NOSTALGIA: Doh! I didn’t recognise my own Portsmouth home in this Edwardian photo

Children play in a traffic-free street which I now know as the junction of Highland Road and Kassassin Street.
Children play in a traffic-free street which I now know as the junction of Highland Road and Kassassin Street.
Lord Mayor Alex Bentley and Tony the Tiger. PPP-180619-094155006

THIS WEEK IN 1993: Red-hot riders pedal their way to the city

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On New Year’s Day I published this photograph of children playing in what I thought was a side street somewhere in Portsmouth.

I know it is unbelievable, but I actually lived in one of the shops here after it had been converted to a many-roomed house in the late 1980s. It is the shop on the far left.

NOW: The same location today with the shops turned into houses and modern windows and doors added.

NOW: The same location today with the shops turned into houses and modern windows and doors added.

Reader Stephen Pomeroy tells me we need to look in the 1905 directory for Highland Road, Eastney.

In it Thomas Smith is listed as a butcher at Rosslyn House next to Charles Richards’ fried fish shop at 1 Cambridge Terrace. Later Thomas changes trade to a corn merchant.

Just look at the number of children playing in the street, many barefoot or in stockinged feet only. As ever in these Edwardian photographs there is a young lad, outside the fish and chip shop, in naval uniform.

So I went out and photographed the same scene today after more than a century of change.

PS Solent which became part of Bert's cafe, Portchester.

PS Solent which became part of Bert's cafe, Portchester.

The amazing thing is I lived in that multi-roomed house on the left which cost me £26,000 in 1984.

You can see why I did not recognise the house as it is today. When I lived there it backed on to Eastney bus depot which has since been demolished. There was also a massive shed, no doubt a former store room, in the back garden.

No children play along the street today which although quiet when I took the photograph during commuting hours, is very busy.

When I lived there, there were still several shops along Highland Road but they have all now been converted to houses.

A group of bikers outside Bert's Cafe.

A group of bikers outside Bert's Cafe.

• There must be many of you who remember Bert’s cafe along the old A27 at Portchester that stood opposite the Smith’s Crisps factory.

If so, do you remember the old ship at the back that had the sign for Bert’s establishment on the stern?

Mike Nolan, who sent me the photograph here of the ship afloat, thinks it may have been used for lorry drivers to sleep on.

The ship was called PS Solent, an old Isle of Wight paddle steamer which sailed on the Lymington to Yarmouth route.

Bert's Cafe.

Bert's Cafe.

Where the cafe stood and the mudflats behind it have been reclaimed and is now Port Solent.

If you remember Bert’s cafe please let me know more.