The Sailor’s Return
427 Commercial Road, Rudmore
Located on the corner of Commercial Road and Prospect Road, the Sailor’s Return stood opposite the Osborne Hotel, that can also be glimpsed in the foreground of the photograph below. Part of the Young’s Brewery estate in the 1930s, the pub was later transferred to Peters before ending up with Friary Meux of Guildford in the ’50s (as seen here). The death knell came when the whole of Mile End was redeveloped in the mid 1970s, destroying the character of the area and giving the city some of the ugliest buildings in Britian. The house was demolished in 1973 – outlasting the Osborne by three years.
The St George’s Brewery Tap
4 Richmond Place, Portsea
This 19th century beerhouse was owned by the nearby Temple Brewery and from 1911 spent a number of years leased to Portsmouth United Breweries. Temple Brewery was closed in 1924, however the pub continued to trade until 1956. The site thereafter became part of the former St George’s School, being used as both a library and office space. In 1993 the property was converted to private residences and renamed Seymour Terrace, located amidst University of Portsmouth buildings on St James’s Street.
Colour photograph 16th March 2015
St George’s Hotel
40/42 (formerly 24/26) St George’s Square, Portsea
Once known as St George’s Family & Commercial Hotel, this pub spent the early part of the 20th century under ownership of Brickwood’s before being taken over by Portsmouth United Breweries in around 1934. The house fell victim to a bombing raid in the winter of 1940/1 and was never rebuilt.
The St Mary’s Arms
36/38 St Mary’s Road, Fratton
One of a dwindling number of street corner locals to be found in the densely populated residential streets of Fratton, the St Mary’s Arms occupied the junction of Olinda Street and St Mary’s Road. This was, until recent years, a thriving community local and once featured in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide. The pub had existed on this site since at least 1862 and was unusual in having retained the same name throughout its trading life. By early 2006 it had served its last customers and was closed and boarded. Another centre of community life was therefore lost, with demolition eventually taking place in January 2010. The plot is now occupied by flats.
Photographs, left to right: 18th May 2006; 14th August 2005; 14th August 2005; 18th February 1990; November 1998 (by Ray Scarfe).
The St Thomas Arms
52 St Thomas’s Street, Old Portsmouth
Stood at the junction of St Thomas’s Street and Lombard Street (formerly Golden Lion Lane), this pub existed since at least the mid-Victoria period, having passed through a number of owners until its closure in the 1920s. Once part of the small Crown Brewery estate and also operated by Brickwood’s for a short spell, the pub was sold to Portsmouth United Breweries by Crown’s owner in 1904, which whom it remained until the end. Nowadays the building is a private residence.
Photographed 16th March 2015
Lonsdale Avenue, East Cosham
This large inter-war building in a residential district of East Cosham was originally constructed as an hotel for Portsmouth United Breweries in 1937. Later passing to Whitbread, it was bought by Wadworth of Devizes in the early 1990s. The pub fell on hard times in the early part of the 21st century until being taken over by a new licensee and refurbished in 2010, resulting in a well appointed interior and a friendly atmosphere. Sadly, the level of trade never managed to live up to expectations – the pub being poorly supported by the numerous residents that live in the surrounding streets – and the pub closed for good in 2014. In March 2015 the house underwent conversion to yet another unnecessary convenience store.
Photographs (left to right) 16th May 2011; 16th May 2011; 11th March 2007; October 2000 (by Ray Scarfe).
The Sallyport Inn/Hotel
57-58 High Street, Old Portsmouth
Once known as the Oyster Refreshment Rooms and later the Temperence Hotel, the Sallyport occupied an historic Grade II listed Georgian property in the oldest part of town. Trading under this name since the 1950s, the hotel had welcoming, comfortably-furnished bar, with a second area dedicated to dining. Plenty of bric-a-brac and naval memorabilia was displayed on the walls and there were hotel bedrooms on the upper storeys. In its latter years of trading the inn was part of a small chain of locally-owned pubs. Unfortunately, the owners took the decision to close the Sallyport and instead concentrate their business at the then newly-refurbished Monks Bar a short walk north along the High Street (which ironically has also since ceased trading).
