BOB HIND: How ways of doing business have changed from the old days

Two clerks on duty in James Taylors offices in Old Portsmouth. 			 (Robert James collection)
Two clerks on duty in James Taylors offices in Old Portsmouth. (Robert James collection)

THIS WEEK IN 1996: Southsea beaches miss out on blue flag

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In Saturday’s Weekend, I published a photograph of local businessman James Taylor in his office in High Street, Old Portsmouth.

It’s somewhat sparse by today’s standards perhaps with what appears to be only very dim lighting.

The way it has become on the Portsmouth route to Waterloo in recent weeks. (Robert James collection)

The way it has become on the Portsmouth route to Waterloo in recent weeks. (Robert James collection)

A clerk to the rear is checking ledgers while what looks like the chief clerk poses to the front of photograph.

Both are dressed smartly, as was the rule in those far-off days.

On the desk is a typewriter of the period and isn’t it marvellous to see an office without a computer in sight?

Below is an enlarged shot of it.

An evocative look at the Post Office in Commercial Road in Edwardian times 
(Robert James  collection)

An evocative look at the Post Office in Commercial Road in Edwardian times (Robert James collection)

Of course, computers were not invented back then and everything was written by hand – no doubt with the very best copperplate hand writing.

When I looked at the photograph of the office I thought the machine on the front desk was one of those early recording phonograph cylinders.

It was not until I enlarged the photo did I see it was a typewriter – and what a contraption it is.

The massive keys are behind the typebar and must have made the user’s fingers truly ache by the end of the day.

n Below is a postcard cartoon from the early years of the last century with a cynical look at the state of the railways on the route to London.

With recent alterations between Portsmouth and London Waterloo this cartoon is very apt.

I don’t know what the cartoonist had to be so cynical about as travelling to London by train must have been the fastest way to arrive.

n Here we see an evocative scene from Edwardian times.

It is a look across Commercial Road from the Portsmouth & Southsea station which was then called the Town Station.

There was lots of greenery to brighten the scene with waiting carriages.

No doubt they were from the up-market Southsea area, ready to pick up passengers.

To the left is a shelter of some kind – perhaps a cabman’s rest area?

The Post Office has since been demolished of course.

New student accommodation has now been built on part of the foundations.