Portsmouth pub left isolated by new road – Nostalgia

Looking south towards the George Inn on the old road. The cutting to the east opened in summer 1968. Picture: Tony Triggs
Looking south towards the George Inn on the old road. The cutting to the east opened in summer 1968. Picture: Tony Triggs
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How many of you remember when the A3 London Road passed the George Inn at the top of Portsdown Hill, when one of the best views in England came into view, before dropping down to Cosham?

I said ‘top’ of Portsdown Hill as that is where it is in the photograph, but until 1813 the summit of the hill was higher than the roof of the George.

The summit of Portsdown Hill, 2018. The same scene but somewhat more mature than 50 years ago. Picture: Bob Hind

The summit of Portsdown Hill, 2018. The same scene but somewhat more mature than 50 years ago. Picture: Bob Hind

Portsdown Hill Road ran level along the brow of the Portsdown Hill from Farlington to just before Fort Nelson where it descends into Fareham.

Because of the heartache caused to stagecoach horses staggering up the hill, in 1813 Napoleonic wars prisoners were engaged in lowering the top of the hill at this point and dropping the summit by some 40 feet. The road to the right, the original London Road, would have climbed higher than the roof of the pub which was not there at that time of course.

The crossroads, just out of sight, became a great danger with the increase in traffic and so in 1967 a bypass cutting was begun to the east of the George. Here we see the new road being built. The George looks as if it is on an island of chalk. 

In the third picture, taken just after the Second World War, we are looking north with the George Inn in the far right hand corner. Portsdown Hill Road crosses left to right and just look at the traffic.

This is what the crossroads looked like before London Road bypassed the George Inn.

This is what the crossroads looked like before London Road bypassed the George Inn.

I don’t know if there was some type of rally going on or people were just fascinated by the traffic, but it is amazing how many were gathered. Perhaps it was a new fad after the war. The white chalk in the far corner shows how high the summit was at one time.

If anybody knows what was going on, if anything, please let me know.