Days when the dockies ruled

Southsea Library, Palmerston Road, Southsea
Southsea Library, Palmerston Road, Southsea
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Picture:  Malcolm Wells (180122-5488)

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Come to Sunny Southsea where the death rate is only NINE per 1,000’.

This bizarre advertising blurb to attract tourists to our seaside resort was in The Portsmouth and Southsea Official Guide Book 1908. The photograph beneath showed a packed promenade.

This is one of the exhibits in a fabulous new exhibition called No Place Like Pompey, taking place at our City Museum.

Last Friday I toddled down to the opening and, as I meandered around, memories came flooding back.

There are pictures and posters and videos about this fair city, plus objects that help to tell the city’s story.

Even as a Pompey gal born and bred, I discovered things I didn’t know.

But when I got to the big black bicycle I let out an ‘Oh blimey, the dockyard”.

Do you remember, folks, when that bloomin’ whistle went off in the yard and hundreds of dockies on bikes swarmed out from Unicorn Gate?

Years ago I was driving in the area and my traffic lights turned to green.

As I went to drive off, my passenger said: ‘Don’t even think about it, they’re not going to stop.’

So I stayed put. Because dockies ruled the roads in those days.

Earlier that day I was ‘sending out the love’ to Portsmouth City Council as I perched on the porcelain in one of the five bright, bootiful bogs in the new Southsea Library and Customer Service Centre.

I don’t think the library is particularly state-of-the-art or has a ‘wow’ factor.

But I do think it will breathe life into the jaded Southsea shopping precinct – something that is badly-needed.

With its citrus decor and bright, modern feel complete with an IT suite, meeting area, and cafe, it’s a pleasing space. Oh yeah, and they have books as well.

I returned on Tuesday and it really does have a fabulous atmosphere.

Folks, it grieves me to wax lyrical about our council. But PCC, you’ve done good this time.