Nation’s archive raided for a glimpse into Portsmouth’s recent past

HMS Victory takes pride of place in this 1949 picture of Portsmouth dockyard.
HMS Victory takes pride of place in this 1949 picture of Portsmouth dockyard.

THIS WEEK IN 1996: Southsea beaches miss out on blue flag

0
Have your say

HMS Victory dominates this wonderful aerial picture of Portsmouth dockyard taken four years after the end of the SecondWorld War.

Next to Victory’s stern is a large area of water once known as the Great Basin.

When the Picture House opened in Commercial Road (part of the same building as the Speedwell Hotel) in December 1913 there were 27 cinemas, in Portsmouth. The first films shown, part of a regular menu of entertainment that included two films and musicial entertainment, were The Bells of Death (a silent Italian film set in Sicily) and The Portuguese Centaurs (another Italian film, this one featuring a Portuguese cavalry regiment).

When the Picture House opened in Commercial Road (part of the same building as the Speedwell Hotel) in December 1913 there were 27 cinemas, in Portsmouth. The first films shown, part of a regular menu of entertainment that included two films and musicial entertainment, were The Bells of Death (a silent Italian film set in Sicily) and The Portuguese Centaurs (another Italian film, this one featuring a Portuguese cavalry regiment).

Built in the 1690s, its purpose was to allow warships to be equipped more conveniently than was possible in the open waters of the harbour, which is where Nelson’s flagship had been until the early 1920s.

This photograph, and you are only seeing part of it, gives some idea of the extent of the ’yard and the fascinating, differing styles of architecture within it. I’m sure it will ignite memories of the ’yard’s good old days for many of you.

The picture, along with all the others here today, comes from a new book, Historic England: Portsmouth by Philip Macdougall, a former teacher at Portsmouth College.

It’s an illustrated history which is notable for the superb quality of its pictures taken from the unique Historic England archive containing 12 million photographs, drawings and publications.

Believe it or not, this was a showroom designed as a boudoir in Handleys department store, Palmerston Road, Southsea, in 1908. Doubtless, many of the more affluent living in the large villas nearby, and usually employing one or two maids, would have been tempted to buy these furnishings which provide an insight into the lives of Southseas middle-classes.

Believe it or not, this was a showroom designed as a boudoir in Handleys department store, Palmerston Road, Southsea, in 1908. Doubtless, many of the more affluent living in the large villas nearby, and usually employing one or two maids, would have been tempted to buy these furnishings which provide an insight into the lives of Southseas middle-classes.

It’s published by Amberley and is selling for £14.99.

Six years after the Second World War and Portsmouth was still taking stock and  just beginning to think about rebuilding and redesigning its city centre. It was 1951 when this dramatic picture was taken and the ravages of war dominate the view. The Guildhall is but a shell while so much more of the city centre lies derelict after the horrors of the Blitz. The rubble has been cleared and the trains are running, but the heart of the city had had the stuffing knocked out of it. But like every other bombed UK city it would rise again thanks to the indomitable spirit of its people.

Six years after the Second World War and Portsmouth was still taking stock and just beginning to think about rebuilding and redesigning its city centre. It was 1951 when this dramatic picture was taken and the ravages of war dominate the view. The Guildhall is but a shell while so much more of the city centre lies derelict after the horrors of the Blitz. The rubble has been cleared and the trains are running, but the heart of the city had had the stuffing knocked out of it. But like every other bombed UK city it would rise again thanks to the indomitable spirit of its people.