Dateline Sunday 29 May 1949

The two bus operators, Portsmouth Corporation and Southdown, started the first services to Leigh Park at the end of May 1949. Both operators chose a fairly low key advance into the embryo housing estate.

Southdown’s 46 an 46a provided a somewhat more complex service to Hayling Island. The company simply extended one journey an hour to Leigh Park. Southdown experts will enjoy working out where the buses ran on the Island. Today’s service is a simple both ways round lollipop …

… giving a 15 minute combined timetable – every 10 min in 1949.

But where in Leigh Park did the Southdown 46 run? Back then, the road network was very different. Petersfield road crossed the railway at a level crossing at the eastern end of the station, seen today, looking north …
… and from the other side, looking south.

Then turn through 180 degrees and you will be on the old main road to Petersfield, called, oddly, Petersfield Road – but today renamed as Leight Road.

The station has moved as well!

The time point, West Leigh crossroads is bottom right on the modern street map below (possibly??) …

… and the Southdown bus ran via Bedhampton Way to its terminus, (possibly again) where the main shopping centre was to materialise.

On the same day Portsmouth Corporation started their first service to Leigh Park lettered M and N. M ran from Leigh Park, N ran to.

Again only one bus an hour ran to the new estate.

This time we have a route description.

From Dockyard via Park Road, Guildhall (City Centre), Commercial Road, North End Junction, London Road, Northern Road, Spur Road, Havant Road, Bedhampton Halt, Stockheath Lane and Stockheath Common.

After Bedhampton Halt (now without the “Halt”), the N ran via Stockheath Lane to much the same terminus as the Southdown route. 

Similar to Havant station, Stockheath Lane used to cross the railway via a level crossing, remnants of which are seen here today looking north …

… and, from the other side, looking south.

This bit is renamed Staunton Road. But conceptually it soon becomes Stockheath Lane.

Here is a sample N …

… and a short working N …

… showing, helpfully, “


Dateline 24th May 1952

It’s all change. The 47 disappears and in comes Southdown 48, 48a.

Unfortunately, this timetable comes without a route description, but fbb guesses that the xx16 departure from Southsea runs to Havant, then via a similar route to the 47 above, extending to Botley Drive in the same way at the revised M/N below. The xx46 journey jdoesn’t served Leigh Park as such but travels north on the Petersfield Road to Rowlands Castle and then on to Horndean. It is more of a country bus.

Try to pretend that the A3(M) isn’t there!

And Southdown 48b.

This hourly service provides some extra links to Leigh Park from Havant, but at 2100 yesterday evening, fbb’s brain had become too addled, so will add a 48b route map to tomorrow’s blog.

With apologies for poor service! Bit you know how it is …

Dateline 30th May 1954.

There was a revised Portsmouth Corporation M/N timetable with less short workings and a bus every 30 minutes to Leigh Park.

The route  has been extended via Stockheath Lane, turn right into Riders Lane, left into Purbrook Way and right into Botley Drive to its Rownhams Road terminus.

And the revised route now uses a new road from Bedhampton station, called memorably “New Road”.

And here is a very fizzy picture of an M to Portsmouth coming down Botley Road from the terminus. 

What would Elf abd Safety say today about running a bus through a building site? But if the bus is there when people move in, they will use it! Today’s route planner please note.

There is more to come next week. 

Don’t miss the upcoming thrilling episode.

 Next Variety blog : Saturday 12th August 

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