Gosport ferry fare shot up to one-and-a-half pennies

Gosport ferry, 1900 with HMS Victory in the background
Gosport ferry, 1900 with HMS Victory in the background
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A picture featured here a couple of months ago prompted Guy Denman to search his archives.

The photograph showed the ferry terminus at Gosport in 1929 advertising the cross-harbour fare of just one old penny.

A horse-drawn cart disembarks from the floating bridge at Gosport in 1900

A horse-drawn cart disembarks from the floating bridge at Gosport in 1900

Guy, of Ascot Road, Copnor, Portsmouth, said he moved to Gosport in 1947 when the fare had shot up to one-and-a-half old pennies. He has kept some old tickets from that time and e-mailed them to Remember When.

He said: ‘I well remember those days, with four boats running all the time. At Dockyard times the foredeck used to be completely full of cycles.

‘I used to feel sorry for the crew in the winter as they did not have any enclosed bridge and were out in all weathers.’

As you can see, Guy also attached a ticket from the old Haslar Bridge which he said older Gosport residents will remember as ‘pneumonia bridge’.

The picture here showing HMS Victory afloat in the Dockyard was taken 111 years ago.

It shows the Gosport ferry Frances, one of the ferries of the Gosport and Portsea Watermen’s Steam Launch Company.

The company was formed in 1875 by a group of independent watermen who were faced with the loss of trade from steam launches operated by the floating bridge company.

The watermen started with six boats – Lily, Grand Duchess, Marquis of Lorne, Princess Louise, Elfin and Frances – each acquired from individual boatmen in return for shares in the company.

The old picture here was also taken in 1900 and shows a horse-drawn cart disembarking from the floating bridge Duchess of York at Gosport.

The harbour link was important for traders on both sides of the harbour – a tuppenny fare saved much wear and tear on both vehicles and animals.

The Duchess was the last vessel to be built for the company and did sterling work until 1959 when she and her sister ship were in such bad repair that the company suspended the service.

The days of the chain ferries were over and the company never resumed operations and was wound up in 1960.