NOSTALGIA: ASWE cleaners’ silver smiles

The ASWE girls celebrating Phyllis Chambers' silver wedding
The ASWE girls celebrating Phyllis Chambers' silver wedding

NOSTALGIA WITH BOB HIND: Revenge of the giblet soup

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Many of you will remember the building that once stood on the brow of Portsdown Hill looking like an Odeon cinema.

The building was known as ASWE, although I don’t suppose for a minute that many know what the initials stood for.

The Wheatsheaf at the junction of Botley Drive and Bramdean Drive. It has since been demolished.      Picture: Ralph Cousins

The Wheatsheaf at the junction of Botley Drive and Bramdean Drive. It has since been demolished. Picture: Ralph Cousins

In fact it was the Admiralty Surface Weapons Establishment.

The massive building had to be cleaned each evening of course and this involved a large selection of local women.

In the photograph, right, from Joyce Taylor, of Purbrook, we see some of those women who were celebrating the silver wedding of their colleague Phyllis Chambers in the early 1970s.

Joan tells me they have all died and she is the only one left.

The main block and art and science block in the distance of the former Oak Park Boy's Secondary School, Leigh Road, Havant.

The main block and art and science block in the distance of the former Oak Park Boy's Secondary School, Leigh Road, Havant.

•In the past decade or so five pubs on the Leigh Park estate have closed.

Four have been demolished.

They were The Wheatsheaf, The Greyhound in Park Parade and The Warren, on the Warren Park estate.

The oldest of them all was The Cricketers which was on Riders Lane in an area called Stockheath.

When the streets of the city were cleansed by a watering tram car. 	 (Barry Cox collection)

When the streets of the city were cleansed by a watering tram car. (Barry Cox collection)

The last, the Fox, in West Leigh, formerly known as Prospect Farm, has been converted into a shop.

•In the third photo we can see two of the blocks of Oak Park School, Leigh Road, although it was on the edge of the estate.

It opened as a boys’ school with a girls’ school with mirror image buildings to the south of it.

In the photo we can see the main block of classrooms and in the distance – the art and science block.

To the right was the gymnasium which was ruled by a former Scottish rugby forward, Jock McQueen.

The hut to the left was the home of the groundsman Harry Simpson.

Mr Simpson would delight in getting boys in uniform to unload lorry loads of fresh dung.

The massive playing fields included three rugby pitches, two football pitches, a hockey pitch and a quarter-mile running track with a cricket pitch in the centre.

There was also a long jump runway and sand pit.

For the first 15 years everything was overseen by the headmaster, Mr LV Gaulter.

•There was a time when the main roads throughout Portsmouth were cleaned with a watering tram car. Fresh water was sprayed keeping the roadways clean and fresh. If only the same device wwere available today.