Paulsgrove Estate

 Created 22-02-2003    Last update 07-11-2016

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Here are some extracts from emails received about Paulsgrove. Any italicised comments in [] brackets are mine. I would especially welcome any contributions of stories or photographs for this section.



  NEW - 07-11-2016  

Portsdown 1962

  The picture attached was taken by me in about 1962. The detail shows Paulsgrove up to the church, you can see the old submarine (top right), the Portsmouth generating station and the old 240ton dockyard crane. I find very interesting as it shows Portsmouth before the motorway destroyed the landscape.

[The submarine is the P556 which was originally the US built USS S-29. Local legend had it marked down as a German U-boat]

  I lived in Nailsworth Road, Paulsgrove from 1947 to 1967 and my parents lived there until 2015. My first school was across the road in the infants until the council decided to split Paulsgrove at Ludlow Road and sent me to the new infant school at Paulsgrove West. The buses only went as fat Truro Road and I had to walk the rest of the way along a muddy track now called Jubilee Avenue. From there I went to Paulsgrove Junior School even further along the muddy track and then on to Paulsgrove Secondary Modern for boys. I performed in a couple of the Gilbert and Sullivan plays and I have photo of Policeman’s chorus taken from “Pirates of Penzance”. I had the same form teacher throughout my school career – Mr Bowler. He was probably the person I should thank for pushing me so hard. My career went on to quite successful as draughtsman (PTO/SPTO) working for the MOD. I did 42 years with them and retired in 2004.

Bit more about Nailsworth Road. There were fields behind us which were ideal for Cowboys and Indians until they built the flats. After they built the new shops it was great to go go-carting on the nice new flag stones.

How Paulsgrove has changed over the years – not all for the best. Some the lads I remember: Paul Downham, Alan Dixon (now in Canada), Roger Eccleshall, Nigel Marchant, Terry Lee-Barry, Paul Blacker and Alan Hyde. Unfortunately some have now passed away.

Hope you find this interesting I could go on for hours.

Mick Boyes - November 2016


  NEW - 01-05-2016  
  Hi my name is Arnold Eckersall. I was born in Diamond Street, Portsmouth, in 1938. My Grandparent’s house was bombed and my grandparents and their daughters and offspring moved to Winterton Lincs. After the war my father, who had been a POW managed to get a council house in Bell Road Wymering. I attended Portsdown Junior School and then the Portsmouth Northern Grammar. I spent my teens and formative years in the Wymering and Paulsgrove chalk pits and then over the hill to Southwick and the other small villages. Mostly this was on foot but later on bikes.

On leaving P N G I did a five year apprenticeship at De Havillands where I was heavily into football and many other sports. After a short spell at Fratton Park as an amateur I became a professional and played for various teams in the old Southern League. I was at Sittingbourne for just over four seasons. When my apprenticeship ended I worked at Portsmouth aviation on the old race course.

My ambition was to take up teaching and thus I answered an advert to teach at Paulsgrove Secondary School as an unqualified teacher. The Headmaster was one Les Street who came back from being a tortured Japanese POW. I spent one year at Paulsgrove School before gaining entry to King Alfred College Winchester. What a year at Paulsgrove. I was teaching Metalwork and Drawing and two, sometimes three evenings a week football training. It was here that I first came into contact with Saints legend Bobby Stokes. He was born in Paulsgrove and would never take no for an answer. We trained from the end of school until 18:00 sometimes 18:30 and Bobby was the one who always wanted to continue. That year we won the League for year and the Cup. Bobby was invited with a couple of others from Paulsgrove to the Portsmouth Boys trials and the rest is history.

I qualified as a Teacher and went on to teach in Hedge End. I stayed in touch with Bobby right up to the end when he died from pneumonia. Seeing the Saints fortieth celebrations has brought many memories back to me. Where the M27 is now there were many dens dug and built. There was a lot of rivalry between the different groups and their different pastimes. I had also played cricket for the Paulsgrove youth side which certainly ruffled many feathers of the Local Portsmouth Cricket league because we won many of our games against seniors. Names like Johnny Harris John Oxford, Roy Collins were well known in the cricket and soccer circles of Portsmouth.

There was a clear delineation between Wymering and Paulsgrove in that to the west of Washbrook Road was Paulsgrove and to the East was Wymering. I believe that the road next to Washbrook road was Maidstone Crescent which had a wonderful curving pavement from the top of the housing estate all the way down to near The Clacton. I can remember when the Barnum and Baily Circus had its tents on the fields where the link road runs from Paulsgrove to Cosham roundabout.

