At sea for four months – how about two-and-a-half years! – Nostalgia

On the corner of London Road and Croft Road, North End, was Pinks grocers. Spot the error in the caption saying it was at West End.
On the corner of London Road and Croft Road, North End, was Pinks grocers. Spot the error in the caption saying it was at West End.
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Pink & Sons was one of the most popular grocers in Portsmouth in its time. The company was founded by William Pink, later Sir William, in 1858 and the first shop was at 112 Commercial Road, Portsmouth.

By 1887 William had three sons, Ernest, Harold and Victor, whom he took into a partnership which led to the company having 42 branches.

No, not a modern photo of HMS Victory as she now looks but circa 1926 when she was being restored to her Battle of Trafalgar condition.

No, not a modern photo of HMS Victory as she now looks but circa 1926 when she was being restored to her Battle of Trafalgar condition.

Sir William was knighted in 1891, Queen Victoria herself doing the honours. Sir William was lord mayor of Portsmouth five times.

In this photograph we see the Pink’s branch at 29, London Road on the corner of Croft Road, North End. As can be seen, the caption says West End.

On the wall of Croft Road is a tea ad complete with prices. The most expensive was 1s 8d (9p) but not for a quarter but per pound! Bovril appears to have been popular back then. Can anyone remember working for Pink’s?

• A warship recently returned to Portsmouth Harbour after being at sea for four months. 

HMS Victory, the finished item. On July 17, 1928, George V  marked the restoration of HMS Victory, and this is how she looked. Picture: Barry Cox Collection.

HMS Victory, the finished item. On July 17, 1928, George V marked the restoration of HMS Victory, and this is how she looked. Picture: Barry Cox Collection.

When I talk to senior servicemen who served many years ago they all say ‘it makes me laugh Bob’. One reason was explained in a letter from  Mrs J K Taylor, of Purbrook. She says: ‘Our family lived in Smith’s View, Southsea. When my dad came home on leave after being away for, wait for it, two-and-a-half years, we would go to the Dew Drop and sit in the family room. I would have lemonade and crisps.’ 

Of course this was at a time when Britain had dockyards around the world, but two-and-a-half years without seeing her dad seems a little much. And what about the wives of these sailors. Did they complain? I doubt it.

Mrs Taylor also mentioned her mother’s sister Maud Reeves who lived in Stone Street. She had three sons, Robert, Harry and Billy. Maud’s husband, also Robert, worked in Long’s brewery. Maud is pictured with her sons about 1932. 

My father, born in 1920, was raised in Stone Street before the family moved to Milton in the late 1930s so I expect he would have known the Reeves. 

Maud Reeve with Robert, Harry and Billy in her arms. Stone Street, about 1932.

Maud Reeve with Robert, Harry and Billy in her arms. Stone Street, about 1932.

•  You might think the picture of HMS Victory was taken yesterday as this is much what she looks like today.The old lorry dates it though. It was taken between January 12, 1922, when Victory was put in dry dock to save her, and July 17, 1928, when she opened to the public.

All we can see are the fore, main and mizzen main masts awaiting the top, topgallant and royal masts plus associated yardarms and rigging. The dockyard riggers were so skilled, not to mention the shipwrights who rebuilt her.

Below is how she looked after restoration when George V unveiled a plaque commemorating her 175-year career.