The Sallyport has now been closed for a number of years, though plans are afoot to reopen the premises following a multi-million pound refurbishment. The timeframe for this project plans to have the premises back open in early 2018, with internal refurbishment due to commence in March 2017. It’s hoped that the new-look Sallyport shall see the reopening of its public bar – at which time the house shall be reinstated onto the Current Pubs pages of this website.
Photographs, left to right: 30th September 2006; 18th February 1990; c.1954.
2 New Road, Buckland
The Sally, as it was affectionately known, was an institution among rock music fans across Portsmouth and beyond – you never came here for the beer! The pub was a champion for dozens of local bands who took to the small stage over the years. The Salutation was best remembered for hosting the Monday Mafia residency and for the drunken exploits of its Guinness-drinking licensee, Fred who ruled with an iron rod and often insisted on taking to the stage to play his battered trumpet…rather badly! The pub eventually succumbed to the inevitable in 1993 when it closed and was converted into a charity organization’s premises. The building has since been demolished and replaced with a block of flats.
Photographed 14th August 1988.
The Sea Horse
152 Queen Street, Portsea
Sited close to the junction of North Street, in an area once littered with public houses, the Sea Horse was owned by the Biden Brewery in Victorian times and underwent external alterations in 1904 following its acquisition by Portsmouth United Breweries. The pub passed to nearby Brickwood’s Brewery in 1953 and only survived a few years more, when the pub was demolished for the regeneration of the local area.
Clarence Esplanade, Southsea
Opened in 1958 as the Clarence Pier to replace the former Esplanade Hotel (see elsewhere on this site), the Seahorse Bars were named such in 1964 and were operated by Portsea’s Brickwood’s brewery. By 1991 the venue had been renamed Barnums and in June of 1993 was destroyed by fire in the aftermath of a road traffic collision. Demolition followed and the site was incorporated into the adjacent funfair.
37 Eldon Street, Southsea
Originally the Elm Brewery Tap (the brewery standing on the opposite corner), Scott’s Bar was a popular free house and restaurant, with a large first floor function room. The pub was well-known for its range of quality real ales and sported a rare, ornate eight-pull beer engine on the back wall behind the bar counter (see photograph below). The pub was closed in the late 1990s and became the Kitsch N D’or French restaurant, which traded until August 2015. Owner Enterprise Inns offloaded the building in 2016 and plans were submitted to convert the upper storeys into residential accommodation, whilst retaining a (smaller) restaurant/café on the ground floor. As of February 2017 internal works were being carried out, though planning permission was still yet to be granted.
Photographs, left to right: 18th February 1990; April 1999 (by Ray Scarfe); c.1986 (by Peter Whitehead).
13 Broad Street, Old Portsmouth
Constructed in 1900 for Jewell’s brewery, this house is of very similar external design to the Florist on Fratton Road. Standing in the heart of the city’s historic old town, the Grade II listed Seagull closed as long ago as 1970 and became a restaurant by the same name. It later saw further conversion to an estate agent’s premises in 2001 and remains in that guise to this day. A sympathetic external facelift in 2014 has helped to preserve this rare architectural survivor.
Photographed 10th April 2004.
119 Kingston Road, Buckland
The Shaftesbury was a traditional two-bar local situated on the main thoroughfare of Kingston Road. Until the early 1990s it was run by the Friary Meux pub chain before being sold to Gales as part of a job lot. By the late ’90s its opening became sporadic and the premises was eventually converted to residential use, under the nosensical name of Shaftesbury Mews (a mews being nowhere to be seen!)
Photographs, left to right: 14th August 1988; March 1999 (by Ray Scarfe).
The Shamrock Tavern
56 Cross Street, Portsea
Originally the King’s Head (and at one point the King’s Head & Mitre), owing to its location on the corner of King Street (now King William Street), this pub underwent a name change in the 1860s when it was run by the Pike Brewery. Latterly owned by nearby Brickwood’s, the Shamrock survived until 1962 and was demolished soon after.
