Long-gone Portsmouth school remembered | Bob Hind

Back in November I published a picture of Wellington Place School in Portsmouth and asked if anyone remembered it and where it might have been.

By Bob Hind
Thursday, 19th December 2019, 10:40 am
Updated Thursday, 19th December 2019, 2:47 pm
The location of Wellington Place School before the area was decimated by demolition. Map: courtesy of Peter Elms
The location of Wellington Place School before the area was decimated by demolition. Map: courtesy of Peter Elms

Peter Elmes, 75, knew the Buckland school well and also sent me this map.

He tells me: ‘I attended Wellington Place School from 1948 until 1953, starting when I was four-and-a-half.

‘My first teacher was Miss Summers and she is the only teacher I can remember!

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Portsmouth & Southsea station concourse in the 1960s.

'The school was in North Cross Street between Seymour Street, Wellington Place and School Lane – the school being in the middle of these four roads. The new Buckland rebuild saw the demolition of the school and many of the surrounding roads.

'I lived in Cressy Road in one of the prefabs – number 21, which was off Sultan Road.’

Steve Richardson and his wife also went to the school. He says: “My wife and me attended both the infant and junior schools before moving on to secondary school.

‘Sadly, it was demolished in the mid-seventies, but just before it came down I sneaked in for a final nostalgic look around and discovered that the headmaster's office had another door at the back which revealed his own loo and washbasin.

The changing face of Portsmouth in a picture taken, perhaps, in the late 1960s. Picture: Mick Cooper collection.

‘My wife remembers a misbehaving boy having a wooden rounders ball thrown at him by a frustrated teacher, which bounced off the back of his head. Wouldn't happen today though.’

Gordon Allen was adopted from Haslar Children’s Home aged 10 and his parents moved to Portsmouth to Malins Road, Mile End and he too went to Wellington Place school.

He remembers one day leaving for school after the family cat had kittens. When he got home he discovered his mother had flushed the kittens down the toilet. Not from cruelty but because the family was poor.

One of his friends, Richard Whittingham, lived in Seymour Street and kept horses in the back garden. They used to walk the horses through the house every evening. No one was surprised, it was quite normal back then.

On the map, which I know you will all enjoy seeing, the school is on the left side north of North Cross Street. Many of the streets, Arnaud Street, Seymour Street, School Lane now lie under what is Buckland Adventure Playground but are remembered in several closes built in modern times.

Portsmouth & Southsea in the 1960s

A view across to the low level platforms at Portsmouth and Southsea railway station, although some, like me, still call it the Town Station.

On the concourse you can see a portable buffet with WH Smith & Son in the background. The ‘& Son’ has now been dropped.

At the platform is a Hampshire three-carriage diesel unit which was used for services to Southampton via Fareham as that line was not electrified then.

A new post-war city takes shape

A late 1960s’/early 1970s’ aerial picture of Hyde Park Road, Portsmouth, running from Blackfriars Road, out of the picture at the top.

On the right is the railway line with the Jack and Jill footbridge steps dropping down to Greetham Street.

On the right of the left hand block of flats is the Cabman’s Rest public house with the C of E Charter Academy opposite.

The dark-roofed building on the right is builders’ merchants Winter & Son, a forerunner of B&Q.