Waiter saved until he had enough to buy Portsmouth cafe

Posing outside the Swiss Cafe in Edinburgh Road.

Posing outside the Swiss Cafe in Edinburgh Road.

The Milton Arms

Are we calling time on our pubs?

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Afew weeks ago I published a photo of the old Swiss Café in Edinburgh Road, Landport, Portsmouth.

I then received an e-mail from Janet Matthews, the great-granddaughter of the owner Baptiste Albertolli and his wife Louisa.

Continental Cafe owned by the brother of Batiste, Bartolomeo.  It was located in Commercial Road  next to the White Swan and the Theatre Royal.

Continental Cafe owned by the brother of Batiste, Bartolomeo. It was located in Commercial Road next to the White Swan and the Theatre Royal.

Janet says the whole family was involved in running the restaurant.

Baptiste arrived in Britain from Switzerland in the late 1800s and worked as a waiter in London until he had saved enough to buy his own establishment.

Heaven knows how he did that on a waiter’s wages, but he managed it and started a business with his brother Bartolomeo in Portsmouth.

Bartolomeo then launched his own restaurant, The Continental, in Commercial Road next to the White Swan and the Theatre Royal in what’s now Guildhall Walk.

That business continued until the early 1970s when they gave it up because of a compulsory purchase order served as part of the redevelopment of the city centre.

Has anyone any memories of the family or two restaurants?

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