NOSTALGIA: One of Portsmouth’s major shopping streets destroyed in war

King's Road, Southsea, as a premier shopping sttreet pre-1939.
King's Road, Southsea, as a premier shopping sttreet pre-1939.

THIS WEEK IN 1988: Controversy over future of the lido

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I wonder if there are any people left in Portsmouth or now living in the surrounding area who can remember when King’s Road, along with Palmerston Road, were THE places to shop in Southsea?

Pass down King’s Road today and it is all flats set well back from the road with much greenery to enjoy.

The milepost at Cowplain.

The milepost at Cowplain.

I think this photograph, loaned by Robert James, may have been taken in 1937 with the buildings decorated for the coronation of George VI in May of that year.

Sadly, scenes like this are fast disappearing from Britain’s streets with out-of-town or edge-of-town shopping taking over from the traditional high street or urban shopping centre such as once existed along King’s Road.

I think they call it progress...

•Last weekend I was out taking ‘then and now’ photographs for another of my books when I stumbled across this milepost at Cowplain.

Farlington No8 reservoir in 1994 with Fort Purbrook on the top of Portsdown Hill.                                            Picture: Portsmouth Water Company.

Farlington No8 reservoir in 1994 with Fort Purbrook on the top of Portsdown Hill. Picture: Portsmouth Water Company.

It is located along London Road opposite its junction with Park Lane and I must admit to never having seen it before.

Anyway, I wondered if it was in its original location.

As you might be able to tell, it is very battered and worn although the inscription is as clear as if carved by a stonemason last week.

A few yards to the left of it was the location of the old Cowplain tram shed which is now the site of a Lidl supermarket.

Not your average burst pipe.

Not your average burst pipe.

Does anyone know if this post has always been where it stands now?

•They’re usually hidden from view, but if you want to know what a reservoir looks like then look no further.

This is one of the newer enormous reservoirs under construction on the southern slopes of Portsdown Hill, Portsmouth, back in 1994.

It now sits underground in the shadow of Fort Purbrook but while it was being built you got an idea of the scale of the things.

It can hold several million litres of water and with the burgeoning population of Portsmouth and wider area we need every drop.

•Have you ever been in a road which is flooded after an underground pipe has burst and wondered what type of crack makes water escape so violently?

This is a water main that has burst in Bedhampton in 1964 and as can be seen it is several feet long so much work will need to be done to repair it.

It does of course remind us of the joke about a large hole in the ground and several men looking into it.

And yes, as ever on these occasions, there is one man digging and five others looking on...