Heartbreak in Commercial Road as under-strain horse collapses

On the summit of Portsdown Hill we see a car (trams are always called cars) en route from Horndean.

Thursday, 20th April 2017, 8:29 pm
Updated Tuesday, 9th May 2017, 7:01 pm
A tram from Horndean about to descend to Cosham.
Picture: Barry Cox Collection
A tram from Horndean about to descend to Cosham. Picture: Barry Cox Collection

The destination box above the driver tells us it is a through car to Southsea.

I would imagine this was a cold winter’s day as the RAC patrolman is in a heavy coat and all the passengers are sitting comfortably inside.

The car has just departed from The George pub, crossing Portsdown Hill Road.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

A heartbreaking moment in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, possibly in the 1930s.

This crossroads was scrapped and became a T-junction in 1968 when the A3 bypassed The George to its eastern side.

•I have captioned the photograph (below, left) as ‘heartbreaking’ as that is what it is, I am sure you will agree.

This poor distressed horse has collapsed outside Portsmouth & Southsea railway station in Commercial Road.

Perhaps the load was too big for it to pull, or maybe there were no brakes on the cart to hold it back as it descended the gradient down under the high level railway bridge? Pushing against the animal, it might have been too much for it to hold back causing it to collapse.

An almost unchanged scene today shows the landing stage alongside Portsmouth Harbour station. Picture: The Monty Theobald Collection

Four concerned men are trying to help and a police officer can be seen taking notes.

A very sad scene indeed.

•Although well over a century ago, the scene at the Gosport ferry (below, right) in Portsmouth has changed little apart from the vessels and dress.

The landing stage beside the Harbour station is all but the same and the walk down to it looks just the same too.

No, not a rural retreat beyond Portsdown Hill but Hilsea, possibly looking north, before the First World War. Picture: Barry Cox Collection

HMS Victory is no longer anchored in the channel of course.

I am wondering why the rowing boats are tied up at the landing stage?

Did they take tourists on trips around the harbour to see the warships long before the Blue Boats were in business? I’d be interested to know.

•On the facing page is a tranquil scene of a mid-Hampshire village photographed before the First World War.

A heartbreaking moment in Commercial Road, Portsmouth, possibly in the 1930s.

Except it’s not...

Would you believe this backwater with the cottages was Hilsea, Portsmouth? I didn’t, but the postcard’s caption confirms it.

Collector Barry Cox and I were discussing the exact location and he came to the conclusion it is where the present Northwood Road joins London Road.

The magnificent elm tree frames those cottages perfectly. As I say, it was taken before the 1914-18 war when this part of Portsea island was still countryside and farmland.

An almost unchanged scene today shows the landing stage alongside Portsmouth Harbour station. Picture: The Monty Theobald Collection
No, not a rural retreat beyond Portsdown Hill but Hilsea, possibly looking north, before the First World War. Picture: Barry Cox Collection