No. 140-144 High Street

No. 140-144 High Street
Nos. 140-144 High Street (Charpentier, 1842)

These five buildings are close to the north end of High Street, directly opposite the entrance to Cambridge Barracks, which, one might reasonably surmise, would have led to their inclusion in some of the photographs of the area. Sadly, apart from the Charpentier drawing from 1842 on the right, there are no known images of any of these properties. We shall therefore be unusually dependent on the Ordnance Survey map of the period. The section of the map covering these properties is shown below and it seems apparent that some interesting changes occurred to two of them between 1842 and 1861.
The map gives us no additional information about No. 140 but next door, where Charpentier shows No. 141 as a typical residential property, the map indicates that it was a public house, The Prince Consort, in 1861. On his history website Stephen Pomeroy records that there is mention of a public house at No. 141 in records from 1863 when it was described as a beer retailer rather than a public house. This date can be pushed further back to at least 1859 when it appeared in the Post Office Directory as such.

No. 140-144 High Street
OS Map of 1861

No. 142 presents us with something of a conundrum. The map shows the property footprint had a partially convex front wall, a feature that is not hinted at in the Charpentier drawing. The left hand side of the facade is contiguous with the front wall of No. 141 and contains a door leading through a tunnel to Smith's Court. The curved section of the frontage almost certainly represents the 'shop' area. We are probably looking at a building which has a normal flat front but which has been extended at ground floor level to accommodate a curved window which terminates at the right hand side in a point some feet in front of the main wall. This may seem an odd thing to do but examining the development of No. 143 suggests a motive for doing so.
For No. 143 the evidence strongly suggests that the 1842 building sat back from the pavement by as much as eight feet with a forecourt enclosed by an iron railing. We can be confident this is so as the Charpentier draughtsman has shown part of the left side of No. 144 which could only happen if it wasn't obscured by it's neighbour. The OS Map tells us that the building footprint in 1861 extended all the way to the pavement but that doesn't necessarily mean that the original building has been replaced. It has been common practice over at least the last 150 years to extend the ground floor of residential properties across forecourts, or even gardens in order to maximise available space and present a shop front close to the passer-by. If this were done then it would make sense to extend the premises so that the front wall was inline with No. 144 rather than No. 142 as that would give them an extra three or four feet. Once this had been done, the owners of No. 142 would feel quite entitled to extend their own shop front to line up with the leading edge of No. 143.
All this is in contrast to No. 144 which may have been completely unaltered even though it too was a beerhouse in 1861.
That two Public Houses and two beerhouses should spring up in this area around 1860 is very probably related to their immediate proximity to the barracks across the road. The nearest building was actually the officers quarters which was built in 1856 and although those particular occupants probably wouldn't have frequented such establishments the extension of the barracks to the very edge of High Street may well have facilitated the flow of ordinary soldiers onto High Street.
The OS Map can at least give us good measurements for the front wall widths of each building. They are 10'9", 15'3", 13'4", 16'0" and 19'6" for Nos 140-144 respectively. The heights of each will have to be determined by comparison to the adjacent buildings to the south. A comparitive height of 28'0" will be used for all five as there is insufficient evidence to be more accurate.
Documentary Evidence
Slaters Directory (1852) - Ann Godwin, tobacconist, 140 High Street; James Calcott, artist, 142 High Street; John Aldridge, surgeon-dentist, 143 High Street; Major Bradshawe, 144 High Street;
Hunt's Directory (1852) - Ann Godwin, grocer, 140 High Street; James Calcott, artist, 142 High Street; William Saunders, chemist, 143 High Street; John Aldridge, dentist, 143 High Street; Mrs. Major White & Miss, 144 High street;
Post Office Directory (1859) - William Leverett, Prince Consort, 141 High Street; Henry Miles, Duke of Cambridge, 143 High Street;
Kelly's Directory (1859) - Dd. Sheppard, shopkeeper, 142 High Street; Henry Miles, builder and beer retailer, 143 High Street;
Simpson's Directory (1863) - William Leverett, beer retailer, 141 High Street; Jehu Kite, beer retailer, 143 High Street; Edward North, beer retailer, 144 High Street;
