Archive for December, 2012

Brownies and Guides in Alresford

1955 was the year …………..

and all the little girls heard there was going to be a Brownie Pack starting in Alresford.  I don’t know if we really knew what this was but our mothers quickly put names onto the list with the prospective ‘Brown Owl’ – a lady by the name of Mrs Mann.

To start the Pack the oldest 12 girls could join and as I was 10yrs old I was granted a place.

We were to be known as 1st Alresford Brownie Pack. The pack was to be the first in Alresford to start after the war years, when the name had changed  to 1st Bramdean, the village where they held their meetings.

We met in The Dean School, Alresford on a Wednesday at 6.00pm.  Each week we religiously took our subs together with a card and money to record how much Mum had paid towards the uniform – mine was £1.5.7d.  During these first weeks, we learnt how to fold and tie our tie in readiness to wear with our new outfit, for the first time at our Promise ceremony.  Learn how to wash up the tea things, learn the Brownie Promise, Law, and Fairy ring & Motto.  Also to always wear a Brownie smile and do a good turn every day.

On our Promise evening we stood in a Fairy Ring and in turn stood by the Brownie pool, looked into it to say the rhyme ‘twist me and turn me to show me the elf, I looked in the water and there saw myself’.  After reciting the Brownie Promise and Law, the oval badge was pinned to our tie and Brown Owl shook our hand – using the special left hand to welcome us into the Guide movement.

We learnt many things, amongst them knots which was my favourite as I nearly always won the game, and whether there was really a right and wrong way to fly the Union flag!

After only a year, I became 11yrs old and had to leave having had such fun – Brownie  Revels  hunting for paper rabbits, making a Squirrels tail to wear (can’t remember the reason), performing in a nativity play, and taking part in the carnival. We were also taken to Winchester to learn how to cross a busy road.   Now it was time to join the Guide Company, and look forward to more adventures.

In January 2010 I retired as the Guider of this unit after 49 years with the same Brownie pack, meeting on the same night and at the same time every week..

Miss it – yes, but after seeing 445 Brownies I have lots of happy fun memories. Guiding is a lifelong activity that you never lose or give up.

 Josephine Croxson, Alresford

Road and place names in Alresford

The road and place names within the Alresford area are a clue to the people and history of the area, but many times these are lost as the generations pass on. There are people who remember these origins, and presumably there are records in the minutes of Town Council meetings, but even the latter would not necessarily tell us why those people were important.

There are people’s lives, generosity and work behind the names, and the reasons can make full stories of their own: but here we will try to list most of those known, from various sources. We are indebted to Josephine Croxton for her listing, that was originally created for the First Alresford Brownie Pack, presumably as a test for one of their badges. Also Pat Young has provided her list of the people who gave their names to some of the roads. Other additions will be welcomed, because new roads are popping up all the time!

Alders Court – related to Alex Hankin and his house ‘Alders’ on West Street next to the Co-op.

Arle Gardens – site of the farm belonging to the Dorey family…maybe it was a market garden?

Ashburton Road – Lord Ashburton lived at Itchen Stoke.

Brewhouse Yard – Site of one of the larger Alresford breweries, but also possibly the site of the source of the Great Fire of Alresford in the 1600s.

Covey Way – Named after Dr C.E.Covey, presumably a GP. Pat Young’s parents had a large gilt framed picture over their bed, which was inscribed “To Dr C.E.Covey from the Poor of Basingstoke”, but she did not know the history, or why her parents came to own it!

Culley View – Pat also says she knew Mrs Culley as an elderly lady who lived in a large house on Sun Hill, which was demolished when the new estate was built. Glenn Gilbertson has been writing a story about the family and life of this lady, Elizabeth Frances Culley, for the new “Alresford Articles” publication by the Alresford Historical and Literary Society, so readers will have to wait for this in 2013.

De Lucy Avenue – from Bishop De Lucy, who helped to create New Alresford by building the Great Weir and forming Alresford Pond.

Dorian Grove – named after the bungalow that was demolished when the new houses were built. Pat Young says this bungalow belonged to Mr and Mrs Lovell who bred pug dogs.

Drove Lane – an old sheep drove route.

Ellingham Close – Named after a local baker. Pat Young advises this was Mr T J Ellingham, who had a grocery and baker’s shop in West Street where Design Realities and Tiffins Tea Room are now. The Ellingham family lived in a large house on Grange Road, which was demolished to build the houses of Ellingham Close.

Fair View, Paddock Way, Shepherd’s Down – These were the three large houses and grounds surrounding the Cricketer’s Pub, which were sold and demolished to make way for the new estate of houses which now bear their three names.

