Portsmouth music scene

An assortment of musical odds and ends

Here are a few items that are difficult to categorise, so see below a mixture of assorted musical items.


A few productions of the Messiah by local organisations

1946 February 10th The Portsmouth Choral and Orchestral Society perform Handel's Messiah at the Central Hall Fratton.
1946 December 18th Portsmouth Glee Club present Handel's Messiah at the Central Hall Fratton.
1947 April 4th At the Coliseum, The Portsmouth Choral Union present "Messiah" with full chorus and orchestra.
1948 March 26th The Portsmouth Choral Union perform the Messiah at Portsmouth Northern Grammar School.
1948 October 23rd Saturday, The Portsmouth Choral and Orchestral Society perform Handel's 'Messiah' at the Central Hall Fratton Road.
1948 December 15th The Portsmouth Glee Club perform the Messiah at the Central Hall Fratton Road.
1949 December 10th Saturday, The Portsmouth Glee Club present Handel's 'Messiah'.
1950 April 7th The Portsmouth Choral Union perform Handel's Messiah at the Northern Grammar School. Mr. H Fox of 81 Wykeham Road North End is singing in the Messiah for the 50th time since he joined in 1900.
1951 March 22nd The Portsmouth Choral Union perform Handel's Messiah, their 57th annual performance, at the Portsmouth Northern Grammar School.
1952 March 29th Saturday, The Portsmouth Choral Union give their 58th annual performance of Handel's Messiah at the Northern Grammar School Hall.
1952 April 11th Good Friday. Portsmouth Glee Club perform Handel's Messiah at London Road Baptist Church. Soloists include Reg and Dorothy Wassell.
1953 April 3rd Portsmouth Choral Union perform Handel's 'Messiah' at the Northern Grammar School hall.
1953 April 3rd The Portsmouth Glee Club perform Handel's 'Messiah' at the London Road Baptist Church Portsmouth.
1954 February 3rd The Portsmouth Philharmonic Society present Handel's Messiah at the Wesley Central Hall.
1954 April 11th The Portsmouth Choral Union perform Handel's Messiah at the Kings Theatre.
1954 April 16th Good Friday The Portsmouth Glee Club perform Handel's Messiah at the London Road Baptist Church. Among the singers was Reginald Wassell, and organist was Stanley Matthews.
1955 March 26th Saturday, Drayton Methodist Choral Society perform Handel's Messiah at Copnor Methodist Church, with Stanley Matthews organist and Reginald Wassell baritone.
1955 April 8th The Portsmouth Choral Union present Handel's Messiah at the Wesley Central Hall, Fratton Road.
1956 March 30th The Portsmouth Choral Union present Handel's Messiah at the Wesley Central Hall.
1956 March 30th The Portsmouth Glee Club present Handel's Messiah at London Road Baptist Church, with soloists including Reginal Wassell, and organist Stanley Matthews.
1957 April 13th The Portsmouth Choral Union, conducted by Bertram Bradshaw, perform Handel's Messiah at the Wesley Central Hall.
1958 March 22nd The Portsmouth Choral Union, with orchestra leader Ernest Barr and conductor Bertram Bradshaw, one of the soloists is Reginald Wassell, perform Handel's Messiah, it's 64th year of this work, at the Wesley Central Hall, Fratton Road.
1959 June 13th Saturday, The Portsmouth Choral Union perform, Handel's "Messiah" at the Guildhall.

Handel's Messiah and Portsmouth 1789-1812
1 October - 1 March Portsmouth Guildhall
28th November 2016
A wonderful exhibition of Handel's Messiah and the cultural life in Portsmouth is on display at the Portsmouth Guildhall.

This exhibition presents archival research by Dr George Burrows of the University of Portsmouth that has revealed that Handel's Messiah was instrumental in the cultural life of Portsmouth over the turn of the nineteenth century. Maps and documents from the archives document performances of Messiah in Portsmouth in the context of the expansion of the city and of the grand musical festivals that commemorated Handel and his musical philanthropy.

A word book from an 1812 performance of Messiah in Portsmouth that featured the great singer, Angelica Catalani, was annotated by a member of the audience and this allows for a recreation of a distinctive Portsmouth version of Messiah, which will be staged on Saturday 18 March 2017. The exhibition frames that performance with documents and images.

