Memories of Drayton and the library that never was

The junction of Portsmouth Road and Highbury Grove outside the Portsbridge Hotel in April 1930.' Picture: GN Southerden.

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The recent picture of the New Inn at Drayton in the 1900s prompted Eva Mills to write about her 59 years in this area of Portsmouth.

Eva, of Central Road, moved to Drayton in 1953 and she remembers the cottages next door to the pub which featured in the picture. She says the residents were moved out a few years before they were demolished.

She, like many others who got in touch, is still smarting that Drayton never did get its promised library on the land occupied by those cottages.

She shared memories of Drayton when it really was a self-contained village.

‘We had two very good hardware shops – Nappers and Lights, a bank, building society and, of course, a post office. There was Mr Smith’s shoe shop and above it Doreen’s, the hairdressers.

‘There was Drapes which sold all kind of things and was very good, an opticians, Pinks the grocers and the Co-op with the butchers next door.

‘Then there was the bicycle shop and Mr Jones the jeweller, Rigbys the upholsterer, a chemist and Bettines which sold handbags and various other things that were handy for present buying.’

Eva also recalls Jarmans the sweet shop, Bryants the newsagent, Maison Drayton, another hairdressers and the barber’s shop which remains today. There were also two wool shops and a Clarks shoe shop.

She adds: ‘The doctor’s surgery was on the corner of Galt Road. There were three doctors: Cheyne, Thompson and Martindale. You didn’t need an appointment.’

Regular contributor Richard Newman points out that the row of cottages was not called Wellington Terrace as I had suggested, but Nelson Terrace. Wellington was on the other side of the road.