The Ship Inn
High Street, Cosham
This large 20th century Brickwood’s house stood on Cosham High Street, opposite Magdala Road. The pub became one of dozens across Portsmouth that were sold off by then-owner Whitbread in the late 70s and early 80s. The High Street has seen a great deal of redevelopment since these photographs were taken – the site now being occupied by branches of Boots and WHSmith.
Photograph (fourth from left) reproduced with kind permission of Philip Pyke.
The Ship Leopard
15/16 The Hard, Portsea
Occupying an historic premises on Portsea’s waterfront, the Ship Leopard was actually not such an old pub as it appeared to be. A former off-licence premises, the Leopard was opened for business in 1976 by Burton brewers Ind Coope. It was a pleasant pub, with a nautical theme, though sadly this was all lost when in 1990 the pub was sold and became Hard Times bar and diner. This incarnation lasted less than four years and after a refit in 1994 the bar reopened as McCoy’s.
By 2003 the Ship Leopard name was back, but unfortunately the pub was refitted with a spartan, white-walled interior and had little atmosphere. By the Spring of 2007 the pub had closed and conditional planning permission had been granted to convert the premises into flats. However, after standing empty for a prolonged period, the building was given a comprehensive refurbishment and the Ship Leopard name was resurrected, this time as a boutique hotel.
Photographs, left to right: 30th September 2006; September 2003 (by Ray Scarfe); September 2003 (by Ray Scarfe); 11th May 1989.
The Ship Leopard
26 Havant Street, Portsea
Dating from the 17th century and known until the 18th century as the Leopard, this old tavern stood behind The Hard, on a street with around a dozen pubs along its short length. Named in honour of a Royal Naval vessel – and not to be confused a pub of the same name on The Hard (see above), the pub was once part of the local Young’s Brewery estate, passing to Friary Meux of Guildford in 1964 and given the branding of parent company Ind Coope. The house became the subject of a compulsory purchase order in 1968 and fell victim to the bulldozers three years later. The site is now home to council flats and a small open space.
The Ship Worcester
98 (formerly 42) Broad Street, Old Portsmouth
Known in the 18th century as simply The Worcester, this old tavern spent many years under ownership of the Pike (later Pike Spicer) brewery. The photograph clearly displays the name of the incumbent licensee, Jacob Bushnell, who presided over the pub between the years of 1863-88. The Ship Worcester traded until 1908 and later became a shop. The building itself survived as long as the 1960s – it having spent many years trading as Grogan’s Cafe.
The Shipwright’s Arms
14 Edinburgh Road, Landport
This traditional style Victorian building stands amongst a row of four pubs on Edinburgh Road, in the city centre. It was unusual for having retained the same name for over 150 years. However, in 2005 the pub became the first of the street’s long-established pubs to close its doors and was soon boarded up. By mid 2006 evidence of internal work was apparent and by September of that year all internal fittings had been stripped out. By the spring of 2007 it had been reopened as a takeaway food establishment.
Photographs, left to right: 14th August 2005; 18th July 2008; 18th February 1990.
The Shoveller’s Arms
East Street, Old Portsmouth
Starting life as the Three Tuns, the Shoveller’s stood close to the Camber Dock. Owned by the Pike Brewery in the 19th century and latterly Brickwoods, the name change came about in 1905. In 1928 the pub closed and the licence transferred to the Jolly Taxpayer in Copnor.
The Sir Robert Peel
Astley Street, Southsea
Built in 1967 as part of the sprawling Somerstown housing estate, the Robert Peel was part of the Friary Meux estate until being sold to Gales in 1990. The pub latterly became a free house in the mid 90s under the ownership of local licensees Tony & Wendy Mitchell and became an unlikely magnet for serious beer drinkers from far and wide. The Mitchells’ relocation to Spain meant the pub closed for good in early 2004. The building has since been demolished and the site is now home to Sir Robert Peel House, a residential block of flats, after being a vacant plot for seven years.
Photographs, left to right: 18th February 1990; September 1998 (by Ray Scarfe).
235 Goldsmith Avenue, Fratton
This small bar opened within the first few years of the 21st century and was situated opposite the overbridge that connects Fratton Station with Goldsmith Avenue. Advertising itself as a bistro, it offered food all day, as well as real ale and coffee. Popular with those visiting Fratton Park to see Portsmouth Football Club matches, it was rumoured to attract the rougher element of the local soccer crowd. The bar closed in late 2010.
