Portsmouth's General Post Office demolished to change face of city centre - again

At the bottom of this photograph is what remains of Portsmouth’s old General Post Office with its sorting office along Stanhope Road. This office closed in 1977 when the new modernised building opened in Slindon Street which you can see in the top left of the picture.

Sunday, 10th November 2019, 8:00 pm
The site of the former Post Office in Commercial Road. To the rear was the sorting office. Picture: Mick Cooper collection.

The photograph shows all the platforms at Portsmouth & Southsea railway station’s low level with the former fish dock on the left alongside Station Road.

At the top of the photograph the railway tracks leading into the fish yard were all lifted and the land used for what is now the Matalan clothing store in the mid-1980s.

I am sure many will remember when the Station Road junction with Commercial Road  was just a narrow street with pubs on either side.

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The small parade of shops built along Barncroft Way, Bedhampton, in the early 1950s. Picture: Barry Cox postcard collection.

Along with another lad I used to drag a cart piled high with The  Evening News across Commercial Road and turn right into the back of the station to load the papers on to trains.

On the right a slam door train is arriving at the high level platform and the dockyard branch line can just be seen trailing off beneath the second coach.

n I have put a question mark in the caption with HMS Vanguard as I am not sure if I have the correct date or even if the picture was taken in Portsmouth. I am sure there is someone who can put me right.

What I think we are seeing is the last Royal Navy battleship, HMS Vanguard, possibly departing Portsmouth Harbour.

I believe this is HMS Vanguard leaving Portsmouth. Can readers confirm the location? Picture: Barry Cox collection.

At first I thought she might be leaving on a royal tour but I cannot see a Royal Standard hoisted anywhere on the ship so perhaps there were no members of the royal family on board.

Looking around the ship, the clean air brigade would have had a field day with the coal-fired tugs chucking out black sooty smoke.

n When Leigh Park housing estate was first built there were few, if any, shops anywhere and the people from Portsmouth who inhabited the new houses had to walk into Havant for supplies. After living in Portsmouth, with shops and pubs on virtually every corner, it must have come as a shock.

Eventually the council built small parades of shops such the one in Botley Drive, Stone Square, and as seen here, in Barncroft Way. This actually comes under Bedhampton not Leigh Park.

The first shop on the left is grocers Burnett & Piper. They opened a shop on the old Bedhampton Camp in a hut. When the camp was closed and demolished and the shops built they were given first refusal and jumped at it. Mr Burnett sold out but Mr Piper remained until decimalisation in 1971.