NOSTALGIA: Standing room only: Crimean war veterans pack Portsmouth theatre

A packed Kings Theatre, Southsea, full of Crimean War and Indian Mutiny veterans. Picture: Robert James Collection
A packed Kings Theatre, Southsea, full of Crimean War and Indian Mutiny veterans. Picture: Robert James Collection
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How about this for a marvellous scene inside the Kings Theatre, Southsea?

Every seat has been taken. Even the gallery, always called the gods, way up in the roof of the auditorium, is filled.

A superb view across the south of Portsea Island from the tower of St Marys Church, Fratton.  Picture: Robert James Collection

A superb view across the south of Portsea Island from the tower of St Marys Church, Fratton.  Picture: Robert James Collection

Unfortunately I have no date but it is after September 30, 1907, when the theatre opened.

The huge audience are mostly Crimean War and Indian Mutiny veterans attending a matinee.

Flags emblazon the dress circle, upper circle and the gallery in those days of the British Empire showing just what it meant to the nation.

The total seating, with the gallery in use today is 1,548 patrons.

Another marvellous turn-of-the-last-century view, this time showing Clarence Parade, Southsea, at its junction with Lennox Road South.  Many of the houses remain in this well-to-do part of Southsea. The large building on the left is now the Jolly Sailor pub and restaurant.  Picture: Robert James Collection

Another marvellous turn-of-the-last-century view, this time showing Clarence Parade, Southsea, at its junction with Lennox Road South. Many of the houses remain in this well-to-do part of Southsea. The large building on the left is now the Jolly Sailor pub and restaurant. Picture: Robert James Collection

As you can see, there are many standing at the back of the stalls so I would imagine there must be nearly 2,000 people on view.

Imagine them all taking the roof off singing a medley of Daisy Daisy, I’ll be Your Sweetheart and Apple Blossom Time and then finishing the evening with a roaring national anthem at the tops of their voices. Fantastic!

• In the superb shot taken from the top of St Mary’s Church bell tower we are looking south across the Fratton area of the city.

Down below, running right to left, is Alver Road. The road passing up the photograph on the front left is I believe Trafalgar Place but might be Ethel Road. Much has changed over the years.

The picture was taken later than 1906 as the Carnegie Library, seen bottom right, opened in that year. The large chimney to the right escapes me but it is south of Arundel Street. Can anyone enlighten me please?