When Fratton Park was the local Wembley | Nostalgia

As we know, Pompey won the Division One title two years running in 1948-49 and 1949-50. But, did you know there was another Portsmouth team that did the double in 1950? It was none other than Church Street School.

Thursday, 16th January 2020, 4:13 pm
Updated Friday, 17th January 2020, 4:14 pm
Church Street School, in the white shirts, and Stamshaw School preparing to play a cup match at Fratton Park in 1950.

Former Portsmouth man Bob Richards, who now lives in Australia, has sent me several photographs of officials at a North End League end-of-season dinner with special guest Sir Stanley Rous. I will include these fascinating pictures next week.

Among the collection was this photograph of Church Street School (in white shirts) and Stamshaw School.

Until about the early 1970s, as I remember, Fratton Park was used as the local Wembley Stadium with many cup finals from the local leagues taking place there at the end of the season once Pompey’s league games had ended.

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What an absolute thrill it must have been for these teams to play on the hallowed turf at the ‘Park’.

The Church Street School v Stamshaw School match had an evening kick-off at Fratton Park in 1950

These games were always attended by good crowds with all the teams’ families usually attending.

The Evening News correspondent, who went by the byline of ‘Majister’, reported on another game played in 1950 between the Southern Grammar School and St Luke’s Modern in the Evening News Cup. The game ended 2-2. The game was played after the Stamshaw and Church Street match.

One note which Bob told me was about mixed teams playing. In those days, junior schools with both boys and girls played in League II and the all-boys schools played in League I. I don’t know what the gender-discrimination brigade would make of that today.

If you recognise yourself in either team please let me know what you remember of the game. Were the goals smaller for instance? Was the whole pitch used? What was the attendance? I would love to know.

• One of my favourite sayings while writing this column has been, there is nothing new under the sun, and so it is with the shortage of housing a century ago when private efforts to cope had become quite inadequate.

Under pressure from the government (the same as today), which shouldered most of the cost, the first scheme got under way and Portsmouth Town Council joined the great army of housebuilders in 1920.

So a century ago 243 houses were built at Eastney at a cost of £212,407.

Also that year, the council purchased Great Salterns estate on the eastern side of Portsea Island for £51,000.

Comprising 350 acres of hard and 200 acres of mudland the acreage was to be used for recreational and other purposes.

• I see the city council has plans to charge £10 to drive into the city in a bid to cut pollution.

Seeing as Portsmouth is only four miles wide from east to west at its widest and is continually blown by sea breezes, there is little chance of pollution I would have thought.

Also, have they thought it through? Will they charge drivers who use the ferry port just half-a-mile from the northern tip of Portsea Island? What about those using the Isle of Wight ferry? And what about Pompey supporters on match days?

Most important question of course, is will councillors be charged to bring their cars into the city as well?

One answer could be to bring back electric, non-polluting trolleybuses. We lost them in 1963 replaced by petrol and later diesel buses with their mucky exhaust pumping into the atmosphere.

In several cities, the tram is making a comeback. There are eight cities in the UK with tram systems although funding for one in Portsmouth and Bristol have been abandoned through lack of cash.

• There was a time we used to say that children enjoyed playing with the box rather than the present inside.

I can now tell you bubblewrap is the thing. After spending £40 on my granddaughter she was utterly fascinated by the bubbles that protected it. On opening her present on Christmas Day, which was then cast aside, she spent ages popping the bubbles much to her amusement. I know what to buy her next year.

• Final records of those from the Hampshire Regiment lost in the First World War were announced in September 1920.

A total of 7,176 fell of which 1,375 belonged to the Portsmouth Battalion. The 14th lost 623 men, the 15th, 744 and the 16th, eight.

Many would remember the moving spectacle as these gallant Portsmouth men marched through the town leaving our shores, never to return, but to die for country and home.