Portsmouth monument became Mike's gateway to the world

A couple of weeks ago I devoted this column to the fascinating history of the various gateways to the old town of Portsmouth.

Tuesday, 1st August 2017, 9:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:43 am
Landport Gate with No1 and No2 St George's Road on either side. This view was taken from within the sports ground. Note the new brickwork on the right, bomb damage repairs.

One of them was Landport Gate, part of which can still be found around the perimeter of the United Services Recreation Ground.

What I did not know was that two houses were once attached to the gate.

I do now because Mike Newnham wrote to me revealing he was born in house No2 Landport Gate in 1937.

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An old postcard showing Landport Gate, Old Portsmouth, its 'moat' and surrounding earthworks.

Mike, of The Keep, Portchester, explains: ‘My father, Jack Newnham, was head groundsman at the United Services ground during the war years and I was born in number two.

‘My sisters Joyce and Jean and I were evacuated to the New Forest when the air raids became more frequent.

‘During one air raid, mum and dad were sheltering in the coal hole when the house was damaged by a bomb.

‘As a result the family was moved into No1 house. In 1944 we were again relocated, this time to the Three Crowns pub in St James’s Street, now demolished,’ said Mike.

Landport Gate from St George's Road, Old Portsmouth.
Mike Newnham and his sister Joyce with their old home, Landport Gate, in the background.
An old postcard showing Landport Gate, Old Portsmouth, its 'moat' and surrounding earthworks.
Landport Gate from St George's Road, Old Portsmouth.
Mike Newnham and his sister Joyce with their old home, Landport Gate, in the background.