NOSTALGIA: Slum clearance meant Portsmouth canal toll house was lost forever

Obviously, there is no one alive today who remembers the canal that ran from Milton Locks to the top of Arundel Street.

By The Newsroom
Sunday, 13th May 2018, 9:00 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 7:39 am
The old canal toll house which once stood on the corner of Upper Arundel Street and Railway View, Landport, Portsmouth.
The old canal toll house which once stood on the corner of Upper Arundel Street and Railway View, Landport, Portsmouth.

Today the route would have been south of Locksway Road (once called Lillies Lane), Goldsmith Avenue and then in the cutting where the railway runs from Fratton station, with Canal Walk to the north of that.

It turned into what is now Upper Arundel Street to Arundel Street where it turned left and terminated roughly where Arundel Street meets Commercial Road, the spot where Debenhams is today.

The department store was previously LDB, Landport Drapery Bazaar.

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Please remain on board for Portsmoth Harbour and the Gosport and Isle of Wight ferries...

Of course, these thoroughfares did not bear the names mentioned.

The Portsmouth section opened in 1822 and after 1833 the canal gradually fell into disuse.

During excavations for the footings of LDB, huge slabs of stone dovetailed into each other were found. They formed part of the south of the basin for part of its length running parallel with Arundel Street and could be seen quite clearly.

The course of the canal was from Surrey and Sussex and then across Langstone Harbour to enter Portsmouth at Milton.

Sent in by Roger Quinton, here we see boys from either 4L or Lower 5B/A of Northern Grammar school in 1959. Theres Roger, David Hudson, Alan Watts, Tony Rogers, Tony Jones, Bob Milner, Eric McBride, Clive Chivers, Dave Foote and John Phillips.

The canal never paid its way and the railway put an end to the venture.

The first picture shows the old toll house at the top of Upper Arundel Street and Railway View.

It remained in situ for many years after the canal’s demise and was demolished in 1960 during slum clearance operations.

Does anyone remember it?

The battleship HMS Nelson passing HMS Victorys anchor .

•For those commuters who complain of not getting a seat, try this.

Can you imagine in years to come something on the scale, below left, arriving at the high level of the town station and the announcer calling: ‘Portsmouth and Southsea, this is Portsmouth and Southsea! Remain on the train for ferries to Gosport and the Isle of Wight.’

I wonder if any of our readers can tell me if they have travelled on trains that were as overloaded as this?

I would certainly like to hear from them. Strangely enough, those on the roof do have a seat, of sorts.

•The third picture here was sent in by Roger Quinton with the names of some of the boys from Northern Grammar school in 1959.

Can anyone name the rest of the group? Do you know what became of the boys 50 years after the photo was taken?

•The final picture is from the days when the Royal Navy ruled the waves.

It shows HMS Nelson nearing Portsmouth Harbour entrance and passing Victory’s anchor. It was taken in the 1930s. The anchor remains but Nelson went for scrap in 1949.