Lost Pubs – G

The Gem
31 Commercial Road, Landport

Located on what is now Lord Montgomery Way, in the centre of Portsmouth’s university quarter, the Gem was one of three pubs that stood in an east-facing terrace, on the boundary of Southsea. Once the property of the small Cosham Steam Brewery, the pub was enlarged in 1904 for then-owners United. The house was taken over by Brickwood’s in 1953 and survived until 1969, when it was demolished for redevelopment works.


The George & Dragon
27 High Street, Cosham

The George & Dragon was a Brickwood’s pub that stood on the east side of Cosham High Street, at its junction with Market Road – in an area which has now been fully pedestrianised. Few of the original buildings remain here now, as is evident in the left-hand photograph, which looks south along the length of the High Street, with the George & Dragon just visible to the left. It is believed that the pub served its final pints sometime in the late ’70s. A modern block of retail units now stands where the George & Dragon once was, covering what was Market Road’s junction with High Street.


The George Hotel
29/30 High Street, Old Portsmouth

This famous, imposing old hotel was used by many top-level naval commanders over the centuries. Indeed, it was at the George that Vice Admiral, Lord Nelson spent his final night ashore before setting sail to engage in the Battle of Trafalgar in September 1805. The building in the photograph replaced a much smaller thatched inn and the premises also once traded as the Waggon & Lamb until the early 18th century. The George was the terminus for the famed Rocket stagecoach that operated between Portsmouth and London.

The proud history of the George came to an abrupt end in 1941 when the hotel suffered bomb damage caused by German aircraft. The premises was subsequently demolished, never to be rebuilt.


The Gladstone Head
101 Staunton Street, Landport

This long-gone pub stood among the terraces of Landport, on a site which is now a small park area in the shadow of the council high-rise Barkis House, on Brownlow Close. A Portsmouth United Breweries tavern, the pub appears to have served its last pints in around 1928.


The Golden Bell
60 Charlotte Street, Landport

Typical of many street corner locals that could once be found in Portsmouth’s city centre, the Golden Bell stood at the junction of Charlotte Street and Amelia Street. A Portsmouth United Breweries house at the time of this photograph, the pub was, during the late 19th century, owned by Brown’s Brewery and Hall & Company. The Golden Bell survived as late as 1976, after which it was demolished to make way for redevelopment. The right-hand photograph shows the road junction during the 1950s, with bombsite evidence in the background. The pub can be glimpsed on the right side.

Left-hand photograph kindly supplied by J Taylor.


The Golden Cross
8 St James’s Street, Portsea

Located at the junction of Beck Street and St James’s Street, this tiny street corner beerhouse was once owned by the local Young’s Brewery before being purchased by the much larger Long’s Brewery of Southsea in the late 19th century. The pub appears to have ceased trading in around 1914.


The Golden Fleece
37-41 Commercial Road, Landport

Externally similar to the Trafalgar on Fratton Road, this old pub once stood at a location where Commercial Road has since ceased to exist (roughly where the junction of Lord Montgomery Way and Winston Churchill Avenue now meet). Built in 1867 for the Simmonds Brewery, the house later became part of the United Breweries’ estate before ending up in the hands of Brickwood’s. Sporting both these companies’ names in the photograph below, the pub survived until October 1972, when it was demolished for large scale redevelopment.


The Golden Lion
2 (formerly 4 & 1) Lombard Street, Old Portsmouth

One of at least four pubs to have once stood on Lombard Street (or Golden Lion Lane as it was once known), this pub can be traced back as existing since at least the early 18th century. Part of the Pike Brewery estate by 1845, the house traded until the beginning of the 20th century. By 1911 it had become a private property, which it remains to this day. Keen observers can these days spot the golden lion statue above the entrance to what is now number six Lombard Street.


The Golden Sceptre
7 Ordnance Row, Portsea

Originally named the Golden Fleece, a pub on this site can be traced back as far as the late 18th century. The house was rebuilt in 1902 for Biden’s Brewery and renamed the Golden Sceptre. By 1918 ownership had transferred to Portsmouth United Breweries and subsequently passed to Brickwood’s following their takeover of PUB in 1953. The pub survived until 1967 after which the property was demolished.


The Granada
1 Granada Road, Southsea

Still standing into the 21st century, this old pub and hotel is now home to a lap dancing venue. Whatever would its former patrons have made of what goes on within its walls nowadays?! Starting life as the Granada Arms in the mid 1800s, the pub was later renamed the Granada Hotel.