Whilst I was at Winchester I did a thesis on juvenile delinquency in Paulsgrove because the local paper often inferred that Paulsgrove was not a good place to live due to the many problems that this huge sprawling estate had to cope with. Can you imagine how many people from Paulsgrove would walk to Cosham to catch the match day special buses to Fratton Park when Portsmouth were the Champions and boasted huge crowds. If my memory serves me true there were always at least 15-20 double-deckers waiting at Spur Road. Most of the other contributors’ memories ring the correct bells and I can say that my time living in Wymering was something that I would not change

A Eckersall - May 2016



NEW - 19-10-2014


I moved with my twin brother to Rothwell Close in 1948 when I was four. It has been fascinating to refresh the memory. I can still remember many of the things written, including the unmade Jubilee Avenue which we used to walk down to go to Paulsgrove Junior School, testing the water filled potholes to see if it would go over the top of our wellies.

I started infant school in a wooden hut that was at the end of Cheltenham Road alongside the newly built Hillside School, later transferring to the new Infant School whose entrance was in Lower Portsdown Road, before moving up to the Junior School which became Saxon Shore School (now houses!)

I can remember the Nissan hut shops, the Co-op having two units joined in the middle, which was the bacon counter area if I recall, Morley's was the newsagents, and at the Cosham end was Newman's Fish and Chip shop.


I've attached a couple of photographs showing our house 16 Rothwell Close looking north towards the chalkpit, the other view is from the front bedroom window, showing Birdlip Road with the "dump" later to become the "Cross Keys" pub. Water still flows around Horsea Island and I can remember the reed marshes to the South of "The Harbour Lights" pub.


The third photo is of a group of us from Paulsgrove Baptist Church singing in the "Cross Keys" from left to right Tony Gillam, Derek Petrie (used to live in Braunston Close back when it had our local phone box!) Pat Day who lived in Mablethorpe Road Wymering and myself. I'm still singing andplaying guitar at Paulsgrove Baptist Church, though with less hair!

  Girls' Brigade Marching  

Girls' Life Brigade (renamed the Girls' Brigade nowadays) marching down Wooferton Road for the monthly parade service.


Thanks for a fascinating site.

Ken Gillam - October 2014



NEW - 03-11-2006


I was born in Camcross Close in 1963 and lived in and around Paulsgrove until I got married in 1985 and moved to North End for 7 years. I have now moved back home and live in Paulsgrove again.

I remember playing in the close and building dens on the waste ground that now has warden controlled apartments on it. These dens would consist of holes dug out of the ground and then covered over with metal bedsteads and turf as to make them invisible.

We moved to Longdean in 1970 and I began my love affair with Portsdown hill, building more dens and hideouts to the west of the chalk pit and sledging down on home made sleds with wax on the runners for speed. I remember once a mate of mine (who must remain nameless as I think his mum still doesn't know the truth) had his brand new school shoes on and as you know the feet were the steering device for sledges, by the time we had enough and on the way home he had no toes left on his shoes and threw them away and told his mum that some big boys had taken them, she went mad and smacked him anyway, we of course laughed.

I used to walk around the green ledges on the cliff face of the chalk pit and never had the need to call the fire brigade for rescue but it was close a few times.

Then came the M27 and a whole new playground was opened up. We had the best times playing with the road building equipment and dodging the Securicor van drivers who came past every 1/2 hour or so. Riding the conveyor belt was also a favourite past time. My dad worked for John Laings during the construction and was often called upon by neighbours to turn off the compressors that some meddling kids had started and left running. (sorry Dad).

We spent many a summer evening playing cannon and making Dutch arrows both skills which I think are dead these days.

Keep up the great work on the site.

Mark Wallace - November 2006



NEW - 17-09-2006


What a splendid site. I am now 72 and live in dirty Dartford.

Yes I do remember much of what has been written. The Council most certainly did not give much assistance. When we first arrived the doors were unnumbered and like our several neighbours, we had to go up and down the Wooferton road trying to find our new home. The bus service ended just outside of Wymering and it was a fair old walk just to get where we lived. The pavements were unmade, and the shops were very basic [they were Nissan huts]. Although as you say the News and the Council did not care for us much, the place was civilised, and there was not any nonsense from us kids.

After doing five years in the RAF I came home and used to spend a fair bit of my leisure in the Cross Keys [the only Pub now left in Paulsgrove out of the original six]. By then, 1959, the area had gone down but not noticeably so. The problem in those days was the distance one had to travel to find any entertainment. I packed my bags in 1966 and here I am.

