NOSTALGIA: Black as the dead of night, an old locomotive rushes through Portsmouth

I published this photograph last week and asked if readers could confirm it was the former Victoria Barracks, Pembroke Road, Old Portsmouth. You did, and it is!
I published this photograph last week and asked if readers could confirm it was the former Victoria Barracks, Pembroke Road, Old Portsmouth. You did, and it is!
Retro 12 may 2018''Veterans - Members of the Dunkirk Veterans' Association march off from Fratton to attend a service at St Mary's Church

THIS WEEK IN 1987: Veterans salute the Dunkirk spirit

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Last Thursday I published the black and white picture above and asked for your help identifying it.

I had a suspicion it was part of the former Victoria Barracks in Pembroke Road, Old Portsmouth, which was later taken over by the Royal Navy.

What remains of the Wrens' quarters today. Not quite the same is it?' Picture: Jon Clapham

What remains of the Wrens' quarters today. Not quite the same is it?' Picture: Jon Clapham

I was inundated with calls and e-mails telling me I was indeed correct and that during the war this part of Victoria Barracks became Wrens’ quarters.

The photo was taken during winter and I think it would have looked marvellous in summer with the trees in full leaf.

As we know, the barracks were demolished in 1968 but what a shame they could not have been preserved as in the case of the Royal Marine Barracks at Eastney, and turned into living accommodation. They would have made an outstanding feature.

I have been so busy with the publication of my new book I have not had time to get down to Old Portsmouth to take a ‘now’ shot of the former Victoria Barracks, so many thanks to Jon Clapham, of Grand Parade, Old Portsmouth, for supplying me with one.

Sent in by George Browning, here we see a Black 5 passing though Cosham.

Sent in by George Browning, here we see a Black 5 passing though Cosham.

The former gate into the barracks is now a gate into a private property called Pembroke House. It is where the captain of HMS Victory once lived I have been told so it might still belong to the navy.

Farther along the road is another set of gate posts that now leads into Chatham Drive within Pembroke Park, and around the corner in Victoria Avenue yet another, the former main gate into the barracks, leads into Woodville Avenue, so at least something of the old barracks has been preserved.

• The very atmospheric photograph above was sent to me by George Browning. It shows a Black 5 locomotive passing through Cosham on a Swanage to West Brompton, south-west London, rail tour special on October 11 this year.

This locomotive was one of 842 built for British Railways and had the honour of working the last revenue-earning service for BR on August 4, 1968.

Portsmouth tramways staff in 1932 at the depot at Gladys AVenue, North End, Portsmouth.  (Barry Cox collection)

Portsmouth tramways staff in 1932 at the depot at Gladys AVenue, North End, Portsmouth. (Barry Cox collection)

The locomotive is now based at the North York Moors Railway and is often used for rail charters.

• I don’t know the reason for the tram being decorated with the Play Up Pompey banner alongside the tram in 1932.

Nothing special happened that season but I am sure someone will inform me.

The tram and shed staff are outside the Gladys Avenue depot at North End, Portsmouth. In the centre of the banner is another with the Guildhall and Hello-Hello underneath it. Anyone any idea?