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1897 Portsmouth And Southsea Amateur Operatic Dramatic Society perform The Pirates Of Penzance

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bert p peter hicks

??? I only know the three guys in the middle
Billy Storm (Bert Parker) in the black/white shirt, Peter Hicks (later of Drifters) and Barry Roberts who became a lynchpin of the local folk scene a very fine guitarist. Billy and Peter are singing, on the left is Pete Connor but I don t know the other two.

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From the Evening NEWS January 1963


From the Hampshire Telegraph 26th July 1969

stuart ward

Stuart Ward formerly with Soul Society now the man at Sesiion Amplifiers

pompey soul
guess who
guess who2


Dave Allen circa 1968

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St James Hospital Entertainment Hall

myra hess
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Mike Creamer and Nobby Glover


Ian Duck in 2015


18th December 1933 at Dyers

waterlooville desmond


This plaque is on the wall of the Harbour Lights Pub at Paulsgrove
Apparently songwiter Jimmy Kennedy was in Southampton and had to drive to Brighton. As he drove a thick fog came down and when he saw the lights of a pub he decided to stop and stay at the 'Harbour Lights' until the fog had cleared.
He later wrote the song with the title of "( I saw the ) The Harbour Lights"


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The organ in the city museum. It is not the organ from the Mary s Hospital Chapel
but one from the former workhouse, presumably the one in St Mary s Road that was close to Kingston Prison.


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An evening with Portsmouth Artistes
Time was when people of Portsmouth would have turned up in there hundreds to have listened to a concert such as provided at the Town Hall on Monday night in aid of the Tiny Tim Cot Fund, but times have changed, and the Portsmouth people with the times, and one now ?nds things far different to what they used to be. The promoters were certainly not to blame. Under the management of Mr. Walter P. Watkins, the Southsea and Portsmouth Entertainment Committee were fortunate in securing
the services of purely local artistes, with whom a pleasant hour (the programme said an hour, but it was more than that could have been spent, but the number of the charitably disposed seems to have sadly dwindled, and with all the energies which were put forth the Town Hall was but sparsely filled, and while the few spent a very pleasant and enjoyable time, the many lost a great treat, for it is doubtful if ever such a programme was set before an audience for a minimum charge of sixpence. Are the people growing tired of concerts, and do our local artistes now fail to attract them, or are they growing apathetic even over amusements ? We can hardly accuse Portsmouth people of being apathetic over amusements, seeing that the variety stage is at the moment appealing strongly to their tastes, and they gather nightly in large numbers for turns, which they await in eager excitement, so we must rather consider them as being in search of novelty, distinct and startling novelty, and the ordinary concert. is no longer an attraction for them, even though the object is charity.
The programme was a huge one and excellent in every respect. The full string band of the Royal Artillery under the conductorship of Mr Charles Lee which in itself is a musical feast provided the first and third parts , while the local talent supplied the kernel of the programme.
Such musical items as Luigini s reverie La Voix de Cloches ; Sibelius tone poem Finlandiea ; Mendelsohn s overture Alt a ie ; and Partridge s The Bells waltz are numbers which any audience could not appreciate, while a xylophone solo, L Artiste was played in a skilful manner by Musician C Knight and the duet for two violins, The Heard Girls Dream was rendered with a characteristic thoroughness by Sergt. Major S. W. G. McDonald and Sergt Major Bruner. Mr A. E. Saxby, A.R.C.O., besides providing an organ recital, carried out the duties of accompanist.
Messrs. Frank Snook (alto), Walter Vernon (tenor), James Murdock (baritone), and George Ellum (bass), are the gentlemen who form the Apollo Quartette, and their rendering of the humourous ditty about A Catastrophe was highly amusing and well received. Miss Mabel and Miss Marguerite Gardiner sang the duet, Sainted Mother, from Maritana," in a delightful manner, while the song and dance, I'm afraid to come home in the dark," given by Miss Millie Craddock proved that that lady is a clever artiste. The Village Blacksmith " is a vocal item which is always highly appreciated, and the manner which Mr. Graham rendered the song brought forth a round of hearty applause. Messrs. Vernon and Elllum sang the duet, Watchman, What of the Night? " and Miss Ellen Bagshawe gave a pleasing rendering of Dudley Buck s When the Heart is Young. Mr. Edmund Cook s powerful bass voice was heard to advantage in The Bandelero," while Mr. Fred Parker received enthusiastic applause for his songs, (a) The Lute Player" (b) A Farewell. The child soprano, Miss Violet Wood, met with a great reception, and her expressive voice for so young a child won for her a re-call for her rendering of A Child of Spain. Mr. Reginald Fisher received a well merited encore for his excellent rendering of Lohr s Margarita, and well maintained his reputation as prize winner at the Crystal Palace National Temperance Festival and at the Portsmouth Connaught Drill Hall a few days ago.
Miss Gardiner was also very successful in her rendering of O Fragrant Mignonette," and as a welcome diversion, the able elocutionist, Miss Ada Gilby, A.L.C.M., gave the recitation, A Norwegian Legend." The Mayoress, little Miss Doris Foster, was present during the concert, and at the conclusion of the vocal items she presented to each of the artistes who had so kindly assisted in the concert, which was to swell her Tiny Tim Cot Fund, a pretty and useful souvenir of the occasion. The gifts were as follows, and were supplied by Mr. A. E. Weeks, of King's Road. To Miss Millie Craddock, a pair of solid silver candlesticks; Miss Ada Gilby , silver scent pump; Miss Ella Bagshaw , clock in silver case; the Misses Gardiner, pair of silver hair brushes; Miss Violet Wood, gold curb bangle ; Mr. Edward Cook, fruit dish and server; Mr. Reginald Fisher, sleeve links, buttons, and stud in case; the Apollo Quartette, four fruit dishes; Mr. Fred Parker, butter dish and knife; Mr. G. H. Graham, biscuit barrel; and Mr. A. E. Saxby, three egg cups and spoons. The Mayor, in thanking the artistes , .


