NOSTALGIA: Trams and trolleybuses on Portsmouth’s old roads

A corporation tram on route Z at Bradford Junction, Portsmouth, 1920. Picture: Ellis Norrell.

This Portsmouth street scene changed almost beyond recognition once Winston Churchill Avenue was built.

We are looking north from Victoria Road South into Bradford Junction. The Plaza cinema would have been on the left on the corner of Bradford Road. Victoria Road North can be seen at the rear of the tram which is turning left into Rugby Road with its interlaced track.

Looking east, with Clarence Parade on the left, two gardeners work on the immaculate gardens on Southsea seafront.

The route via Rugby Road was abandoned in 1932 four years before the rest of the system closed down but the tracks remain to this day.

• Can anyone remember the gardens along Clarence Parade looking as beautiful as this? Not at this time of course but perhaps in later years?

It is an Edwardian scene and the postcard is hand-tinted so perhaps the flowers are not quite the correct colour.

On the right are two of the many gardeners once employed to keep the immaculate floral displays in tip top condition between the Queen’s Hotel and South Parade Pier.

A much altered West Street, Havant, long before pedestrianisation.

The white building, centre left, was once the Royal Naval Engineers’ Benevolent Society’s (Tiffy’s) club, now closed.

• The third picture is taken from Havant – Seen and Remembered by Geoff Salter and Derek Dine.

We're looking east along West Street when, unbelievably now, it was the A27 and the main thoroughfare from Chichester to Bedhampton and on to Cosham.

On busy summer weekends it was the very devil to cross the very narrow road farther along. 

A trolleybus on route 17 crosses Somers Road, Portsmouth, in the 1960s on its way to Eastney. Picture: Barry Cox.

Between this point and the trees in the distant St Faith’s churchyard it is now pedestrianised and also has a busy market two days a week.

I seem to remember that there was a branch of Woolworth’s on the left which had wooden floorboards and were a delight to tramp over.

The A27 was once the Roman Road that led to Bitterne in Southampton, and ran north of Portsdown Hill.

• The final photo is another reminder of how the new post-war road system in Portsmouth radically changed the old city.

It shows the staggered crossroads from Blackfriars Road into Bradford Road crossing Somers Road in the 1960s. On the right would be Southsea fire station, one of three that used to be in the city along with Copnor and Cosham. The trolleybus is on route 17 to Eastney via Albert Road.

With the coming of Winston Churchill Avenue, which was constructed to the left of the junction, Somers Road and Bradford Road were cut in half and at this point it is now a T-junction. Bradford Road is now nothing but a long cul-de-sac.

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