Commercial Road is Portsmouth’s main shopping precinct. It has plenty of colourful characters hanging around, shops to indulge your consumerist habits and a fountain which is, more frequently than not, exploding with soap suds.
You might think you know Commercial Road like the back of your hand, but here are ten things you’ll only know if you’ve actually been a resident.
1. The Jacket Potato Lady is your best friend
Not her real name, you understand, but the fond nickname which every local will most probably call this lady. She’s been trading on Commercial Road for many years now and her shop is a frequent lunch time stop-off for those in the area. Go for the chilli and cheese, it’s the best.
2. The queues in Poundland are never ending
Have you ever just thought you’d pop into Poundland and grab some shampoo, or maybe just stock-up on some household essentials? Well, join the rest of Commercial Road and hop in the queue. Everyone loves a bargain.
3. There are bubbles EVERYWHERE
You might have guessed it? Yes, we’re talking about the Fountain. It’s been around since the late ’70s and had a refurb of the eight stone beasts back in 2011, though some joker always comes along and chucks some bubbles into the works.
4. You can pick up a delicious pitta wrap
Previously known as Benjy’s and after having a massive refurb this family run business became Graze. They serve delicious, healthy foods in grilled pitta wraps, salad boxes and the odd naughty treat too in the form of cake or sausage roll. If you’ve not experienced it yet, you’re missing out.
5. Game of Cones – it’s Sprinkles vs Scoops
Now who’s for some ice-cream and waffles? First choose your side. These two ice-cream parlours on opposite sides of the road and facing each other battle it out for your sugar coated affections. Which will you pick?
6. The clipboard chasers are lying in wait for you
Run the gauntlet! Sometimes you might feel like you’re on an episode of Release the Hounds expecting Reggie Yates to pop out from Costa to give you a countdown. Charity and giving is a fantastic thing to do and you may well need a new TV or phone contract, however, being chased down the street for your life savings is not cool.
7. City Centre Market is worth a visit
From Thursday to Saturday, the Portsmouth City Centre Market comes to life at the far end of Commercial road. Though some of the fashion and accessories are questionable, you can get some fantastic bargains here, especially on the fresh fruit and veg stalls. Plus, there’s nothing better than doing your food shop in the sunshine.
8. The mystical Northern Quarter may never appear
After a proposal of £300 million to renovate the Northern Quarter some years ago fell through, there was discussion in late 2015 that it might be back on the cards, though things have now fallen quiet again. Watch this space…
9. Charles Dickens was born just up the road
— Trivia Encyclopedia (@edpearce080759) February 7, 2016
The birthplace of Charles Dickens is at 393 Commercial Road and has become a museum of his works, also holding talks and educational events. You can find it up the northern end of Commercial road – a little trek but well worth it.
10. We all miss the glory days at the Cascades Shopping Centre
The Cascades has gone through many changes over the years. Some of you may even remember when there was a downstairs section with a food court? Those were the days.
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Main image: Instagram / @jainbow