Will Portsmouth ever see a King’s birthday parade again? – Nostalgia

Can anyone enlighten me about what these sailors were up to when they posed in front of this fully-rigged ship on a trailer?

Monday, 22nd April 2019, 9:00 pm
The King’s birthday parade on Southsea Common in a 1907 postcard. Photo: Barry Cox postcard collection.
The King’s birthday parade on Southsea Common in a 1907 postcard. Photo: Barry Cox postcard collection.

I have a strange feeling the picture might have been taken on Whale Island, Portsmouth, and that the sailors are from HMS Excellent, but stand to be corrected.

The buildings look like the sheds that were on Whale Island at that time and seen in other old photographs.

The superb model has a look of HMS Warrior about her.

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Sailors pose in front of a fully-rigged ship. I have no idea where this was taken or what it celebrates. Perhaps readers can enlighten me?

• Now we move across to the facing page and a shot of the King’s birthday parade on Southsea Common.

Before the First World War the sovereign’s birthday was always celebrated, especially in naval ports, and Portsmouth was of course no exception.

It would be good to perhaps reintroduce the ceremony when we have King Charles III, although I cannot see it happening ever again.

This postcard, which is from 1907, was sent by a sailor serving in HMS Dreadnought. It told his family, who lived in Watford, to expect him home the following Saturday.

When I visited the Bursledon Brickworks Museum I was told this pile of rubble was the remains of Mile End Cemetery gates.

The parade was held on Southsea Common with Clarence Parade clearly visible in the distance.

As we can see all the crews were wearing sennet hats, not those which would later replace them.

• When I visited Bursledon Brickworks Museum recently I came across this pile of brickwork.

One of the guides told me it was believed to be the remains of the brickwork that once held the entrance gates to Mile End Cemetery in Portsmouth.

Harting youth club Christmas pantomime 1951. Picture: Colin Greetham

It ceased to be used for burials from 1955. When the cemetery was closed for a car park some of the more modern graves were disinterred and the contents buried elsewhere.

In the early 1970s it was discovered that there were too many bodies to be exhumed and, with government approval, they were built over and the area used for a car park for what was then known as the Continental Ferry Port.

• Unfortunately I have had to crop the photograph of the cast of the Harting youth club pantomime as they were lined up right across the stage.

Here we see some of the younger members of the cast who might still be with us.

They include, but not in any order: S Smith, O Barns, J Cook, A Edwards, P. Beckett, J Tancock, A Pickup, Dave Barnfield, P Greetham, M Mackenzie and V White. The producer was Mrs Smith.

Colin Greetham, who sent me the photograph, tells me the panto was also performed in some nearby villages on the West Sussex/Hampshire border.