NOSTALGIA: Cross-Solent paddle steamer could make trip in 22 minutes

PS Sandown on her maiden cross-Solent voyage in 1934.
PS Sandown on her maiden cross-Solent voyage in 1934.
Contestants line-up at the Elm Grove, Hayling Island, Co-Op for The News-Co-Op trolley dash. From left, S Slade, of Portsmouth, M O'Connor, of Southsea, G Perryman, of Clanfield, V Gibson of Titchfield, E Jackson, of Portchester, and J Jones, of Hayling Island

THIS WEEK IN 1981: ‘All you can collect – and free’ in a trolley dash with The News

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I know from the many e-mails I receive that photographs of the old Isle of Wight boats are always enjoyed with great affection.

In this shot we see the paddle boat Sandown on her maiden voyage back in 1934 for the Southern Railway

A busy Portsmouth Harbour scene  from the 1950s. The railway viaduct running from South Railway Jetty dates the photograph. 'Picture: Mike Nolan Collection

A busy Portsmouth Harbour scene from the 1950s. The railway viaduct running from South Railway Jetty dates the photograph. 'Picture: Mike Nolan Collection

Along with her sister ship PS Ryde they could, in fine weather, cross the Solent from Portsmouth to Ryde in 22 minutes. The maximum load was 900 passengers. Imagine that today.

The air-vent cowls were always a feature of boats from the past before air conditioning became a feature.

As can be seen, the boat is dressed with flags flying on the first opening run on June 25, 1934. She was well-patronised, as were all the boats in those days.

The ferries sometimes made a trip to Sandown instead of Ryde and Sandown was used for many pleasure trips across the Solent on those always-sunny days before the Second World War spoilt everything.

The Devilsout mural in Commercial Road, Portsmouth.            Picture: Tom Bennett

The Devilsout mural in Commercial Road, Portsmouth. Picture: Tom Bennett

During the war Sandown was commandeered by the navy and converted to a minesweeper.

In 1948 she was acquired by British Railways and did sterling service until July 16, 1966. She was then scrapped.

• With a cruiser tied up alongside South Railway Jetty, plus a floating crane, other dockyard cranes and a diesel and paddle boat, here we see a busy Portsmouth Harbour in the 1950s.

The railway viaduct that ran across from South Railway Jetty to Portsmouth Harbour station can be seen still although long out of use for trains to the jetty. The swing bridge that enabled trains to get onto the jetty was damaged by bombing during the war.

End of an era ' the last time The News was printed at Stanhope Road, Landport.

End of an era ' the last time The News was printed at Stanhope Road, Landport.

It is always good to see HMS Victory with her masts and yards. She does look incomplete these days with her upper woodwork missing.

• Some weeks ago I published a photograph of the site of the former Co-op bank in Commercial Road, Portsmouth. When it was demolished the mural could be seen.

I was hoping it was many years old but it turns out it was only drawn two years ago.

I was told this by Rebecca who works for the firm I Love Dust, an IT company in the city.

It’s a graphic design company based in Southsea and Brighton and is one of Portsmouth’s success stories.

The Harbour Church now occupies rooms behind the wall where the mural remains.

This new night-time photograph was sent in Tom Bennett.

• Last Monday I published a photograph of employees at Stanhope Road, Landport, on the last day The News was printed there.

I asked if anyone knew the names of those pictured and someone did.

Phil Waterman, of Drayton, supplied me with this photograph with names of all the men. It is not good quality but the men can be recognised.