NOSTALGIA: Hidden Portsmouth steps revealed, 107 years after they fell into disuse

A 1903 picture showing 'Point A on the Portsdown & Horndean Light Railway where two former horse tram cars acted as shelters.
Picture: Barry Cox Collection
A 1903 picture showing 'Point A on the Portsdown & Horndean Light Railway where two former horse tram cars acted as shelters. Picture: Barry Cox Collection
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I make no excuses for returning to the former Portsdown & Horndean Light Railway – the tram route from Cosham over Portsdown Hill to Waterlooville and onward to Horndean.

I have been out and about again taking then and now shots of a scene that is now so overgrown it was a struggle to find.

Overgrown and the embankment lowered, this is same view of the former Point A today.

Overgrown and the embankment lowered, this is same view of the former Point A today.

In the first view, above, we are looking down from half-way up London Road between Cosham and the George Inn on the top of the hill.

The two ‘sheds’ that can be seen are in fact disused horse trams and were being used as shelters at what was then called ‘Point A’. This was a terminus point for through running cars from Clarence Pier.

Any passengers wanting to travel onward to Horndean were advised to change cars at Cosham for some reason. This was abandoned in 1907.

A flight of concrete steps was put in place from London Road to this point for the use passengers getting on and off.

This flight of concrete steps has not been used  since 1907 but can still be found on London Road, Cosham.

This flight of concrete steps has not been used since 1907 but can still be found on London Road, Cosham.

To the left of the photograph is London Road, the embankment being much higher than it is today. There is not a shrub in sight.

So now we move on to the second picture.

I would like to have been 50 yards farther north and some yards to the right to get an exact re-take of the scene today, but because of overgrown blackberry bushes and shrubs this was the best I could do.

Through the gap in the hedgerow on the left can be seen London Road and it surprised me just how quiet the road was at 12.30pm. Not as quiet as in 1935 when the tram service ceased to run.

Another drawing from Ted Saunderss collection,  this time of a cottage at Portchester built, perhaps, in the reign of Elizabeth I. If the residents who live in the house today read this, perhaps they might enlighten me more on the property.

Another drawing from Ted Saunderss collection, this time of a cottage at Portchester built, perhaps, in the reign of Elizabeth I. If the residents who live in the house today read this, perhaps they might enlighten me more on the property.

I do love it when I find archeology from days past still in situ.

As mentioned earlier, a flight of concrete steps was built from London Road to ‘Point A’... and they are still there, 110 years after they fell into disuse.

If you wish to climb them they are on the left hand side of London Road as you go up the hill, opposite what was Widley Lane, now Widley Road.