NOSTALGIA: Nelson souvenirs for sale from one-armed Portsmouth sailor

A badly disabled sailor selling Nelson souvenirs on Southsea seafront, possibly in 1905.
A badly disabled sailor selling Nelson souvenirs on Southsea seafront, possibly in 1905.
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My colleague Barry Cox thinks this fascinating photograph was taken in 1905, about Trafalgar Day time and therefore a century after the battle. As you can see, the people are gathered around HMS Victory’s anchor along Southsea seafront.

If you take a closer look at the sailor you will see he has a hook in place of his left hand and his lower right arm is missing completely. No doubt he is a veteran of several campaigns.

An enlargement of the sailor alongside Victorys anchor.

An enlargement of the sailor alongside Victorys anchor.

He is selling ‘relics’ of Admiral Lord Nelson but what those mementos were is anyone’s guess.

Behind him is a telescope which passers-by could no doubt have used in return for a few coppers. This was in the days of little or no pension and I don’t suppose the sailor received compensation for his losses, if he did it wouldn’t have been that much I’m sure.

Knowing sailors, you can be sure he was nicknamed Hooky, with no offence meant nor none taken.

The two children in the centre have ‘appropriate’ toys of the day – a hoop for the girl and a tricycle for the boy – minus tyres. 

Up for the cup: Pompey supporters in Nottingham in 1952 for an FA Cup tie against Notts County.

Up for the cup: Pompey supporters in Nottingham in 1952 for an FA Cup tie against Notts County.

I have enlarged the sailor, below left, so his disabilities can be seen a little more clearly. How he ever managed to get his gaiters on is beyond me! 

I also enlarged the telescope caption but it was still illegible unfortunately.

The remaining picture on this page was taken on February 2, 1952.

It shows Pompey supporters in Nottingham for an FA Cup fourth round tie against Notts County which Pompey won 3-1.

A colourful view scene of South Parade Pier in 1929 when Southsea was a top holiday destination. Picture: Ellis Norrell Collection

A colourful view scene of South Parade Pier in 1929 when Southsea was a top holiday destination. Picture: Ellis Norrell Collection

This would have been at a time when the double Championship-winning side were getting older and the side was breaking up.

This was also the period just before my former schoolmaster Eddie Lever took over the side.

I do not know who sent in this photograph so perhaps they might let me know, as well as anyone else who recognises themselves.

And so to the colourful picture on the facing page.

Back in 1929 Southsea would have been a top holiday destination for many from all over the country. There was so much to do and see.

South Parade Pier is quite busy and the bandstand would have been a popular spot for end-of-the-pier concerts, especially if a Royal Marine band was playing. In the bottom left corner a charabanc awaits tourists for trips out into the country perhaps. 

Since these days of 90 years ago the pier has altered, largely because of the devastating ‘Tommy’ fire of 1974. It has recently opened to much praise.

No matter if it was in Piccadilly Circus or on the side of a Portsmouth pier, Bovril appeared on advertising hoardings everywhere.