A harbour view that would have been familiar to Horatio Nelson
In another postcard from the Robert James collection, here's a scene that would have been familiar to Horatio Nelson. Victoria Pier and the steam ferry at Old Portsmouth are the modern additions of course.
The ship in the distance is, I believe, HMS St Vincent. There were at this time three wooden-walled ships of the line in the harbour, St Vincent, Wellington and, of course, Victory.
As there are sails attached to the yards, I assume that as St Vincent was a boys’ training ship this is her.
• It must have been a wonderful sight to see fishing boats leaving South Camber, Old Portsmouth, when sail was the main form of propulsion. The near vessel on the right looks like it is a rigged Thames barge. To the rear a sailor can be seen climbing a mast.
• The shot of the southern slopes of Portsdown Hill shows a tram car of the Portsdown & Horndean Light Railway descending Portsdown Hill. Just behind the camera it would cross Southwick Hill Road by an ornate lattice bridge. On the right is London Road, later the A3, now superseded by the A3(M) farther to the east.
• A view that is greatly unchanged today is South Parade. This is the western end looking towards South Parade Pier.
Where cars now rush there is, on the left, what was called a bathchair – an early form of wheelchair for the infirm and elderly.
This was a part of the city that managed to escape the worst of the blitz in the Second World War, the reason we can still enjoy these Victorian buildings.