The Railway (The Rocket)
119 High Street, Cosham
Taking its name from the adjacent railway line, this former Victorian hotel spent a number of years trading as the Rocket before undergoing a major refurbishment in the early 1990s, when the pub was returned to its original name and the two bars were converted to a large single room, separated into two distinct areas. A further extension was completed later in the decade, with the addition of a conservatory area to the north side. The pub had a mainly younger clientele, drawn from the surrounding area. In its latter years the pub suffered a decline in reputation, as drinkers from the virtually pub-less Paulsgrove housing estate began to frequent the premises. Subsequently its popularity among other drinkers diminished in parallel. By early 2010 the pub was put up for sale and demolition followed in May 2011 (see photograph below). A block of residential apartments was built on the site in 2014.
Top row left to right: 11th March 2007; 16th May 2011; 11th March 2007; June 2002 (by Ray Scarfe); October 2000 (by Ray Scarfe).
Bottom row, left to right: October 2000 (by Ray Scarfe); 1960s (by Ray Scarfe); unknown date (x3).
The Railway Carriers
16 Greetham Street, Landport
Sited on the corner of Greetham Street and Belgrave Street (the latter of which no longer exists), the Railway Carriers was another of those Victorian taverns that could be found on almost every street corner in the 19th century. Originally a Miles Brewery house, the pub later became part of United’s large estate before being taken over by Brickwood’s. The pub survived until 1967, after which it was demolished.
Photograph kindly supplied by Neil Deville.
The Railway Hotel
2 Claremont Road, Fratton
Built as the Fratton Railway Hotel in 1887 to a design by A E Cogswell for the Lush Brewery, this large corner-house, set among the terraced housing of Fratton’s backstreets, was later leased to Portsmouth United Breweries in 1911. The name was latterly shortened to the Railway Hotel by the time the pub was acquired by Brickwood’s in the 1950s. The pub served its last pints in September 1981, at a time when then-owner Whitbread was closing and selling off a large chunk of its Portsmouth estate. The building stood empty for a number of years, falling into dereliction and was finally demolished in June 1999.
The Railway Hotel
98 Commercial Road, Landport
The Railway Hotel was a typical Victorian premises, located on Commercial Road at its junction with Station Street. Standing on the opposite corner from another pub, the Claremont Hotel (see right-hand photograph), the Railway was owned by the Spicer Brewery in the 19th century, becoming part of the Brickwood’s estate in 1910. From 1937 the pub became known as Judd’s Railway Hotel – the Judd family having ran the pub for many years previous. In 1971 the house was swallowed up by Whitbread and lasted just two more years until it was demolished in 1973 for the redevelopment of the Portsmouth & Southsea railway station forecourt.
11 St James Road, Southsea
Located on the corner of St James Road and Wellington Street, in an area of the city that is unrecognisable from that depicted in the photograph, the Raven was known as the Royal Oak until 1934. Originally a Portsmouth United Breweries pub, it was later absorbed into the Brickwood’s estate. The pub remained in business until 1967 when it was closed and demolished (along with a number of others in the neighbourhood) to make way for the ‘regeneration’ of Somerstown. The site is now home to a block of 21st century town houses, facing Portsmouth Magistrates’ Court across Winston Churchill Avenue.
The Red Eagle
54 North Street, Portsea
Located on the corner of Prince George Street and North Street, in an area saturated with pubs in bygone years, the Red Eagle was once part of a small estate owned by the Mansbridge Brewery. Later in the hands of Portsmouth United Breweries, as seen in the photograph below, the house traded until the early 1960s, by which time it had become part of Brickwood’s vast estate. Demolition came in September 1962.
The Red House
7 Cumberland Street, Portsea
One of dozens of pubs that proliferated between the dockyard walls and Queen Street in the early 20th Century, this terraced house was one of at least four on this street, and was owned by the tiny Kemp Town Brewery for much of its life, being rebuilt by the company in 1924. Towards the end of its trading days, ownership was transferred to Portsmouth United Breweries, though the tavern only survived until the mid 1930s – being demolished in 1938, along with much of the existing neighbourhood. The photograph below depicts the pub’s regulars outside the Red House on Christmas Day 1926. The lettering above the door depicts the name of the incumbent licensee, Tom Mulcock.
The Red Lion
128 St Mary’s Road, Fratton
Yet another pub that once traded on St Mary’s Road, the Red Lion was the most easterly of the bunch. This former Long’s Brewery pub could be found on the corner of Cuthbert Road and closed as far back as 1957 when it was converted to a launderette. By 1967 the premises had become a shop, which is how it remains to this day. A planning application in 2007 to renew the shopfront may mean that the premises looks quite different to how it appears in the photograph below.
Photographed 15th July 2007.
1-2 St Michael’s Road, Southsea
This pub opened in 1999 in Portsmouth’s former registry office following the purchase of the premises by major pub owning company Mitchells & Butlers. The premises underwent refurbishment in 2010, reopening under the new guise of the Kraken Wakes, named after the 1953 John Wyndham novel, but reverted to its original name the following year, when another refit was undertaken. The pub catered primarily for the student population and offered live music and DJs on a regular basis.
