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Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Web Page 990

Top Picture: A railway poster advertising Portsmouth

Second Picture: Bargains at Weston Harts!

What was happening in 1963

By 1963 the teenage revolution was really underway. Portsmouth’s leading young man’s fashion store “The Shirt King” in Charlotte Street and I expect you remember here was a branch in Cosham High Street, (I used it regularly) advertised its first-ever January Sale with cutaway shirts at 12/6d, Chelsea boots at 49/6d, Casual Jackets at 50/- (£2.50) and denim shirts were only 25/-. However to the people of our parents generation the wearing of denim was seen as a sign of something rather undesirable and this was reinforced by an article in the Evening News called “Delinquency and Discipline. The teenage girls’ fashion at the time were variously described as smart or odd as they featured polo neck sweaters, shortish skirts and knee-length boots.
In 1963 it was possible to rent a black and white television with the two channels, BBC and ITV for 8/8d per week from Radio Rentals or Rentaset or for the teenager a three-speed record player could be bought for 8 guineas (£8/ 8/-). It really did not matter if you could not afford new records to play on it long-playing albums (LPs) cost 32/- and 45rpm singles at 6/8d, a visit to “Haskell & Green” or “The House of Wax” in Lake Road cured that because both these shops were emporiums where you could buy (or sell) second-hand records. Transistor radios were all the rage in 1963 and they were relatively expensive at first, pocket sets (Japanese ones at least) were down to £3-£6 but they were soon down to 50-bob in the local Co-op. As a comparison, if you were lucky enough to have access to a car you would have been able to fill the tank of a Mini for £1.00!

There were new teenage magazine appearing almost every week and the year started off in mid-February with a new magazine for girls, “Diana” – costing 6d per week and offering a free “golden chain bracelet”. I wonder how many of those are still around in jewellery boxes on dressing tables? Other well known magazine which started that year were ‘Jackie’ and ‘Roxy’.

Fashions and hairstyles were changing too and in Portsmouth, Jackson the Tailor in Commercial Road were selling what they called “Young Man’s Choice” suits, ‘off-the-peg’ for just nine guineas while Helene, again in Commercial Road had a “stunning cape suit” for the young women at £15.4.6d. Other stores were not to be outdone and C&A were promoting “Paris-inspired dresses” for 98/-; the boys were not ignored they could buy Big Beat jackets at Junior C&A for £4/9/11d, the Co-op advertised needlecord Beatle jackets at £6/19/6d.

In August of that year ITV launched a new weekly pop show ‘Ready Steady Go’ this, as I expect you remember, was a highly popular programme with the slogan “the weekend starts here” but for some mind blowing reason Southern Television decided to broadcast it on Sunday afternoons, maybe their weekends were different to other peoples! Very odd!

But nothing was as odd as what occurred in St Albans Church in Copnor when a teenage rock & roll performance caused a controversy with the presentation of a modern nativity featuring an unexpected pregnancy, a coffee bar, motorbikes and “beat music”. The Evening News ran a feature called “Rocking in the Nave” about this “controversial religious drama”, which caused a lot of interest especially when it revealed that the girl star had been banned from appearing by her father. The controversy continued with a letter complaining that churches are not right for “rock, skiffle and plays”. However the play was performed to “packed” church with no sign of protests or dissention for the rest of the performances.

The teenage world had hit Portsmouth this was shown with the opening of the Paulsgrove Youth & Community Centre which cost £55,000. But nothing changed as the girls complained that the boys are too shy and rarely got up and danced.

But all was not free and easy because on Saturday 24 August 1963, a newspaper headline revealed “Girl (14) took drugs, drank beer in bar at Southsea”. The drugs included Benzedrine and reefers and it was one of the earliest reported prosecutions of this kind in the city. Over the years to come there would be many more. But that is another story.

Stay in touch,



From the Web Site 9 years ago:-

Did You Know?

From the Keat pool of useless trivia comes these local gems. Some are well before our time but nevertheless interesting.

Farlington Station was built in 1891 to serve the Farlington Racecourse which was opened on 27th June that year. The course, complete with grandstand was south of where the railway triangle is today and the station straddled the two lines. In July 1894 a horrendous derailment happened when the train guard died and eight of the passengers badly injured. The racecourse was taken over by the Army in 1915 and used as an ammunition dump and for a time it was used as a depot for the Army Veterinary School. Racing was never resumed after the war. The station closed in the mid 1930’s but in 1948 sidings were laid to serve the new Co-op Bakery at the bottom of Station Road. However this was not the only racecourse served by a station in the area. Between 1933 and 1939 a halt was opened to serve Paulsgrove racecourse, the site of this today can be verified by the existence of Racecourse Lane which is off the main road.

Drayton: According to old maps of 1869 the New Inn in Drayton was originally called the George Inn but no other documentary evidence can verify this suspicion. Originally Lower Drayton Lane took a sharp turn to the East near the top and came out opposite Upper Drayton Lane, one assumes this was for the ease of the horses pulling the wagons up the slope. Between the wars the short extension of road, which is used today, was cut straight up to the Havant Road. The original road was unadopted for many years and remained so despite have a terrace of houses, Wellington Terrace, situated on it. The road remained like this until the redevelopment and the building of the new shops called the Broadway.

