NOSTALGIA: Laying water main to Hayling in foul-smelling mud

The updating and re-laying of pipes to take fresh water across the area is a continuous job for Portsmouth Water.

Friday, 18th May 2018, 10:16 am
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 8:33 am
Solent Excavations Ltd laying a water pipe under the mud of Langstone Harbour for Portsmouth Water in 1988. Picture: Portsmouth Water.

Re-laying a main down the middle of a road might annoy motorists but for the men who lay the mains pipes it is quite an easy task compared to the scene in this photograph.

In 1983 a new 450mm (17in) mains pipe was laid from Bedhampton to Langstone. Five years later a further section was laid across Langstone Harbour under the mud a few yards west of Langstone road bridge.

All this was to ensure Hayling Island could have supplies from the reservoirs on Portsdown Hill at Farlington.

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Solent Excavations Ltd laying a water pipe under the mud of Langstone Harbour for Portsmouth Water in 1988. Picture: Portsmouth Water.

Obviously, the work could only be done at low tide and it must have been quite a treacherous task at times. I wonder if any of those who were employed at the time have any anecdotes about re-laying the pipes in that mud, which is not the most pleasant-smelling at the best of times?

Above the digger is the embankment of the approach to Langstone railway bridge which by then had long been abandoned.

Thanks to Portsmouth Water for allowing me to research from their book Portsmouth Water 1857-2007.

•No doubt most of you have made your arrangements for your holidays this year and I suspect some of you will be visiting the Isle of Wight.

The Royal Hotel, Ventnor, Isle of Wight.

As we know, having a holiday in the UK can cost far more than going abroad these days. I was looking at Ashley Courtney’s holiday guide, Lets Halt A While from 1957 and the Royal Hotel in Ventnor on the Isle of Wight was a veritable suntrap with home-from-home comforts. It boasted a handsome dining room and a Tudor-style smoking room.

Then, weekly terms were from nine to 15 guineas (a guinea was 21 shillings or £1.05) and B&B was from £1. For the occasional visitor lunch could be had for 40p (eight shillings) and dinner 55p (11 shillings). Wonderful days, eh?

•How many of you have ever taken a stroll around the Sally Port area of Old Portsmouth in the middle of the night, especially when there is a high tide and waves are crashing against the Round Tower and Hot Walls?

In this hand-tinted postcard from Barry Cox’s collection I think the moon has been transposed as it is over the north of the harbour.

A romantic view of Sally Port on a stormy night at high tide. Picture: Barry Cox Collection

•It was laid down in Parliament that when Southsea was given to the city no houses were to be built in the sightline from Eastney to Old Portsmouth. As can be seen in this picture there is a vast open plain where the common is. Not quite the same today although buildings have been kept back.

What makes Southsea so spectacular, no buildings up to the shore.