NOSTALGIA: End of the road for horse-drawn industry in city

Funnells' horse-drawn wagonettes outside Clarence Pier, Southsea, in the early 2000s.
Funnells' horse-drawn wagonettes outside Clarence Pier, Southsea, in the early 2000s.
Broken down on the hill. A different angle to Tuesdays photograph and we can see the RAC/AA man attending the car on the left. Picture: Barry Cox Collection

NOSTALGIA: Breakdown or accident on Portsdown Hill?

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I asked if anyone could provide an insight into the history of the horse-drawn vehicles shown here at Clarence Pier, Southsea, and whether the picture could be dated.

George Madgwick came up with the answer saying the men in the photo were the Funnell brothers, Malcolm and Tony.

Russell Street, Portsmouth, with the Swears & Wells shop on the right.

Russell Street, Portsmouth, with the Swears & Wells shop on the right.

They had the wagonettes especially made, each to carry eight people who were then given a ride along the seafront and around Old Portsmouth.

George says: ‘My family, the Madgwicks, had the concession first during the 1990s with carriages and an old London horse-drawn double-decker bus.

‘The Funnells took over in 2002 and continued successfully until 2007 when council restrictions made it impossible for them to continue.

‘That was a sad day for the horse-drawn history associated with Portsmouth. So the picture was probably taken in the early 2000s.’

In this pre-war view of central  Portsmouth there is a glimpse of the Empire Palace music hall, Trafalgar Institue, Madden's restaurant, the Evening News offices in Stanhope Road, the Connaught Drill Hall and Sarah Robsinson's 'Sailor's Welcome', where a roof sign warns 'PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD', while another on the wall simply says 'WELCOME'!

In this pre-war view of central Portsmouth there is a glimpse of the Empire Palace music hall, Trafalgar Institue, Madden's restaurant, the Evening News offices in Stanhope Road, the Connaught Drill Hall and Sarah Robsinson's 'Sailor's Welcome', where a roof sign warns 'PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD', while another on the wall simply says 'WELCOME'!

And George adds: ‘These days the Funnell boys still drive their horses around the town but just for their own pleasure.’

•My picture of Russell Street in the heart of Portsmouth and the Swears & Wells furriers shop, brought memories flooding back for Rosemary Malley, of Copnor.

I asked if readers could remember the shops in Russell Street.

When Rosemary was in her mid-teens, in the late 1950s, she caught a bus from North End to the Guildhall to her job in a solictor’s office in Hampshire Terrace.

She says: ‘The bus stops were then on the pavement in front of the Guildhall – there was no Guildhall Square in those days .

‘My bus turned right beside the Guildhall passing the gas company building on the corner on its way to the dockyard.

‘Russell Street was opposite the Guildhall behind the statue of Queen Victoria which was roughly in the same place as it is today.

‘A few shops stood in Russell Street including Swears & Wells and Smarts furnishers.’

Rosemary continues: ‘A hardware shop similar to Timothy Whites, but not, I think, called Timothy Whites, stood on the corner of Russell Street.

‘When I took a short cut through to the back of the Terraces I used to admire the luxurious fur coats in Swears & Wells but had no interest in Smarts’ furniture or the hardware shops,’ says Rosemary.