NOSTALGIA: Hazards of rent collectingÂ in Leigh Park
Last Saturday's aerial map of Leigh Park reminded Alan Smith of his parents' rent card which he still has in his possession. Â
The first book in the collection is forÂ 1956/57 when the rent was Â£1 13s 7d a week ( Â£1.68 today), but there was a 10s (50p) rebate, making it Â£1 3s 7d a week (Â£1.18). This included general ratesÂ of Â£10 18s 10d ( Â£10.94) for the half-year.Â
There was no rent office soÂ itÂ was collected weekly by aÂ door-to-doorÂ collector who woreÂ aÂ leather satchel for the cash and his collection book, into which the rent card was placed in such a way that the entry in the collection book was duplicated into the rent book.
Alan remembers the rent man was called Â 'Boo Boo' because he always had sweets in his satchel and '˜he used to give us a sweet or two, when he called'.
Alan's mother recalls a timeÂ when one of the rent men was invited into a neighbour's house for a glass of home-made rhubarb wine and he may have had more than one glass as he was unable to finish his round.Â
By the time they moved out of their house in June 1964, the rent had increased to Â£2 16s 9d (Â£2.84) inclusive of 11s 10d (59p) rates per week. Â
By thenÂ the rent office in Dunsbury Way had opened and tenants had to go there toÂ pay. This might have been because of the amountsÂ thoseÂ men and women were walking around with in their money bags. The office's opening hours wereÂ 8.45am-12.45pm and 2.15-4pm. An hour-and-a-half for lunch? Unheard of today.
'¢Â All smiles from these sailors serving in the battleship HMS Duke of York in 1947. Dave Aldous sent the picture in whichÂ he is fifth from the left. How many of these mostly young men had been in the navy in the warÂ and seen action? If you recognise yourself please let me know.
'¢Â This fascinating photograph, above,Â comes from Barry Cox who believes it shows a railway carriage on part of the oldÂ viaduct that ran from Portsmouth Harbour station across the water to South Railway Jetty. It was subjected to heavy bombing during the war.
The swing bridge was Â destroyed and no doubt part of the viaduct as well. Barry believes this picture is of a railway carriage still on part of the viaduct. I think that on the right ofÂ the carriage there appear to be buffersÂ and the carriage is on a floating platformÂ waiting to be offloaded.
'¢Â OlderÂ readers might remember shopping inÂ Landport Drapery Bazaar (LDB) on the junction of Commercial Road and Arundel Street as it looked before it was bombedÂ on January 10, 1941. Who/what was JÂ Parkhouse, as seen above the corner window?Â