Pride of Portsmouth, from Victory to those other white cliffs | Nostalgia

A  view over Portsmouth dockyard to the chalk pits on Portsdown Hill.
A view over Portsmouth dockyard to the chalk pits on Portsdown Hill.
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Peter Barge, of Westbourne, has lent me a book of photographs taken inside Portsmouth dockyard which contains some fascinating views which I shall include in the coming weeks.

Here we see a magnificent view of the many store houses within the complex.

Mudlarkers at The Hard, Portsea, Portsmouth.

Mudlarkers at The Hard, Portsea, Portsmouth.

I have outlined the roof of what was called the Great Ropehouse. HMS Victory stands out as proud as ever. To the left is Semaphore Tower. The mast was that of the German cruiser Nürnberg which surrendered to the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet in 1918.

On the far left are the cranes from the slipways that built many great ships and in the distance, the chalk pits of Portsdown Hill.

•My photograph of Drayton Broadway, published on November 14, was seen by Joyce Taylor who tells me she worked for fishmonger Sidney Slape in the 1950s. His shop was featured in the picture.

Joyce says: ‘Mr Slape was a lovely man who would visit once or twice a week. He would leave his pretty blonde wife outside in an open-top car.

HMS Hermes returns from the Falklands war, July 1982.

HMS Hermes returns from the Falklands war, July 1982.

‘The shop was always open on Good Friday mornings to sell salt fish. Outside he placed a rotisserie selling cooked chickens. Next door was the post office.’ 

Across the road was an ironmonger called Lights. Next door was the British Restaurant which had a workmen’s area and ‘civilian’ area where Joyce worked as a waitress. She worked along with another named Rose Hamilton who had two sons.

Joyce adds: ‘We had several well-to-do customers from the big houses in Burrell Avenue.’

• Many of you will know of Angel Radio, the award-winning nostalgia radio station based at Havant.

Presenter Pete Cross has been campaigning for years to have Petula Clark awarded a damehood from the Queen, but to no avail so far.

Pete has written to Sir Cameron Mackintosh, the producer of the stage version of Mary Poppins in London, in which Petula plays the part of the old lady on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral singing Feed the Birds asking if he can arrange for Pete and me to visit her for an interview. I will keep you informed.

• The picture of vehicles in Turk Street, Buckland, Portsmouth, published on Tuesday, November 26, with the vehicles named by Ian Heath, has been corrected by several readers.

The lorry was apparently a Bedford TK not a Leyland and one of the cars was  a Mk2 Ford Cortina

Hard labour for mudlarking pests

A book, Portsmouth – A Postcard Collection by Alan Spree, is a collection of views of the city from the Victorian and Edwardian period.

About 90 per cent of them have appeared in my pages in recent years.

Did you know that Mudlarkers, seen above, were at one time taken to the police courts for being pests and a nuisance. In 1894 some were fined five shillings or given five days’ hard labour.

The book is available from New to You Books, Cosham.

Falklands’ heroine returns home

A shot of HMS Hermes entering Portsmouth Harbour on her return in July 1982 from the Falklands war. She looks huge but is a tug compared to new aircraft carriers Queen Elizabeth and Prince of Wales.

It’s from Gower Lloyd’s book of 500 photographs taken around Point, Old Portsmouth. He will be signing copies in Palmerston Road precinct, Southsea, on December 8 and December 14. It costs £19.95.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​