An International Store c.1920
Southampton depot shown here c1948
The Victoria Hotel, Bognor, now demolished
This was the 'Vicuna Hotel' in the H. G. Wells' novel
'The Wheels of Chance'
Victoria on old postcard
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Mills Family 2
"I have no idea where he lived or stayed while he was working in Southsea but he did have a Brother, Percy, who lived in a terraced house somewhere in Portsmouth and perhaps he stayed there. I have a feeling that Percy was younger than my Dad. What I do know is that my Dad used to send money home to Heyshott for the family to live on so he obviously lived near his work."
"The reason I know about the 'terraced' house in Portsmouth is that one day, when I was a small boy, my Dad was called to Portsmouth and I am sure it was because Percy had died. He took me with him on the train and I recall that the house was halfway along a line of narrow terraced houses with the front doors on the pavement, at least that is the picture I have always carried in my head.."
Records at Portsmouth Council show a P. Mills at Toronto Road, but although highly likely, this cannot be taken as 100%.
Arthur is recorded as attending driver training at the Kearley Tonge depot in Southampton, after which he was employed as a driver.
He was later to became a Chauffeur at the Victoria Hotel in Bognor Regis. Where perhaps when he first started, he lived in a room at the top of the building and "sketched by the light of a candle at night with his coat and scarf on in the winter".
The Victoria Hotel stood on the corner of Aldwick road and Victoria road and was probably built around 1870.
Apparently the Victoria wasn't quite as busy as it could have been regarding the chauffers position as this mostly only entailed journeys to and from the station. Robert Webber was the manager until he was 'arrested and absconded in 1934'.
Colin has a photograph of "my Dad in his chauffeur's uniform complete with peaked cap, standing beside the Buick he drove." and recalls
"Dad told me he used to take the boss to a Farm to collect supplies and one day while he was at the farm, a Cockerel saw it's own reflection in the highly polished black door panel of the car and attacked the door scratching the paint down to bare metal - pity I didn't listen to more stories like this".
Colin was born in a Brighton Hospital on the 5th June 1931 spending the earliest part of his life in Gordon Road Bognor Regis. His mother was Eva Souter, from Hove who Colin says "I also know very little about". Later when about 5 years old they lived above the Aldwick Dairy where "my Dad was a Milkman and I remember all that including watching the Dog-Fights in the sky during the second World War."
Arthurs other brother Ernest "my Uncle Ern" lived in Slindon most of his life. "We used to visit some Sundays. It was exciting for me because I got to ride on the 'Silver Queen' bus all the way from Bognor, where we lived, to Slindon. Uncle Ern was in the Royal Engineers during the Great war".
"Anyway, Jane and I have been trying to get over and visit the Heyshott cemetery, we haven't been there before and now we wonder why, as you say, it seems like the next obvious step to take in our search."
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