Nos. 67 - 69 High Street

Nos.67-69 High Street
Nos. 67-69 High Street

These three buildings have been grouped together as they seem to have been linked in some way. According to the drawing from Charpentier (see right) they are of identical height and the roof of the outer two structures extend over part of the middle one. Photographic evidence for their appearance in 1860 is almost non-existent, which is surprising given their prime location opposite the Square Tower.
A detail from the only photograph showing these properties from the front can be seen below, but it was taken a long time after our target date. The presence of overhead trolley bus cables put the earliest date of this image as 1934, and since the buildings were demolished during WW2 the latest it could have been taken would be the early 1940s.

67-69 High Street from Battery Row
67-69 High Street from Battery Row

Despite the late date of the photograph it is of great help in showing that numbers 67 and 68 were substantially modified after 1842, but No. 69 remained more or less the same throughout the period in question. Specifically, at No. 67 the second floor which was formerly represented by a dormer window in a gabled roof has given way to a heightened facade which offered the opportunity to extend the floor across the whole building. This image offers no information about the configuration of the roof.
No. 68 has undergone the greatest transformation in which it also gained an additional floor at the expense of a pair of dormers in a gabled roof whilst having both windows on the first and second floors converted into bays. The ground floor shop seems to have been altered the least of the three.
The only discernable change to No. 69 is that the first floor window is no longer a bay.
Once again we have no information to guide us to the date that these various alterations were carried out. The changes to 67 and 68 are entirely consistent with the prevailing mid-Victorian style of renovation, but this could have been before or after 1860.
There is one more scrap of photographic evidence from the snapshot taken from the Cathedral Tower around 1920 (see below, right). This shows the rear of the three buildings which are clearly shown to have roofs with similar steep sides, though No. 67 is the highest of the three and No.69 the lowest. All three have outbuildings at the rear which are separated from the parent structures which throws some doubt over the accuracy of the 1861 OS map which shows continuous solid buildings all the way from High Street to White Hart Road.

67-69 High Street from the Cathedral Tower
Rear of 67-69 High Street c1920

Documentary Evidence
The 1861 Census confirms that No. 67 was the Bell Tavern and that it was managed by Richard Millman (39) with his wife Eliza (41). Also in residence were Rose Davies (10), Louisa Millman (5), Eleanor James (19) and David Duell (27, lodger).
At No. 68, the Census shows Richard Wareham (41) in residence, describing him as a Greenwich Pensioner. He is listed with his wife Eliza (39), son-in-law James Raud (21, Shipwright), daughters-in-law Eliza (18, Milliner) and Emily (9), and Charles Gower (20, lodger, Corporal, Royal Marines).
Prior to the Wareham entry in the Census there is a separate listing for William Hayward (28, HM Customs Clerk), his wife Jane (31) and son William (2) but there is no indication whether this family are living at No. 67 or 68. Given that No. 67 was an Inn, the Haywards were probably a self-contained unit attached to the Wareham household, possibly living in one of the outbuildings in the rear.
The last entry for this section of High Street is for No. 69 and this lists, as head of household, John Lipscomb (67, Cook and Pastry Cook), James Norris (21, Servant) and Harry Jones (11, undefined).
The 1859, Kelly's Trade Directory lists John Lipscombe in residence at No. 67 running an "Eating, Coffee and Boarding House", but this is contradicted by the Census which is the more authoritative source. This error is confirmed by a second reference to this address which describes the property as an Inn called the Little Bell, run by Richard Millman (the 1861 OS map described the property as the Bell Tavern) which is confirmed by the Census. Kelly's gives the occupier of No. 68 as Charles Baigent who was running a beerhouse.
In Simpson's 1863 Directory the Bell Inn has been taken over by Mrs Eliza Millman and the beerhouse at No. 68 is run by R. Wareham who must have taken over from Charles Baigent at some point between 1859 and 1861. John Lipscombe is recorded as living at No. 69 where he still runs a refreshment house but is now also described as a confectioner. Harrod's 1865 Directory confirms John Lipscombe at No. 69.
Of the three buildings the one with the greatest claim to fame is No. 68 which in 1842 belonged to Mr Sherwood, gunsmith and owner of a shooting gallery. On 20th May 1845 the last duel known to have been fought between Englishmen on English soil took place at Browndown in Gosport. One of the protagonists was known to have taken a pair of pistols he had purchased at Fiske's the Jewellers (63 High Street) and tested them out at Sherwood's. At a coroner's enquiry it is known that Sherwood's assistant Powell gave evidence.
Knowing that by 1860 No. 67 was a tavern lends weight to the notion that the modifications to the building were carried out before that date. The building shown by Charpentier does not give the impression of being an alehouse. Similarly, the change of usage at No. 68 may well have been occasioned by a wholesale re-structuring of the property, the bay windows however seem to be of a 20th century design. They have horizontally hinged top lights, a feature that has not been seen on any other building from around 1860. In the absence of further evidence it will be assumed that in 1860 they were plain windows as in the Charpentier drawing. There is a similar factor present in the 1930s image of No. 69 but in this instance the bay window from 1842 will be retained.

Snapshots from the Model (Nos. 67 - 69 High Street)

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

Old Portsmouth Model Images