Buoys will be buoys, especially when they’re covered in guano – Nostalgia

HMS Vernon boys under instruction. What we don't know is whether this picture was taken on board the hulk Vernon or in the new barracks at Gunwharf.
HMS Vernon boys under instruction. What we don't know is whether this picture was taken on board the hulk Vernon or in the new barracks at Gunwharf.
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Here we see young sailors under instruction at what the original caption says is HMS Vernon in Portsmouth. What it does not make clear, however, is whether the Vernon referred to was the hulk in the harbour or the then new barracks at Gunwharf. Wherever it was, the lads all seem happy enough?

•My diagram of the jetties along the West Wall of the dockyard earlier this week brought a response from Mike Nolan, a former rigger in the yard.

The diagram of the West Wall  jetties showing Buoy Wharf, nicknamed Bird Lime Point.

The diagram of the West Wall jetties showing Buoy Wharf, nicknamed Bird Lime Point.

Mike says Buoy Wharf was nicknamed Bird Lime Point by dockyardmen as it was where buoys were brought in for maintenance. They were always covered in seagull muck and it was difficult to get them clean. The guano left the jetty in an utter mess.

Guano is a highly effective fertiliser because of its high nitrogen content. I wonder what the dockyard police would have said if anyone was caught carrying a sackful of bird muck out of the gate?

• One of the oldest surviving pubs in the Havant/ Leigh Park area is the former Rover Inn on Petersfield Road. It is now  The Heron, part of the Hungry Horse stable.

It was built in the 1950s to cater for the burgeoning northern Leigh Park estate. It was originally at the crossroads of Petersfield Road, Stockheath Road and West Leigh Road. West Leigh Road later became Bartons Road and was closed off from the main road in 1971. Here are the saloon and lounge bars of the pub some years after it opened. 

The Rover Inn pub, West Leigh, Havant, with its typical 1960s dcor. Picture: Barry Cox Collection.

The Rover Inn pub, West Leigh, Havant, with its typical 1960s dcor. Picture: Barry Cox Collection.

• It never ceases to amaze how one photo of a distant ship can cause so much interest. The ship in the photograph taken from the deck of Fouydroyant was thought to be HMS Centaur but, as Wednesday’s photo showed, it was battleship HMS Vanguard.

Naval author Richard Johnstone-Bryden, who lives in Norwich and reads this column online, e-mailed. He wrote The Royal Yacht Britannia – The Official History.

He says: 'The ship in the distance is indeed Vanguard. If you look closely the ship berthed ahead is HM Yacht Britannia. Vanguard and Victory are both dressed overall which potentially means this photo was taken on April 14, 1954, on the yacht's first day of royal duty when she embarked a young Prince Charles and Princess Anne to be reunited with their parents in the Mediterranean during the final leg of their Commonwealth tour primarily undertaken in the temporary royal yacht SS Gothic.

‘Looking at other photos of this occasion, Vanguard and Britannia were berthed in the same positions and the ships in the dockyard were dressed overall in honour of the royal party's arrival which included Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret.’

The Shipwrights pub, fire and police stations in Fratton Road, all buildings of character now long gone. Picture: Tony Triggs' Collection.

The Shipwrights pub, fire and police stations in Fratton Road, all buildings of character now long gone. Picture: Tony Triggs' Collection.

• The Shipwrights pub, fire and police stations in Fratton Road, all buildings of character now long gone.

The police station had quarters above for unmarried constables. It was replaced in 1965 when Kingston Crescent station was opened.

On the right was the Portsmouth Dockyard Impartial Coal Society Ltd. Was this a club of some kind?

The Shipwrights had many name changes in its life. It became the Museum Gardens, the Ship and Frigate and the Contented Pig. It was demolished in 2015 and flats built on the site. The fire station was demolished many years ago and is now the location of a school.

Thanks to the Lost Pubs of Portsmouth website.