Capture the Footprint of Local History

Sometimes an old calendar, ball-point pen, business card or booklet can be the only remaining evidence of a local business.

Local business are often the hub of a community, employers, where people work and shop. Help to capture the footprint of the history for your local area by saving, or sharing with local historical institutions, items that might be significant.

Victory Brushes, John Palmers Ltd., Portsmouth, Hampshire, England.

This 14-page booklet was collected and saved with papers by a lady who worked as Personnel Officer at John Palmers, Victory Brushes during the mid to late 1960s. This leaflet was produced for their employees…. the back page states “The quality of Victory Brand Brushes is your responsibility.”

The booklet tells a general through-the-years story about how brushes were made and the materials used, but it also gives a history of the company since its beginnings in 1869 to 1947. It is a treasure for the local business history and area archives.

John Palmers flooring and carpets firms are still in business today, albeit not in Portsmouth. Over the years they occupied various buildings in the Fratton area of Portsmouth City. They also owned a small row of flat-fronted terraced houses in Nancy Road for their workers.

It seems the original premises were a 3-storey plus basement house.
This is a business that grew and became a significant employer in the Portsmouth area.

“Around 1975, I worked as a temporary secretary to one of John Palmer’s sons for a while, Raymond or Stanley!”

The history 1869-1947, as told by Mr John Palmer Junior, son of the John Palmer who started the business.

 

 

 

 

 

The Trade Mark logo for Victory Brushes Brand is of course a line drawing of the Portsmouth-based H.M.S. Victory.

A memory story found online…. Portsmouth tales

Do you have any artefacts or stories to tell about working at John Palmers?

Challenge….. What is it?

When you discover something interesting in a box of unrelated items… this can be a challenge.

What is it?

Measuring 10 1/2″ long (27 cms), it is made of an early celluloid plastic.  A tubular shape with no seams, at the wider end it measures 1/2″, with a wide hole, tapering to a narrow end which is flattened to an oval, with a very small hole.

This item is not an opaque material like Bakelite, but slightly translucent with a red/brown colour hue. There is no maker’s mark. Some slight scratches from use.

It turns out that this item is a cigarette holder that belonged to my paternal grandmother, Irene (Symes) George (1903-1996).

Before cigarette tips were introduced in the 1960s, using a holder, was thought to have filtered the smoke. Wikipedia suggests… “A holder kept tobacco flakes out of the smoker’s mouth, kept the thin cigarette paper from sticking and tearing on the smoker’s lips, prevented nicotine stains on fingers, cooled and mellowed the smoke and kept side-stream smoke from stinging the smoker’s eyes.

As with evening gloves, ladies’ cigarette holders are measured by four traditional formal standard lengths:

  • opera length, usually 16 to 20 inches/40 to 50 cm
  • theatre length, 10 to 14 inches/25 to 35 cm
  • dinner length, 4 to 6 inches/10 to 15 cm
  • cocktail length, which includes shorter holders

Traditionally, men’s cigarette holders were no more than 4 inches long.”

Used from 1910s through until late 1970s, cigarette holders were particularly popular fashion accessories during the 1920s – the days of the flapper dress, bobbed hair cuts and elegant styles.