Photographed 2rd January 2005.
The Solent Inn
301 Fratton Road, Buckland
This Victorian street corner local stood at the northern end of busy Fratton Road, at its junction with Kilmiston Street. Owned by small companies such as Browning and Kinnell & Hartley in late Victorian and Edwardian times, the house became part of Portsmouth United Breweries’ estate and subsequently passed to Brickwood’s in the 1950s. The pub’s death knell came in 1967, with the redevelopment of the Buckland area and the realignment and irradication of much of the original street plan. The pub’s footprint would roughly correspond to where the bus shelter now stands, to the south of Hanway Road.
The Southsea Cellars
9 (11/13) Hambrook Street, Southsea
Located on the corner of Cecil Place, this small Long’s pub was run for almost a hundred years by various members of the Dilley family. The right-hand photograph depicts one-time landlord Charles Dilley (far left) outside the pub during the 1920s – himself being licensee for an impressive 39 years. The pub was situated a stone’s throw from the substantial brewery site on the same street (the bottle store of which still stands) and later passed into the hands of Brickwood’s following its acquisition of the Southsea Brewery. The Cellars sold its last pints in 1967, closing upon the death of Gladys Dilley. A compulsory purchase order led to the demolition of the pub in 1969, together with much of the surrounding area, as part of the regeneration of this corner of Southsea. The site is now home to Portsmouth High School’s science department.
8 Kingston Cross (118 Kingston Crescent), North End
Formerly the Eagle until the 1880s, the Sportsman stood mid-terrace at busy Kingston Cross. Purchased from the Jewell brewery by Brickwood’s in around 1899, the pub survived until 1938 when it was demolished along with the adjacent buildings to make way for a road widening scheme.
The Sportsman’s Rest
24 Copnor Road, Copnor
Remarkably, this Victorian corner pub kept the same name since the 19th century until its closure in 2009, despite having changed hands many times in the intervening years. At one time owned by the United, Brickwood’s and Whitbread breweries (among others) the pub remained a true locals’ local. Unfortunately, the changing drinking habits of the local population in the 21st century saw trade decline and by October 2009 the pub’s name was added to the increasing amount of seemingly ‘unviable’ pubs across the city. After many months of standing empty, planning permission was granted in spring 2011 to convert the building into four flats and one house.
Photographs, left to right: 26th May 2011; 14th August 2005; April 1999 (by Ray Scarfe); 14th August 1988.
The Spotted Cow
116 North End Avenue, North End
The Spotted Cow stood on this site since the late 19th century and was designed by Victorian pub architect A H Bone. Owned by Brickwood’s, then Whitbread, it served its last pints under the ownership of independent pub chain Admiral Taverns. Retaining two bars, the pub saw little investment in the last twenty years of its life and became possibly the most rundown in Portsmouth. Structural problems forced the closure of the pub in the winter of 2007 and in October the following year a planning application was submitted for the demolition of the pub.
Thanks to widespread disapproval of the plans by local residents and historians, the original plans were thrown out by the city planners. A revised application was subsequently put forward to convert the existing building for residential use. The closure of the pub was never unexpected, but the demolition of a significant licensed premises would have been a great shame. Thankfully, the building still stands, having been converted to apartments in 2014.
Photographs, left to right: 30th September 2006; 13th July 2008; 14th August 1988; June 1999 (by Ray Scarfe).
The Spread Eagle
148 Arundel Street, Landport
Occupying the corner of Arundel Street and Cottage View, this attractive Victorian Brickwood’s pub was particularly noteable for the impressive sculpture of an eagle mounted at roof level (depicted in the photograph below). The pub traded until 1972, when, a year after its takeover by London brewer Whitbread, the house was demolished for the redevelopment of Arundel Street.
