NOSTALGIA WITH BOB HIND: Climbing to Portsdown Hill's summit was tough for lorries

Portsdown Hill proved tough work for lorry drivers in the 1930s
Portsdown Hill proved tough work for lorry drivers in the 1930s
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I have recently been publishing photographs from the Barry Cox archive of the trams that ran from Cosham to Horndean on the Horndean Light Railway. 

As we know, this service ended in 1935 but memories of the line are still very much alive.

The cover of Hampshire Through Writers' Eyes

The cover of Hampshire Through Writers' Eyes

More so of the climb by road traffic from Cosham to the George Inn on the summit of Portsdown Hill.

Mike Fooks, of Portchester, dropped me a line to say his father drove lorries from the 1920s until the late 1950s.

These days large lorries with many gears make the climb to the top of Portsdown Hill with ease.

Mike’s father used to relate how he drove the first bull-nosed lorry in Portsmouth and after leaving the flat of Portsea Island hills were his main worry.

Apparently every trip caused concern because of the hills they had to climb.

When going north from Portsmouth they would stop at the Red Lion, Cosham, and the driver’s mate would top up the radiator.

When the lorry began the climb to the summit the driver’s mate would run ahead to the George Inn at the top.

He would then fill up his bucket and go half-whack back down the hill to meet the lorry, struggling and chugging up the hill, to top up the radiator.

The cooling system wasn’t a sealed unit like today's.

Mike said we drivers have it easy these days, in comparison.

Dave Hoggett’s father, who died in 1986, used to travel on the tram from his home in Horndean all the way into Portsmouth in the 1930s.

In the 1950s he opened a garage opposite Gales Brewery called Marsh’s Garage and ran it until shortly before he died.

I was watching the Royal Navy taking parade instruction from a Guards' RSM ready for their introduction to guarding the royal family.

I heard a number of different drill commands as to the navy.

The Guards' sergeant major bawled ‘Attention!’ As we know, the naval order when coming to attention is ‘Ho’.

Also, whereas soldiers slam their boots to the ground, sailors, from standing at ease, bring the left boot to the right boot with no stamping.

This is because the wooden decking on ships would not stand up to a parade of men stamping their boots on the deck.

Apart from that, I don’t suppose there is a lot of difference.

They all appeared okay on parade, but nothing beats the original .303 Lee Enfield rifle for parade drill in my opinion. 

If you love our county as much as I do then you must purchase a copy of Hampshire Through Writers’ Eyes, right. 

The 370-page book has opinions on the county from many famous writers, edited by Alastair Langlands.

They include Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, Conan Doyle, PG Wodehouse and Beryl Bainbridge, to name but a few.

Sadly there are no photographs, just a few line drawings.

There are 58-pages alone on Portsmouth and the surrounding area.

Published by Eland Publishing Ltd it is available at £12.99.