NOSTALGIA: Portsmouth park where trams converged

The junction of Portsmouth Road and Highbury Grove outside the Portsbridge Hotel in April 1930.' Picture: GN Southerden.
The junction of Portsmouth Road and Highbury Grove outside the Portsbridge Hotel in April 1930.' Picture: GN Southerden.
The tug Irishman, lost in Langstone Harbour in 1941.

NOSTALGIA: Are you related to those lost in harbour wartime tug disaster?

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Taken on an April day in 1930, here’s the junction of the Horndean Light Railway taking the tracks off the street tramway where Portsmouth to Cosham trams ran to Cosham railway gates terminus just out of sight around the far bend.

Having left Portsmouth Road from just outside the Portsbridge Hotel, the tram ran for 100 yards before taking a bend to the right to pass over the railway line via an iron bridge. The route then headed through Cosham and over Portsdown Hill to Horndean.

NOW: Another April day but 88 years on. Trees now flourish where the trams to Horndean once ran.

NOW: Another April day but 88 years on. Trees now flourish where the trams to Horndean once ran.

In May 1932 a reserve track opened. It ran from Portsbridge through the junction of Northern Road and Portsmouth Road and the old lines to Cosham station fell into disuse.

On the right, car 95 trundles by on route 8 on its way south through Portsea Island.

Thanks to Martin Petch author of Portsmouth Tramways (Middleton Press), for use of the photograph.

The second picture shows the scene today from outside the Portsbridge. A park covers the former tramway and unless there were photographs to show how it once was no-one would have a clue a tramway once existed.

John Hartfree (centre in blue) celebrated his 94th birthday with former train drivers.

John Hartfree (centre in blue) celebrated his 94th birthday with former train drivers.

With the coming of more comfortable and faster buses Horndean Light Railway was abandoned on January 9, 1935.

•Former Fratton train driver John Hartfree has celebrated his 94th birthday. More than a dozen former colleagues helped him celebrate at The Parchment Makers, Havant. They came from Salisbury, Alton, Bentley, Guildford, Woking and this area.

John was more than pleased to be joined by George Michie, 77, from Woking, who began his career with John as a fireman in the 1950s. In all, more than 600 years of railway experience sat down to enjoy the afternoon.

During the war John, who lives at Bedhampton, joined the navy and worked on minesweepers in the North Sea, one of the most dangerous occupations in the navy at the time.

At the end of the war he started on the railway at Fratton but transferred to Guildford for a driver’s job. He later transferred back to Fratton.

In the photograph John is in blue in the centre and Mr Michie is at the back, third from the right.