The picture above show buildings completely missed by the Luftwaffe during the Second World War. It’s a view unchanged to this day.
The Royal Pier Hotel on the left is no longer ‘as built’ as it was demolished and rebuilt as student accommodation. However, the modern front is almost exactly the same.
It’s amazing that just 500 yards behind the hotel, devastation came on January 10/11, 1941, when King Street and the surrounding area was razed, yet not one bomb fell on the buildings in the picture.
- Two of the other photographs feature the bridge over the East Southsea branch line along Albert Road, Southsea.
In the first we see how raised the hump was. All we can see are the top floors of the Festing Hotel on the corner of Albert and Festing roads. The wooden fence is somewhat rickety but people knew what they were doing in those days and would have kept well clear of it.
The second picture shows the line where it ran under Albert Road.
Here we are looking underneath the same bridge with Albert Road Halt visible through the arch. A train awaits passengers, probably in vain as this was a little-used branch. It closed in August 1914 after only 29 years’ service.
- In the photograph of Portsmouth Dockyard we are looking north over what I believe to be North Corner, but stand to be corrected. I think the steps in the middle at the bottom are King’s Stairs. As the jetties along the dockyard’s west wall altered over time, former dockyardmen might have known them by a different name.
There is a fantastic array of shipping to be seen and as this was a transitional time for the navy – the move from sail to steam – the variety of ships signifies this.
I’d like to know what the hulk is on the far left. It could be the Doguay Tronin (always known as Dugan Troyn) and later renamed HMS Implacable.
She was a French ship launched in 1801 and captured by the British when she escaped from Trafalgar. In an act of utter stupidity, she was towed from the dockyard in December 1949 and scuttled.