Belle Reynolds

With pantomime season almost upon us again, this would be of interest. She appeared in pantomime at the Theatre Royal in 1901, and Tony has sent me some press reports from the Portsmouth Evening News and Hampshire Telegraph on the performance of Belle Reynolds.
Despite glowing reviews her stage career was short lived. One of the reports reads, The pantomime season at the Theatre Royal, Portsmouth is now in full swing and the audiences have been delighted with the charming singing and dancing of the elaborate spectacle.
Miss Isa Bowman and Miss Belle Reynolds, as Cinderella and Prince Carini respectively, continue to be a an immense success. In a later review the writer is still very impressed with Belle.
Miss Belle Reynolds, as the Prince, has all the dash and vivacity associated with the love-sick swain of the fairy tale. The Brothers Edgar make two ideal ugly sisters, and every evening the crowded house fairly roars at their absurdities. I wonder why the Prince was called Carini and not Prince Charming?
Of course, it was well before our time, but does anyone know more of Miss Belle Reynolds in later life? The photograph shows Belle in a different production.
Bob Hind of the NEWS 25/10/2019















Albert Road Primitive Methodist Central Hall

Albert Road Primitive Methodist Central Hall situated were the Essoldo Cinema was

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A 1914 production

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8th January 1894

The Crown Minstrels

Portsmouth Evening News - Friday 09 April 1920

9 April 1920

Portsmouth Evening News - Saturday 17 July 1920

17 July 1920

Portsmouth Evening News - Friday 11 November 1921

11 November 1921

Portsmouth Evening News - Saturday 19 May 1923

19 May 1923

Portsmouth Evening News - Thursday 11 October 1923

11 October 1923

Portsmouth Evening News - Saturday 22 December 1923

22 December 1923

Portsmouth Evening News - Saturday 26 April 1924

26 April 1924

crown minstrels

The Crown Minstrels,
photograph by Humphries of Southsea

Miss Silvia Solomion's Orchestra & Trio

Portsmouth Evening News - Friday 20 December 1935

20 December 1935

Portsmouth Evening News - Thursday 20 October 1938

20 October 1938

Portsmouth Evening News - Thursday 20 October 1938

20 October 1938

Portsmouth Evening News - Thursday 24 November 1938

24 November 1938

Portsmouth Evening News - Thursday 01 December 1938

1 December 1938

Portsmouth Evening News - Saturday 04 May 1940

4 May 1940

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