Leigh Park in its early days

A view along Botley Drive, Leigh Park, about 1960 with not a car in sight and immaculate grass verges. Picture: Barry Cox collection.
A view along Botley Drive, Leigh Park, about 1960 with not a car in sight and immaculate grass verges. Picture: Barry Cox collection.
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Today we take another look at the early days of Leigh Park and the parade of shops along Botley Drive.

It was one of the earliest collections of shops, even before Park Parade, and all the basic requirements could be had by taking a stroll, as everyone did back then.

Havant Road, Drayton, Portsmouth, in much quieter days. Picture: Mick Cooper collection.

Havant Road, Drayton, Portsmouth, in much quieter days. Picture: Mick Cooper collection.

On the right is GE English a grocer whose manager was Joyce Bollen. Then we have Cusworth’s with a post office on the left as customers entered the shop.

Next along was a greengrocer and then one of the Cooper’s chain of butchers. The shop at the far end with the blind was the fish and chip shop and lastly the low building was an off licence.

Around the corner was the unbuilt Wheatsheaf pub. The pub sign has yet to be hung and distant trees can be seen through the space where it will be.

On the immediate left is Charlton Crescent and then the Methodist church.

The same view along Havant Road, Drayton today. Picture: Robert Pragnell.

The same view along Havant Road, Drayton today. Picture: Robert Pragnell.

Oddly enough, for a period when not many had telephones, many telegraph wires are strung from the post located in the immaculate grass verges.

There appears to be a new layer of asphalt laid on the road as far as the bus shelter.

A much sought-after place to live

Looking east along Havant Road, east of Cosham, and we see why it was such a sought-after place to live.

Villas, large detached houses and bungalows line the north of the road. It is hard to imagine that roads were as free and easy to pass along at this time. Wide grass verges kept pedestrians away from whatever traffic might be passing. In the distance is where Eastern Road now joins the A27, but not for several years into the future. 

… and the same view today

The recent picture of Havant Road, Drayton, was seen by Robert Pragnell who took this photograph of the same view as it is close to where he lives.

The house with the double gable on the left is 211, Havant Road. The neighbouring house with the steeply-pitched roof is 213. Between then and now the chimney to the front of 213 has been taken down. The road is obviously busier now and trees dominate the ‘today’ picture.