Web Page 2000
16th November 2013
Pictures: Two pictures of Charlotte Street 1950 –1965
Lower Picture: The Charlotte Street entrance to Woolworths.
Down the Market
One of the busiest places in Portsmouth, especially on a Friday and Saturday, during the 1950’sand 60’s was Charlotte Street. To look at the place today you could never visualise the hustle and bustle of the thriving market that ran there for years.
Walking down the street was a real experience starting from the jewellers on the corner of Commercial Road, passing The Shirt King and the back entrance to Marks and Spencers onto the car park with the back entrance to Woolworths. At the end of the road we passed the Government Surplus store Robert Mack ( both he and his wife were City Councillors) all this was on the left hand side of the road and opposite Mack’s stood the Admiralty store which at one time (and now is again) St. Agatha’s church. I actually only remember stalls on the left hand side of the road and the buildings on the right hand side, before the Tricorn, is rather a blur.
To wander down the Road was to assault the nose with a myriad of scents and smells. apples and pears, exotic fruit and potatoes, wet fish and shell fish, sausages and faggots, meat and cheese. All this was balanced by the unappetising smell of those products that were somewhat less than fresh, rotting cabbage and sprouts, out of date eggs and other products which today would have be classed as beyond their sell by date. One other bye product of this food market were the piles of empty boxes and crates, bags of meat and offal off cuts and empty Hessian potato sacks which were piled up behind the stalls.
The food market ended near the car park and gave way to flower and plant stalls and eventually stalls selling almost anything. On a Friday and Saturday the car park was closed and given to all sorts of stallholders. There were those who sold make up and skin preparations, organic preparations, tools and ironmongery but the one stall people always remember was the guy who sold crockery, his sales technique was amazing. He would stand at his pitch surrounded by plates, saucers and bowls, he would take a complete dinner service, plates, bowls and terrines in his arms and toss and throw them in the air whilst he continued with his sales pitch, I never saw him drop one item in all the years I visited the market.
Another stallholder specialised in linen and blankets, in fact Pam and I bought a pair of Witney blankets, in fact we still have them 47 years later.
Cheap jewellery, bangles, chains, beads in fact anything which would today be classed as Bling were on sale on many of the smaller stalls.
One stall I do really remember was run by a cockney called Jim and his brother and sold what was called ‘fancy goods’. I got friendly with Jim and discovered that during the summer he ran a ‘fancy goods’ stall on the landward end of Shanklin Pier. In 1964 I worked the season in a hotel in Shanklin and there renewed my acquaintance with Jim who offered me an evening job in the pier shop. This was a great place for watching the girls walking onto the pier and \i got paid for it as well! What did I do? As far as I can remember I served behind the counter, stocked the shelves and spent a lot of time with a school type pencil rubber carefully rubbing the ‘seconds’ stamp off of the soles of the rubber sandals made in Malawi.
All totally dishonest of course. I only worked the stall for that one season and when, come the winter, Jim moved backed to Charlotte Street to join his brother I lost contact with him.
Keep in touch
Not forgetting that before the Taylor's bought the corner shop on Station Rd. it was a Smith & Vospers bread and cake shop. Many an iced bun consumed from there. I was living but a hop, skip and a jump from the front door.
I cannot remember the name of the people who had the general stores on the opposite side of the road of that S&V shop that Keith Taylor's parents bought. Perhaps Keith can remember?
The name of the Esso Garage on the Havant Road was "Lettons". My father John Barlow always got his Petrol there for our 1936 Morris 8 and then our future cars until Lettons closed and was demolished. He always filled up with Esso Extra with two shots of Redex which was a fuel additive to help the engine. He also got the car serviced there. While on the subject of that section of Havant Road, there were some terraced houses as you came round from the top of the High Street into Havant Road. There was a woman who was bed ridden living in one of them. Her bedroom was on the ground floor and the window was always wide open with her bed near the window. I presume it was pretty much her only contact with the outside world. Why were people bed ridden, nobody ever seemed to know but I have recently had a hip replacement and up until the operation, I was virtually immobile. I can imagine that if hip replacements were not possible, I am sure you would definitely be bed ridden.
On the other side (north) of that section of Havant road and set up on a bank, was the back of Widley Street. I think the Havant Road side of the houses was the front of them but to my knowledge, you actually entered the houses from Widley Street. This was a fascinating street with houses that I suppose you would have to class as slums. I used to deliver papers morning and evening to nearly all these houses. A lot of them would have more than one paper and usually magazines. The paper bag seemed to weigh a ton at the start of the round. They all had fairly long narrow gardens, a lot with Rabbit Hutches and Chicken Coups and bits of old shed and little vegetable patches and flower beds. At the end of the terraced houses of Widley Street on the Havant Road side, there was a cobblers shop called Kelseys and my mother would often send us up there to have our shoes mended.
News and Views:
On this day 16th November 1960-1965
On 16/11/1960 the number one single was It's Now Or Never - Elvis Presley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Bootsie & Snudge (Granada) and the box office smash was Psycho. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Tottenham Hotspur were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 16/11/1961 the number one single was Little Sister/His Latest Flame - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Another Black & White Minstrell Show - George Mitchell Minstrels. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £13.25 and Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 16/11/1962 the number one single was Lovesick Blues - Frank Ifield and the number one album was West Side Story Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Lawrence of Arabia. A pound of today's money was worth £12.89 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 16/11/1963 the number one single was You'll Never Walk Alone - Gerry & the Pacemakers and the number one album was Please Please Me - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 16/11/1964 the number one single was (There's) Always Something There to Remind Me - Sandy Shaw and the number one album was A Hard Day's Night - Beatles. The top rated TV show was Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 16/11/1965 the number one single was Get Off Of My Cloud - Rolling Stones and the number one album was Liverpool. The top rated TV show was "Coronation Street (Granada) and the box office smash was The Sound of Music. A pound of today's money was worth £11.69. The big news story of the day was Take Your Pick (AR)".