NOSTALGIA: Ready and waiting, the shiny new tracks climbing Portsdown Hill

The new trackbed for the Horndean Light Railway looking south across the bridge over Southwick Hill Road, Cosham, about 1903.
The new trackbed for the Horndean Light Railway looking south across the bridge over Southwick Hill Road, Cosham, about 1903.
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As promised yesterday, here is a photograph from the Barry Cox collection of the tram trackbed where it crossed Southwick Hill Road, Cosham, about 1903.

This was the time when the shiny rails had just been laid but services had not begun.

The overgrown site of the former trackbed and bridge over Southwick Hill Road, Cosham today.

The overgrown site of the former trackbed and bridge over Southwick Hill Road, Cosham today.

As you can see, the bridge is askew of the road beneath and runs on an embankment into the distance heading for Cosham.

No houses can be seen below in London Road as even at this time it was very rural.

Queen Alexandra Hospital, to the right out of the shot, would have been for military use only, of course.

The ‘today’ picture below, believe it or not, shows the same view, with the former bridge demolished and the abutments overgrown.

The mosaic outside the entrance to the former Fratton Electric Theatre. (Robert James)

The mosaic outside the entrance to the former Fratton Electric Theatre. (Robert James)

At one time, and until recent years, there was a footbridge across the road at this point leading to the hospital, but that has been demolished as well.

The former embankments that the trackbed ran on has been removed and London Road, south of this point to Spur Road roundabout, has been widened for modern traffic.

Housing now covers the land on the far side of London Road.

• The mosaic was laid outside the Fratton Electric theatre in Goldsmith Avenue.

A look along an embryonic Northern Parade, Hilsea.  Picture: Barry Cox Collection

A look along an embryonic Northern Parade, Hilsea. Picture: Barry Cox Collection

When the theatre closed it became a branch of the Royal British Legion. When the building was demolished the mosaic was covered over to preserve it.

The remaining buildings along the avenue have recently been demolished ready for new building along this stretch. Does anyone knows if the mosaic was destroyed?

• The final picture is a somewhat grainy photograph, but I have included it from the interest point of view.

It is a look along Northern Parade, Hilsea, Portsmouth, when it was being built.

The photographer would be standing where the Southdown bus garage was located. The houses to the left are in Fawley Road off Northwood Road.