NOSTALGIA: One of Portsmouth’s finest leaves harbour

HMS Victorious leaves Portsmouth Harbour some time after 1958 as she has the angled flight deck that was fitted between 1950 and 1958.
HMS Victorious leaves Portsmouth Harbour some time after 1958 as she has the angled flight deck that was fitted between 1950 and 1958.

THIS WEEK IN 1991: Proposed beach fees are ruled out

Seen departing Portsmouth Harbour is HMS Victorious, one of the most famous aircraft carriers of her time. 

I cannot give an exact date but as she was completely reconstructed in Portsmouth Dockyard, being rebuilt from the water line up, between 1950 and 1958 the photograph is after the 1958 date.

THEN: Somers Road, Portsmouth on a wet day in 1932. Does this picture evoke memories of the smell of wet pavements,  an aroma that has all but disappeared?

THEN: Somers Road, Portsmouth on a wet day in 1932. Does this picture evoke memories of the smell of wet pavements, an aroma that has all but disappeared?

Victorious took part in the chase for the Bismarck in 1941 when her aircraft spotted the battleship which was later halted by an attack by aircraft from HMS Ark Royal. She also took part in Operation Torch in 1942, the North African landings, action against the Tirpitz and in the far east against the Japanese.

She had spells in reserve after the war and after the refit which cost an estimated £5m it was found that her steam turbines would have to be replaced to see the ship past 1964 and her flight deck installed twice over. The cost rose to £30m, equal to about £960m today.

In 1967 after yet another refit a small fire gave the government an excuse to be finished with her. She paid off in 1968 and went for disposal in 1969 and was towed to Faslane Naval Base where she was broken up.

To the rear of the photograph the new mid 1950s’ chimney for the power station can be seen on the right.

NOW: Somers Road looking south in 2018.  I'm not sure I have this now' shot exactly right because all the old houses have been demolished.

NOW: Somers Road looking south in 2018. I'm not sure I have this now' shot exactly right because all the old houses have been demolished.

The first thing that came to mind when I saw the photograph of Somers Road was wet pavements and the aroma they gave off after a shower at the end of a summer’s day.

If it could have been bottled someone would have made a fortune. The smell seems to have disappeared over the years. Perhaps the paving stones are now made of a different material.

In this photograph we are looking south down Somers Road towards Cottage Grove. To the left is BT Baker who was a baker and then Laboratory then a post office with the sign ‘TELEPHONE-You may telephone from here.’ Imagine that today. The bend was very severe at this time with the narrow road and shops and houses very close to it.

In the same scene today, the much wider road makes the bend cleaner.

There are some houses still in situ out of shot on the left but everything else has been cleared.