Fine war Fare was on offer at Portsmouth cinema in the 1950s

The picture of the junction of Festing Road and Albert Road, Southsea, from about 1960 continues to ring bells with many of you.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 16th May 2017, 8:45 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:51 pm
An 1960s shot of Festing Road junction and Albert Road, Southsea
An 1960s shot of Festing Road junction and Albert Road, Southsea

Look carefully behind the ‘Festing Road’ sign and you can just make out the words Fine Fare – the supermarket of old which most of you will recall and one of the first to open in Portsmouth.

That building will forever be lodged in Jeremy Lear’s memory, for in a previous existence it was the Gaiety cinema (inset).

Jeremy says: ‘It was built in the 1920s and closed in 1958.

The Gaiety cinema, replaced by Fine Fare about 1960

‘My memory of the Gaiety Cinema is that with my parents I went to this cinema for the first time in my life, probably in 1953 or 1954 to see The Cruel Sea in which Jack Hawkins starred and was a story about a Royal Navy corvette called Compass Rose which supported convoys in the North Atlantic – a classic war film. ‘

He adds: ‘Some readers will also remember that close by, on the corner of Bath Road and Albert Road was Weston Hart, a local company that sold records, 78s in those days, and record players.

‘In the other direction, on the corner of Albert Road and St Augustine Road, was Smith & Vospers the local bakers.

‘At this time in the ’50s and ’60s this was a thriving shopping centre with two newsagents Churchill and Mays; the Cabin, a sweet shop; Burdens the grocers on the corner of Exeter Road, and Bloxhams the cobblers.

The old Hard interchange at Portsea in 1977.

David Edwards responded to my request for information about whether a turntable ever existed behind Fine Fare to enable lorries to turn to so they could get out. It did.

David was a trainee manager at Fine Fare in West Street, Havant, in the late 1960s and sometimes acted as relief manager at the Albert Road branch.

He says: ‘I certainly remember the turntable being there close to the goods inward area. Delivery vehicles would drive in on to the turntable, be pushed round to unload and then drive out into Albert Road thus avoiding dangerous reversing in a confined space.

‘Is it still there or was it filled in when the store closed as Fine Fare in the mid-1980s?’ he asks.

The Gaiety cinema, replaced by Fine Fare about 1960

n Although the photo of The Hard, Portsea, was taken 40 years ago in 1977, this view had remained the same until early last year.

That was when the old Hard stand was demolished and the whole transport interchange upgraded before it came back into use earlier this month. Good to see the Dodge City ad again: everything for the home and garden...

The old Hard interchange at Portsea in 1977.