Trams, trolleybuses and their new Portsmouth rival – Southdown buses | Nostalgia

Here we see the new Southdown garage on London Road, Hilsea, on its opening day in May 1934.

Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 11:33 am
Updated Tuesday, 17th December 2019, 1:15 pm
The immaculate Southdown bus and coach garage at Hilsea that opened in May, 1934. Picture: Mick Cooper collection.
The immaculate Southdown bus and coach garage at Hilsea that opened in May, 1934. Picture: Mick Cooper collection.

I asked Norman Simes of the Southdown Enthusiasts Club for any information and he told me the site was bought in August 1933 and the building opened the following May.

At that time trams still had a couple of years to run and tramlines can just about be seen in the road plus trolleybus wires overhead.

All the bus and tram companies – Portsmouth Tramways, the City of Portsmouth Passenger Transport Department and Southdown – competed against each other across the city.

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Children sitting on a bomb site that once contained homes in Fratton Grove, Fratton, Portsmouth. Picture: Maureen O’Halloran.

The garage closed some 10 years ago and became a milk delivery point before final closure and demolition in 2013.

A block of apartments now stands in its place.

• I know many of you can remember bomb sites, places where buildings stood before the blitz on the city.

I know I can and many remained in the city until the early 1960s.

Fratton Grove ran off the west of Fratton Road, Fratton, Portsmouth. The children in the first picture are sitting on the site with their backs to the road.

I stand to be corrected but I am sure the last remaining great hole in the ground left from the war was at the junction of Green Road and Elm Grove, Southsea. Roslyn House apartment block now stands on the site with a car park sitting at the bottom of the bomb crater.

Fratton Grove, shown again here, was demolished about 1946 as Maureen O’Halloran (née Hawkins) sent me this photograph of children sitting on what would have been the ground floor of the homes in 1947/48.

Her parents moved to 29 Fratton Grove which would have been opposite the houses in the photo. The first house was number 22.

From the left we have Maureen, aged three and her sister Daphne. Next to her are two unknowns and on the far right Janet Peachey.

• On November 25, I published a published a photo of Havant crossroads which was seen by Carole Lloyd, of Widley.

She was born at Havant and in the 1950s was an apprentice hairdresser in Jane Hedges’ salon above the Southdown booking office in South Street.

While there the girls put together a time capsule. Objects were put in a box which was then placed in a gap in the wall between Jane’s shop and a barber’s belonging to Jack Fry. A Mr Ling was decorating the shop at the time.

Carole went back three weeks ago only to find the area between the two shop doorways had been altered. There is still a barber’s where Jack Fry had his business but the stairwell to Jane Hedges’ shop has changed. When the building work was done did anyone find that capsule? Perhaps it’s still there? Please let me know.