Gosport in old picture postcards

Gosport in old picture postcards

:   Peter N. Rogers
:   Hampshire
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-3269-5
:   112
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Gosport in old picture postcards'

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Peter Rogers

European Library - ZaltbommellNetherlands MCMLXXXV



rSBNlO: 90 288 3269 6 rSBN13: 978 90 288 3269 5

© 1985 European Library - Zaltbomme1/Nether1ands © 2008 Reprint of the original edition of 1985

No part of this baak may be reproduced in any farm, by print, photoprint, microfihn or any other means, without written permission from the publisher.

European Library post office box 49

NL - 5300 AA Zaltbommel/The Netherlands telephone: 0031418513144

fax: 0031418515515 e-mai1:publisher@eurobib.n1


Local historians and collectors of nostalgia have every reason to be grateful to an obscure Austrian, Emanuel Herrman of Vienna, who by dint of his persuasive powers, convineed the Austrian postal authorities that the sending of open cards, with aften necessarily short messages would rem ave the need for the customary sealed envelope, cantaining sometimes na more than a line or two of greetings or acknowledgement. He reasoned that letters with such contents could more conveniently be written on an open card and possibly sent at a reduced postal rate.

On the 1 st October 1869 the postcard was introduced to the world and in the first three months almost three million cards were posted. It was one year later before The British Post Office put its 'stamp' of approval on a similar pastal concession and also introduced for the first time, the halfpenny post. The scheme was an instant and unqualified success with 575,000 cards being posted on the first day and the astanishing figure of 75 million in the first year.

All the cards produced had to be of a certain size and standard; the popular pictorial postcards not being appraved until September 1894.

Early photographers and 'purveyors' of postcards created a fantastic worldwide library of scenes and events which naw form the most comprehensive and valuable collection of photographs in the world. Gosport. in common with almost every ather town and village, can boast a recarded pictorial and topographical history due, if for no other reason, than to the humble picture postcard, In 1985, 115 years after its introduetion to Britain, the postcard, picto-

rial or plain, remains one of the most popular ways of sending brief greetings or just 'keeping in touch'.

In submitting the pictorial content of this book, problems arose in selecting, from the many postcards available, a suitable balance which would convey to the reader the growth and expansion of Gosport, yet keep within the period 1900-1935 and still provide sufficient variety to stimulate the interest. The centuries of seafaring connections have created a maritime town, so it was thought important to include numerous scenes depicting the actrvities of the Royal Navy, ferry operations, shipbuilding and harbour life. The tawn's military presence has also been an important part of Gosport's character and the baak therefore contains pictures of bath the Army and the Royal Marines. Street scenes, transport and buildings contribute to the general scene; the seaside element is supplied by Stokes Bay and Lee-on-theSolent, which was absorbed into the Borough in 1930.

It is not the intention of the author to pro duce within these pages, another written history of Gosport, rather, to present, in a conventent farm, a large number of photographs depicting the town and its suburbs in a previous and more leisurely age. It is hoped that the pictures will evoke a pleasant sense of times past and together with their associated comments, corn prise a book which will be a worthwhile addition to the 'Gosport Collection',

The Gasport Peninsular has long yielded signs of its early inhabitants, the itinerant peoples of the Stone,

Bronze and Iron Ages, Eventually of course, men did settle and lived on and from, the land and waters which surrounded thern ; the growing of crops made it necessary to remain in one place for prolonged periods of time, to sow, gather and perhaps store the annual harvest. The very fact that man hirnself put down roots and multiplied, gave rise to small permanent settlements which in turn were of ten defended with boundary banks, ditches and fences. Until the tremendous spread of Gosport in the 19th and particularly the 20th century, many of these early features were visible to the eye and part of the local countryside.

The building of individual properties and the large estates such as Rowner and Bridgemary, has completely obliterated most of these important historical features and those which remain are now buried forever under the buildings and roads.

