G-MAIL GOES TO POT

Why has Google’s G-mail gone to pot?

It used to work very well. Now it’s crap. They have changed the Spam filter so that when someone replies to an e-mail you send them, asking a question, the e-mail response goes into the SPAM box.

Worse still, there is nowhere you can tell the elevated technocrats in Google that they have messed up, big time.

So I have to announce this everywhere, so that maybe they will notice.

GOOGLE, are you there?

Then if you email me, make sure it does not go into Spam again.

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Jane Loe of Bishops Sutton

Back in the 1960s while at Churchill College in Cambridge, one of the new friends I made was a fellow student called Bob Loe. In a recent reunion to celebrate the Golden Wedding of another college friend, I discovered Bob was a descendant of the Loe family of Selborne, that later were farmers in Bishops Sutton, in the 1800s.

Bob’s great great grandparents were Johnson and Jane Loe, and the 1851 census shows them as a farmer of 700+ acres in Bishops Sutton, employing 20 people. Johnson Loe died in 1855, and so Jane inherited the farm, and continued to run it – she was quite a wealthy widow.

Returning to current times, yesterday saw the opening of the Old Fire Station in Alresford, which now houses a horse-drawn Merryweather Fire Engine from Tichborne Park, very similar to the new engine bought by public subscription for Alresford in 1893. A similar purchase in 1858 was of a new manual fire pump, which was purchased to improve fire safety and fire fighting in the town. Cost, with 160 feet of hose to be used on the suction side, was £138.00. This fire pump was planned to be housed in the Swan Inn, at least until the building known as the “Old Fire Station” was completed in 1881. But notable amongst the list of subscribers for this pump was Mrs Loe, of Bishops Sutton: her name can be seen on the document now on display in the Old Fire Station.

fire-engineAt first I thought this could have been the old manual pump purchased in 1858, but apparently this was a model of the original manual fire pump that was housed at one time in the porch of the West entrance to St John’s in Alresford, earlier in the C19th. The model was built by George Watson in the 1970s, and is pictured here outside the (new) Alresford Fire Station.

In 1859 Mrs Loe remarried – her new husband was Edward Parsons. Possibly fairly advanced for the time was a post-nuptial agreement dated 1859 that specified that her wealth was reserved for her children, and not for Edward Parsons. Considering that she had 11 children, possibly some of the farm was split later into several smaller units. In the 1871 census, Jane was living at New House, and an associated farm: she died in 1882. Bob tells me that there is a long memorial stone to her in the outer north vestry wall of the Bishops Sutton church.

Maybe I will be able to get some photos of this stone later – and add any comments from other descendants of Mrs Loe, or Bishops Sutton farmers! First there is the picture of the manual fire pump donor list, which started this story!

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A notable name on this list is that of Mr J (John) Covey, of Alresford. Later, in 1881, it would be John Covey’s widow, Susanna Eliza Covey, who bought the (run-down) dwellings and land at the bottom of Broad Street, and donated this land to the Bailiff and Burgesses of the town – for them to build what we now know as the “Old Fire Station”.

Old Fire Station opens!

15 September 2018. The Old Fire Station (OFS) building on Broad Street opened for the first time, in nearly 100 years, as a display of the 1893 vintage fire engine of the type that used to serve Alresford and district. It is a Merryweather, steam driven fire engine, powered by two horses, to get it along the road, and with a water tube steam boiler on the back, fired up before the engine set off, to be ready to drive the water pump on arrival at the fire. The appliance sucked water up from a nearby pond or stream, and  supplied the hoses and nozzles with this water at high pressure.

The Merryweather is in the OFS, positioned in what many would describe as backwards, as the horses would have to be attached at the back! But the outside view is better that way round!

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The new Tichborne Park Fire Engine, now on display for various open days thru the year at the Old Fire Station, in Alresford.

Also on display on open days there will be several fireman’s helmets, of various vintages, and in the near future there will also be a display of photos of the Alresford Merryweather engine in action, provided from the local collection on the Alresfordheritage website.

The picture below shows an Evening Standard pic from 1908, showing a Merryweather racing to put out a fire…..

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Most of the displays link to the 1893 purchase of the Merryweather engine, subscribed by public generosity, just like the Fire Station itself. But earlier, in 1858, local subscriptions had raised enough money for a hand operated public fire pump, and a list of all those subscribing to that is also on display:

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ENDS   !

 

Vintage Fire Engine finds Old Home

Eighty years after the last fire engine left the Old Fire Station in Alresford the building will once again house a fire appliance.  One of the old Merryweather Steamer Pump appliances built in the early 1900s and similar to that operating in Alresford in the early part of the twentieth century, will be moving into the Old Fire Station on Saturday 18th August 2018.

