I wish I could have sampled this wonderful Portsmouth theatre of dreams

Before going any further I'd like to thank Barry Cox, Robert James and Brian Maxwell for the loan of photographs and postcards.

Monday, 22nd May 2017, 4:10 pm
Updated Sunday, 4th June 2017, 9:35 pm
A rarely seen view of the Hippodrome Theatre, Commercial Road, Portsmouth. (Barry Cox collection)

If it were not for the likes of Barry and Robert, avid Portsmouth postcard collectors who allow me unlimited access to their collections, I would sometimes be stuck for subject matter.

They have a legacy in pictures of Portsmouth larger than anyone I know.

So, on to the marvellous picture of the Hippodrome.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

The junction of Locksway Road and MIlton Road, 1977.

It is when I see photographs like this I wish I had been born 20 years earlier.

My late parents used to attend shows at the Hippodrome Theatre and would tell me about the stars that appeared there.

It was located almost opposite the Theatre Royal in Commercial Road, now Guildhall Walk.

The building stretched back along what I believe was Salem Street, now built over.

Not a car in sight, just a cycle and handcart. Looking along North End Avenue pre-1936. Picture: Barry Cox collection

Sadly the theatre was taken from us on the night of January 10, 1941, when the largest blitz of the war hit Portsmouth.

The front steps seen under the Hippodrome entrance sign were still in situ until the site was rebuilt. I can remember standing on them with my father and him telling me they were the steps up to the entrance.

• Looking at the photograph of the Locksway Road/Milton Road junction from 1977 you could be forgiven for thinking nothing has altered in this part of Milton, Portsmouth.

Of course, the cars are classics of their time. Mind you, the only one I can recognise is the red Mark 3 Cortina. I owned one.

I wanted to take a then and now shot of this view but with modern buildings in Portsmouth Road, Cosham, it didnt work. Here we see two Horndean Light Railway cars crossing the bridge which stood over the railway line west of Cosham station. Behind it today would be the recently refurbished Northern Road bridge. In the distance a chalk pit on the slopes of Portsdown Hill can be seen. Picture: Barry Cox

But look into the photograph and you see several changes.

The flat kerbstones have been updated and the White House pub on the corner of Goldsmith Avenue has been demolished and replaced with housing.

To the left, the red brick building was the Portsmouth Training College for Teachers. This has also been demolished and flats now occupy the site.

• You will be forgiven if you cannot recognise this junction as the road is today full of parked cars.

The junction of Locksway Road and MIlton Road, 1977.

It is North End Avenue, Portsmouth, at its junction with London Road. Not a car in sight just a cycle and handcart.

At this time the road ran all the way through to Stamshaw Road although today it is blocked off at the Stamshaw end.

The chimney in the distance is part the Brunswick Family Laundry in Gladys Avenue I believe.

Not a car in sight, just a cycle and handcart. Looking along North End Avenue pre-1936. Picture: Barry Cox collection
I wanted to take a then and now shot of this view but with modern buildings in Portsmouth Road, Cosham, it didnt work. Here we see two Horndean Light Railway cars crossing the bridge which stood over the railway line west of Cosham station. Behind it today would be the recently refurbished Northern Road bridge. In the distance a chalk pit on the slopes of Portsdown Hill can be seen. Picture: Barry Cox