I mentioned not getting out much but there’s nothing I like more than an afternoon on the Third Floor of the Library checking the Archives. Today I’ve been looking at Kelly’s Directory of Pompey from 50 years ago.
Among the surprises, I found Verrecchia’s in London Road but not the Guildhall Square – had it gone by then? There was no Birdcage Club under “Ballrooms” but it was the lone entry under “Dancing Halls” – presumably a leftover from its days as the Court School?
I found Shirt King and Smartwear but under boutiques for the girls, only Polly Peck. In Osborne Road was the Green Mask and surprisingly, there were only 10 cinemas but no fewer than 28 taxi firms.
Of particular interest to me was what might be called broadly ‘alternative’ healing. In Chichester Road there was a Mr Reeves who offered acupuncture and massage, in Southsea Mrs Cannings was the one Osteopath and in Osborne Road was the Radiant Health Centre with Delmonico’s coffee bar next door and Minn’s Music next to them. The only other health food shop listed was Rundle Johnson in Arundel Street.
It strikes me that this is one of the biggest changes since the late 1960s. These days there are lots of health food stores, herbalists, vegan stores, acupuncturists and (generally) healing centres and healers who offer an alternative to GPs and the NHS.