PENSIONER Violet Strugnell is celebrating her 100th birthday in the home she’s lived in almost her entire life.
Violet first moved to Sheffield Road, Fratton, in 1917.
She was just six when she moved in with her parents Vernon and Emma, brothers Gordon, Jack and Hector and sister Ethel.
Now, 94 years on, Violet has marked her centenary. And in a strange coincidence it is also 100 years since the house was built.
Violet, who lived in Arundel Street for the first six years of her life, remembers the excitement of the move well.
She said: ‘As soon as I found out we were moving to Sheffield Road I couldn’t wait to tell everyone, I was so excited.
‘It was the most sought-after street of the time.
‘When there was a house for sale, it didn’t hang about for long.
‘People wanted to live here because all the houses were painted the same colour and they all had the same railings. It was very nice.’
During the Second World War the Edwardian-style terrace house was nearly bombed a number of times and Violet and her family used to take cover in the cellar of their home.
‘It’s a wonder this place ever survived,’ she added. ‘The street was completely blitzed. One day it was really badly hit and the pub and the paint shop on either corner of the end of the road, at Fratton Road, were completely burnt out.
‘The roofs of all the houses half way down the street had been blown off and all the windows were broken.
‘In my house, all the glass had been blown in and a paving stone went right through the roof and flew into the bedroom.
‘I was out at the dentist but my mum was hiding in the cellar and I had to go back to get her. I just remember walking down Fratton Road and it all being on fire.’
Luckily the home survived and Violet – who used to work in Handley’s in Palmerston Road, Southsea – has no intention of going anywhere.
She added: ‘This is my home and I don’t want to lose it – I have so many memories here.;
Violet wants to keep the home in the family and will pass it on to her many nieces and nephews, along with her parents’ original receipt for the home, currently kept in a safe place off the premises.