Then and Now Photos

of Portsdown

 Created 27-02-2005    Last update 03-05-2015

About Portsdown


Then & Now Photos

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 Contributor: Peter Rogers - local author

Cosham new
Cosham old

The southern end of Cosham High Street taken from the railway footbridge looking northwest. On the skyline of the hill is Fort Widley and below that Queen Alexandria Hospital. The fields to the west of Cosham were not developed until the 1920s and 1930s. The Railway Hotel can be seen on the right of the lower photo, now called "The Railway".


NEW 25-11-2006


Congratulations! What a wonderful website you have developed. Thank you for sharing the information. I live in Australia but have spent many hours visiting your site.

My interest is in old Cosham where my ancestors lived in the late 1800s. My grandfather, Charles, came to Australia in 1870 having previously stopped off in New Zealand and eventually settled in Charleville.

His brother, William, lived in Cosham for many years where he was innkeeper at the Railway Hotel, on High Street. In the 1881 census, William was the licensed victualler. He was 24 and single, running the hotel with two servants, Rose Cross, aged 16, a domestic servant from Southampton and James Underwood, aged 34, an inn hostler from Wiltshire. William’s sister, Lavinia, was also staying at the hotel.

 My great grandparents were married in Wymering. Other relations ran the butcher shop at the top of High Street.

Rob Burcher - Brisbane, Australia - November 2006


Cosham crossing
Cosham crossing old

Cosham Railway level crossing looking north. This was the end of the line for Portsmouth trams. The white building in the centre was the 'Railway Hotel' now called 'The Railway'. 

Cosham High Street new
Cosham High Street old

1907, Cosham High Street looking north. The original Ship Inn is on the left. The houses on the right still exist although their appearance has been altered by shopfronts. 

  NEW 03-05-2015  

The Pearce family were publicans and licensees of the Ship Inn on Cosham High Street for at least 50 years through the latter half of the 19th century. Horatio William Pearce (1852–87) was landlord of the Ship like his father William Joseph Pearce (1805–1870) before him.

In 1840 the inn was described as ‘a desirable roadside house with convenient stabling and clubroom’, and it was where the local branch (or 'Court') of the Ancient Order of Foresters (Court Unity, No 2295) met regularly. The Foresters was one of a number of friendly societies that came into being in the Victorian era as a mutual help group. Father and son were both Foresters (or ‘Brothers’) and hosted Court Unity's anniversary dinner each year in the Court-room at the Ship. These occasions were usually covered in some detail by the Portsmouth Evening News and its reports make clear that both men were capable and accomplished caterers: ‘an excellent dinner was provided by Bro Pearce’ (1867); ‘the catering of the host, Mr H.W. Pearce, gave much satisfaction’ (1876); and ‘the dinner was admirably served and reflected much credit on the host, Mr Horatio Pearce’ (1877).

William Pearce died at the Ship on 10 January 1870 aged 65. After six years running the pub his widow Susannah transferred the licence to their son, Horatio, on 16 August 1876. He ran the Ship for almost eleven years until his early death on 10 May 1887 (also at the Ship) after a protracted illness, aged only 37 (although latterly it must have been his wife Emma who was in charge). Emma continued as the licensee until the early 1900s when she gave it up but continued to work locally as a monthly nurse (a woman who looked after a mother and her baby for the first few weeks after birth). She died in 1911 aged 65.

Jonathan Falconer - May 2015


Cosham Park House new  

Cosham Park House old

Cosham Park House, one of the few buildings left in Cosham to retain some of its former elegance. It was originally sited in its own grounds with access via a carriage drive from the High Street. It is now a Doctors' surgery.


NEW 05-01-2014    Contributor: Andy Salter

Rebuild January 2014

 NEW 15-05-2006

Portsview Motor Co
Fair House

Fair House (lower photo) took its name from the fairs that took place on Portsdown. In 1960 the house was demolished and three hilltop burials were discovered, one almost under the doorstep.


The Crows Nest Filling Station was built on the site which later became the 'Portview Motor Company' (middle photo)


During late 2013 the building was demolished to make way for an: "Outstanding Hill Top Location with Panoramic Views. Art Deco style Three Storey, New Development Site... For Five Apartments each with 2 Car Parking Spaces".

At least that's what the sign says. Developers beware: Art Deco buildings have a distinctly limited lifespan on Portsdown.

50 years ago I left England and arrived in Australia. I have never returned to see the land of my birth and probably never will. I was born in the left side bedroom on the second floor of Fair House, Portsdown Hill Rd. and lived at this address apart from a time at Botley Drive Leighpark for 8 years.

My maternal grandfather, Alex Menzies, rented 'Fair House' from the army for quite some years and was the last resident before the house was condemned.

Leslie R Knight - May 2006


About Portsdown


Then & Now Photos

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