NOSTALGIA: Old theatre with a 2,400 capacity became another long lost Portsmouth cinema

The Victoria Cinema in Commercial Road at its junction with Cambridge Road, 1962. This is where Commercial Road begins its long journey north to Kingston Crescent. Picture: Eddie Wallace
The Victoria Cinema in Commercial Road at its junction with Cambridge Road, 1962. This is where Commercial Road begins its long journey north to Kingston Crescent. Picture: Eddie Wallace

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My colleague Bob Hind has his latest book published tomorrow and, according to publisher Halsgrove, it is as good if not better than his last one, War-torn Portsmouth Then, After and Now.

The new one is called Portsmouth In Transition – The Changing Face of the City.

The location of the former Victoria Cinema is now in the heart of the city's student quarter. Commercial Road to the right is now one way.

The location of the former Victoria Cinema is now in the heart of the city's student quarter. Commercial Road to the right is now one way.

With 98 then-and-now photographs of Portsmouth from the 1960s and early 1970s it shows graphically how much has altered with the rebuilding of the city after 1972, especially on the western side of the island.

There are several showing old forms of transport with which, as we know, Bob has a love affair.

There are some lovely views of trolleybuses passing through old Guildhall Square.

Many of the pictures come from Barry Cox and Robert James, two postcard collectors who allow Bob to trawl through their collections for use here.

The cover of Bob Hinds new book.

The cover of Bob Hinds new book.

There are also photographs from The News archive. I shall include some of the photographs tomorrow and on Wednesday.

It costs £9.99 and in the city you’ll be able to buy it from Blackwells; Waterstones; Portsmouth Cathedral bookshop; Reilly’s in Locksway Road, Milton, and New to You Books, High Street, Cosham.

You’ll also be able to pick up copies from Denmead Egg Farm, Hambledon Road; Belmont News, Bedhampton, and Park Lane Post Office, Bedhampton.

In the next few days I will be publishing a few of the photographs from the book to give you a taste of what to expect.

Another photo from the late Helen Mabel Smith looking north from Northern Road railway bridge, Cosham,1958.

Another photo from the late Helen Mabel Smith looking north from Northern Road railway bridge, Cosham,1958.

Below, left, is the old Victoria Cinema in Commercial Road in 1962.

It started life in 1885 as the Victoria Hall stage theatre with a capacity, including those who stood, for 2,400

It became a cinema in 1908 run by Arthur and Horace Andrews.

In August 1928 it was taken over by Union Cinemas. In October 1937 they were taken over by Associated British Cinemas (ABC). In 1939 it was re-named Victoria Cinema.

ABC closed it on March 7, 1960, and it remained empty and forlorn until demolished later that decade. An office block was built on the site.

The Guildhall clock tower can be seen in the distance.

This area is now part of the busy university quarter

The road was widened and made one-way south.

High-rise blocks now hide the Guildhall’s tower.

• In the final picture we see the Northern Road, Cosham, from the railway bridge in 1958.

It’s another photograph from the late Helen Mabel Smith’s collection.

The scene has not altered that much in 60 years although the forms of transport have.

To the left is a sit-up-and-beg Ford Poplar and approaching from Cosham is a Southdown bus.

The overhead trolleybus wires dates the picture well as they were taken out of service in 1963.

The shadow in the road in the bottom right hand corner is that of the telephone exchange. When sitting upstairs in a passing bus all the telephonists could be seen through the window frantically working in front of their individual exchanges.