Lost Pubs – O

The Oakwood
190 Northern Parade, Hilsea

This pre-war pub opened its doors in 1936 to service the inhabitants of the Hilsea residential district. Owned for many years by Whitbread, the Oakwood ended its days in the hands of national pubco Punch Taverns. The original two bars were later knocked into one and the pub gained new licencees in February 2007. Sadly, the pub was seemingly deemed unprofitable by Punch and in mid 2009 was acquired by the Co-Operative Society. August 2009 saw the Oakwood being stripped out prior to its conversion to a convenience store, leaving the immediate neighbourhood devoid of any public houses.

Photographs, left to right: 30th September 2006; June 1999 (by Ray Scarfe) 11th February 1990.

The Old Beehive
6 Wiltshire Street, Southsea

A Victorian street corner local with typically ornate Brickwood’s livery, the Old Beehive stood at Wiltshire Street’s junction with Landsdowne Street, on a site now occupied by a private residence. Owned in the late 19th century by the Winchester Brewery, the pub survived until 1928 – the last licensee being Arthur Cooper, who’s name appears above the door in the photograph below.

The Old Blue Posts
38 Broad Street, Old Portsmouth

The original Blue Posts was constructed in 1613 and became one of Portsmouth’s most famous old inns. The name apparently derived from the two large pillars that supported the porch at the front of the house. The pub was at various times known as the Blue Posts Inn, Tavern and Hotel as well as the Two Blue Posts for a short spell during the 18th century. The end for the original structure came in 1870 when it was destroyed by fire. The pub was rebuilt, as seen in these photographs, and survived until 1940, when World War II brought about its demise.

The Old Canal Inn
2 Shirley Avenue, Milton

Dating from 1930, this imposing pre-war building stands in a residential district of Milton. The ground floor is clad with attractive green glazed brickwork and it wears the livery of original owner Portsmouth United Breweries. Named after the abandoned Portsmouth and Arundel canal that ran close by, the pub also sported a number of rare United etched windows. These were unceremoniously removed following the closure of the pub in 2013 during its conversion to a convenience store. A sad loss for the architectural heritage of Portsmouth and, of course, as a local amenity for the residents of Milton.

Colour photographs, left to right: 4th February 2007; April 1999 (by Ray Scarfe); July 1990.

The Old Free House
6 Wickham Street, Portsea

The Old Free House once stood where the present day Invincible can now be found. Dating from Victorian times, the pub is shown as belonging to the Rice Brewery in 1880. By the time this photograph was taken in the late 1950s, the signage displayed that of the Mew Langton Brewery. The premises was demolished some time soon after, with the aforementioned Invincible being built on the plot (see elsewhere on this website).

Left-hand photograph kindly supplied by J Taylor.

The Old George
16 Kingston Road, Buckland

The Old George is another pub that stood on Kingston Road, Buckland, at its junction with Little George Street. A tavern existed on this site since at least 1823, though the building pictured dates from 1898. Its ornate glazed brickwork was retained after its conversion to an Age Concern premises in the mid 1980s. Originally owned by the Pike Brewery, it later became part of Portsmouth’s large Brickwood’s estate. The pub ceased trading in 1982 and the building finally succumbed to the bulldozers at the turn of 2005, when it was replaced by another Age Concern property.

Left-hand colour photograph 2004. Left-hand black & white photograph kindly supplied by J Taylor.

The Old House At Home
33 Jubilee Avenue, Paulsgrove

One of six pubs that could once be found throughout the Paulsgrove housing estate, the Old House at Home was the most westerly of these. Built in the 1930s in Art Deco style, this former Brickwood’s and Whitbread pub spent the last years of its life under ownership of Dorset brewer Eldridge Pope. The pub served its last pints at around the start of the 21st century and has since been converted into housing. Thankfully a Grade II listing by English Heritage saved the property from demolition. The inn sign still stands.

Colour photographs June 2000 (kindly supplied by Ray Scarfe).

The Old Trafalgar
175/177 Fratton Road, Fratton

Still proudly proclaiming its former identity at roof level to this day, the Old Trafalgar stands on Fratton Road at its junction with Stamford Street. The Trafalgar Brewery traded here from 1879 and the pub became the Old Trafalgar in around 1956. The pub was once part of the Long’s Brewery estate (as seen in the right-hand photograph) before being taken over by Brickwood’s and latterly, Whitbread. The house served its last pints back in 1981, after which it was converted to flats.

Left-hand photograph 14th August 2005.

The Old Vic
104 St Paul’s Road, Southsea

Built in 1900 in half-timbered brewers tudor style, the Old Vic was formerly known as the Borough Arms. The original interior was sadly ripped out in 1978 when the pub became a restaurant for a time. In the late 1980s it reopened as the Old Vic public house and became a popular and comfortable place in which to enjoy a drink.

