Chance sighting of Sally Port arch sparks family memories | Nostalgia

Russell Bowie, now of Bordon, was walking past the RSPCA Solent charity shop in Petersfield last week and did a double take.

Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 7:30 pm
A view through Sally Port by Gwen Helm.

For there was a painting in the window of the Sally Port archway.

It was where his partner's late mother, who lived in Oyster Street, Old Portsmouth, used to swim out to the big post by the harbour entrance up until she was in her eighties – amazing, but true.

Russell checked the signature on the painting and found it was by Gwen Helm and he bought it for £30.

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The lounge canteen, Forton Barracks, Gosport.

He asked staff at Portsmouth Museum for information and they told him she was born in 1920 and died in 1989. She had lived in Wilberforce Road, Southsea, at one time.

Did any of you know of Gwen Helm? Russell and I would like any information. Thank you.

•This is a view inside the comfortable-looking canteen at the Royal Marine Light Infantry (RMLI) Barracks, Forton, Gosport.

I assume that newspapers were available to read, hence the name 'news canteen’.

A children’s choral service on the steps of Portsmouth town hall, 1916. Picture: Mick Cooper collection

There is a piano on the stage so perhaps there were recitals and dances on occasion.

Sing up children, sing up!

With top hats and straw boaters the order of the day, here’s a 1916 children’s choral service in full flow on the steps of Portsmouth town hall (now the Guildhall).

Imagine this being popular today. But with Guildhall Square now pedestrianised I am sure, with a Royal Marines band leading the way, there would be a good attendance. I say ‘children’s’ service but there are many adults in the crowd. The conductor looks to be in good voice.

Sailors in sennet hats parade for the launching of HMS Neptune in September 1906. Picture: Mick Cooper collection