106 and 109 Penny Street

HISTORY OF 106 &109 PENNY ST. (John Huffel March 2009)

 In the mid 1700s, the corner of Penny Street and Grand Parade was the venue for 4 Freemason Lodges and “The King’s Arms” tavern, where the town’s principal merchants gathered to transact business.

By the end of the 1700s, the tavern had degenerated into a place of notoriety before becoming a private home “The Little Endowment House” in memory of a Colonel Little of the Indian Army.

In 1860 it was known as “Marine View Hotel” for Officers later renamed “Tufnell’s Private Hotel” after the owner. On the 10th September 1874, Mrs. Sarah Robinson purchased it to be used as a Soldiers’ Institute and Officers’ Home for the promotion of temperance beliefs. Besides support of the then Governor of Portsmouth and the Duke of Cambridge, Florence Nightingale assisted with £100 per year towards running costs for 5 years. In 1882 the Prince of Wales (later King Edward) visited. A large building was added in 1892 – currently the site of Old Harbour Mews – to accommodate Soldiers’ families, with the original reverting to the Officers’ House.

.In 1910, the total complex was renamed “The Soldiers and Sailors Help Society”, including sailors for the first time, with a final name change in 1940 to “The Prince’s Christian Home”. Between 1948 and 1958 it was used initially as a “Bonding Wine & Spirits Store” then “Sadlers and Co – Building Contractors” and from 1971, the YMCA.  

Persimmion purchased the site in 1996 from owners Southern Electric, for the development of Old Harbour Mews. However, the original house remains as 106 and 108 Penny Street, a Grade II Listed building containing 2 very pleasantly proportioned and comfortable private homes.