Unfortunately, the pub appeared to struggle in attracting a viable number of customers, despite its location in the heart of the University Quarter. By 2014 the pub had ceased trading and was due to be converted to university halls of residence. It is a pity that such a landmark building shall no longer be open to the public.
Photographs, left to right: 20th March 2011; 6th June 2010; 6th June 2010; 15th July 2007; July 1999 (by Ray Scarfe); October 2009 (by Ray Scarfe).
The Richmond Hotel
162 Lake Road, Landport
Located on the corner of Clarendon Street and Lake Road, on a site which is now undeveloped, the Richmond Hotel was a large Victorian establishment that began life as the Richmond Arms, briefly becoming known the Richmond Tavern in 1895. The house was owned for many years by Eldridge Pope of Dorchester (who’s name can be seen on the facia in the photograph below). Later being sold to Gales of Horndean, the pub continued trading until around 1970. Demolition came in January 1971, at a time when the Lake Road area was seeing much redevelopment. The right-hand photo shows the Richmond on the far side of Lake Road, with the Horndean House glimpsed on the left and the Swan to the right (see elsewhere on these pages).
Right-hand photograph 12th October 1946.
5 Ridge Street, Landport
This old beerhouse stood close to the dockyard’s Unicorn Gate and was rebuilt for J J Young’s Brewery in 1908. The pub ended up in the hands of Staffordshire brewer Ind Coope in 1964 and served its last pints soon after, when much of the area was redeveloped. The pub’s plot now stands beneath the Cascades Shopping Centre.
14-16 Buckland Street, Landport
Stood on the corner of Buckland Street, at its junction with Arthur Street, the Rifle was a small Victorian boozer typical of those once found on many street corners across the city. Variously owned by Allen’s, Young’s and Brickwood’s breweries, the pub survived until 1966 when it was demolished prior to the construction of the Buckland Housing Estate.
Roast Bar (Hong Kong Charlie’s)
21/23 Guildhall Walk, Landport
This modern bar existed in various guises since the mid 1990s. Once the location for Hong Kong Charlie’s bar and restaurant, it later became the Dôme Café Bar, lasting only a few years before Whitbread lost interest and the venue was renamed Vanilla, for reasons only the marketing men know! (see right-hand photograph). Its last incarnation had another puzzling name and was presumably aimed at a younger clientele – as are a number of the pubs on this street. The bar was converted to a nightclub in 2012 and has since become a coffee house.
Photographs, left to right: 4th February 2007; 19th September 2004.
Spring Street, Landport
This traditional city centre pub was owned by Portsea brewer Brickwood’s and sported a ground floor glazed brick façade, with mosaic tile lettering, in common with dozens of that company’s houses. Little else is known about the pub, which was one of a handful that once traded on Spring Street (the last of these being the Rose of England, which became a café and subsequently a shop following the construction of the Cascades Shopping Centre in the 1980s).
The Royal Dragoon
15 Kingston Crescent, North End
Originally known as the Crescent Brewery Tap, this pub gained its latter name in 1904. Owned by the adjacent Crescent Brewery since mid Victorian times, by 1931 the Royal Dragoon had become part of the extensive Long’s Brewery estate before being swallowed up by larger rivals Brickwood’s later that decade. The pub survived until 1970, when major redevelopment of the nearby Baltic Timber Yard saw its demolition and the subsequent construction of the Baltic House office block.
The Royal Exchange
398 Commercial Road, Landport
This former alehouse stood mid-terrace in what is now the conservation area of Old Commercial Road, almost opposite Charles Dickens’ birthplace. Little is known about the pub or its then-owner, though it appears to have ceased trading in around 1894, with Joseph Lee being the final licensee. By 1918 the premises was home to a bootmaker by the name of William Stoneham.
Photographed 29th November 2015.
The Royal Exchange
124 Fawcett Road, Southsea
This ornate little corner house was, externally, one of the best preserved former United Breweries’ pubs in the city. Its comprehensive green glazed brickwork being a distinctive feature. Dating from the late 19th century, the pub became part of the large Brickwood’s estate before being taken over by Whitbread in the early 1970s and extended into the adjacent house in 1991. By 2006 it was in the hands of national pubco Enterprise Inns and four years later shut up shop for good. The ornate architecture still remains, though the premises has now been converted into three residential dwellings.
Photographs: 14th August 2005; 13th July 2008; July 1990.
The Royal George
4 Camden Alley (latterly 4 Camden Buildings), Queen Street, Portsea
The Royal George was one of dozens of pubs located in Portsea, close to the dockyard’s Main Gate. Formerly owned by the Lush Brewery, the house passed through the hands of Isherwood & Williams before becoming part of the United estate in around 1911. The Royal George traded until 1956 and has since been demolished.
The Royal Marine(s) Artillery Tavern
58 Cromwell Road, Eastney
Located opposite the former Royal Marines Barracks, this large corner pub started life in the late 19th century and was once owned by Blakes of Gosport – later transferring to Brickwood’s and then to George Gale & Co. In 2006 the pub was taken into the Fuller’s estate and about ten years later was old off to an independent buyer.
