Portsmouth’s longest-serving landlady is finally calling time after 52 years  

Mollie Powell, the landlady of The Duke of Devonshire, in Albert Road, Southsea, who is due to retire in August
Mollie Powell, the landlady of The Duke of Devonshire, in Albert Road, Southsea, who is due to retire in August
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While Albert Road has had a frequently changing pub scene over the past five decades, one thing that has remained a constant is The Duke of Devonshire.

However Portsmouth’s longest-serving landlady – who has been a landlady for 52 years – has decided to call time on her illustrious career.

The Duke of Devonshire in Albert Road Southsea

The Duke of Devonshire in Albert Road Southsea

Mollie Powell has spent the last 35 years running The Duke of Devonshire and at 88-years old she can still be found pulling pints and putting her business expertise to good use.

The traditional boozer in Southsea is so synonymous with her name, that many locals simply refer to the pub as ‘Mollie’s’.

Mollie said: ‘You can get a taxi to Mollie’s and they will know exactly where to take you.’

She said the secret to running a good pub was to make sure it had a friendly atmosphere.

Mollie said they welcome first timers but the pub is also popular among locals of all ages, some of which have returned from Mollie’s illustrious previous pub endeavours – which include the Railway Hotel in Cosham and the Trafalgar Arms in Fratton – for a catch up and refreshing ale.

She said: ‘We have people coming back from years ago from when we had the other pubs, they still come and see us.’

Mollie, who has spent her entire life in Portsmouth, was previously a dancer, before the allure of running her own business led to a successful career in the pub industry.

Upon first arriving at The Duke of Devonshire in 1983, Mollie said the interior was much smaller, but an extension with additional seating was soon required to keep up with demand.

Now, the pub’s features include its patio garden, traditional jukebox as well as two dartboards. The pub hosts a wide array of wines, spirits and ales, including beer from Portsmouth brewery Irving & Co.

However, due to ill health and her advancing years, Mollie has decided that it’s time to finally slow down and on August 13 she is retiring.

The pub is planning a big party to see her off – and Mollie says she hopes to see some familiar faces on her final day.  

Mollie’s departure doesn’t mean the end for The Duke of Devonshire, which will be taken over by new ownership.

But her legacy will remain among locals, with many of them knowing her as ‘the longest serving landlady in Portsmouth.’