Gone but not forgotten – Cosham’s landmark hotel

The level crossing and footbridge in Cosham. Picture: costen.co.uk
The level crossing and footbridge in Cosham. Picture: costen.co.uk
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Apart from the slopes of Portsdown Hill in the distance, the only reference point in the unusual photograph above is the Railway Hotel.

Even though the landmark pub was demolished last year, it immediately says ‘Cosham’ despite the wide open fields stretching into the distance.

Cosham railway, looking north. Picture: costen.co.uk

Cosham railway, looking north. Picture: costen.co.uk

And the second picture, now showing the level crossing gates in High Street, puts everything in context.

Back to the main photo, and in the middle distance, across the field, you can see one of the cars of the Portsdown and Horndean Light Railway which ran from Cosham over Portsdown Hill to Horndean.

It started running in March 1903 so this, undated, picture was taken a few years later. My guess is about 1910-1912 judging by the women’s Edwardian dress.

Of course that field was later occupied by Cosham’s cinema and as the Carlton it too was demolished last year.

The picture was probably taken from the footbridge over the railway line at Cosham station. The site of the kiosk of coal merchant Colyer and Co is now frequently occupied by a burger van.

In the far distance is the new Military Hospital, which was begun in 1904 and occupied in 1908. Today it is Queen Alexandra Hospital.

On top of the hill is Fort Widley, built in 1862 as part of Palmerston’s Portsmouth defences.

The third of the old Cosham pictures, top right, shows three barefooted boys posing for the camera in this undated photograph taken in London Road.

The lad on the right who, hopefully, has not just run through that pile of manure in the road, seems to be looking wistfully at the tea chest on wheels in the gutter. Perhaps because one of its wheels has fallen off?