NOSTALGIA: Would you dare do this in this Portsmouth street today?

Imagine trying to walk down the middle of Edinburgh Road today like these Portsmouth people a century ago.

Tuesday, 24th April 2018, 9:00 pm
Edinburgh Road, Landport, Portsmouth, in the 1920s, maybe 1930s. Picture: Robert James Collection

On the left hand corner is the Central Hotel, lost during the Blitz, and farther down is the Empire, later the Coliseum Theatre.

It opened in 1891 and closed in 1958 after the advent of television kept people indoors. It reverted to its original name in 1948.

The comedian Norman Wisdom appeared at the theatre in his very early days, long before he become famous.

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We have all seen HMS Victorys anchor on its plinth on the seafront at Southsea, but at one time it was displayed in Old Portsmouth

On a personal note, I remember being taken to the theatre to see the pantomime Cinderella about 1956.

At the end of the show I became detached from my parents and can remember standing on the corner of Stanhope Road and seeing the coach and ponies being taken away from the theatre.

I cannot remember the 30 seconds before or the 30 seconds after that moment, just that minute or two as that magical coach passed in front of me.

I’m glad to say that my mother found me safe and well.

HMS Victorys anchor on display in the Edwardian period on the seafront. Picture: Robert James Collection

•We have all seen HMS Victory’s anchor on a granite plinth along Southsea seafront close to where the hovercraft comes up on the beach.

But it was not the first spot at which it came to rest on dry land.

For from about 1850 it was located in Old Portsmouth. It was moved to its present position in 1887 and how it has not fallen to pieces because of its age or the weather, I do not know.

The men posing around the anchor are wearing a variety of headwear from sailors’ caps, to trilbies and a stovepipe hat.

Not a Western stagecoach but a wagonette drawn by six horses outside what we now know as Portsmouth Guildhall. Picture: Barry Cox Collection

The second picture shows the anchor after its move in 1887 and remains the same today although people’s dress has changed of course.

The individual steel chairs appear most uncomfortable and I just wonder who might have put them there.

In the background you can see the original Clarence Pier, another loss to the Blitz. A beautiful hand-tinted photograph from the Edwardian period.

•Today’s final picture is a scene not from a Western but one in Park Road outside the Guildhall (or town hall as it was then).

We have all seen HMS Victorys anchor on its plinth on the seafront at Southsea, but at one time it was displayed in Old Portsmouth

It must have been a celebration of some kind, perhaps the centenary of the stagecoach from Portsmouth to London. If anyone has any information about it, Barry Cox and I would like to know.

The wagonette is being drawn by six horses so it would have been an easy job on Portsea Island’s level roads.

HMS Victorys anchor on display in the Edwardian period on the seafront. Picture: Robert James Collection
Not a Western stagecoach but a wagonette drawn by six horses outside what we now know as Portsmouth Guildhall. Picture: Barry Cox Collection