Chain ferry bridged the gap between Portsmouth and Gosport

Five pictures today from Martin Halsey, two of which show the old floating bridge which linked Broad Street, Old Portsmouth, and Gosport.

Friday, 8th April 2016, 6:00 am
STEAM-POWERED The floating bridge approaches Gosport
STEAM-POWERED The floating bridge approaches Gosport

It ran for 90 years, beginning service in 1840.

It was operated by chains which were drawn up as the ferry crossed and then dropped to the seabed to avoid impeding vessels using the harbour.

By the 1950s the bridge had largely been superseded by the diesel passenger ferry and in December 1959 the service was abandoned.

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BRIDGING THE GAP The bridge is half-way across the entrance to the harbour in this picture with what looks like a royal yacht dominating the scene

One of the vessels, The Alexandra, ran most services during the 1950s – no mean feat as she had started crossings in 1854.

The first ‘bridge’ was made at Bristol Ironworks and a second was brought into service. They were eventually given the names Victoria and Albert. Between them they served the Port of Portsmouth Floating Bridge Company for 69 years.

PARCELS Heres the grand old General Post Office in Commercial Road taken from the forecourt to what was then called the Town railway station (now Portsmouth and Southsea). It was built in 1881 and demolished in 1978. The picture was taken about 1900.
CAPS With not a bare head among them, this picture from the early years of the last century captures men leaving Portsmouth Dockyard. The original caption on the postcard said dinner time.
ROTTEN The Portsmouth and Arundel Canal entered the city at Milton where two sets of locks and a basin were built allowing access from the canal to Langstone Harbour. The canal, part of a larger scheme to secure an inland canal route from London to Portsmouth, was abandoned in 1855.
BRIDGING THE GAP The bridge is half-way across the entrance to the harbour in this picture with what looks like a royal yacht dominating the scene
PARCELS Heres the grand old General Post Office in Commercial Road taken from the forecourt to what was then called the Town railway station (now Portsmouth and Southsea). It was built in 1881 and demolished in 1978. The picture was taken about 1900.
CAPS With not a bare head among them, this picture from the early years of the last century captures men leaving Portsmouth Dockyard. The original caption on the postcard said dinner time.
ROTTEN The Portsmouth and Arundel Canal entered the city at Milton where two sets of locks and a basin were built allowing access from the canal to Langstone Harbour. The canal, part of a larger scheme to secure an inland canal route from London to Portsmouth, was abandoned in 1855.