As many of you will recall, before the last war buildings in High Street, Old Portsmouth, blocked the view of the Anglican cathedral of St Thomas.
When the blitz came and the buildings in front of the cathedral were destroyed, the view was opened up as we see it to this day.
However, before the Luftwaffe did their worst, there had been a gap in the buildings, a hole created by the demolition of an ancient pub to give better access to the cathedral.
Parishioners could thank Alderman Joseph George Whitcombe who, along with Alderman Thomas King shared the expense of buying the Guildhall Tavern in High Street, formerly known as The Three Tuns, and then demolishing it. It was called the Guildhall Tavern because the town’s Guildhall then stood in High Street.
The Three Tuns was an ancient house and during the Spithead Mutiny, which ran from April 16 to May 15, 1797, the leaders of the mutiny assembled in the upper back room and from there deliberated on their terms.
The pub was heavily used by stagecoachmen and guards especially those of the Royal Mail. The men slept during the day until 5pm when they were woken and given breakfast. They then started their journey to London in the evening.
Turnkeys (prison warders), who brought their convict prisoners from the city and provincial jails to be incarcerated in the prison hulks in the harbour, also rested at the house before the long return trip.
After the First World War the parish memorial was built over the vaults.