Buffalo Bill angered by poor turnout for Portsmouth shows – Nostalgia

Buffalo Bill Codys wild west show  in Portsmouth, 1903. Picture: Barry Cox postcard collection
Buffalo Bill Codys wild west show in Portsmouth, 1903. Picture: Barry Cox postcard collection
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On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, August 10, 11 and 12, 1903, Buffalo Bill Cody brought his wild west show to Portsmouth appearing at the Portsmouth Exhibition Ground, which I believe was Alexandra Park, Hilsea.

The show arrived in four trains with more than 800 performers using 500 horses. How on earth they were fed I do not know.

After the war bomb sites in Southsea were made into gardens before rebuilding began. Picture: Tony Triggs Collection

After the war bomb sites in Southsea were made into gardens before rebuilding began. Picture: Tony Triggs Collection

Cody was not a happy man with the low attendances at the twice-daily shows. What made things worse was a downpour before the final show. However, in this photo we see many people arriving to buy tickets.

The arena was behind the sheeting on the left. In the middle it looks like two barkers are on soapboxes encouraging  potential customers to buy tickets.

• The imminent closure of Debenhams in Southsea reminded me of the blitz gardens that once occupied the site of the building after the Second World War. I can just about remember them as they were still there in the mid-1950s..

There was so much rubble about the council decided to brighten up bomb sites by making large rockeries and gardens.

A wartime game at Fratton Park with several guest players in the Pompey line-up. Picture: Michael Harris Collection

A wartime game at Fratton Park with several guest players in the Pompey line-up. Picture: Michael Harris Collection

The one seen here was on the corner of Palmerston and Osborne Roads and was, before being blitzed, Handley’s the up-market Southsea department store.

In late 1955 rebuilding of the area began. I wonder what became of all the rock garden material?

• After the disastrous game against Peterborough last Tuesday I think we should really be singing ‘Play up Pompey, Pompey play up. Please’.

In this team line up from a game played at Fratton Park during the war, on May 13, 1940, many guest players were in the side.

The magnificent stage in the theatre on South Parade Pier.  Photograph: Barry Cox postacrd collection.

The magnificent stage in the theatre on South Parade Pier. Photograph: Barry Cox postacrd collection.

In those days many professional players were called up to the services (imagine that today) and if they happened to be in the area they would put their names forward for a game. I always have to laugh when I read that players wore white knickers rather than shorts.

The game was played before the blitz really got under way and I am sure the attendance was good even though it was played on a Monday afternoon. Anyone remember watching this match?

• Most photographs of the Pavilion Theatre on South Parade Pier, Southsea, were taken from the balcony, but this superb view is taken from the stalls at the rear of the theatre showing off the marvellous stage. Shows were always popular at this venue but other functions also took place.

I remember attending several dinner-dances when the seating was removed to create a ballroom with tables around the outside. Who also remembers the wrestling? With a seat in the balcony you could look down on to the ring.