Now a Grade II listed building, the mosaic tiled Brickwood’s fascia was unfortunately removed (remnants can be seen in the second photo from left), although four original tiled panels still remain below the ground floor windows (right-hand photo). The pub was popular with the gay community, with regular live entertainment being hosted on the sizeable stage. Hampshire Constabulary saw fit to revoke the Old Vic’s premises licence in August 2015 due to the level of public disorder eminating from the pub. The licence was since reinstated, but the pub never reopened for business. In early 2017 a planning application was granted to convert the upper storeys of the building to a seven bedroomed, multiple-occupancy house. A Lebanese restaurant has since opened on the ground floor.

Photographs (left to right): 19th September 2004; 11th May 1989; July 1999 (by Ray Scarfe); 22nd July 2007.

The Old Victory
22 Victory Road, Portsea

This wedge-shaped pub could be found at the junction of Victory Road and College Lane, a short walk from The Hard and HMS Vernon. Dating from Victorian times, the house was owned by Portsmouth United Breweries during the first part of the 20th century, later transferring to Brickwood’s with whom it remained until its demolition in 1967.

The Oliver Twist
373/375 Old Commercial Road, Landport

Located on Old Commercial Road and named in honour of Charles Dickens who was born on the same street, the Oliver Twist was built to replace a previous pub, the Mile End Cellars (see elsewhere on this website) and was unusual for being run by Scottish & Newcastle Breweries – a rarity in Portsmouth. Despite standing in a conservation area, it became another victim of its inner city location and the pub closed around the turn of the 21st century and was sold unlicensed. It now houses offices.

Photographs, left to right: 18th February 1990; April 2001 (by Ray Scarfe).

The Original Twyford Arms
67 Twyford Avenue, Stamshaw

Closed for business sometime during the mid 1990s, this house stood on the Stamshaw one-way system, at its junction with Stanley Road. The pub formed part of the Burton-based Ind Coope chain of pubs until being sold to Gales as part of a job lot in the early ’90s. It was always a prime candidate for closure, as no investment ever seemed to be made by its subsequent owners, resulting in a very basic down-at-heel boozer indeed. Now sadly converted to residential use.

Photographs, left to right: 14th August 1988; April 1999 (by Ray Scarfe).

The Osborne
401 (latterly 425) Commercial Road, Rudmore

This pub was one of many that once traded along the length of Commercial Road that once stretched from Stamshaw in the north to Southsea at its southerly end. Owned by the Lush Brewery in Victorian times, it stood adjacent to the Sailor’s Return (see elsewhere on this site), on the opposite corner of Prospect Road. The house was originally known as the Osborne Tavern until undergoing alterations by prolific pub architect Arthur Cogswell in 1893. Reopening as the Osborne Hotel, the property became part of the large PUB estate (as seen in the left-hand photograph) and was later absorbed into the Brickwood’s portfolio. The Osborne served its last customers in 1970 and was demolished in October of that year prior to the realignment and widening of what is now Mile End Road. The left-hand photograph also depicts a glimpse of the Sailor’s Return (see elsewhere in this section) that faced the Osborne from the other side of Prospect Road and outlived its neighbour by a further three years.

The Osborne
68 Osborne Road, Southsea

A pub has existed on this site since at least the mid 19th century – and up until 2008 its name had remained the Osborne, in recongition of Queen Victoria’s favourite home, Osborne House, on the Isle of Wight. The interior received a major facelift in the mid 1990s, providing the customer with a comfortable, large single bar room, with a good mixture of clientele, from daytime shoppers and businessmen to night-time clubbers.

The house underwent a number of changes of licencee throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, with varied success as far as trade was concerned. The popularity of the Gunwharf Quays development in Portsea had a detrimental effect on the pubs in this part of Southsea and as a consequence evening trade was often very light.

A major change came to the Osborne in 2008, when the lease was sold to local disc jockey Steve Kingsley, who promptly set about reinventing the pub as an ‘entertainment bar’. This included the provision of a dancefloor and also saw the loss of the pub’s historic name in favour of an eponymous rebranding after the licensee himself, which seems a great shame and a shade egotistic. Personally, the Webmaster believes that an historic pub name such as the Osborne (which had existed for well over 150 years) should be protected, but at least a pub that is trading is better than one that has closed for good!

Unfortunately, Kingsley’s ceased to maintain pub hours, instead opening in the evening and trading more akin to a small night club. It has therefore been relegated to the Lost Pubs section of this website, as it is considered to no longer be a public house in the true sense of the term.

Photographs, left to right: 23rd November 2008; 23rd November 2008; 6th August 2005; November 1998 (by Ray Scarfe); 11th May 1989.

Owtback Bar
4 Auckland Road West, Southsea

Previously known as Ashby’s, this pseudo-Australian theme bar survived for a number of years through the 1990s until 2008. Facing a back-street car park on Ashby Place, off Osborne Road, the pub was popular with the 18-25 set and had a strong sporting emphasis, with a hefty dose of antipodian clichés thrown in for good measure. Curiously named with a daft spelling, the pub, not surprisingly, majored on lager and bottled cocktails. Thankfully, salvation came in August 2008 when the premises was transformed into a high quality boutique hotel, returning the premises to its original name.

Photographed 6th August 2005.


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