The days when the Co-op had a ‘head of stables’ on its books

William Gosslinn with horse and Smith & Vosper cart.
William Gosslinn with horse and Smith & Vosper cart.
A steam car at Bishops Waltham station about 1910. It was the terminus of the 4.5-mile branch line that connected it to the main line at Botley. It closed to passengers in January 1933.

NOSTALGIA: Hampshire’s long lost branch lines

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Hot on the heels (hooves?) of Hick’s and Co the ‘Fratton Park bakers’, comes Smith & Vosper – bread bakers and pastrycooks.

Trevor Coles has been following my articles about the former which included yesterday’s pictures of the Hick’s award-winning delivery horses and carts displayed on Southsea Common.

William Gosslinn during the First World War when he served in the Royal Veterinary Corps.

William Gosslinn during the First World War when he served in the Royal Veterinary Corps.

Trevor says: ‘I believe my grandfather, William Frederick Gosslinn, who at the time worked for Smith & Vospers , was possibly at the same event on Southsea Common .

‘I’m not sure of the year but it was definitely pre-1914.’

Trevor sent me these two pictures of William’s prizewinning rigs, one of which claimed first place.

He adds: ‘During the First World War he served with the Royal Army Veterinary Corps .

Another Smith & Vosper cart stocked with loaves, a magnificent horse and William Gosslinn.

Another Smith & Vosper cart stocked with loaves, a magnificent horse and William Gosslinn.

‘After the war and up to his death in 1946 he was in charge of the Co-op Stables in Elmshurst Road, Gosport.

‘Apparently, according to family history, Tom Parker, of Parker’s Dairy fame, tried to headhunt him from the Co-op, but my grandfather would have none of it .’