The descendants of the early people, together with later invaders, the Jutes and Saxons, gave names to their settlements and although they have since been altered by time and language, evidence of those origins is still to be found in such place names as:

Alverstoke, Rowner, Elson, Bedenham, Chark, Gomer, Grange, Forton, Brockhurst etc.

Gosport as a name, however, is far more recent, being first recorded in 1250. Eilert Ekwal1, who is the authority on English place nam es, associates Gosport with 'Goseport' and suggests it to have been alocal market where geese were bought and sold. Another interpretation is that the name has its crigins in 'Gorse' ; and that the wild gorse which covered the

windswept peninsular gave its name to the early settlement. However, the most favoured explanation (and one which is likely to have less credence) is that 'God's Port' was a title given in thanks by King Stephen, or was it Henry de Blois (see page 70), when safely delivered from a storm at sea. Certainly the town is now happy to use the motto: 'God's Port, Our Haven' on the arms of the Borough.

The local people existed for centuries taking their living from both land and sea until the development and growth of the Royal Doekyard at Portsmouth created new opportunities for employment. The effect of this new labour pool also attracted workers from further afield and added to the population. Finally, the establishment of the navy and the introduetion of the army to defend the now "important town of Gosport encouraged both sailors and military to bring their dependant families to live in the vicinity; thus the town continued to grow.

The removal of the old defensive system of moats and ramparts, fol1owed by the bombing of the Second World War, has resulted in enormous changes to the geography of the town. Post-war development has been responsible for a re-vam ping of much of the original street pattern whilst, the building of large new council and naval housing estates on hitherto undeveloped land has meant a spread of residential properties to are as of countryside which were previously considered to be 'out of town'.

1. Gosport shares together with Portsmouth, its near neighbour, the immense tidal harbour which lies between the Gosport peninsular and the Island of Portsea, the consequence being that its eastern shores have always been concerned with shipping and the Royal Navy. The postcard view seen here is probab1y the most photographed area of the town and is shown in one of the many stages of development which have taken place in the past 80 to 90 years, always with astrong nautical connection.

2. The same situation, but this time looking south-east, shows the many interesting sights which were, in 1905, a feature of the ever changing panorama. HMS St. Vincent, the oid man-o-war, lies at its moorings, the floating bridge makes its way across the harbour and a paddle steamer returning from the Isie of Wight approaches its disembarkation point at Portsmouth. Interestingly, an early horse tram is awaiting passengers at the ferry terminus.

3. Also taken in 1905, this picture shows the masses of interested well-wishers who crowded the shores and ferry boats to welcome the French fleet which was making its first visit to Britain following the signing of the Convention known as Entente Cordiale and which was to bring the two nations together as allies in the following years.

/ /




.Lanàiny St~gel porlsmouth

4, Incorrectly captioned Portsmouth, the scene is again the Gosport shore at the ferry landing. The shoreline is busy with shipping and HMS Victory lies at its moorings in the harbour.

H.M.S. Victorv. Portsrnouth Harbeur.

5. Coal barges were a familiar sight on this shoreline and from the postcard it would appear that loading was undertaken by hand, as nowhere is there to be seen any mechanical aid. This part of the foreshore was lost to the local boatmen when the ferry landing facilities were improved and the promenade built in the early 1920's.

6. Portsea Island's link with mainland Gosport was added to in 1840, when the first of the floating bridges commenced its operations. The steam driven chain ferries proved to be tire1ess workhorses for over one hundred years and shortened the travelling distance between the two towns by as much as 20 miles. The time factor was most important when delivering goods and the saving of perhaps five hours on a journey with a horsedrawn vehic1e was an obvious advantage. A tunnel between Gosport and Portsmouth has been a pipedream for many years and at one period was a serious consideration. With the closure of the floating bridge in 1959, progress was set back 119 years and Portsmouth traffic has had to resort to the age old method of reaching Gosport via Portchester and Fareham.

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