NOSTALGIA: Unusual shot of Portsmouth Harbour in 1940s

More chimney pots than ships. An unusual view of Portsmouth Harbour from above the Still & West pub, Point, Old Portsmouth. Picture: Mike Nolan
More chimney pots than ships. An unusual view of Portsmouth Harbour from above the Still & West pub, Point, Old Portsmouth. Picture: Mike Nolan
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Here’s a marvellous and somewhat unusual view across Portsmouth Harbour from a rooftop across from, and above, the Still & West public house. 

Count the chimney pots, no doubt mostly made in Fareham. There are more of them than vessels in the harbour – rare for those days.

Inside Stockheath Naval Camp, Leigh Park. This path is now part of Great Copse Drive.

Inside Stockheath Naval Camp, Leigh Park. This path is now part of Great Copse Drive.

The incoming Isle of Wight paddle ferry is PS Ryde. To the left of her is an outgoing submarine and above the ferry a BDV (boom defence vessel.)

In front of the BDV’s bows are two posts. Mike Nolan, to whom this picture belongs, says these were the legs of the Mulberry Harbour sunk off the D-Day beaches to supply the invasion troops. He says some components were brought back after they finished their service in France. Way up harbour in Fareham Creek are many ships, perhaps waiting to be towed away for scrap.

In the foreground is the floating bridge to Gosport but we can’t make out the name. On one side of the loading ramp is a brick pillar with a lamp on top. Mike says just out of sight here was a gents’ lavatory without a roof. To the left of the Still & West is a sloping roof, now demolished. Alongside that was an air raid shelter to which Mike’s mother, who lived in Broad Street, ran during a raid.

Mike says after 1948, vessels more than 150ft long required two masts. As the ferry has only one we can date this photo to between 1946 and 1949.

Dave Harris in his mothers arms in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, 1956.

Dave Harris in his mothers arms in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, 1956.

 The News has reported that the owners of South Parade Pier hope to replace the landing stage at its end – not only for boats but also for fishermen. As someone who fished off the end of the pier as a boy, this is good news. All you needed was a drop line and a few worms and soon a fish was on the end. Mind you, this was in the days when fish were plentiful in the Solent. What is it like today?

  On August 7 I published a photograph from Kevin Munks showing a mother and toddler in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, after the circus had paraded through the town.

You will not believe it, but I can now reveal the child’s identity. It turns out to be Dave Harris who was born in 1954 dating the picture to 1956. His mother is Molly Harris and lives at Bedhampton.

  The path where the officers are standing once led through Stockheath naval camp in what is now Leigh Park. After the war the camp became overgrown until 1969 when a self-build housing group bought the land and built a road which became Great Copse Drive. The main gate to the camp was in Riders Lane.  One of the three survivors from the sinking of HMS Hood, Bob Tilburn, ended up at the camp for a while.

How the landing stage at the end of South Parade Pier once looked.'Picture: Jackie Baynes

How the landing stage at the end of South Parade Pier once looked.'Picture: Jackie Baynes