Yes I'm sorry, never mind,

Rex T Tee - September 2006




NEW - 21-08-2006


I have just spent a wonderful 2 hours reading though your Portsdown Tunnels website. Thanks for giving people the opportunity to revisit their old memories.

My parents moved to 159 Deerhurst Crescent, Paulsgrove in 1951 when my bother Stephen Clarke was about 2 (unfortunately he died in 1998) and I was 10 months. We spent our free time playing in Paulsgrove Chalkpit and on "the hill". My mother worked for the Cooper bothers who extracted the chalk [from Paulsgrove Chalk Pit]. At one time someone (it could possible have been Harry Pounds) dumped lots of ships' lockers in the chalk pit. What fun we had opening them to find what had been left in them. We tended to call the tunnels the "caves". My auntie, who has lived in Deerhurst since 1947 remembers the Italian prisoners of war who lived in barracks in the Chalkpit. [The Italian POWs built Allaway Avenue the main access road into Paulsgrove].

"The hill" was very popular come the summer holidays. There was at least one fire during the the months of July and August. It seemed to be a pastime of certain boys from the estate to have a fire and watch the commotion that followed. Portsmouth City Council never invested much money at Paulsgrove or Wymering for the children during the 1950s and 1960s ;"the hill" was about all we had. Also, there used to be the occasional rescue when children attempted to climb up to the Cooper air-raid tunnel. My dad knew a lot about the tunnels; he worked for the MOD.

Because we lived at the top of the estate and the shops were along Allaway Avenue it was mostly my job to go and order the weekly shop. If I went to Pinks they would deliver. A bit later shops were built on the corner of Beverston Road and Hillsley Crescent [demolished late 1990s and subsequently re-built]. I used to go to the Co-Op there. I fell in love with the boy who packed my box for me every week. I must have been about 12. Before the shops were built the site was occupied by the prefabs that ran all the way down the west side of Beverston Road. We had great fun when they were left empty in readiness for being removed.

My bother belonged to HMS Dryad [now Southwick Park] cadets and eventual joined the Navy. I left Paulsgrove Secondary Modern School (now King Richard's) and after working at Vospers and John Palmer Brush factory spent 8 happy years at the Canda International factory [known as C & A, now being used as light industrial units] (along the Southampton Road) as a machinist.

I am now living by The George pub on Portsdown Hill and am still fascinated by its history and loveliness. The house I live in was requisitioned during WWII: for "wayward girls". The land was originally bought by the then landlady of The George (in 1924) from the MOD and butted on to the then Boundary Oak estate: which is now Boundary Way. My neighbours here both grew up in Leominster Road which was a continuation of Deerhurst Crescent. My son and his friends have great times playing in the Candy's Pit cave.

Growing up at Paulsgrove in the 1950s and 1960s was for the main part on the deprived side......but as most of the families were in the same boat we did not seem to notice. Most mums and dads were hard working family people; the sort of people to be proud of. Portsmouth City Council did bring in a policy during the 1960's of housing "difficult families" beside more stable families in the hope that the stable families would have a "good" influence on the others. What a laugh that was. Even now the Council tend to ignore the north end of Portsmouth and focus on Southsea. But I'm proud to say were I was brought up.

Kind regards,

Pam Gran - 21 August 2006





NEW - 09-07-2006


I have just been looking at your site and I must say it is fantastic to an old Paulsgrove boy like me. My parents moved to 72 Leominster Road when I was only 6 months old in 1952 so I was truly a local. We as a family had a great childhood growing up around the area and I have many happy memories of the hill sledding in the summer on home built sleds with candle wax on the runners to make it go faster. We played in the Wymering chalk pit and we explored the air raid shelter and it was as you say a time machine. There are so many things we got up to on the weekends that my mum and dad would die if they knew.


I can remember the old submarine that was beached on the mud flats that we used to try and get to by makeshift rafts and sitting on top of the hill and watching the Queen Mary & Queen Elizabeth and many other liners heading down the Solent on there way to USA. One, the Fairstar, I ended up on in 1966 to come to Australia.


My wife and I came back to my old home in 2004 after 38 years and I could walk around like I had never left the place. I did comment that there seemed to be a lack of children playing either on the playing fields on the hill.


"My dad's car  taken in about 1965 just before we left to come to Oz. It was a Ford Tanus, a German Ford, styled on the Consul. It was a left hand drive and my dad got it from the Southampton Auction for £70".

Stave and Paul

"Me and a mate, Paul Lindsay, standing in our back yard of number 72. I am the one on the left. You can see the Paulsgrove chalk pit in the back ground.  I was about 8 when the photo was taken around 1960".


