Cheap French eggs flooded Portsmouth market – Nostalgia

The days when you could buy English eggs at 20 for a shilling (5p.)  Picture: Robert James Collection.
The days when you could buy English eggs at 20 for a shilling (5p.) Picture: Robert James Collection.
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Last Thursday I published a photograph of Snook and Sons, the egg and butter importers of Oyster Street, Old Portsmouth, and I wondered where imported eggs and butter came from. 

Step forward  Robert James who has in his collection of Portsmouth memorabilia this sales list from Mr Snook.

How many of you can remember the General Post Office opposite Portsmouth & Southsea  railway station and how spacious it was?

How many of you can remember the General Post Office opposite Portsmouth & Southsea railway station and how spacious it was?

I see that the word ‘finest’ has been crossed out but selected eggs could be purchased at 6/- (30p) for 10 dozen. That works out at 20 eggs for a shilling (5p) which must have been very cheap even for the late 19th century. As can be seen the cheapest eggs came from Honfleurs the seaport town in Normandy, France.

I wonder how on earth Mr Snook made a profit after bringing the goods across the Channel? Perhaps he had his own boat. He must have bought thousands of eggs and not one with a little lion on it.

Normandy butter came in 36lb baskets but sold by the hundredweight (112lb)  Bread rolls were also sold in the weight of 2lb. You young ones, please ask grandma what I’m talking about!

• How many of you remember doing your mailing business in the Commercial Road General Post Office opposite Portsmouth & Southsea railway station? In this photograph we are in the spacious queuing area. Although the ceiling  appears to have been modernised the counters still have the original wood panelling. I think this is sometime in the 1970s but may be a little later.

Before Winston Churchill Avenue terminated at Victoria Road North traffic passed along Bradford Road. Picture: Robert James Collection.

Before Winston Churchill Avenue terminated at Victoria Road North traffic passed along Bradford Road. Picture: Robert James Collection.

I believe it closed in 1977 when the new Slindon Street office opened. Now there is not a post office in the city centre that I know of.

• Can you, like me, remember when Bradford Road crossed Somers Road into Blackfriars Road and continued to Greetham Street?

When the avenue was built in the early 1970s (I always wonder why it was never prefixed with ‘Sir’) the road cut Somers Town in half. There was supposed to have been an east-west road built all the way to Milton but it never happened. Before the avenue could be completed from the west as far as Victoria Road North roundabout it ran into Bradford Road and cut Somers Road in two. 

In the bottom right of the photograph is the roundabout which now has the mosque beside it.

Looking south over the old Portsbridge pre-1924. Picture: Robert James Collection

Looking south over the old Portsbridge pre-1924. Picture: Robert James Collection

• Where traffic now flows continuously there was a time of peace and quiet until a tramcar rattled along. The scene on the facing page is at Portsbridge, Hilsea, looking south. In the distance are the Hilsea Arches, part of Hilsea Lines.

The arches were demolished  in about 1919 so we can date the photograph before that period. On July 14, 1927 the new 80ft wide Portsbridge was opened giving much-needed better access on to Portsea Island.