Edwardian Havant | Nostalgia

I always wonder if the photographers of the past used to stand on a stepladder to take photographs like these. They never appear to have been taken at street level.

Monday, 3rd February 2020, 9:58 am
Updated Monday, 3rd February 2020, 5:21 pm
The west end of West Street leading from Havant to Bedhampton, with the Prince of Wales pub in the distance. Picture: Tony New postcard collection.
The west end of West Street leading from Havant to Bedhampton, with the Prince of Wales pub in the distance. Picture: Tony New postcard collection.

I know that when I take ‘then and now’ photographs, I take a lightweight set of steps with me to get the same angle.

In this shot we are looking along West Street towards Bedhampton. The level crossing at Bedhampton halt is just out of view.

I was going to take a now photograph but there were so many cars, lorries and vans it was all but impossible.

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Frank Bastable, left, with Mr Gotter alongside Portsmouth's first dust lorry with rubber tyres. Picture: Carol Breedon collection.

What does amaze me about streets of the Edwardian period such as this is the width of the pavements. There was not any traffic as we know it today, but the street designers still put in decent pavements.

• My article mentioning Peggy Byng on January 12 was seen by Joyce Thorn who knew Peggy as she also lived in Belgrave Street.

On the night of the bombing the Thorn family were, luckily, out of town in Fareham.

Joyce tells me that on another night’s raid an incendiary came through the roof landing on the pillow where her head had been lying shortly before.

The former destroyer-gunboat HMS Grey Goose, now a houseboat. Picture by permission of the owner Mr Swann.

Heaving bins into the ‘chip fryer’

Sent in by Carol Breeding, the man on the left is her late father Frank Bastable, the senior driver in Portsmouth.

He is standing alongside the first dustcart in the city to have rubber tyres. The picture was taken about 1935. With him is a Mr Gotter.

Carol tells me the heavy metal dustbins were shouldered into the ‘chip fryer’, as these lorries were nicknamed. Frank later became the lord mayor’s driver. He retired aged 55 because of an illness.

Destroyer that is now a houseboat

On January 29 I published a photograph of a small destroyer-gunboat, HMS Grey Goose. I can now tell you the ship still exists as a beautiful houseboat. She is now called Anserava and is berthed on the River Medway in Kent.

Thanks to regular correspondent Mike Nolan for the update. He tells me his late father used to work on her when Vospers was at the Camber, Old Portsmouth.