NOSTALGIA WITH BOB HIND: 'I'd like the one at the top please,12th along from the left'

With the loss of so many butchers in Portsmouth, scenes such as this have been well and truly consigned to the history books.

Saturday, 2nd June 2018, 10:34 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th June 2018, 10:31 am

Although many still purchase fresh Christmas turkeys from butchers most buy a frozen bird from supermarkets.

Turkeys also arrive eviscerated, gutted and dressed, saving butchers all the hard work of years past.

This was the scene in Marmion Road, Southsea,in 1926 when Mr McCrearey had his very successful business and well before the days when meat had to be kept under cover.

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I have counted, yes I really have, more than  600 birds on display. Every one of them had to be plucked and gutted by hand at the back of the shop. I just wonder what they did with all those guts? There are 16 employees in the photograph.

I can just see some housewife asking for a turkey and wanting the one at the top of the racking.

I well remember helping out in Bernard's Butchers in North Street, Guildford, at this time of year in the early 1970s.

We had fresh turkeys, chickens, capons, ducks and pheasants. Hundreds of them. Unless we could  gut a chicken in 30 seconds and a turkey in little more than a minute, the manager reckoned those people were a waste of time and sent them packing. I kid you not.

I see the government has said that railway lines closed in the Beeching era of the 1960s will be looked at with a view to reopening some of them.

'¢ As a railway fan I was pleased to read this report but most of it is pie in the sky especially in Hampshire. Most of our branch lines were closed long before Mr Marples and  Dr Beeching.

The Mid-Hants branch from Alton to Winchester was left stranded when the main line from Woking to Winchester was electrified in 1967. The line from Woking to Alton was already electrified so it was decided to close the line between Alton and Winchester Junction. The Mid-Hants preserved steam-hauled service now runs from Alton to Alresford. 

Perhaps the  best line to reopen would be the Meon Valley from Fareham to Alton which closed in 1955. Since then the villages the line passed through have grown way beyond the populations of the 1950s. But several of the intermediate stations are now privately owned and much of the line at the northern end is now built on or returned to farmland.

Perhaps the branch line that should have reopened was the Fareham to Gosport line which closed to passengers in 1953. Thousands of houses have been built since those far off days and Gosport is crying out for a direct line to Fareham for connections to London. In the end a rapid bus route was built over much of the old rail line.

The much-missed Hayling Island branch from Havant to South Hayling could perhaps be reinstated. Even though Beeching made his cuts it was the trestle bridge which carried the line over Langstone Harbour that was the main reason for closure. As the line supposedly only made money during the summer, British Railways did not include a proposed new bridge in its plans.

I have spoken to an engineer who worked on the 'new' Langstone road bridge in the early 1950s. He told me there were plans drawn up to have a new railway bridge constructed parallel to the road bridge. Unfortunately this came to nothing, no doubt because of the cost.

I would have thought that by closing the harbour gap with massive sea defence boulders a bridge of lesser length could be constructed. Where the level crossing would be across Langstone Road, trains would come to a halt at the road, the barriers then dropping to let the train cross the road and the barriers rising again, all done within a minute or less.

Rose-tinted glasses? Perhaps, but wouldn't it be a great to have the line reinstated?