Stadium Bar (Walkabout)
5/7 Guildhall Walk, Landport
Housed in the former Walkabout Australian bar which originally opened around the beginning of the 21st century, the Stadium Bar came into existence in early 2011. Originally an office block by the name of Hippodrome House (named after the theatre that once occupied the site), there were further plans to extend the bar onto the first floor, though as of February 2011 this failed to gain planning permission. The business was short-lived and by mid 2012 had closed for good. Owner Inventive Leisure later sold the premises to supermarket chain J Sainsbury and the building reopened as a Sainsbury’s Local store towards the end of that year.
Photographed 19th September 2004.
89 St Thomas’s Street, Old Portsmouth
Originally owned by Portsmouth’s small Biden’s Brewery, the Stag was later bought by United Breweries. A victim of a German bomb in 1940, planning premission was new granted for the rebuilding of the house. Many pubs could once be found along the length of St Thomas’s Street. The Stag was a late survivor.
The Stamshaw Hotel
164/166 Twyford Avenue, Stamshaw
Built in 1903 as the Stamshaw Hotel to a Cogswell design, this Peters Brewery pub was later to become part of the Friary Meux and Ind Coope chain of inns. A lively community local, it features traditional pub games and a single bar room. Following a short period of closure during the summer of 2009, the pub was due to reopen in early September of that year with the former licensee of the nearby Beresford at the helm. Sadly, and maybe inevitably, the business didn’t last long and by the spring of 2010 the pub was closed and boarded. Planning permission was granted in August 2010 to convert the pub into nine flats.
Photographs, left to right: 30th September 2006; March 1999 (by Ray Scarfe); 14th August 1988.
177/179 Lake Road, Landport
Located on the north side of Lake Road, mid-distance between Church Street and Duke Street, this terraced pub dated from early Victorian times and was variously known as the Star Inn, Star Tavern and Star Hotel. Originally part of Gosport’s Blake’s Brewery estate, the premises became part of the Brickwood’s portfolio in 1926 and was subsequently taken over by Whitbread in 1971. The pub traded for a further decade until it was closed and demolished in 1981 – as was the fate for many Whitbread pubs in the early ’80s.
The Star & Garter Hotel
100 Broad Street, Old Portsmouth
This attractive Georgian terraced public house and hotel stood close to the foot of Broad Street, in an area that is now undergoing redevelopment. Just one of many pubs that once stood on this historic street, the building was part of the local Gibbs Brewery portfolio of pubs during the 19th century before becoming one of Portsmouth’s United Breweries tied houses. Advertised in 1865 as the Star & Garter Army, Navy & Family Hotel, the pub suffered bomb damage in 1940 as a result on enemy air attacks. The pub survived until January 1954 when it was demolished to make way for the Isle of Wight ferry operation, who’s slipway was located just yards away. Following the demise of the house, its spirit licence was transferred to the Star & Garter on Copnor Road – another United pub, which had been opened in 1927 and presumably only licenced at that time to serve ale.
2 Kent Road, Portsea
This old brewers tudor style building remains to this day – now standing in a conservation area. The buiding occupies a prominent position on the corner of Kent Street and St James’s Street, Portsea. Previously known as the Man & Still, it was rebuilt in 1904 by A E Cogswell for the Pike Spicer brewery. The pub eventually closed in 1978 and was converted to other use. The premises underwent a restoration in the summer of 2007 and is now used as a business premises.
Colour photograph 28th March 2005.
Storehouse No.9 Bar
Main Road, Historic Dockyard, Portsea
This temporary pub traded throughout 2005 within a listed storehouse building in the Historic Dockyard. Catering primarily for tourists, the pub was run by Gosport brewer Oakleaf, who’s own ales were available, as well as a real cider. Open to all, customers did not have to purchase a ticket to the dockyard to use the pub. What a shame the arrangment could not have been made permanant, as visitors to the dockyard now have only a soulless café bar area in which to purchase a bland beer or lager.
Photographed 4th September 2005.
The Strand Bar (Captain’s Table)
100 Clarendon Road, Southsea
Originally the Waverley Arms, this pub was renamed the Captain’s Table in the 1960s before acquiring its last identity in 1999. Dating from Victorian times, the pub was located a short distance from Southsea seafront and a short walk from South Parade Pier. Once popular with a loyal local patronage, the house also received custom from those on their way to Southsea’s nearby nightclubs at weekends. Unfortunately, the closure in 2007 of the four clubs housed within the Savoy Buildings on South Parade meant that the pub lost a vital source of trade.