Court Lane: This road was generally accepted, although totally unofficially, as the eastern boundary of Cosham. At the top of Court Lane on the north west corner where it meets the Havant Road stood, until its demolition for new housing, stood one of the last thatched houses in Cosham.

Cosham: Wayte street commemorates the memory of Honor Wayte one of the members of the family who once owned Wymering Manor in the 15th and 16th centuries. In 1608 she endowed alms house to accommodate four honest and sober women of the parish. The original houses were destroyed by fire in 1800 but were replaced by new cottages, however nothing of these remain today.

During the Boer War, 1899-1902, many thousands of soldiers embarked onto trains at Cosham station. These embarkations were usually preceded by a parade down the High Street often led by a band. During the second world war large concrete tank traps were put in place next to the railway line on the south side opposite the signal box, between the High Street and Northern Road and these lasted in place well into the 1960’s. I remember sitting on them as a child and watching the trains go by! But the history of Cosham goes back many hundreds of years and when in the 1930’s excavations were made on the corner of High Street and Magdala Road to set in petrol holding tanks for the garage substantial remains of a Roman Road were discovered.

Highbury: Until the building of the motorway and the development of that area there were still remains of a working dock and quay alongside Portscreek. This was built to bring in the materials for the construction of the houses, buildings and roads on the estate.

Portsdown Park: This was an ill-fated development on the slopes of Portsdown Hill opposite the QA hospital. The development included three tower blocks as well as low rise housing, a public house and shops. Work began in 1971 and the first tenants moved in 1975. The building suffered water ingression and vandalism and was rife, it was costing the Council a fortune to maintain and so it was decided to cut their losses and pull out so in 1987 the order to remove all the tenants was given and the Park was demolished.

Widley: The old village of Widley lay well to the west of the modern development and the community was served by the church of St Mary Magalene. There had been a church on the site from 1291 but this one was replaced by a new building in 1849. However with the movement of the population the church became disused and was demolished in 1953. All that remains is the outline of the church, the cemetery wall and a few grave stones among which was buried the infant brother of Charles Dickens, Alfred Dickens. The church remains can be found on the left hand side of the road descending Pigeon House Lane.

Cowplain: In 1934 a growing number of people liked where they lived but they did not like the name of the place. Suddenly Cowplain had lost its rural charm and so began a long forgotten campaign to change the name of the area. A Dr Beddows suggested to the Residents Association that the time was right to change the name to the more refined name Latchmere, which was the name of a small area within Cowplain itself. The argument soon waged and continued for many months but the campaigners got no backing from the Council the move to change the name slowly disappeared until now very few people are even aware that the campaign ever happened.

Now over to Paulsgrove: One cannot imagine Paulsgrove being the south of Englands answer to the dollar rich oil fields of Dallas, but it nearly did happened. To this day there must be a family living somewhere in Paulsgrove who are situated on top of a 6,500ft hole. Hopes were high in 1936 when the D’Arcy Exploration Company set up a 135ft drilling rig on what was farm land. The soil samples indicated that there was a strong possibility of oil in the region and drilling continued until mid 1937, but oil was not found in commercial quantities. Another attempt was made after the war with a 3,000ft shaft being sunk near to the original but again no strike. Lets just hope that these two holes are well capped because it certainly is a long way to the bottom. I am sure only a very small percentage of the people who live on the estate now even know about these ambitious plans.

You Write:

Peter writes:

I was very impressed that Wally Dunstan knew Sir Adrian Boult and Sir John Barbirolli. This must have been a choir directed by John Stephens when Sir Adrian visited Court Lane School in 1956. What an event. John Stephens never mentioned it to us. I remember, although my memory is very misty about this, when there was a schools choir festival, or competition, that included our school choir. It was held at, I think, the Guildhall? About 1958 ish? Also another memory of a marvellous concert given by Sir Charles Groves and the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, especially for schoolchildren. Was this at the Guildhall as well ? I can't remember when, or what they performed.....but I was hooked.

Editor replies:

Yes it was at the Guildhall and they played the Surprise Symphony and the Young Peoples Guide to the Orchestra.

News and Views:

Keith Richards was awarded a Norman Mailer Prize for Distinguished Biography in a ceremony in Manhattan. Keith, who was introduced by former President Bill Clinton, won the award for his autobiography, "Life."

On this Day 19th November 1960-1965

On 19/11/1960 the number one single was It's Now Or Never - Elvis Presley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Take Your Pick (AR) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 19/11/1961 the number one single was Little Sister/His Latest Flame - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Another Black & White Minstrel Show - George Mitchell Minstrels. The top rated TV show was Sunday Night at the London Palladium (ATV) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 19/11/1962 the number one single was Lovesick Blues - Frank Ifield and the number one album was West Side Story Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 19/11/1963 the number one single was You'll Never Walk Alone - Gerry & the Pacemakers and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Conservative Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 19/11/1964 the number one single was Baby Love - Supremes and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.

On 19/11/1965 the number one single was Get Off Of My Cloud - Rolling Stones and the number one album was Liverpool. The top rated TV show was "Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £ 11.69. The big news story of the day was Take Your Pick (AR)".

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