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The arrival on the 18th, on a modern towed trailer!

The fire engine will not have travelled far over the last hundred years as it was originally used on the Tichborne Park Estate and for many years it has been housed at the fire station on Pound Hill.  It will be transferred to the newly refurbished Broad Street Fire Station – which was built in 1881 and housed the town’s fire brigade and their equipment up until 1938 when the new fire station on Pound Hill was completed.

The Old Fire Station is owned by the New Alresford Town Trust which has refurbished the original part of the building that formed the fire station to house the newly created Alresford Museum.

“The original idea was to create exhibition and display space for local historical artefacts in the Old Fire Station, but when the possibility of actually housing a local, vintage fire engine became a reality our plans changed,” said Roy Gentry, Chair of the Alresford and District Museum Trust. “Our focus now will be on preparing suitable displays to complement the fire engine and open the Museum to the public.  We are grateful to the Hampshire Fire Service, Alan House and the Hampshire Police and Fire Heritage Trust for their help in making this project a reality.”

The fire engine came into the possession of the Hankin family business in the 1960s, and was housed in the fire station on Pound Hill during the times when Alex Hankin was the Chief Fire Officer for Alresford. The Hankin family spent many thousands of pounds having the appliance restored in the early 1990s. John Hankin is delighted the fire engine will be staying in Alresford, and housed in the Old Fire Station.

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The Merryweather fire appliance in the original Tichborne Park livery outside the Pound Hill Fire Station (courtesy of AlresfordHeritage.co.uk)

“There will be a handover of the fire engine at the Pound Hill Fire Station at 2.30pm on 18th August and all past and present fire fighters and local residents are welcome to attend and escort it to its new home,” said Roy Gentry.

In order to successfully display the fire engine and associated artefacts, the Museum Trust needs more volunteers to assist with this project. Help is needed to prepare displays, undertake historical research and produce display material as well stewards to man the museum when it is open to the public. Anybody who thinks they would like to be involved should contact Roy Gentry on 01962 773185 or roy.gentry@alresford.org.

Note: The Town Trust took over the responsibility for the original Alresford Museum charity when it ceased to operate in 2010.

 

The Community Centre and Parking!

The name proposed for the settlement on the South side of the River Arle was originally “Newmarket” – as the Bishops of the time, planned the town as a marketplace, where people would visit to trade and buy goods. That was Bishop De Lucy, I believe. But the people who established the new settlement mainly came from the village on the north bank, now called Old Alresford. They therefore felt that a better name would be “New Alresford”, and adopted that instead. Action by popular demand, even in the C11th! It was almost democracy.

The town has thrived on its large market, in Broad Street, still maintained today by the Town Trust. But the traders and restaurants and shopkeepers of Alresford have perpetuated the approach, and Alresford today is known as a good place to go to, to visit and buy things, where visitors are welcomed, and parking is free.

Indeed the old statutes of the Bailiffs and Burgesses that ran the town until 1890 have been passed down to the NATT, the Town Trust, who own the rights to the parking and activities in the market area, ie Broad Street. So if parking fees were ever introduced, any revenues generated would probably go to the Town Trust.

The modern view

In 2018 the whole idea seems to be turning itself on its head. The traders in the town continue to rely on visitors arriving, these days, in their cars. There are shops to provide services to many sections of society, and with parking available they can ensure a short walk to the destination, short enough to carry possibly heavy shopping back to the car. Many OAPs rely on this for groceries, meat and fish, producing heavy shopping bags. Ladies in high heels can visit the boutiques and dress shops, and then have a coffee nearby. The car parks at the station and at Perins are well used, and no distance.

Surprisingly the car park at the ARC, up Pound Hill, is really not well used, and has many spaces during the week. The town plan, driven by the NATC, is investing millions in a new car park in the Dean, knocking down three factories, but the spaces will probably be mostly used by the residents of the new McCarthy and Stone retirement flats that are probably financing the whole thing. Meanwhile all the traders in the town park their cars in the spaces they would like their potential customers to use, in the town centre. When the Traffic Warden arrives they miraculously shift their cars to the station car park or similar.

Even more recent events

I hesitate to be too biased in commenting about controversial things, but I don’t drive an SUV, and my car easily fits into a standard parking place.

Driving around any town, you see spaces marked out with white lines, identified as disabled spaces. You know that this is near a place where disabled people have to alight safely, and you do not block these spaces, unless you are sitting in the car, able to move it if the space is needed. These are not legally designated disabled bays: but it is requesting your co-operation as a responsible member of society.

So we come to the two spaces marked as disabled outside the Community Centre. These are useful to the town, as they are also outside the banks that remain, and drivers can use them for 5 minutes while visiting the bank, particularly if they leave the car supervised. They are “Drop-off” points.

