When Royal Navy’s reserve ships in Portsmouth harbour numbered more than today’s entire fleet – Nostalgia

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There was a time, well within living memory, when the Royal Navy’s reserve fleet was larger than the modern active fleet.  

This aerial picture, sent to me by former Petty Officer David Jacobs, show just part of the reserve fleet in 1957. The ships are located between Whale Island and Fountain Lake Jetty.

THEN: For those of you who shop at the Fratton Centre, this is what you missed. Fratton Goods Yard, 1973.

THEN: For those of you who shop at the Fratton Centre, this is what you missed. Fratton Goods Yard, 1973.

At the top of the photo is the floating dock and to the right of that can be seen a further five ships.

In view are Battle and Daring-class destroyers and minesweepers. To the left is a Colony-class cruiser and a Town-class cruiser which I think is HMS Liverpool. 

Bottom left is the parade ground of HMS Excellent.

•Although this photograph of Fratton Goods Yard dates from 1973 it would have looked the same just 25 years ago.

NOW:  ... and this is what Fratton Goods Yard looks like today. There would have been plenty of room for a new stadium...

NOW: ... and this is what Fratton Goods Yard looks like today. There would have been plenty of room for a new stadium...

The goods yard moved to Fratton from the city centre opposite the Guildhall, where the civic offices are today in 1935.

There had been a plan to scrap both the Town and Fratton stations and build a new one along Canal Walk, but it didn’t happen and we still have three mainline stations plus Hilsea on Portsea Island.

In this photograph from Chris Brunnen’s book Portsmouth – An Ariel View Through Time we see the yard in 1973. On the left are the carriage sheds and to their right the former roundhouse where the Fratton allocation of steam engines were stabled around a turntable. The patched roof of the rectangular building was the goods shed. To the left of that was land allocated to railwaymen as allotments. Between the two are 10 sidings for goods wagons and carriages.

The modern picture was taken last year and shows Fratton Way running through the site from Goldsmith Avenue to Milton Road. The carriage sheds are still there but the site of the former roundhouse is now a car park. The old goods shed with the 10 sidings alongside is now Tesco.

Fratton Park is in the same place but looking at all the space that was left vacant don’t you think a new Fratton Park could have been built on the site and the Tesco and other outlets built on Fratton Park?.

Chris's book is available from New To You Bookshop, High Street, Cosham.