Portsmouth ward room was in an ivy league of its own

Can you remember when many public and private buildings were shrouded in ivy?I recall when the Queen ordered Sandringham House to be freed of the growth covering the front of the building and it looked completely different afterwards.

Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 9:10 am
Updated Tuesday, 5th November 2019, 2:11 pm
Ivy covered Ward Room, Queen Street, Portsmouth. Taken from the RN Barracks, HMS Victory (now HMS Nelson) we are looking across the top of the main gate toward the Ward Room. Picture: Mick Cooper collection.

In this photograph the former main gate archway and pinnacles into the Royal Naval Barracks, Queen Street, Portsea, Portsmouth, are covered in the the growth.

And look across the road, the officers’ ward room is also gradually being covered in the green growth.

I am not so sure when the ivy was removed but the buildings certainly look different without it.

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Reversing into East Street from Broad Street, Old Portsmouth, in 1937/38 is a trolleybus on route 15/16 to and from Copnor Bridge. Picture: Barry Cox collection.

•The second picture was taken in the year before the Second World War began.

A trolleybus is reversing into East Street from Broad Street, Old Portsmouth, so it can go forward on the triangle.

It would then make its way to Copnor Bridge via the Guildhall and up Commercial Road where it would turn into Lake Road.

At the junction of Fratton Road and Kingston Road the bus would turn left and then right into New Road.

Some of the Gosport buses which have now been recognised. Picture: Barry Cox collection.

It would then make its way to Copnor Bridge although the bus never reached the bridge as such. There was a turning circle at the junction of New Road and Copnor Road where the bus turned and then made the return trip.

In the distant mist in front of the bus can just be seen Semaphore Tower in the dockyard and the railway viaduct to South Railway Jetty.

• The buses in the photograph published on Thursday, October 31, were seen by Bob Dowdell, of Portsmouth, who tells us more.

He says: ‘You refer to the buses at the Gosport ferry terminus including two independent operators. I seem to recall that the one on the right was Jasper Maine’s bus which ran to Elson via Forton Road.

James Thake officiating in an Asian Cup Final.

‘Jasper was the driver and his wife sat at the front entrance to take the fares. The one on the left was, I think, ran by a burly chap called Hathaway.

‘His bus ran through Stoke Road to Ann’s Hill and finished at the junction with Brockhurst Road. I hope somebody can put me right or endorse my memory,’ he adds.

• Last week I said I was going to run the obituary for Lt-Cdr James Thake today, but because of timings I placed it last Friday. I thought I had better mention it today in case any former shipmates missed it.

James’s funeral takes place at The Oaks Crematorium, Bartons Road, Havant, at 1pm this Friday, November 8.

In the photograph we see James as a referee when he took charge of an Asian cup final in which he sent off the local bully boy, much to the delight of the crowd.