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THIS WEEK IN 1984: Planners rethink Fratton superstores

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On this day in 1805 Benjamin Silliman, an American traveller, spent his first day in Portsmouth.

He wrote: ‘The streets of Portsmouth are dirty and the town presents little that is pleasing or interesting beyond the various means of war, of which it is little else than a great magazine.

‘As I walked about the streets I met everywhere crowds of military men both of the army and navy, by whom Portsmouth is said to be almost exclusively supported.

‘At the inn where I dined I saw a great number of young midshipmen; some of them were tender boys who seemed more fit subjects for maternal care than for war and bloodshed; it is from such beginnings, however, that Blakes and Nelsons are formed’ – from John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.