Bird’s-eye view of dockyard and part of its railway system – Nostalgia

The south-eastern corner of Portsmouth Dockyard. Unicorn Gate can be seen in the centre.
The south-eastern corner of Portsmouth Dockyard. Unicorn Gate can be seen in the centre.
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Here’s another greatly-changed yet atmospheric view across Portsmouth, perhaps from the cab of a crane. In the foreground can be seen one of the four dry docks off the Repairing Basin. To the left of the dock can be seen landing craft covered in camouflage netting.

I believe the buildings to the left were engine sheds where locomotives for the massive dockyard railway were serviced.

Looking from Park Road across to Russell Street we are at the southern edge of Guildhall Square in winter. Picture: Barry Cox

Looking from Park Road across to Russell Street we are at the southern edge of Guildhall Square in winter. Picture: Barry Cox

In the c entre is Unicorn Gate which stood at the top of Unicorn Road. To the right was another gate allowing the dockyard railway branch line to enter. The stone Unicorn gate now stands alone at the centre of a roundabout and a modern wooden construction has been built 100 yards towards the Guildhall.

The other side of Unicorn Gate was a public road which ran from Cumberland Street, Portsea, all the way to Flathouse Quay.

 My 1911 Portsmouth Handbook tells me the road between the gate and Cumberland Street was called Anchorgate Road, although in later years the whole road was called Flathouse Road.

To the left of Unicorn Road were Abercrombie, Nile, Trafalgar and Duncan streets’ which all connected to Conway Street.

Circa 1920 and members of Portsmouth council, including Councillor Brown, take a look over what was dubbed a new 'garden city'.

Circa 1920 and members of Portsmouth council, including Councillor Brown, take a look over what was dubbed a new 'garden city'.

On December 23, 1940 an enormous bomb,  which has never been fully explained,  exploded on the edge of Conway Street flattening all the adjoining streets.

Some say it was a German bomber which came down laden with a huge bomb set for the dockyard.

The site is now the dockyard lorry/car park.

• With the statue of Queen Victoria looking down sternly on Guildhall Square we are at the southern side looking across to Russell Street from Park Road.

A sandbag-protected water tank, but in which street? I published this photograph five years ago without success. Does anyone recognise the location?

A sandbag-protected water tank, but in which street? I published this photograph five years ago without success. Does anyone recognise the location?

The former Portsmouth Gas Company offices, now a Wetherspoon’s pub, is behind the cameraman’s right shoulder.

Who Mr Batchelor was can only be guessed, but I am sure someone will enlighten me in time.

Another question, did the short road connecting Commercial Road and Russell Street running behind Queen Victoria’s statue have a name?

• Councillor Brown looks over the proposed site for the new ‘garden city’ in Portsmouth, below right.

In 1920 an extension to Portsea Island took the boundary of Portsmouth over the crest of Portsdown Hill. Some councillors said that one day they thought the boundary might stretch as far as Butser Hill and perhaps, some day, that may come true.

Cllr Brown, with several other members, visited the southern slopes of Portsdown Hill to see where the planned garden city of Paulsgrove would be built.