Homes were visited by ‘night demon’

A little fuzzy perhaps but here we see Portsdown Hill Road where it meets London Road. The George pub would be on the right behind the soldiers. 'Picture: Barry Cox Collection

NOSTALGIA: PoWs forced to cut height of Portsdown Hill

Have your say

On this day in 1899 a witness saw two men with a bag going up Flint Street, Southsea, heading towards Landport.

The men’s boots, he observed, were not fastened and they had slippers sticking out of their pockets. He reported the sighting to the police.

At this time Southsea’s well-to-do were the target of burglars who, on at least two occasions, left a calling card.

A house in Yarborough Road had been robbed and the intruders helped themselves to ‘a bounteous feast of bread, beef and liquid refreshment’ before slipping away with their haul.

On a plate they left the message: ‘A visit from the midnight demon.’

Then, number 43 Kent Road was hit. The burglars removed their boots, wiped them on the housekeeper’s coat, closed the shutters, lit a lamp and proceeded to test the silver collection with acid, separating out the real silver from the plate.

Before leaving they visited the larder and washed a large jam tart and a plate of shrimps down with a bottle of Bass ale.

A card was left reading: ‘A visit from the Night Demon.’

After the Hampshire Telegraph suggested that residents were keeping loaded firearms in readiness, there were apparently no more similar burglaries – from John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days.