Bishop of Portsmouth preached to thousands on Southsea Common

Of all the thousands of people who attend concerts at Southsea bandstand in the summer, probably very few give a thought to the sound system.

The Bishop of Portsmouth giving a sermon at Southsea skating rink in 1922. Picture: Geoff Witte collection.
The Bishop of Portsmouth giving a sermon at Southsea skating rink in 1922. Picture: Geoff Witte collection.

It is assumed the system will be in place to hear the music. Amplifiers have been with us for years of course but it was not always like that.

In 1922 the Bishop of Portsmouth gave a sermon on Southsea Common from the skating rink. What the occasion was I do not know although the council did buy Southsea Common in December of that year, but it appears to be a warm summer’s day in the photograph.

In the centre of the photograph can be seen a Wyatt’s delivery van. Beneath the title is ‘Marconi-phone Services’. This tells me that the firm was employed to broadcast the bishop’s voice to the hundreds, if not thousands, gathered to listen. A cone-shaped speaker can be seen above the driver’s cab.

Sverdlov sailors visiting Portsmouth in June 1953. Picture: Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images.

Beside the stage a photographer stands precariously on a stepladder. On the stage can be seen many sailors and I believe this was a navy band. In the background, Clarence Parade, lined with fine houses and villas remains almost the same today.

Girls’ warm welcome for Russians

A happy group of Russian sailors from the Soviet cruiser Sverdlov enjoying themselves in the company of some Portsmouth women during a garden party in the city on June 12, 1953.

The original caption called them ’girls’ but these women look like girls’ mothers to me!

Drayton Broadway, Havant Road, believed to be in the mid-1950s. Picture: Mick Cooper collection.

The Sverdlov was a speedy, powerfully-armed ship. She was at Spithead for the Coronation Review.

In 1953, the Russian navy was the second largest in the world, its submarine fleet being formidable. Three years later, the Sverdlov-class cruiser Ordzhonikidze was involved in the disappearance of Commander Lionel Crabb in Portsmouth dockyard.

Do you remember these shops in Drayton Broadway?

A greatly altered shopping scene in Drayton in the 1950s. Today we have takeaways galore along this side of what was then called Drayton Broadway.

I am sure some of you remember these shops. On the right is a gents’ hairdresser with a cafe next door. Which one belongs to WE Baker is anyone’s guess. Sidney Slape was a well known Portsmouth fishmonger with branches all over the city and several in the suburbs.

Next along is HE Brown the postmaster and librarian and then Maison Drayton, a women’s hairdresser run by SW Smith.

At the left hand end is Lower Drayton Lane.