The RMA sported one large bar room, with a separate function room to the rear, which once housed Portsmouth’s only pub skittle alley. Live music was a popular attraction at the pub, with regular afternoon and evening performances. The RMA served its last customers in early 2018 and was sold off for conversion to housing – the application being uncontested by the city’s unsympathetic planners, who appear to have no concern at the rapid loss of Portsmouth’s traditional public houses.
Colour photographs, left to right: 9th November 2015; 31st May 2015 (by D Seall); 4th February 2007; 13th July 2008; 3rd January 2005; 11th May 1989.
The Royal Naval Arms
191 Queen Street, Portsea
The existence of a pub on this site can be traced back to the late 18th century, and there was probably one here much earlier than that, given that Queen Street was once home to dozens of hostelries due to its proximity to the naval dockyard. Trading as the King’s Arms for well over a century, this pub was rebuilt in 1899. Despite this a further, somewhat majestic, rebuild was undertaken in 1916 to a design by A E Cogswell. The imposing structure stood three storeys high and featured a witch’s hat tower – a once-familiar feature that can still be found on a number of pub buildings in Portsmouth. Renamed the Royal Naval Arms when reopened, the pub traded until the early 1970s, when it was regrettably demolished. The right-hand photograph shows the pub closed and boarded, awaiting its fate in 1972.
The Royal Oak
5 Marlborough Row, Portsea
This old tavern stood mid-terrace, a stone’s throw from the original Marlborough Gate entrance to H M dockyard (seen in the background in the photograph below). This part of Portsea was once littered with dozens of pubs, the majority of which were closed in the 1920s following the objection by the then chief constable to the renewal of their licences. Owned in Victorian times by the tiny Dockmill Brewery (Rice) of Napier Road, Southsea, the pub later became part of the Gibbs Brewery estate before ending up in the hands of Brickwood’s. It spent a short time in the 1920s and ’30s trading as the Oak Apple. The pub’s demise came in 1942 when, along with a number of others, it was closed and demolished along with the rest of the street, to make way for an extension to the dockyard.
The Royal Oak
171 Queen Street, Portsea
A pub by the name of the Royal Oak existed on this site since at least the mid 18th century. Known for much of the 19th century as the Royal Oak Hotel, the pub spent many years as part of the Pike Brewery estate. It later transferred to Brickwood’s portfolio and closed its doors for the last time around the mid 1960s.
The Royal Oak Tree
238 (formerly 178) Lake Road, Landport
A Victorian corner house, stood on a street famed for its concentration of public houses, the Royal Oak Tree spent most of its life trading as the more familiar sounding Royal Oak, acquiring its latter name in around 1911. Occupying the junction of Terwick Street, the pub’s location is now buried beneath the council flats of the Buckland Estate, due to the realignment of Lake Road in the early 1970s. Originally a Pike Brewery pub, the house was taken over by Brickwood’s in 1910 and survived until 1971, when it was demolished for the redevelopment of the area.
The Royal Standard
190 Queen Street, Portsea
Located on a street which boasted literally dozens of public houses throughout the 19th century, the Royal Standard stood at 190 Queen Street an was previously known as the Sir John Barleycorn. Owned by a number of brewers throughout its life including Peters, Murrell’s, Friary Meux of Guildford and latterly Ind Coope of Burton-upon-Trent, the pub survived until as recently as 1972. Queen Street has changed beyond all recognition over the last fifty years – what a pity that this historic part of Portsmouth has been all but erased from the map.
The right-hand photograph depicts the pub in the 1860s when the premises was run by a Mr George Richards. The house later received a new frontage, as seen in the centre photograph, taken in the early years of the 20th century when William Armond was the licensee. Also of note in the right-hand photograph is the existence of the White Bear, and old Jewell’s pub located three doors from the Royal Standard.
Left-hand and centre photographs reproduced with kind permission of Stephen Pomeroy.
The Ruby Inn
1 (13) Lombard Street, Old Portsmouth
This attractive mid-to-late 17th century end-of-terrace property served as a public house for many years and traded until around 1923. Now a Grade II* listed buidling, note the distinctive Dutch gabled architectural design at second floor level.
Photographed 23rd February 2015.
The Rudmore Cellars
21 Rudmore Road, Rudmore
This late Victorian pub, tucked away behind the former P&O office building, stood outside the entrance to the city’s Continental Ferry Port. Originally a Young’s pub, the house later transferred to the Courage portfolio, then became part of the Friary Meux chain before being purchased by Portsmouth City Council as a facility for those transitting through the Ferry Port. In late 2008 the Port Authority announced that the pub would close, with alternative facilities being available in the terminal building (albeit in a completely different atmosphere!) The pub was demolished in April 2009.
Photographs, left to right: 30th September 2006; 9th April 2009 (courtesy of Rob Hall); unknown date (by Ray Scarfe); 18th February 1990.