In 1891 it received a ground floor extension courtesy of the Brickwood’s Brewery (see photo third from left) and was rebuilt in 1937 to a design by A E Cogswell for the same owners. The pub survived in this guise until 1985, when it was closed by Whitbread and sold. It has since traded as various nightclubs and late-night venues, including, for a number of years, Harry Lime’s Show Bar – the sign of which appears in the left-hand photograph.

Inn sign photograph April 1999 (by Ray Scarfe).


The Grantham Arms
5 Somers Road, Southsea

Another typical 1960s estate pub, the Grantham Arms started life as the Somerstown Tavern until it underwent a refit and change of name in 1989. It suffered from a poor reputation owing to its run down inner-city location and was eventually closed in 2002. The premises served for a short time as the home of the Packhorse Brewery until it was wound up in 2003. The building still stands, complete with signage, and is now used as a storage facility for Portsmouth City Council.

Photographs, left to right: 22nd July 2007; 28th April 1991; 1984 (by Rod Briggs).


The Grave Diggers
97 Highland Road, Eastney

Beginning life as the Victoria Arms in the late 19th century, this pub was originally owned by the Young’s Brewery of Portsmouth. In 1960 it was renamed the Grave Diggers in recognition of the men who toiled in Highland Cemetery which stands opposite the pub. After a brief spell in the 1980s as the Diggers (see black and white photograph to the right), the pub reverted to its proper name later in the same decade.

The pub retained two separate bars right up until its final closure in March of 2012. Prior to this date, the house spent a few years opening and closing sporadically until owner Punch Taverns finally made the decision to sell off the historic Grade II listed property to a private purchaser for conversion to a house.

Photographs, left to right: 31st May 2011; 13th July 2008; 4th February 2007; September 1992 (by Ray Scarfe); 11th May 1989.


The Great Western
59 Commercial Road, Landport

Located on a part of Commercial Road that has long since disappeared, the Great Western was built in 1902 to a design by Cogswell for Portsmouth United Breweries and had further alterations carried out four years later. The interior was notable for having the longest bar counter of any pub in Portsmouth. The pub eventually became part of Brickwood’s portfolio and lasted until 1972, at which time it was demolished to make way for redevelopment work.


The Guardsman
129 Fratton Road, Fratton

Certainly one of Portsmouth’s oldest buildings and definitely (until recently) its oldest pub, the Guardsman stood on Fratton Road, just south of its junction with Arundel Street. It was reputedly the only timber framed building in the city and was apparently haunted by a lady, a small boy and a cat. Once part of the Brickwood’s estate, the pub became a Free House in the 1980s, stocking Marstons beers. Around the turn of the century the Guardsman spent a short time as a private members’ club and by January 2007 it stood closed and boarded.

A planning application by the owner to convert the Grade II listed premises into two private dwellings was initially thrown out by the city council. However, a revised application was given approval soon after. By mid 2007 the building stood in a poor state state of repair (as seen in the bottom left-hand photograph) and by November of that year contractors had moved in and removed the historic roof of the pub, as shown to the right. It has since been faithfully reconstructed to modern standards.

Colour photographs: 3rd November 2007 (by Rob Hall); 22nd July 2007; July 1990.


The Guildford Arms
22 Guildford Road, Fratton

Now yet another anonymous house conversion, the former Guildford Arms started life in the 19th century as an off-licence, occupying the corner of Guildford Road and Forton Road, Fratton. The pub was a Brickwood’s house, continuing to trade until 1971, when new owner Whitbread sold the building for conversion to a private house.

Photographed 29th July 2007 (by Rob Hall).


The Gunner’s Arms
56 Gunner Street, Landport

The Gunner’s was located at the junction of Gunner Street and Terwick Street – two roads that have since been completely erased from the Portsmouth street plan. The pub’s location would have corresponded roughly to where Lake Road Health Centre now stands, close to Nutfield Place. In the 19th century the Gunner’s was part of a small tied estate belonging to the Elm Brewery of Eldon Street, Southsea, owned by John Miles. Elm Brewery was amalgamated with Portsmouth United Breweries in 1896 and the pub was transferred to United until that company’s subsequent takeover by Brickwood’s. The pub survived until 1971, when it was demolished for the redevelopment of the Lake Road area.

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