The Community Centre is one of the jewels of Alresford. It provides a meeting point, and a rest centre, for residents visiting the shops, and the parking spaces provide a pick up point for shopping bags, once the shopping is finished. This can be seen every Friday morning, when the town Minibus brings around 30 OAPs and mobility-challenged people into town for a weekly shop. They visit the Banks, Tesco, the Pet Shop, the butchers and the chemists. Plus the greengrocers, the library and the card shops/gift shops. The more affluent visit Heidi’s and the Age Concern charity shop. It is unlikely many of them visit Fitique – maybe the session times don’t match.

The Chamber of Commerce

It then appears that leading members of the Chamber of Commerce, the successors of course to the Bailiffs and Burgesses that ran the town until the 1890s, but the various Acts of Parliament took away their powers, took exception to the Town Minibus that reserved two disabled spaces on a Friday morning, for at most 4 hours. They felt this was preventing custom for their businesses, and say many businesses agreed. Which ones do not benefit, one wonders, from the 30 OAPs that come in in those four hours to spend their money? Four hours, two spaces, with a parking max time of two hours – that means four cars could have driven into town and spent their money, contrasted with the 30 pensioners who did come.

It is my opinion that the benefit resulting from four SUVs, spending their money in sessions in Fitique or the various boutiques and coffee shops, would not meet the benefit to the town’s shops from the 30 OAPs. But if it takes 30 cars to come into town, to deliver these pensioners, separately, and block the roads while discharging and collecting them, then I am prepared to arrange it.

The NATC and HCC response

It seems that HCC has been quick to respond, and is circulating suggestions that it should start to charge for parking in the town, covering all parking spaces. Worse still for the traders, they would propose a residents parking pass system that would charge peanuts for residents to park in the town, and block the parking spaces that seem so important to the Chamber of Commerce, that they are prepared to go to the extreme of proposing banning the town minibus from the town centre.

Overall, the town is descending into selfish, suicidal madness!

Nick Denbow

  • Any opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author alone.

Men’s Shed at the Watercress Festival

For the Watercress Festival in May 2018, the newly established Alresford Men’s Shed decided to make some games – mainly to entertain the kids! These were to show that the Men in the Shed could do something creative, as well as those useful mending jobs. Alresford Rotary kindly gave their normal plot up, to allow the Shed to book a central space.

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The games that made it from the drawing board into the tent involved getting golf balls and similar into the right hole. Two toys had a ball on a string, flicked like a tiddly-wink into a small cup about a foot away from the springboard. Only around four people managed this achievement throughout the day, but of those, several did it two and three times in a row – the only prize was a toffee!

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DSC06189The major attraction was in the form of an almost vertical version of bar billiards, but here the ball had to be manoeuvred all the way up the board by pulling on two strings attached to a ball-carrier, until finally reaching the hole at the top. This needed care, concentration and patience, but most of the kids got there eventually, and won a toffee.

Mums and Dads, Grans and Grandads also had a go – their real advantage was being higher up, and able to see the top holes more easily. But they found it just as difficult as the kids…. others were content to yell advice at the kids!

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The Men’s Shed version of bar billiards

Also on display were some other products the Men’s Shed have produced, such as the ‘busy board’ built for several of the town playgroups, a nesting box for birds like bluetits, small hurdles for flower plot edging fences in gardens, and an advertising board for use by shops etc, to attract the attention of passing customers.

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A ‘Busy board’, or activity centre, built for a local nursery

Several people were also interested to learn about the Shed, and there might even be some new members amongst those who learned about the Shed for the first time!

For more pics of the kids having fun, please see the blog on Alresfordmensshed !

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Various views, events and jobs in the Shed, showing furniture and wheelchair repairs. We have also built nest boxes, advertising boards, Barn owl boxes, sewing machines and doll’s houses.

2002 Golden Jubilee in Alresford

Just over 15 years ago Alresford celebrated the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, 50 years as the reigning monarch, with a procession up West Street and some entertainment in Broad Street. Prominent in this, on the Stage and dressed in Union Jacks, was George Hollingbery and his wife Janette: I’m sure you will recognise George in the photos below, despite – or maybe because of – the unconventional attire.

More important, Maddie Attenborough spent the day taking photos of Alresford people attending the celebrations, and published them later on a CD, copies of which were later sold in aid of the St John’s Centenary Appeal. A copy of this CD was recently passed to the Alresford Museum, and extracts are presented below, to see whether you can spot anyone you know – or even yourself, looking younger and slimmer!

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These collages are much cropped versions of most of the pics on Maddie’s CD, so if you see a pic of yourself and wish to see a full copy of the image let us know! I can see several Alresford Pigs, and a couple of my neighbours, but the award for the best float/display has to go once again to the Alresford Surgery team!