I recently published a photograph of the Bailey bridge that was in use at Hilsea Halt and wondered how traffic managed to cross over the bridge as it was only single lane, right.
Stuart Hales tells me: ‘By this time the level crossing had gone and the Bailey bridge put up. The road on the west of the bridge was known as Rat Lane.
‘I commuted on the train from Warblington daily for 19 years. The train was usually four coaches but if it was cancelled I walked to Havant and got the Waterloo train which was usually eight coaches.
‘The platform at Hilsea was only six coaches long. I remember on a number of occasions having got on at Havant on the last coach (because the Hilsea platform exit was near the back of the train) and finding that the last coach did not stop on the platform, I (and others) opened the slam door and jumped down on to the track side and walked along the side to the platform.
‘In about 1980 there was a large all-night music festival organised on the airport site (before building started) and British Rail laid on extra trains with an all-night service from Waterloo.
‘To cope with the extra traffic the platforms at Hilsea were extended to accept 12 coaches.
‘The Bailey bridge often caused entertainment when waiting for the train home.
‘The usual arrangement was that the car first on the bridge had right of way (the opposite slope could be seen from either side). But sometimes both drivers thought they had right of way and met at the top.
‘Arguments ensued and queues built up until eventually one had to give way. Not very easy reversing round the narrow bend at the top corner.
‘Rat Lane was known as such until the new road bridge was built over the railway when it became Norway Road.’
Philip Pyke tells me there were no traffic lights controlling the bridge, but there were rules.
‘Generally during morning rush hour traffic flowed west to east and in the evening rush hour traffic flowed east to west.
‘If anybody was stupid enough to try to go in the opposite direction at these times they would have to contend with 20-odd cars in front of them on this single track bridge. I used this bridge for three years.’
Looking at the right hand side of the bridge, there seems to be a fenced off pedestrian walkway.
Back in December I wrote about David Tyrie who was executed by being hung, drawn and quartered on our own Southsea Common on August 14, 1782.
Long before that date Portsmouth justices did not muck about when it came to killing people in the most heinous manner.
W.G. Gates, the first editor of the Portsmouth Evening News, tells us in his 1926 Portsmouth In the Past: ‘Where the Victory is now in a permanent dock there is a curious reference to this place in the Corporation records of the ‘Custommys and Usages’ (custom and usage) of this place in the 13th century.
‘If a man sleith (slayeth) another he shall be brentt (burnt) at the Cattec Leffe. If a woman sle (slay) a man she shall be teyed (tied) to a stake and low water, and let the tide overflow her at Cattec Leffe.’
It does not say what would happen if a women murdered another.
I just wonder what the thoughts were of onlookers when this woman was drowned tied to a stake?
I have never heard of the Cattec leffe but it appears to be the name of the location where the executions took place.
This year is the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, but what happened on the Normandy Beaches during and after 1945?
Watch any film about the invasion and there are hundreds of ships and thousands of pieces of equipment left on the beaches after the army went forward.
Can anyone tell me what happened on the beaches in the following 18 months?
Who cleaned the beaches of machine guns, rifles, ammunition, and blown up vehicles? Not to mention the soldiers who had received fatal wounds? There does not appear to be anything written about this subject.
A final note on the Gosport swimming pool comes from Maxine Leyland.
She says: ‘My parents Sid and Cynthia Leyland met at the Gosport pool shortly after the war and married in 1950.
‘They were active in Gosport's community life. Cynthia sang and acted in local concerts and drama groups, while Sid was a founder member of Gosport and Fareham RFC.
‘They were Labour councillors with Sid becoming Mayor of Gosport and also serving as a county councillor.
‘All of this started as a result of a chance meeting at the swimming pool. Sid died in 2001.
‘Cynthia is now aged 95 and is living in a care home in Fareham.’
Thank you for this, Cynthia.