Take a look inside Portsmouth's first vegan shop - which opened back in 1984

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This year was dubbed the The Year of the Vegan by The Economist magazine, recognising the fact that more and more people are shunning not just meat but all dairy produce.

But the health benefits and lessened environment impact of veganism was a long way from the mainstream in the 1980s.

Time For Change in Fawcett Road, Southsea. Picture: Michael Perryment

Time For Change in Fawcett Road, Southsea. Picture: Michael Perryment

However, in 1984, one shopkeeper in Portsmouth decided to change all that.

Michael Perryment, known as Mick, set up Time For Change in Fawcett Road, Southsea; having spent five years as a vegan, he realised the need for a shop that catered to the needs of people like him.

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He said: ‘There was a group of us, eight in total, who had to bulk-buy vegan products and we were frustrated that there was nothing in the area for people like us.

Inside the Time For Change store, which was open from 1984 until 2002. Picture: Michael Perryment

Inside the Time For Change store, which was open from 1984 until 2002. Picture: Michael Perryment

‘When we started off things were a bit slow, and people were asking for things like vegan cheese, milk and so on – we tried to get in as many substitutes as we could but it was difficult back then.’

The store closed in 2002, but Mr Perryment – who now lives in Gosport – believes it set a precedent for vegan shops in Portsmouth.

SEE ALSO: Portsmouth Vegan Festival shows how veganism is so much more than just salads and fruit

‘I suppose it was simply ahead of its time,’ he said.

Michael Perryment with co-worker Kev outside Time For Change in Fawcett Road. Picture: Michael Perryment

Michael Perryment with co-worker Kev outside Time For Change in Fawcett Road. Picture: Michael Perryment

‘Back in the day, being vegan was very niche – you didn’t have things like soya milk, vegan margarine or vegan cheese.

'Even to be vegetarian was thought to be a bit weird; people would always ask me what I had in my sandwiches, for example.

‘But it was a refreshing change not to have to check the labels on everything.’

Mick is still working part-time in the city, now at Southsea Health Shop in Albert Road.

The rapid expanding of veganism across the UK is something that has certainly put a smile on his face.

He said: ‘I’m really pleased with how far it's come, especially in the past few years or so.

‘It started out so small, but now it's no longer something to be afraid of shouting about.

‘It's definitely made life so much easier, and I would like to think that we helped to pave the way for that down here in Southsea.’