Keeping on carrying on after the Nazi firestorms

DESTRUCTION The twisted remains of McIlroys store in Commercial Road, Portsmouth
DESTRUCTION The twisted remains of McIlroys store in Commercial Road, Portsmouth
THEN: Full of life and shops galore  the eastern end of Highland Road in Edwardian days with Kassassin Street on the right.  Picture: Barry Cox Collection

NOSTALGIA: Snapshot of life in Edwardian Portsmouth

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Keep calm and carry on. An overworked phrase today, but it was that attitude which kept cities like Portsmouth going during the blitz of the Second World War.

And you can see that spirit in these two pictures of Commercial Road, Portsmouth, as people picked their way through the rubble of the city’s then most famous shopping street.

LIFE GOES ON The wreckage in Commercial Road

LIFE GOES ON The wreckage in Commercial Road

Above we see what McIlroy’s store looked like in April 1941 after the raiders had passed. It’s where the Market Way roundabout is today.

The second picture is another view of Commercial Road after a raid on April 27 that year.

Once fine shops were burned and blasted to pieces, pavements were impassable and the road (no pedestrianisation then) was strewn with debris.

Of course, there was a human cost: more than 100 people died in that raid with 275 injured.