Steve Frampton - July 2006



NEW - 15-01-2006

I had the honour or not, depends if I caught you, as the last Police employed Traffic Warden in Cosham; based at Cosham police station on Wayte street.


I was born and bred in Paulsgrove and Highbury so I think I have a good knowledge of the Cosham area. I got to know most of the regulars, and as I was a Paulsgrove hill lad. A lot of the locals new my Nan and Grandad, now both passed away, but who where both well known in Paulsgrove area.


I first started as a Traffic Warden at the old Southsea Police Station  [now a Pub] on the corner of Albert Road and Victoria Road South before moving to Cosham in 1991 where I worked until my job went over to the Portsmouth City Council due to de-criminalisation, the biggest mistake ever to happen to Portsmouth.


Anyhow I patrolled the High Street and the local roads in and around the Cosham area issuing the dreaded Fixed Penalty Notices to the INNOCENT motorist !!!!!!. I hope I was seen as a fair but firm Traffic Warden. I moved from the Portsmouth area in 1999 and made a new home in Chesterfield Derbyshire.

John Lockwood Ex TW 8012 



NEW - 21-12-2005

I have lived now in Paulsgrove since my birth in 1957. I was born in a 
prefab at the top of Beverston Road the youngest of four. My Dad used to ride his bike to work at the gasworks in Green Lane at Hilsea. One day my Dad saw an empty house in Pendennis Road and went to the rent office and they gave him the keys (it was that easy then ).We all moved to Pendennis Road in 1959. My oldest sister went to what was called the West Infant School because when she first started we lived in Beverston Road. My other sister and my brother all went there as well although we should have gone to the East Infants as we had moved nearer (different catchment area ). 


One memory I have is of the winter in1963. I was at school and the caretaker had to dig a path through the snow in the playground so we could get out, the snow was up to our heads. The head teacher was called Mrs Swan who was very good. During the summer holidays a wooden hut appeared on the playing fields in Allaway Avenue. This was staffed by students and helpers and they ran games for the kids rounders, football, cricket. It stopped after a few years though (probably council cutbacks). 


I then went to Paulsgrove Junior school for boys for two years then we became co-educational (mixed). I then moved to the school next door which was the old Junior girls school and it became Greenfields. A lot of the tin houses were catching fire when I was younger due to some electrical faults; great watching the fires though. My Mum then got a job at the Canda factory (C & A) [long since demolished] as a machinist. I followed my brother into Northern Grammar School in North End and I left in 1974 to take up a mechanical Engineering apprenticeship with the Department of The Environment (formerly MPBW and now PSA). In 1982 I married Linda who lived in Newbolt Road.


For many years Paulsgrove has suffered from lack of financial investment from a council which everyone knows is very rich. Fond memories of the library (the wooden hut). At weekends all us boys went over the hill jumped in to the stream at Southwick and you could get into the lake at HMS Dryad by walking through the tunnel that led under the bridge as you go into Southwick. We now live in Newbolt Road. I think Paulsgrove is a wonderful place, full of characters and interesting people. I used the Old House at Home [now converted to private apartments] for a few years; played darts there in fact. Not many pubs 
left in the area now. [five out of the original six have been demolished]. 

Great site Bob.

Fred Newman - December 2005



NEW - 17-12-2005

My parents moved to Paulsgrove from a bombed-out part of Fratton in 1958. They rented a council flat on the corner of Coleridge Road and Wordsworth Avenue, in the neighbourhood which was and is still called "Poets' Corner." I was born there in 1960. At that time the post-war pre-fabs were still there and there was no metalling on the roads.


Immediately behind us was an area of waste ground where we played, which we called the "car park." There were no cars actually parked there. Indeed there were very few if any cars round our way in those days; you could play football in the street largely unimpeded. Dad rode a bicycle to the dockyard each day, a practice he continued in all weathers until the late seventies. 


Behind the car park lay the area we called the Naval Estate [RN married quarters, now in private ownership]. This encompassed Keats and Browning Avenues and to the north abutted the foot of Portsdown Hill. I understand the Royal Navy owned these properties and rented them to its personnel stationed in the Portsmouth area. Turnover there seemed high; friends with dads in the Navy inevitably moved away. My more permanent mates lived in the council-owned properties of Chaucer, Shelley and Keats Avenues. Most of their Dads worked in Portsmouth Dockyard [now HM Naval Base]. I attended Paulsgrove West Infant School [now Saxon Shore Infant school] from 1965-1968 and afterwards Westgrove Junior School from 1968-1971. Both schools are still there - albeit I suspect now with different names - on the intersection of Jubilee Avenue and Portsdown Road. 


