What boys discovered behind the bike shed

It always amazes me how long-abandoned railways are spoken of with affection, no matter how long it might be since they were axed.

Sunday, 26th June 2016, 6:15 am
jpns-25-06-16 rw festing FESTING ROAD JUNCTION FROM ALBERT ROAD BRIDGE A very early pre 1912 photograph taken from the Albert Road bridge over the East Southsea railway. The Festing Hotel is to the right. Notice the railings to the far left.

The photograph shown last week of the former East Southsea branch line brought a memory from Brian Pilcher of North End, Portsmouth.

He tells me he attended the Southern Grammar School in Albert Road from 1947 and even at that late date can remember discovering part of the disused railway behind the bike sheds.

The Southern Grammar School was using half the existing school while waiting for the new school to be built, replacing the one in Fawcett Road wrecked during the blitz.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Brian Wilson tells me that up until quite recently at the Odeon cinema, on the corner of Festing Road and Albert Road, it was still possible to see the remains of the bridge that once went over the railway at this point.Thank you both.

In this photograph, taken from the bridge over the railway line, we see the Festing Hotel on the right and protective wooden railings on the far left. The line ran in a deep cutting under Albert Road.

The Odeon cinema, opened in 1937 and closed in 1985, was on the junction to the right. Brian’s school would have been behind camera.

This photo is pre-1912 as the tramway connecting Southsea from this point along Festing Road opened on July 31 the following year.