Web Page 2028
22nd February 2014
Top Picture: 1960’s record shop
Bottom Picture: 78 rpm needles
Entertainment in Portsmouth in 1963
Throughout Portsmouth there were many, many music venues, some were seven days a week others one or two evenings. Some of the larger venues had resident bands. For example the Clarence Pier Ballroom always featured Arthur Ward’s band on a Saturday night. These were the days when unknown ‘live’ acts would perform all over the south coast, some made it into pop history but most were totally forgotten. What happened to ‘ Four Hits and a Miss’, the Southern Sounds and Rory Storm (I the Cadillac’s. Probably the best known group, apart from Manfred Mann, to make it at the time was Dave Dee & the Bostons, later to become Dave Dee, Dozy, etc, etc.
To dress right for these evenings out at the local dancehalls the lads of the time would make their way to one of the “Shirt King” men’s fashion shops either the one in Charlotte Street or the one in Cosham High Street which is the one I used to frequent. I remember clearly buying a Black Watch Tartan tab collar shirt. This, of course, was before the popularity of Combat Jackets and Parka’s from Ben Grubbs.
One of the other major venues in the area was the Savoy, a first floor dance hall that hosted the likes of Eden Kane, Marty Wilde, Kenny Lynch, Mike Berry and later on with the popularisation of Trad Jazz the likes of Acker Bilk and his Paramount Jazz Band, the Clyde Valley Stompers and Bob Wallis and his Storyville Jazz Men. Most of these concerts I was in the audience. I was also a regular at the Railway Jazz Club in the Railway Hotel, Walmer Road in Fratton. The big problem with the Savoy for me was that if I was not quick off the mark at the end of the evening I stood a very good chance of missing the last bus back to Farlington which meant that I would have to get the only bus that was left, and this went to the North End Bus Depot in Gladys Avenue and from there I would walk home. If I missed that bus it was either a very long walk or a cold night sleeping under South Parade Pier, especially in the winter at high tide! Then catching the first bus home in the morning.
But many other sites have covered all this many times before but one thing does come to mind was the trade in second hand records. In Arundel Street there was a very strange shop, The House of Wax which was run by Mrs Florence Titmus. This was originally opened in the days of 78rpm records, hence the name. However over the years they progressed to 45’s and LP’s. I was a regular visitor and actually remember buying a couple of second hand LP’s in there many years ago. It was a double fronted shop with rows and rows of record racks all marked out in the different genres. Not only did they sell second hand records they bought them too but for Mrs Titmus or her manager to even entertain buying a record, it and its cover had to be in almost pristine condition. Something that my records never were, they were too heavily used!
Whilst a little further along Commercial at number 243 Lake Road was another such dealer, the well-known shop called Haskell & Green, they always seemed more expensive to me so I rarely visited there.
Both the House of Wax and Haskell & Green were Mecca’s for all things audio. It was here you could buy a new stylus or even a new disposable needle for your 78’s rpm. Record cleaners and cloths, record cases and racks, audio plugs and stylus cleaners, in fact as I said anything audio.
Within this area bounded by Lake Road and Arundel Street, Commercial Road and Kingston Road in the early sixties there were dozens of radio dealers, second hand shops and general dealers all of which were swept away when the modern City Centre development began when the old bomb sites and poor housing were replaced by tall flats and what is today called Social Housing.
I always enjoyed wandering, as a teenager, in and out of these shops rooting through the piles of objects for sale. You never knew what you could find. But, however I looked, I never found any thing of value lots of pieces of interest but never anything of value.
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Hope you are staying safe and dry, another day another storm!
Your blog this week got me thinking about the weather and smells! I do remember the smell of the milk, rubber mats and the very peculiar smell in the dinner hall which, at Court Lane, was at the back of the school. I didn't have school dinners very often but when it was necessary the money went to school in an Oxo tin.
Smells, of course, are very evocative, my earliest school days were in the Congregational Church where the smallest children were taught. The coat pegs were in the toilets and every day started with the smell of damp wood, the building was entirely wooden, with an over tone of drains. Clearly not the best of starts for a five year old and strong enough to have stayed with me for a lifetime!
I am sure the weather was much colder than today, I have a photograph of me ready for school as a five year old and I am wearing a big thick woollen coat, gloves on a long elastic threaded through the sleeves of course, a long black and gold scarf (the original colours of the infant and junior school) wound around my neck several times, and a gold and black striped woolly hat complete with bobble. No outfit would be complete without the thick knee length socks and Start Rite shoes. Did we really need all this clothing, the heating was probably not that bad as when we got to school all this outer clothing had to come off - no wonder we needed coat pegs. Looking at the youngsters today going back and forth to school, they are either made of tougher stuff than we were or the weather is significantly warmer!
News and Views:
On this Day 22nd February 1960-1965
On 22/02/1960 the number one single was Why - Anthony Newley and the number one album was South Pacific Soundtrack. The top rated TV show was not listed and the box office smash was Some Like It Hot. A pound of today's money was worth £13.68 and Burnley were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the weekwas USSR wins Winter Olympics
On 22/02/1961 the number one single was Sailor - Petula Clark and the number one album was Tottenham Hotspur. The top rated TV show was The Army Game (Granada) and the box office smash was One Hundred and One Dalmations. A pound of today's money was worth £not very interesting and 13.25 were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the day was Bootsie & Snudge (Granada).
On 28/02/1962 the number one single was Rock-a-Hula Baby/Can't Help Falling In Love - Elvis Presley and the number one album was Blue Hawaii - Elvis Presley. 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 Ipswich Town were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions. The big news story of the weekwas John Glenn is 1st US astronaut to orbit earth.
On 22/02/1963 the number one single was The Wayward Wind - Frank Ifield and the number one album was Summer Holiday - Cliff Richard & the Shadows. The top rated TV show was Labour Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was The Great Escape. A pound of today's money was worth £12.64 and Everton were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 22/02/1964 the number one single was Diane - Bachelors and the number one album was With the Beatles - The Beatles. The top rated TV show was Labour Party Political Broadcast (all channels) and the box office smash was Dr Strangelove. A pound of today's money was worth £12.24 and Liverpool were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.
On 22/02/1965 the number one single was I'll Never Find Another You - Seekers and the number one album was Rolling Stones Number 2 - The Rolling Stones. 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 and Manchester United were on the way to becoming the Season's Division 1 champions.The big news story of the day was Goldie the Eagle escapes London Zoo.