Surprise and ribald comments

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It was today in 1966 that two new pubs were officially opened in Portsmouth’s old shopping centre, the Tricorn.

The Casbah and the Golden Bell served their first pints, crowds having been attracted by a themed publicity stunt.

A large camel and young women dressed in harem costume paraded around the Charlotte Street area causing surprise and ribald comments among shoppers.

‘The camel,’ joked The Evening News, ‘was the only one present not offered a drink and went off with the hump.’ He had been hired from Robert’s Circus which was visiting Southsea.

The Golden Bell replaced the Charlotte Street local which had been demolished the previous year. Its customers became known as ‘the Bell boys’ and gained a bad reputation at a time when skinheads and violence gave the dark Tricorn spaces a certain edginess.

The Tricorn Club, which became Granny’s then Basins, attracted emerging and top acts including Marc Bolan, Slade, Mud, Sweet, Status Quo, Mary Wells, Edwin Starr and Vinegar Joe as well as regular local bands Smiling Hard, The Image, Heaven and Hector.

Slade’s unique stomping sound and loud vocals could be heard as far away as The Hard – John Sadden’s The Portsmouth Book of Days