NOSTALGIA: Final pictures from Eddie Wallace catch slices of city life now long gone
As you will have doubtless seen here today front page, Eddie Wallace's funeral was held yesterday and as you might have expected there was a great turn-out.
As a final tribute to this wonderful man I am publishing four of his photographs, three of which Eddie took when on his beat as a City of Portsmouth policeman. He told me he had to take them surreptitiously. If he had been caught carrying a camera he would have been in trouble with his sergeant.
In August 1963 General Dwight David ‘Ike’ Eisenhower, the former Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Forces in Europe visited Portsmouth for the final time. He later visited Southwick House, HMS Dryad, his former HQ where D-Day was planned in 1944. At the top of the stairs in the commissionaire’s uniform is Eddie’s father.
Evening News reporter Tim King managed to get the great man alone for five minutes in an anti-room, much to the chagrin of other reporters. Tim asked him where the decision was made to launch D-Day and he replied: ‘Right there, in Southwick House on the fourth of June.’
It is hard to imagine such events took place in Southsea but Eddie took the photo of Blackshirts in Portsmouth to prove it really happened. He was not a policeman at the time but was out with a few friends in 1937 when they heard a band. Marching up Burgoyne Road were members of Oswald Moseley’s British Union of Fascists known as The Blackshirts. They crossed South Parade where they fell out at the free speech site alongside the promenade, Clarence Esplanade.
Does anyone remember what Eddie called a ‘speech site’ but what was known as Speakers’ Corner? It’s where people with a bee in their bonnet could get on their soapbox and tell crowds how they could cure all the world’s problems.
I know there’s not much of interest in Eddie’s picture of the parrots but I’ve included it as such things are now banned. This was June 1961 and the two parrots were used as a photographer’s ‘come on’ to attract passers-by to have their photograph taken with the parrots. Many of you will remember them alongside Clarence Pier.
Eddie took the view along Charlotte Street on Monday, April 24, 1961. Being a Monday is perhaps the reason for there was little traffic and no barrow boys.
To the left is Meadow Street where Shirt King reigned supreme. I was surprised to see the business operating so early as I always thought it was a mid-1960s company. On the right the shops would be demolished to make way for the Tricorn.