Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Living in North End

I spent a few months in 1975 living in North End, a suburb of Portsmouth in Hampshire.

At that time, I was awaiting a divorce, so had left my home in Rochford in Essex, and also my job as General Manager of the Classic Twin Cinemas at Westcliff, a suburb of Southend.

I secured an appointment with the Rank Organisation (for whom I had earlier worked for several years) as Manager of the Odeon Cinema at Cosham.

Somewhere to live could have been a problem, but I ended up sharing a room with another chap in a house at North End.

It is not generally realised that the City of Portsmouth is built on an island – Portsea Island, it’s called. There’s an awful lot of history there, not just relating to the Navy, although obviously that’s of great importance.

I spent much of my time off strolling along the seafront, especially at Southsea, the part of Portsmouth which is a seaside resort.

Cosham is just off the island – therefore it’s on the mainland of England, underneath Portsdown Hill, chalk cliffs which millions of years ago were sea cliffs.

While I was living at North End, there was a heatwave, and during this there was a mighty thunderstorm one night. I had gone to sleep, but was half aware of the spectacular thunder and lightning. My bed was beside the window, while my room mate’s was the other end of what was quite a large room.

Amongst the storm, I heard a voice intoning my name. “Colin”, it said, and to my mounting consternation it kept repeating “Colin”. “Colin”. “Colin”.

It turned out that the voice was not that of the Almighty, as it eventually said “Colin. Close that bloody window. The rain’s coming in.”

After a few months I was offered a job, which I accepted, as Manager of the Town Hall at Loughborough in Leicestershire, and I went to live at Knightthorpe.

If anybody reading this has any connections with North End, or the Portmouth area generally (Born? Lived? Worked? Ancestors? Relatives?) I will be very pleased to hear from them.