An inadequate water supply and bad drainage caused several outbreaks of cholera in Portsmouth before the mid-nineteenth century. The Public Health Act of 1848 required local authorities to make provision for water supply and drainage. This borough was not very speedy but by 1868 a network of underground sewers had been built incorporating a high-level system working by gravity and a low-level system which had to be pumped, both discharging untreated sewage into the sea at the entrance to Langstone Harbour. To provide the necessary pumping power, two beam engines and pumps were erected at Eastney Pumping Station in 1868.           These were scrapped in 1923 and two more powerful pumps replaced them in 1886. They continued in use until 1954 when, because on the expansion of the city and the ever-growing demand. These were replaced by very powerful gas-fired engines. Nowadays the Pumping Station has been developed into a museum of transport and industry as our picture shows.



     When Winchester fell victim to an outbreak of the plague in 1666, country people bringing produce to market refused to enter the city and would only trade on a large stone slab near the West Gate. Any exchange of money would only take place after the coins had been soaked in bowls of vinegar in an attempt to stop the pestilence being transferred.



     In 1801 Havant’s Poor House in West Street housed 50 paupers and the town’s parochial report said it was ‘far from being and uncomfortable place’. The inhabitants were mostly idle, because the making of sacks had been discontinued. Thirteen years later, the children were working on farms or employed picking oakum and someone was engaged to teach them to read.
     In 1834 the Poor Law Reform Act set up and elected board of guardians to put poor relief on a wider basis and stop abuse of the system. The Havant Union workhouse residents housed men, women and children separately and in the early days they had to wear uniforms.
In 1930 control went to the county council and in 1935 its days were almost over because the Unemployment Assistance Board took over responsibility for the care of the able-bodied unemployed.
     In 1936 it was closed and the inmates transferred to St Christopher’s Home, in Wickham Road, Fareham. The building was finally demolished in 1947.



     A much more profitable venture for most of its lifetime was the Portsmouth and district tramways system. The picture here is of a decorated tram in 1905 to celebrate a French link-up with Vive la France on its side.  Horse-drawn trams had been operating for 12 years but but not everyone liked them. When an extension was proposed in Osborne Road it was objected by residents that they would be subjected to the rude staring of passengers occupying the cheap seats on the top deck.
     Pulling the trams was hard work for the horses and in Portsmouth in 1893 there were 14 miles of tramway track, 58 trams and 249 horses. Cars on each route were pained in distinctive colours, and the trams, with two luggage trucks towed behind, were pulled by two horses.
     By 1895 thoughts were turning to electric traction. The private operators were taken over by the Corporation in 1901, and a separate power station buit to serve the 80 trams running on 23½ miles of track. At Cosham (then a separate parish) horse trams continued until 1903.









     Hot news, we have received a vast collection of Baptist Church records of Baptism, Burial and Marriages for Portsmouth. These are in a number of volumes and sorting and cross-referencing needs to be done before they can be put on our network but in the meantime we may be able to help enquirers while this is going on with an Email.



     During the Victorian period, over 120 institutions were built throughout the British Isles  between 1811 and 1914, these Asylums were built to serve as a tranquil retreat for people within the counties population who could not afford to care for themselves. Their purpose served as an advantage for both the local population and the patients, it provided safety for both parties as the two were kept separate and offered a large means of employment for the local population. The Hospitals started off serving a small population of patients, typically below about five hundred but as time progressed and the population grew, the Asylum were designed or extended to house populations of over two thousand patients. The largest asylum, Whittingham in Lancashire, had nearly 3,000 in 1949. Asylum records are generally held on County Record Offices and you can also the huge repository at infoasylumsearch



     Jersey may not seem central to the UK but its history shows just how important this island of 100,000 people has been. Jersey’s dukes went on to become kings of England after the Battle of Hastings. The island successfully repelled French invasion over the centuries. It was also of key Strategic importance  during the Second World War.
     With the release of new files in the Jersey parish registry you can explore links to the island for the first time. Here, the records for baptisms, burials and marriages date back as far to 1540. We also have several Channel Islands records available on our network.


Archives from the 29th January,1890

Ratepayer uproar

     A mass meeting of ratepayers was held in Portsmouth on Thursday afternoon, to consider the new Corporation Bilk, which would enable the town council to borrow a further sum of £20,000 to complete the new Town Hall, and to bring into force several bylaws. By an overwhelming majority the ratepayers refused their consent to the measure, and in amid a scene of uproar a poll was demanded on behalf of the Corporation. The meeting was very crowded, and was of a noisy and excited character.

School prizes

      The prizes awarded by the South Stoneham school board were presented to the children on Friday last. Mr Stacey, vice chairman, occupied the chair. 13 girls and 11 boys had not missed one attendance the whole year, each received a special prize. Two girls had made every attendance in four consecutive years, and three had made every attendance in three consecutive tears.

Fined for fighting

     At the County Bench on Thursday, two men from Broughton were charged with being drunk and disorderly on 20th December. Both men were fighting in the highway; they were drunk and covered with blood. When ordered to go home they offered no resistance and went quietly.  The first man, who had a previous conviction against him, was fined 5s and costs 7s, the other man 2s 6d and costs 7s.









Because of the current virus situation, we are unfortunately closed. Please watch this page for further details 





was 6,037

and has now reached 2,778,052

Total updated 8th March, 2021




     As we are still having problems as above, this our main webside has been updated irregularly recently owing to the difficulties in putting the page together because of research limitations. We do apologise for this, but until the current restrictions are lifted we cannot update to our usual fortnight pattern. We are eagerly looking towards to re-opening as soon as the law permits.



     On March 21st it will be Census Day and over the coming month households will receive letters, postcards and access to the online electronic questionnaire. Billions of pounds allocated to local services every year using information gathered in the census so that it is vital that the census accurately captures everyone in our society so that these funds can be allocated appropriately.

     You will receive your census pack with instructions on how to complete it between March 3rd and 13th, and then from March 22nd reminder letters will be sent to those who haven’t responded. Officers will also visit those households who haven’t completed the form to support them in doing so.



khan keeper -  Ancient keeper of a plot of land where people could camp for the night. The khans were eventually enclosed with walls and later had a lodging house built upon the land. Khan later developed into the word ‘inn’.
lamp lighter - Man employed to switch street lights on and off in the days of oil, gas and early electricity.
malefactor - A criminal or wrong-doer in the eyes of the state.
offal separator - The word offal, originally meant literally ‘that which falls off’ but came to mean ‘waste’ or ‘left-overs’. |The term was used in many industries including the production of flour. The term in now almost exclusively used in the meat trade.
plasher -  A weaver, usually of sticks as in fence building. Also used colloquially for the operator of a ‘coble’ fishing boat in the North of England. The coble was also called a plasher.
quarrel maker - Arrow maker (in early times, a quarrel was an arrow with a square shaft). Later, the term was used for a manufacturer of small diamond-shaped glass panes called quarrels.






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