NOSTALGIA: Marching to the skirl of pipes in Old Portsmouth

Finlays newsagent on Portsmouth Town station concourse in the 1920s
Finlays newsagent on Portsmouth Town station concourse in the 1920s

Last week I published a then and now view looking south through Waterlooville and made a horrible mistake.

I said that it was when Waterlooville was called Waterloo. In fact the name-change came many years before in September, 1823. Thank you to everyone who e-mailed me pointing out my error. Sackcloth and ashes.

Looking north along London Road, Waterlooville. Picture: Barry Cox Collection

Looking north along London Road, Waterlooville. Picture: Barry Cox Collection

In the picture below, left, we return to Waterlooville and are looking north with the Duke of Wellington pub on the left and the bell tower of the baptist church farther on.

The tram is at the crossroads with Stakes Hill Road to the right and Hambeldon Road.

There were plans to demolish the Wellington but a public outcry saved the day and it is now being refurbished.

•The top picture shows a Scottish regiment marching along Broad Street, Old Portsmouth.

Hovering over Portsdown Hill. A Portsmouth Evening News photograph from 1919 with few high structures on Portsea Island.

Hovering over Portsdown Hill. A Portsmouth Evening News photograph from 1919 with few high structures on Portsea Island.

With the centenary of the end of the First World War soon upon us, this evocative photograph makes me wonder what happened to all these soldiers.

Where they had come from I do not know. Perhaps a barracks in Gosport, or perhaps somewhere in the Isle of Wight? Either would have been a short ferry ride away.

Look at the young lads by the garage doors marching along with them. I can remember doing exactly the same when the Royal Marines band used to march in the city.

The young lad fourth from the right has shouldered his cricket bat, mimicking the soldiers.

All of the men are waring Tam o’ Shanter headwear apart from the pipers.

If anyone with military knowledge can give me more information about the picture, I’d like to hear from you.

A brave pilot flies his early form of glider over the slopes of Portsdown Hill around 1919.

It’s a magnificent view of Portsea Island with Paulsgrove racetrack in the bottom left corner.

The tallest structures in Portsmouth at this time were the bell towers of St Mary’s Church and the Guildhall and the cantilever 240-ton crane in the dockyard. The crane was built in 1911 and became part of the skyline until 1984 when it was dismantled.

Across the centre is Horsea Island. At one time there were two islands but they were joined to form a torpedo testing lake in 1889.

It was 1,000 yards long but had become obsolete by the First World War. It has since been consumed by the landfill that took place to build the M275 and M27 in the early 1970s.

Above is Finlay’s newsagents on Portsmouth Town Station concourse. Most stations in the UK had newspaper outlets run by WH Smith but Portsmouth had Finlay’s.