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Last updated: 30 September 2021

 
     
  Archive/Photograph of the Month  
     
 

For this month’s feature, we take a look back at records in the Society’s archives that relate to an event held in the Solent almost 70 years ago.  The recently-acquired typed manuscript illustrated here captures Provincial’s plans to support passengers travelling to the Coronation Fleet Review held on Monday 15th June 1953 (ref PS06103).  Held less than a fortnight after the Coronation itself, over 14 miles of ships assembled in the Solent off Stokes Bay for review by HM The Queen who was embarked in despatch vessel HMS Surprise (although the new royal yacht Britannia had been launched two months previously, she would not be commissioned until January 1954).

One of two significant bus service alterations implemented by Provincial was to route 3 which normally provided the direct Fareham (Redlands Inn) to Gosport service via Stoke Road.  On the day of the review and during the afternoon of the previous day, this service was diverted from the base of Ann’s Hill Road to continue southwards along The Avenue before turning left along Green Road (dropping off and picking up at Alverstoke Church) and returning via Anglesey Road to re-join its original route towards Gosport.

Also affected was service 16 which ordinarily operated between Bridgemary, Brockhurst and Stokes Bay via Military Road.  On the day of the review, this service ran instead along Brockhurst Road and Ann’s Hill Road, following the diverted service 3 down The Avenue and along Green Road to reach Alverstoke Church.  For the return journey, service 16 travelled up Anglesey Road, Gordon Road, Whitworth Road and Lees Lane where it re-joined the main road towards Brockhurst.  The use of Green Road and specifically Alverstoke Church as the terminus for service 16 and the drop-off/pick-up point for service 3 suggests that Stokes Bay was off limits to traffic during this period.  Even service 10 between Gosport and Stokes Bay was truncated to terminate at Ashburton Road, towards the southern end of Jellicoe Avenue.

In addition to the temporary re-routing of existing bus services on the day of the review, Provincial also provided links between Gosport Ferry and Stokes Bay pier specifically for service personnel whose vessels were moored in the Solent during the days leading up to the event.  Additionally, service 11 allowed civilian passengers to travel as far as Clayhall, with the remainder of the route to Haslar reserved for use by service personnel only.

Also of relevance is a ledger held in the Society’s archives which provides details of passenger numbers and revenue during the period between 1953 and 1956 (ref PS02432).  This ledger reveals that passenger numbers during the week ending 20th June 1953 were up by over 70,000, with receipts up by almost £1,000.  The ledger also contains details of the weather which is given as ‘showers’ for the day of the fleet review.  Despite this, it is estimated that over one million people gathered to watch the event which concluded in the evening with the simultaneous illumination of over 200 ships and a display of fireworks, the final salvo of which comprised 2,500 rockets that lit the night sky and surrounding beaches.  At the end of the event, Provincial provided services ‘to all parts’ from Ashburton Road and a service to Gosport Ferry from Little Anglesey.

The inset photograph (bottom right) shows Provincial’s AEC Mandator No.14 (EOR 251) and AEC Regent No.45 (DAA 847) side-by-side at Gosport Ferry around the time of the Coronation (with crowns and flags adorning their fronts, just beneath their destination blinds) (ref PS01192).

If any members or non-members have similar artefacts or other material that they would like to donate to the Society or allow to be photographed or scanned, I should be grateful if you would contact me – Chris Richardsen – using e-mail address archivist@provincialsociety.org.

 
 
 
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A well travelled StreetLite: numerically the first of FHD&B's StreetLites, 47406 (SK63 KLF) was new to Weymouth at the end of 2013 and has since been based at Slough, Hilsea and Empress Road. To complete the set it moved again, in the last week of August, to Hoeford and was photographed at Portchester Station on 6 September.

Photo by Malcolm Audsley

 
 

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