Harrod's (1865) Directory - David Sheppard, greengrocer, 140 High Street; William Leverett, The Prince Consort, 141 High Street; Henry White, beer retailer, 142 High Street; Joseph Griffith, Duke of Cambridge, 143 High Street;
The 1861 Census records:-
Schedule 131 - Phoebe Hughes (Married, 28) and sons Thomas (5) and John (3);
Schedule 132 - Thomas Coulling (Rigger in Dockyard,32), his wife Francis (35), daughter Elizabeth Woodcock (11) and son Robert Woodcock (9);
Schedule 133 - John Letty (Valet, 24) and his sister Ellen (24);
Schedule 134 - William Leverett (Master Mariner, 34), his wife Sarah (34), daughter Ellen (9), son Henry (6), daughters Elizabeth (4), Emma (2) and Sarah (6mo) with John Guncill (wife's father, pilot, 72);
Schedule 135 - David Sheppard (Greengrocer, 57) his wife Mary (43) and Emma Thompson (Step-daughter, 15);
Schedule 136 - John Billing (Beer retailer, 19) and his wife Emma (18);
Schedule 137 - John Kite (Beer shop keeper, 35), his wife Mary (27) and daughters Mary (8), Sarah (5), Eliza (3) and Anne (1);
Schedule 138 - Edward North (Retailer of beer, 68), his wife Susan (62), his grandson Charles (2), servant Edith Smith (23) and lodgers John Webb (67), Edward Jones (35), John Newbury (56) and Anne Newbury (Wife of John, 44)
It is by no means certain that the census schedules above all relate to the five buildings here discussed; there seem to be too many schedules especially as most principals are termed 'Head' (of household) rather than say 'Lodger'. Some of them are certainly out of order, a factor that was also noted in the discussion of Nos. 133 to 139. We can be reasonably confident that schedules 134 and 135 refer to Nos. 141 to 142 High Street as both William Leverett and David Sheppard are named in the directories, but it is curious that Leverett described himself as a master mariner in the census having been named as landlord of the Prince Consort three years earlier.
We can also be certain that John Kite and Edward North lived at Nos. 143 and 144 respectively, but the residential addresses of the others is not known.
The information derived from the directories must be viewed circumspectly as some of it is plainly wrong - for instance William Saunders' address is given as 143 whereas it is known that he actually lived at No. 113 and John Aldridge is recorded at No. 143 when he was in fact living at No. 145. David Sheppard's location is variously recorded at No. 142 (1859) and No. 140 (1865), but this may mean that he actually moved his business as Henry White seems to have taken over as beerseller at No. 142 by 1865.
In the Portsmouth Paper No. 38 "Public Houses and Beerhouses in 19C Portsmouth" the author Ray Riley gives a comprehensive account of the rise of the beerhouse from 1830 showing that there was a notable expansion of their numbers around 1860. This ties in with revelation above that four beerhouses were established opposite Cambridge Barracks in the years before and soon after that date. The fact that two were called Public Houses need not concern us unduly as Riley shows that opening a beerhouse was a short cut to obtaining highly lucrative licences to run a Public House. The picture we have built up from the documentary evidence merely shows this process in action. There was probably little to differentiate between the four properties here discussed.
The presence of the four beerhouses presents us with a problem not previously encountered on High Street, namely, the nature of their appearance. Some of the directories make little distinction between beerhouses and inns or public houses but others list them separately, the impression being that the former are of a lower status which in turn may mean that they were no more than ordinary residential properties used for the purpose of selling ale. Riley suggests that this was indeed the case in many instances. It would not be unreasonable therefore to model them as such.
In the case of No. 142 however, we know that it was occupied by David Sheppard, a greengrocer, before being converted for the sale of beer prior to 1865 and so the shopkeeper's bay window may have been preserved, if indeed that is the correct interpretation of the footprint on the OS Map. The suggestion made above that the ground floor to No. 143 had been extended such that it's frontage was adjacent to No. 144 seems probable in the absence of any other explanation for the footprints on the OS Map.
Without any pictorial image of these properties available the nature of the facades will be pure guesswork, but there is one drawing in existence of the buildings to the north of No. 144 which show them to have rendered surfaces and on the basis of this evidence these properties will be modelled as if the same

Snapshots from the Model (Nos. 140-144 High Street)

All images are copyright © Tim Backhouse. Click on the thumbnails for full size versions.

Old Portsmouth Model Images