Victoria Park Portsmouth

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War

Eating out in the Blitz

The picture on the back of this panel shows the opening ceremony for a British or ‘Municipal’ Restaurant in Victoria Park. This advert appeared in the ‘Portsmouth Evening News’ on Friday 11 July 1941, a few days before the ceremony:

“BY AUTHORITY OF THE FOOD MINISTRY.
MUNICIPAL RESTAURANTS
WILL BE OFFICIALLY OPENED AT
VICTORIA PARK on WED., 16TH JULY at 11.45 a.m.
And MILTON PARK at 12.30 p.m.
By the Right Worshipful The LORD MAYOR OF PORTSMOUTH
(Councillor Sir Denis L. Daley, J.P.)
accompanied by Members of the City Council and Officials of the
Food Ministry.

MID-DAY DINNERS (2 COURSES) 9½d.
Teas and Snacks at Moderate Prices.
Those wishing to carry food away for home consumption should bring suitable dishes or containers.
Open WEEK-DAYS from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Other Restaurants will be sited in due course at Cosham, Copnor,
and Albert Road, Southsea, making a total of ten for the City.”

A few months later, in September 1941 the paper reported that the restaurants were proving popular and serving an average of 9,415 servings of “soups, dinners, sweets and teas” every day.

The article also said that “the movement of community feeding has rapidly spread and is proving a great blessing to many, particularly to the man engaged on essential war work whose wife and children have evacuated to the country; to the lonely man or woman in inferior lodgings, where good cooking is at a discount; and to many whose income has been sadly reduced…”

Victoria Park Municipal Restaurant project

The Municipal Restaurant and its impact on life in Portsmouth is being explored through a wider project.

The Portsmouth blitz

In the Second World War, Portsmouth was a major target for German bombing raids. Hundreds fell on the city, and even hit Victoria Park, destroying a greenhouse and thatched summerhouse. Portsmouth Museum and Art Gallery has put together a digital map showing every location in the city where a bomb landed.

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