By April 2011 the pub had ceased trading and was swiftly boarded up. The second of the photographs below shows an interesting (but not altogether tasteful) anagram of the pub’s name, carried out by persons unknown, following the pub’s closure. An attack on the chancellor’s latest beer duty rises, maybe – or the boss at Punch Taverns?! The centre photograph depicts the pub’s interior following its closure. Thanks go to Roy Anderson for the supply of this image.
Photographs, left to right: 13th July 2008; 4th April 2011 (by Rob Hall); 1st June 2011 (by Roy Anderson); 19th September 2004; 11th May 1989.
56-60 Baker Street, Southsea
The Surprise was one of many pubs that could once be found on what is now the sprawling Buckland Estate. Situated on a street which is now a fraction of its former length, the pub was located close to where Victoria Street and Nelson Road now meet. A Simmonds house in the late 19th century, the Surprise later spent time under the ownership of United, Brickwood’s and lastly, Whitbread. Surviving as late as 1983, the pub was demolished in December of that year to make way for housing.
The Sussex Hotel
1 Russell Street, Buckland
This landmark hostelry stood directly opposite Portsmouth Guildhall, in what later became Guildhall Square. A large Victorian corner house, owned by Brickwood’s, the house was an unfortunate casualty of the redevelopment of the Square, which saw the demolition and eradication of Russell Street to make way for the controversial new Civic Offices and Central Library development. The Sussex was brought down in 1972, less than a year after Whitbread’s takeover of Brickwood’s.
100 Copnor Road, Copnor
This late Victorian tavern on busy Copnor Road was originally part of the Peters Brewery. Later owned by Ind Coope then transferred to fellow Burton-upon-Trent brewer Bass, the pub retained three separate bars until the 1990s, when they were knocked through into one large room. The final owner, Mitchells & Butlers, reinvented the pub as a local hostelry that majored on food, though this ultimately proved unsuccessful, probably due to the proliferation of similar, though better quality, pub diners along the length of Copnor Road.
Following a period of closure throughout the first half of 2009, the pub reopened for business in July of that year, with new licensees. Sadly, trade never returned to the levels previously attained and by early 2011 the pub was once again closed and now boarded. A planning application was submitted in April 2011 to demolish the pub and build a block of flats on the site – this becoming reality in 2013/14.
Photographs, left to right: 26th May 2011; 11th August 2011; 14th August 2005; 14th August 1988.
40 High Street, Cosham
This large corner house was located in Cosham’s main shopping area. The pub was originally a typical two-bar local but became rundown in the 1980s. It was refronted and refitted internally during the early 1990s in the style of a café bar in an attempt the draw in shoppers throughout the day. However, the pub suffered further problems in the late 1990s when J D Wetherspoon opened a large establishment next-door-but-one, offering food and drink at prices that the Swan was unable to match. The pub managed to survive until the middle of 2016, when it served its last pints and the licensee left in order to open a new bar further south on the High Street.
Photographs (left to right): 11th March 2007; April 1999 (by Ray Scarfe); October 2001(by Ray Scarfe).
211 Lake Road, Buckland
The Swan still stands on Lake Road, Buckland, on the corner of Turner Road, but is now in the guise of a Ladbroke’s betting shop. The building dates from 1896, though there have also been pubs on the site prior to this date. The Sir Charles Napier can be traced back to 1874, surviving until 1887 when the house became known as the Sea Horse. The Swan was eventually closed in 1981 by Whitbread, having previously been owned by United (see right-hand photo) and Brickwood’s.
The pub’s name still appears at first floor level – though it is now somewhat obscurred by black paint in the photo to the left. A glimpse of another pub, the Horndean House (owned by Gales) can be spotted in the two right-hand photographs, situated as it was on the opposite corner of Turner Road. It was demolished in the 1960s. The right-hand photo shows the Swan on the right-hand side, by the crouched Ordnance Survey gentleman, whilst the Richmond Hotel appears across the other side of Lake Road.
Left-hand photograph 14th August 2005. Right-hand photograph 12th October 1946.