THIS WEEK IN 1980: Workmen escape building collapse

The scene inside Whitcomb's store in Palmerston Road, Southsea, after the roof collapsed
The scene inside Whitcomb's store in Palmerston Road, Southsea, after the roof collapsed
The maternity unit at St Mary's Hospital, Milton

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Three workmen renovating a Southsea store had a lucky escape when they fled the building just before it partially collapsed.

Tons of masonry and brickwork crashed into the former Whitcomb Stores building in Palmerston Road where two of the men had been sitting one minute earlier.

‘We heard rumblings and a few bricks fell down, so we went out the back way,’ said Ron Archer, 30.

With Richard Lambers, 40, he escaped in time to see the rear gable section of the building collapse forward into the shop area.

Police closed part of the road while city engineer’s department inspectors examined the building.

The workmen had started work to renovate the building only hours earlier.