It’s amazing the trades that were carried out within the city and close to houses in years gone by.
I’ve been taken to task by Les Holmes of Milton over the remarks made by a reader about Coopers slaughterhouse in Buckland, Portsmouth.
The general foreman was Leslie’s father, Arthur Holmes, nicknamed ‘Tiny’ as he was six feet tall and weighed 22 stone.
The skin factory was located to the rear of the Landport Drapery Bazaar in Lake Road and the houses in Merry Row.
There was an office, boiler room, rest/cloakroom and white-washed walls in the factory.
Many women worked there and stood with a mahogany scrape-board which was used to remove slime and fat from intestines.
From there they were made into bundles and placed into a brine, or put on to a frame and air-dried. This was then used as cat gut for tennis rackets.
The yard foreman was a Mr G Brombey, who had a real peg-leg – just a wooden pole from the knee.
All the people who worked there wore long rubber aprons and clogs or Wellingtons owing to the concrete floor and constant running water.
After a German night raid the business was moved to Wicor Mill Lane, Portchester where bones from butchers’ shops were converted into fertiliser called Plucrop.
The residents of Portchester called the air the ‘Portchester pong’ owing to the smell pervading the area if the wind was in the wrong direction.
Sadly Les’s father was killed when a lone wartime bomber released its load on to a field just when he was walking across it to go on firewatching duties.
Some of the people who worked in the Merry Row site were Mr and Mrs Walsh and the Pinhorn sisters.