NOSTALGIA: The tailors in Commercial Road when it seemed to go on forever

Commercial Road, Portsmouth at Mile End. Picture: Barry Cox collection PPP-171221-141204001

This is the last weekday column I will be writing for a while as I will be incapacitated until early April.I will however still be writing my Saturday columns, so please look out for those.

Last week I published this picture of Commercial Road, Portsmouth, and asked if anyone could recognise the exact location. One clue was that a building on the left was numbered 407. As ever someone came up trumps.

Former Royal Marine John Parker with his dress medals.

Ray Martin tells me: ‘In my 1887 street directory 407 Commercial Road was occupied by CR Hendy, Tailor and Outfitter, which may satisfy the signage on their wall. It’s a bit obscure to me but may be readable in your original.

‘Moving left, the house next door at 405 would have been Wilton House, privately occupied.

‘Moving left the shop with the awning was a sweet shop at 403a and next door to that at 403, on the corner of Prospect Road, was The Sailors Return pub.

‘The tram would be travelling south coming from the direction of Twyford Avenue.’

Sergeant John Parker on the day he retired from the Royal Marines in 1964.

n Last October some of you might remember that I wrote an article about former Royal Marine John Parker of Paulsgrove who served in HMS London at the time of the Yangtze Incident in 1949.

Owing to space I could not fill the article with all of John’s exploits during and after the war but believe me, as a young marine, he was a true action man who served in many dangerous locations around the world.

John’s birthday was August 11, 1924, but his service birthday was December 28, 1923, so that he could get into action during the war, so he would have been 94 last Thursday.

John served for 22 years and retired as a sergeant at Eastney Barracks in 1964.

I am sad to report that John’s son Martin has told me his father died on December 19 after a short illness. His funeral is on Monday, January 22, at 12.30pm at Portchester Crematorium. All welcome.

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