Two kings greeted by their adoring public in Portsmouth – Nostalgia

King Edward VIII visiting Portsmouth on June 30, 1936 crossing the Waverley Road and Albert Road junction in Southsea.
King Edward VIII visiting Portsmouth on June 30, 1936 crossing the Waverley Road and Albert Road junction in Southsea.
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The two photographs of royalty in Portsmouth come from Mrs PM Hadley of Havant. I am not too sure about the King George VI travelling down Fratton Road perhaps you can help me? The other shows King Edward VIII a few months before his abdication. Fancy turning his back on all these adoring Portsmouth people, not to mention the British Empire.

It was on June 30, 1936, that Edward VIII, the first freeman of the city, and at that time not crowned, visited Portsmouth to visit his navy.

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in Fratton Road. Does anyone know the occasion? Picture: PM Hadley

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth in Fratton Road. Does anyone know the occasion? Picture: PM Hadley

I believe this was the occasion when he was met at Portsbridge and his entourage travelled to Southsea before going on to the royal naval barracks in Queen Street.

From here began the visit proper began and included several many naval locations. The following day, after a visit to Eastney Barracks the King travelled along the seafront to a tumultuous welcome from thousands of people. 

I cannot for the life of me find out the date of the visit by George VI (Edward VIII’s brother) and Queen Elizabeth. I am hoping someone might be able to help.

The King’s car is travelling along Fratton Road but where to I have no idea. It might have been for the Coronation Fleet Review of 1937 a few months after he ascended the throne after his brother turned his back on the British people and abdicated.

The laughing sailor was supposed to make children laugh but I think this version would have made them scream in terror.

The laughing sailor was supposed to make children laugh but I think this version would have made them scream in terror.

They may have arrived at Cosham railway station but as I say, I do not know so please help me if you can.

n Remember the laughing sailor puppet at Clarence Pier when children, plus a few adults, fell about laughing with him?

He was operated by electricity of course and when he laughed his body swayed all over the place. I can remember when it cost 6d (2.5p) to make him work.

This puppet is at the Bursledon Brick Works Museum at Swanwick and is not the version that was on Clarence Pier. This one cost 20p a go.

The Hayling Billy arriving at Havant. Picture: Barry Cox Collection.

The Hayling Billy arriving at Havant. Picture: Barry Cox Collection.

I do not think too many children would be laughing though as he could be quite frightening to any youngster and nowhere near as handsome as the Southsea matelot.

n Finally we see the Hayling Billy coming to a halt at the bay platform at Havant station. Dozens of waiting passengers can be seen at the far end.

In the run-round loop another ‘Billy’ can be seen waiting to couple itself on to the rear end which then became the front of the train.

This locomotive would uncouple and then fill up with water from the column behind the waiting engine and then wait for another train to draw in and the whole procedure would start again. On the far right of the main line platforms are the goods shed in the up yard, now a car park.