Unofficial Portsmouth race track claimed Aston Martin | Nostalgia

Older readers might remember when the lads used wasteland at the Eastney end of Portsea Island to race cars.I am told there was even a figure-of-eight track to make it more exciting.

Thursday, 30th January 2020, 10:06 am
Updated Thursday, 30th January 2020, 2:52 pm
The remains of an Aston Martin used for dirt tracking at Eastney, Portsmouth. Picture: Colin Hull collection.
The remains of an Aston Martin used for dirt tracking at Eastney, Portsmouth. Picture: Colin Hull collection.

This is the remains of an Aston Martin that rolled several times on that ‘track’. As ever there was always someone to enlighten me and Ian Heath tells me the following.

‘I believe it is a DBR1, first produced in 1956 and successful in racing. but stand to be corrected. These cars were used mainly for racing but some were road-registered – very much a rich man's toy.

‘A DBR1 won the Goodwood Tourist Trophy in 1958 and again in 1959. One of the drivers on both occasions was (Sir) Stirling Moss. A bit of research shows that Sir Stirling's DB1 from 1956 sold at auction at Monterey in California in 2017. It sold for about £17m.

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Portsmouth Grammar School's scout troop celebrated its 21st birthday, 1951. Picture courtesy John Sadden/Portsmouth Grammar School.

'The car is badly damaged and I go by the cockpit, lights and radiator grill, but someone else may have a better idea. I suspect that the car was either being raced or ran off a road into a field. As there seems to be no other vehicle involved, I would suggest speed caused the damage.’

Motorsport buff Simon Toft, The News’ commercial editor, says: ‘I think it's a DB3S. Aston Martin only made five DBR1s and four were for racing, just one for the road.’

• Some months ago I published an old street map of long-gone parts of Southsea. The replies I got were amazing and so many enjoyed reminiscing about their childhood I thought I’d publish this one of the western side of Landport from which so many streets have disappeared.

Down the left side are the streets, many named after Nelson’s battles. These all joined Conway Street which was decimated on the night of December 23, 1940.

A street map of the west side of Landport, Portsmouth. Did you live in these now-demolished streets?

North of Charlotte Street between it and Thomas Street are many more ‘Coronation Street’ terraces, of which I knew little as a boy.

Pitt Street was famous in the Royal Navy not just for its gymnasium and swimming pool but the Naval Recreation Ground which was always known as just Pitt Street. It ran between Commercial Road and the ground. The M275 finished that off and now there's a supermarket on the site.

I am sure many of you have memories of these streets and locations. Please remind me.

• In 1951 Portsmouth Grammar School’s scout troop celebrated its 21st birthday with a parade along High Street, Old Portsmouth.The scoutmaster was Mr Walker and Tom Parsons wielded the cub flag. In the background is the former town hall, later Portsmouth museum, which was also bombed in the blitz.