Boys punished for tin tray antics on snow-covered coal mountains

Fogdens at 27, North Street, Havant in the early 1970s.
Fogdens at 27, North Street, Havant in the early 1970s.
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Ihave gone outside the city for today’s page, in fact to North Street, Havant which at one time was just like a high street in any provincial town.

North Street used to be part of the main road from Hayling Island to Horndean and on to Petersfield and London of course.

There was a railway level crossing at the top of the street until 1936/37 when the rebuilding of Havant station eliminated it and the main road out of the town moved a quarter of a mile westward.

There was even a cinema, the Empire, built in 1913.

So successful was the Empire that a new larger auditorium was built in East Street. The replacement opened in August 1936 and again was called the Empire.

The old building was used to store torpedoes during the war. After the war it became builders’ merchants Reeves.

In 1970 it became Havant library. It was demolished in 1989 when the Meridian Centre was built.

Several of the old shops along the street were Ernest Allen, a jewellers and E Burge, a family grocer and a million miles from the Waitrose store that opened opposite when North Street was rebuilt.

Between the two stores mentioned above was Fogden’s owned by Andrew Richard Fogden.

Andrew was brought up in 62, Somers Road, Portsmouth, where his father ran a drapery shop.

Learning the trade he went out on his own and opened his own drapery shop at 27, North Street, Havant, in the mid-1930s.

His wife Ellen Sarah (née Gibbs) worked in Bulls, a general store and hardware shop. They met and married in 1939 when she became a partner in the shop.

Their son Chris contacted me and told me that Baker’s, a much larger store, opened in West Street in competition.

On bank holiday weekends, he was sent around the corner to see if they had opened. If they had then his dad opened his shop as well.

Andrew died in 1959 and Ellen continued trading until the early 1970s when she retired.

The shop changed hands several times after that with different trades trying their luck.

It was eventually demolished with the rest of that side of the street when the Meridian Centre was built.

Chris tells me that when he was a baby his mother would leave him outside the shop in a pram along with others while the mothers shopped.

His wife was in another pram and in later years they married, a case of a very early courtship indeed!

n My recent photograph of White Hart Road, Old Portsmouth with the power station in the background was seen by my colleague Tim King.

He told me of some of the advantages from its use.

Firstly, the water used to cool it was discharged at Sallyport under the concrete structure enclosed by railings that jutted out into the sea.

It was known as ‘the bunny’ and when Tim was at Portsmouth Grammar School he and his pals used to swim all year round in the outfall as it was like a thermal spring.

The water was, as far as they knew, perfectly clean. Well, nobody died .

It was also a favourite place for fishing.

Tim recalls extra high spring tides when bass used to wash under the railings and across the concrete giving anglers some very easy catches.

Secondly, when it snowed – and the winter of 1947 was bitter – the boys used to ‘borrow’ tin trays from the refectory and toboggan down the steep sides of the coal tips in the power station,.

All went well until they were spotted by a housemaster from one of the school windows and, as it was strictly against school rules, swift and painful punishment put an end to their winter sports.