Hard to imagine that Portsmouth’s main street looked like this

The Commercial Road and Church Street junction in 1953
The Commercial Road and Church Street junction in 1953
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Unless you have lived in Portsmouth for some considerable years you would never know that these two scenes were taken from exactly the same spot.

In the old photograph we see the junction of Church Street and Commercial Road and to the left is the Savoy cinema, later the ABC.

No Caption ABCDE PPP-140821-181933001

No Caption ABCDE PPP-140821-181933001

Trolley buses reign supreme, a horse and cart make their way alongside cyclists and drivers park their cars where they like. Wonderful.

North of the cinema are Savoy Buildings with the Imperial Wool & Hosiery Co and Taylor, Gold & Sons. Both firms dealt in knitting wool.

This is a 1953 scene but even then if the constable was not on point duty there would have been chaos.

The Country House Tavern is on the corner and then Barnes where later Ben Grubb the Government Surplus Stores traded.

It may seem incredible to anyone born after 1975, but to take the modern photo I was standing in exactly the same location as the original cameraman.

You can see that everything from 1953 has been swept away although the location of the cinema (left) is still to be built on.

Five lanes of traffic and the central reservation have replaced the narrow two lanes of years past.

The spot where you see the silver car is where the cyclist was trying to get out of Church Street in the original picture.

The Foundations of the Country House Tavern are beneath this spot.

Church Street now twists its way around and exits at the ABC roundabout behind them.