I published a picture last month showing Tudor-built Red Lion House (previously the Red Lion Inn) where Cromwell’s officers were billeted during the Civil War.
It was demolished in 1939 to make way for an extension to the cathedral in High Street, Old Portsmouth, and I could not believe it when I had a reply from a reader who knew it. Ron Taw says his father was born in the house in 1913.
At the time three families rented the building. On the ground floor was Ron’s father’s aunt Nellie and her family. On the floor above were Ron’s grandparents along with their six children, his father being the youngest. On another floor were the Oak family who had two daughters.
The rent was 12s 6d (62p) a week so each family had to find 4s 2d (21p) between them.
The toilet (just one) was down the alley next to the Bluebell pub. In the cellar of the Red Lion Inn was an oven for baking clay pipes and rather like a baker’s 13 to the dozen, the pipes were sold 14 to the dozen.
– The recent photo of the goods train coming down from the High Level at Portsmouth and Southsea station brought back memories for Bob Silk, a former Fratton driver and manager.
He says: ‘It looks like the returning Portsmouth Dockyard to Fratton Yard freight that ran up to the end of the ’70s. The photo was taken before 1974/5.
‘It was a regular turn for the Fratton crews and one I worked on many a time.’ ‘If I recall it left Fratton Yard at 05.10 and ran ‘wrong road’ through the High Level and down into the Dockyard where an MOD shunter dragged the wagons into the dockyard. The loco then took back a different train brought out by the MOD loco.’
When a train went ‘wrong road’ (against oncoming traffic), it was called ‘bang road’ by railwaymen.
Several readers got in touch after I mentioned HMS Ganges and mastmanning and asked if there was film of the event.
There is and you can see John Noakes of Blue Peter fame climbing it in 1967 by clicking on the video.