I’ve been giving you a taste of my colleague Bob Hind’s new book Portsmouth in Transition and if there was ever a transition the two photographs below prove it. The comparison between the two is astonishing.
In the busy scene in Commercial Road we’re at the junction of Church Street on the right from which the men on cycles are emerging. On the corner of Church Street is the Country House Tavern, then Barnes the paint store.
On the left is the junction with Fitzherbert Street which led to the rear of the Royal Hospital. The Savoy Cinema is on the north corner. It later became the ABC.
A policeman controls traffic and although the cyclists seem to be in danger they ruled the roost.
There’s even a horse and cart among the traffic long before the M275 was dreamt of.
Now look at the modern picture. It records one of the greatest changes of scene in Bob’s book. All has been swept away since the 1970s when the M275 was built.
Fitzherbert Street is still on the left but leads nowhere. The site of the cinema was on the corner where the large TIMBEERRR board is.
Part of Commercial Road is preserved and is in the distance alongside the white building. Charles Dickens’s birthplace remains in this area at 393 Old Commercial Road.