In 1970 we relocated all of 300m south to a council house in Newbolt Road. After twelve loyal years, Dad switched his local from the Portsdown Inn in Leith Avenue, to The Old House at Home  [now converted to private apartments] in Jubilee Avenue. I started at Northern Grammar Boys' School in 1971 and remained there until 1978. In those days Hampshire Education Authority gave you a free bus pass for your daily trip from Paulsgrove to school in North End. I used to catch the Number 2 bus from the bottom of Truro Road opposite the Paulsgrove Secondary Modern School [King Richard School]. The number 4 would also suffice but it stopped up on Hillsley Road, so getting home meant a longish walk across the fields that were later engulfed by the M27. 


From 1979 to 1985 I attended Warwick University, where I met my future wife. After a short stay in London, we moved together to the United States, first to California then to Connecticut, where we live today. Mum and Dad have also since moved, albeit a short hop into Portchester, which I remember as being not much more than a village until the construction of the shopping precinct in the early 1970s.


I last visited Poets' Corner in 2005. Superficially nothing has changed, 
except that now parked cars fill the streets where we once played football; and the car park is occupied by newish houses.

Thanks Bob. Excellent site - keep up the good work.

Vincent Woodward - Ex-Coleridge Road, Newbolt Road.- December 2005



NEW - 04-12-2005

I can vividly remember the bombing of the dockyard standing on the doorstep of my parents house which was in Cheltenham Road, Paulsgrove during the 2nd world war. I was just a schoolgirl then but can remember having to get out of bed to go down to the air raid shelter on cold & damp nights


There was also a searchlight unit which was on the site of the old Johnson & Johnson site and it was served by RAF personnel.


There was a also a Farm run by a family called the Coopers and when they started slaughtering animals the blood would run down in the Ports Creek and myself and all the other kids would swim in the RED water, and when getting home was promptly scrub in disinfection by my very angry mother. There was nothing better then playing on the racecourse and standing over the old railway bridge as the steam-trains passed under full of military equipment and servicemen & woman going off to war.


One of my tasks was to stand in line outside the shops in Cheltenham Road with our rations cards until my mum came to take over so I could go to school. One day we had a big fright the old Royal Portsmouth Hospital was hit by a bomb and my younger brother was in there for a operation. When we arrived to find him we viewed the damaged and could not locate him and thought he had been buried in the rubble, but after some frantic searching we found out he had been transferred to a cottage hospital in Tichfield.


The highlights during that period was watching a dogfight between a Spitfire and a German and watching the German crash in to the sea, everyone was jumping and cheering with joy. Later the Americans arrived and set up camps just over the Portsdown Hill and when they left to fight on D-Day all the kids and myself went over the hill and came back with bars of soap and other goodies we had not seen for years.

During the latter time of the war Italian prisoners of war arrived and they were tasked to build what is now Allaway Avenue. The POWs used to make toys for use kids they were nice chaps; pleased to be out of the war.


When the war ended pictures of the liberated Concentration camps were appearing in the news papers and my mum and all the other mums were trying to destroy the papers so us kids did not see the awful images but we did managed to see the papers.

Joan Whitcher (Lockwood) Nee Knight.- December 2005



I have just seen your web site on Paulsgrove. I have only one complaint - it ain't big enough!

My parents moved to Paulsgrove when I was about four - so that would be about 1951. I remember very clearly the Nissan hut shops and my mother queuing up with her ration books. You may remember the wooden hut that for many years was the library adjacent to the site where the shops were. That hut actually started off life as the post office. None of the flats fronting Allaway Avenue were built, the whole area was dotted with building debris and earth mounds we kids used to call the dumps. The pub off Wooferton Road [Cross Keys] was a dump, so was the Methodist Church site. From Allaway Avenue you could not see the railway line. That was one big dump about 20-30ft high. The forts on Portsdown Hill were there of course, but not the ASW building that now dominates the hill. I can remember that being built - it seemed to take years. None of the schools were built. The school near Wymering was there of course, but the then named Secondary Modern was under construction. That was the bus turn-round. The road was was unmade heading east towards the pre-war private houses which I guess had a Portchester address. If my memory serves me right, I was either the first or second intake at the infant/junior school complex.

Your comments about the Portsmouth (Evening) News are well made. However it must be said that Paulsgrove's reputation was to some extent justified. It was rough in parts but certainly not violent and, of course, drugs were unknown in those days. Please keep up the good work.

Jim Carter (X Rothwell Close) - October 2005


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