Whatever happened to this dangerous Gosport church? – NOSTALGIA

High winds stopped services at St Francis Church, HMS Sultan.
High winds stopped services at St Francis Church, HMS Sultan.
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I must thank Maria Pearce, of Copnor, Portsmouth, who, when cleaning out her loft, came across pages of the Evening News from 1967.

One article was about St Francis’s Church located in HMS Sultan, Gosport.

Russian flagship salutes England in Portsmouth. Picture: Barry Cox postcard collection

Russian flagship salutes England in Portsmouth. Picture: Barry Cox postcard collection

The church was built by the army in 1872 but in 1967 had been condemned as unsafe by the Ministry of Public Works (what happened to them I wonder?) in high winds.

The church had been used by all three services and could hold a congregation of 500.

Built of wood and iron it had changed little since being consecrated in 1872.

It was built as a temporary measure until a brick church could be built, but it never was.

Cosham in the 1940s. Looking across from Windsor Road to the former tramway bridge over the railway line.  Picture: Barry Cox postcard collection.

Cosham in the 1940s. Looking across from Windsor Road to the former tramway bridge over the railway line. Picture: Barry Cox postcard collection.

A new roof was added for £500 but the main building was so rickety when high winds blew it was thought to be to unsafe for services.

A new church to hold 3,000 for use of civilians and servicemen was hoped to be built later in the year.

What happened to St Francis’s Church, does anyone know?

• Barry Cox let me borrow the postcard showing the Russian flagship firing a blanks’ broadside to salute England when she visited Portsmouth..

Can anyone recognise where on the fledgling Leigh Park estate this crescent of houses might be?

Can anyone recognise where on the fledgling Leigh Park estate this crescent of houses might be?

Unfortunately there is nothing on it which explains why or when she was in harbour. 

My research shows that the Russians visited on two occasions, in 1907 and 1910.

In 1907 a squadron of three ships arrived on March 23 and remained until March 28. Two of the vessels, the Tsarevitch and the Bogaryr had recently seen action in the Far East.

I should think the postcard is of one of those two ships. As ever, Portsmouth laid on entertainment for the officers and men which included visits to London.

On March 16, 1910, the Russians again visited when a small squadron arrived at Spithead under the command of Admiral Litvinoff and everyone was again well entertained by the city.

• If you have trouble recognising the location in the picture below, left, imagine you are looking west from Windsor Road, Cosham.

It is the site of the old tram and bus terminus and above the bus can be seen the old iron bridge that took the Portsdown & Horndean Light Railway over the railway line.

• And so to the page opposite and the picture which was taken about 1950.

It shows a crescent of houses being built on the Leigh Park estate, the Garden City as it was falsely named.

I have been trying to find out where exactly it might be.

It cannot be Eversley Crescent as the houses are within the circular road and Cheriton Close has a different design.

If you do live in one of the houses pictured please let me know where it is.