Swinging inn signs – the classy finish to any drink

The Crown Inn, Castle Street, Portchester,  in 1905
The Crown Inn, Castle Street, Portchester, in 1905
Jo and Rhys Williams competing in a nighttime navigational competition in East Hampshire

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Regular contributor Simon Hart loves Portsmouth pubs. He thinks so much of them that he has collected memorabilia for several and presented his finds to the landlords.

His latest presentation comprised these two swinging inn sign cocktail sticks (below) celebrating the Harbour Lights pub at North Harbour.

You must remember them from the 1960s and 70s – natty little plastic sticks with which you speared your lemon slice or cherry. They also doubled as useful toothpicks.

Simon, of Cross Street, Portsea, says: ‘The location of the inn is printed on the reverse of the swinging sign – Southampton Road, Paulsgrove, Cosham 76214 – luncheons and snacks, children’s garden, coaches welcome, a Brickwoods House.

‘They clipped on to the rim of the glass in a delightful manner and were made by Inn Signs of Leicester, probably in the 1960s.

Simon says his first donation was a framed picture of Clementine Churchill signed by her daughter Mary Soames. He gave it to The Churchillian on Portsdown Hill.

Then followed a brass ‘snug’ sign for the Hole in the Wall, Southsea, and a Royal Hampshire Regiment badge to The Fifth Hants Volunteer Arms.

Simon adds: ‘Not all my donations have survived. I gave a framed page from The Illustrated London News from 1854 to the Sir Loin of Beef in Highland Road.

‘It was called Charles II Knighting the Loin of Beef by an artist called Gilbert.

‘I revisited the pub recently and was told it had been stolen.’

n Still on the pub theme, the picture on the right shows another Brickwoods hostelry, the old Crown Inn at the castle end of Castle Street, Portchester.

It’s one of the pictures at the annual week-long exhibition by Portchester Civic Society which opens tomorrow in the foyer of the West Street library at 10am.

It was taken in 1905 during the French fleet’s entente cordiale visit to Portsmouth to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.

The French matelot at the front door of the pub gives the game away.