NOSTALGIA: Full of atmosphere – Commercial Road in the 1950s

Commercial Road, Portsmouth, about 1953.
Commercial Road, Portsmouth, about 1953.
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This is Commercial Road as I remember it – in about 1953 – although I was only four or five at the time.

It’s a marvellous view along Commercial Road with All Saints’ Church bell tower peeking over the roof tops.

Amazing to think that HMS Vernon was still in situ in the mid 1990s as seen in this picture sent by Dave Roberts.

Amazing to think that HMS Vernon was still in situ in the mid 1990s as seen in this picture sent by Dave Roberts.

Just along out of site on the left is the memorial gate entrance to the Royal Hospital. On the immediate left is now Sainbury’s car park.

On the right lorries wait to be unloaded causing massive traffic disruption even in those days of comparatively little traffic.

• Former Chief Petty Officer David Roberts sent the picture of HMS Vernon and asks if any former Vernon men and women recognise any locations.

The obvious places are the main gate in the top right hand corner and the former football pitch where cars are parked. The long building in the centre is now the Customs House pub.

A trolleybus turns right from London Road, Cosham, on its way to the  Red Lion pub. 'Picture: Barry Cox Collection

A trolleybus turns right from London Road, Cosham, on its way to the Red Lion pub. 'Picture: Barry Cox Collection

Most of what we see was demolished to make way for Gunwharf Quays.

The two painted circles were helicopter landing pads.

Another point of interest is the Isle of Wight car ferry waiting area which has recently been converted into a double-decked area.

The former store sheds area at The Camber, behind the Bridge Tavern, is now home to BAR sailing. The buildings at Point have also been demolished.

The mock evacuation of Portsmouth children which took place on July 27, 1939.

The mock evacuation of Portsmouth children which took place on July 27, 1939.

Many older Old Portsmouth people hate what the area has now become.

• Remember the short trolleybus ride from Spur Road roundabout, Cosham, up London Road, turning right and going down the old London Road to the Red Lion pub? The bus then turned right into Spur Road where there were bus stops opposite the library.

Behind the bus is the embankment on which trams of the Portsdown & Horndean Light Railway ran to the top of Portsdown Hill.

• With parents either driving or walking their children to school these days what would they have thought of having to leave them at a railway station for them to be taken to the countryside for protection?

In 1939 the threat of bombing was so great that evacuation had to be considered and as we now know, would eventually happen.

On July 27, 1939 a mock evacuation was arranged by the corporation when 900 children from George Street School were taken in 14 buses to the former goods yard site alongside Greetham Street at the Town station.

They boarded trains for a short trip so officials could iron out any problems.