Milton houseboats were a real romantic vision

Percy and Vi Wearns tied up alongside the Eastern Road forshore. A very romantic scene with the moon rising over Langstone Harbour.
Percy and Vi Wearns tied up alongside the Eastern Road forshore. A very romantic scene with the moon rising over Langstone Harbour.

Last Thursday I published a couple of photographs of Milton Lake and I was hoping to receive photographs of the many houseboats – or should I say boats – used for accommodation that were at one time tied up alongside the Eastern Road.

Of course, I am never let down by readers and here we see three pictures sent in by Alan Williams of a former World War Two motor torpedo boat (MTB) owned by his wife’s grandparents Percy and Vi Wearn.

Believed to have been in 1961, the former MTB and home is destroyed by fire at its mooring.

Believed to have been in 1961, the former MTB and home is destroyed by fire at its mooring.

The boat was the largest of all the houseboats moored along the foreshore. When the other boats were towed away the MTB was too large and so it was destroyed by fire in situ in 1961.

What it must have been like to move from the cosiness of an MTB into modern housing Alan does not say, but I would imagine Percy and Vi had mixed emotions.

I would love to hear more on this MTB if anyone can supply it, especially the boat’s number when in service.

It’s a somewhat romantic scene, above, with the moon rising over Langstone Harbour and the MTB in soft light. I wonder if it was as romantic living on the boat?

The houseboats moored alongside the Eastern Road.

The houseboats moored alongside the Eastern Road.

Driving along the Eastern Road on a winter’s evening the many boats looked a picture when their lights were on.

Sometime in 1961 Alan believes the MTB and former home was destroyed by fire, below, at its mooring as it was too large to dispose of in any other way. I wonder if there was any consideration as to saving it? I very much doubt it as I expect there were dozens of the MTBs still in service.

Can anyone formerly living in the flats along the Eastern Road remember this event by chance?

Below is almost a copy of the location of the photograph I published last Thursday after the boats had gone. Here the many boats are moored up along the foreshore with the Eastern Road flats to the rear.

Seen at a Southsea carnival, possibly 1980, we see a gallant knight on his steed. But who is he?

Seen at a Southsea carnival, possibly 1980, we see a gallant knight on his steed. But who is he?

Percy and Vi Wearn’s MTB is the vessel nearest to camera and, as I stated, the largest boat on view.

The two vessels furthest from the MTB look like landing craft, I wonder if anyone can confirm this at all?

If a photograph was taken from the same location today of course it would be all grass since Milton Lake was completely landfilled in the 1960s.

I am sure any Southsea damsel in distress would have loved to have been rescued by the gallant knight seen in this photograph sent in by Dave, from Copnor.

Rigged out in armour and the horse in a prominent heraldry similar to the Portsmouth Star and Crescent. 

The minions walking alongside are dressed in heraldry with the man behind the horse carrying a City of Portsmouth banner of arms.