Things could only get better – then fire struck

It took three years to rebuild the Co-op after the fire and then this happened ' bombed by the Germans in January 1941
It took three years to rebuild the Co-op after the fire and then this happened ' bombed by the Germans in January 1941
Whisky, a former ships dog who had six owners in his lifetime.

Just a tot, but Whisky’s tricks kept people amused for hours

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The years after the First World War were hard for many people and they got even worse when the great depression of the early 1930s came along.

In Portsmouth the Portsea Island Mutual Co-operative Society did not recover its pre-war prosperity until 1933.

The main Co-op emporium in Fratton Road was destroyed by fire in July 1934. No-one was injured but the main goods department, main offices, grocery, warehouse, stables and all stock was destroyed.

The main Co-op emporium in Fratton Road was destroyed by fire in July 1934. No-one was injured but the main goods department, main offices, grocery, warehouse, stables and all stock was destroyed.

That was when it opened its grocery, drapery and hairdressing stores opposite its main building in Fratton Road, Portsmouth.

But disaster soon struck on July 20, 1934, when a fire destroyed that main building in one of the biggest blazes in Portsmouth’s history.

The cause of the fire was never discovered, but one theory is that it was caused by the effect of the hot sun through the glass roof, setting alight the dividend checks laid out for counting.

The fondly-remembered half-yearly ‘divi’ payment allowed families living on the breadline to buy ‘luxury’ goods such as children’s shoes or a winter coat.