NOSTALGIA: Tramlines await the first cars to climb to top of Portsdown Hill

Looking down London Road circa 1903. The Horndean Light Railway tracks are on the right.  Picture: Barry Cox Collection
Looking down London Road circa 1903. The Horndean Light Railway tracks are on the right. Picture: Barry Cox Collection

THIS WEEK IN 1996: Southsea beaches miss out on blue flag

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My colleague Barry Cox has again loaned me photographs from his vast collection of the former Portsdown & Horndean Light Railway so I shall include some ‘then and now’ photographs during the next few days.

Here we are looking down London Road from the top of Portsdown Hill about 1903.

Not quite the same view today as the embankment where the original was taken has been removed.

Not quite the same view today as the embankment where the original was taken has been removed.

It’s quite recognisable and the tram tracks for the line to Horndean have been laid but are not yet in service.

Going downhill is a horse-drawn bus followed by a loaded hay cart.

On the right are the tram tracks laid at a higher level which were single line on a reserved track alongside the road.

It then became a double-track street tramway passing The George pub on the summit of the hill.

Emanuel Street, Landport, Portsmouth, in the  mid-1960s. Picture: Pete Cross Collection

Emanuel Street, Landport, Portsmouth, in the mid-1960s. Picture: Pete Cross Collection

The former chalk quarry can be seen on the right. During the Second World War tunnels were cut into these chalk faces for protection from the blitz.

It’s amazing to think this was the same rural road that Horatio Nelson would have travelled down a century earlier.

The view is almost the same today.

Unfortunately the embankment on which the original photographer stood was bulldozed in 1968 to make way for the new dual carriageway which runs to the east of The George in a cutting. Planners should really have thought things through don’t you think?!

Can you remember this magnificent theatre on South Parade Pier?  Picture: Robert James Collection

Can you remember this magnificent theatre on South Parade Pier? Picture: Robert James Collection

I would have liked to have been above the white van in the centre of the photograph.

The quarries are now overgrown.

Under the grass verge where the single track joined the road I found some of the original track still embedded in concrete.

The original road ran to the far side of the photograph which is now a slip road to Portsdown Hill Road.

•EMANUEL STREET, LANDPORT, PORTSMOUTH.

A marvellous view along this road taken in the 1960s. I was given this photo by Angel Radio DJ Pete Cross as he lived along the street.

Pete wonders why these homes were designed like this – some with upper bays, some without..

Also of interest are the cellar windows at pavement level.

If anyone can remember living in the street can they let us know how big the cellars were?

All these lovely old houses were demolished in the purges of the 1970s.

Today, modernised terraced houses such as these would be worth getting on for £200,000. Shame no-one had the foresight...

•SOUTH PARADE PIER THEATRE

Do you remember the magnificent theatre on South Parade Pier? I know I can but not looking quite like this.

I attended several dinner dances when the stalls to the front were removed and a dance floor surrounded with tables and chairs replaced them. The centre became a dance floor.

I can also remember seeing Mott the Hoople (All the Young Dudes) appearing here in 1969 as I remember.

It all disappeared of course with the devastating fire of June 12, 1974.