like to think about when warships are sunk in action is the fate of the men down below who are trapped but still alive and go down with the ship.

It is a frightening thought and one which most sailors no doubt put to the back of their minds when going to action stations.

Not many lived to tell the tale but it happened to Gus Howells who was serving in HMS Falmouth during the Cod Wars of the early 1970s.

Gus tells me about an incident that could have turned fatal. He says: ‘'We had a confrontation with the Icelandic gunboat Tyr and another resulting in a slight collision but we weren't allowed to train guns.

‘At that time my action station was 4.5in shell room with a junior gunner and steward.

‘It was quite frightening as we went to action stations in the early morning watch and as a result of the collision the hatch buckled and we were trapped.

‘The only lighting was from the emergency lighting. Luckily no one was hurt and the shipwright managed to straighten the hatch, eventually, and got us out after a number of hours.

'Because we lost the fishing rights to the Icelanders nobody talks about the Cod Wars but it was very real and very dangerous. Thank you for bring it to the attention of your readers.’

- The photograph of the sailors in duck suits published last Tuesday was seen by Ted Saunders, of Portchester.

Ted tells me the photograph was taken in Wei-i-Wei China in the 1930s. Third from the right in the front row was his father-in-law Frank Olford.

Frank was in submarines in the ’30s and they put in to Wei-i-Wei for the boat to be cleaned, painted and for general maintenance. They used Chinese labour to haul the submarine out of the water on wooden slipways.

He served in the boats Osiris, Phoenix, and Sturgeon from about 1934-1939. He was also stationed in a place called Taikoo.

Ted says: ‘The family has the photo and know it was Frank as he always wore his hat slightly tilted over his left eye.’

Thanks Ted. Superb memories!

- At one time there was a railway station at Farlington close to where Eastern Road passes over the railway line.

When the station existed most of the area was rural and the Railway Triangle was open country used mostly for grazing horses.

After the war much of the area around the triangle was built on and in the late 1970s the Railway Triangle itself was covered in warehouses and offices.

The only way to reach these places of work is by private transport as they are quite a way off bus routes.

Is it not time that a railway station was once again built to enable local employees to get to work thus keeping cars off the roads?