Lovell Walk was named after the Lovell family quoted above.

Makin’s Court: named after Sir William Makin, a resident of Langtons, at the corner of Sun Lane and East Street, across from the Sun Inn.

Hasted Drive  – the Hasted family owned a butcher’s shop in West Street: Pat Young’s mother worked for the Hasteds as a cashier.

Haig Road – Named after Earl Haig (Your Country Needs You etc in WW1, although I don’t think he posed for the poster). In Haig Road there was the British Legion Hall, but this was demolished many years ago. This name dates from after WW1 obviously: before then it was called Southampton Road, but no-one seems to know why.

Hankins Court – Built on the rear of the site of Alex and son John Hankin’s garage in West Street, the entrance off Jacklyn’s Lane is where the garage had a rear access to the car park and spares store, providing parking for vehicles waiting for repair in the workshop.

Jesty Road – named after a long serving headmaster of the Junior School in the Dean.

Lindley Gardens – After Col Lindley, who gave the land for the swimming pool by the river in 1949, in the War Memorial garden, which then, in around 1970(?) was filled in.

Mallard Close – On the site of the Dean school, but Freda Kelsall (Chair of Alresford Parish Council, and member of the family that owned the Kelsall’s Grocery in Broad Street, now Tesco) proposed the name after hearing that the ducks had followed Reg Osgood up The Dean while walking the family dogs.

Meryon Road – named after Dr Charles Meryon, a local GP, who lived in Broad Street and had two children. Pat commented that they used to run around naked through most of the Summer!

Mill Hill – the road down to the two town mills on the discharge from the Pond.

Mitford Road – there’s a clue on the house in Broad Street, that has a plaque saying that Mary Russell Mitford lived there.

Nursery Road – George Wells and Graham Marshall’s Nursery Garden was sited at the area known now as Nursery Road. In fact they owned half the land that is now Nursery Road, Mr Conway, who lived at Langtons Farm on Sun Lane, owned the other half.

Perins Close – Dr Henry Perin was the first headmaster of the school now known as Perin’s School

Pound Hill – A 1958 booklet from Perins School says that up until around 1890 there was a Pound at the beginning of the Avenue in which any animals found wandering along the road out of a field would be impounded. The owner had to apply to the Police to have it released, and pay for its keep in the Pound. It was a large sized field with railings round it, and gave rise to the name Pound Hill.

Robertson Road – Named after Canon Robertson, who was rector in Alresford. Pat remembers him well: he had a bushy beard and wore a round black hat with a large brim. At the Dean Junior school Pat and her class had hymns and prayers with him every Wednesday morning.

Robins Close – Roy Robins was president of the Alresford Society: who died in May 2007. Before that he created the Alresford and District Museum Trust as a charity, in 2006, but this has led to the Alresford Museum and, in association, to this website (This website takes no funds from that charity).

Rosebery Road – Pat says it was named after Lord Rosebery, who was a racehorse owner?

Salisbury Road – After Lord Salisbury?

Searles Close – Named after a local vet.

The Soke – ?

Stratton Bates recreation ground – Presented to the town by Col Stratton Bates of Langtons, in East Street, in around 1911: again an article in Alresford Articles in 2013 will explain the problems this produced in more detail.

Sun Lane – The Old Sun public house on East Street was on the corner of Sun Lane, and a long time ago was a smugglers rendezvous: the road changed its name to Sun Lane because of this, but only at around the beginning of the 20th century. Before that the road was called Tichborne Down Road (leading to Tichborne Down. But Pat Bentley remembers the Old Sun as a pub in the 30s/40s: it was then bought by John Arlott, the cricket commentator and broadcaster, who retired there first, before moving to the Channel Islands.

Tanyard Hill – site of a local tanyard for animal skins, and abattoir.

Garage in Broad Street – the sequel

Well six months has gone by, since I first asked the question about what happened to the garage in Broad Street, and there have been three good comments, but I’m amazed that no-one had the full answer.

broad st garage

The garage was known as the Broadway Garage, and had been for a long time before I moved to Alresford, from 1938 approx according to Len Strong. He’s about right, because when the building was demolished various accounts and invoices dating from the late thirties were found in the roof space, and are now held in the Alresford Museum ( In the 70s and 80s the garage was owned and run by the late Chris Lentz. The photo shown here is from May 85 showing it with two specially made (non-specific) garage signs – and a lot of very polished vintage cars for that TV filming.

The exact filming done is a bit dubious: the main suggestion was that it was for a Shell petrol advert, although the owner of the Austin Healey remembers it being used as a getaway car in one film. The filming attracted a lot of passing interest, as can be seen from the second photo, and a fair bit of trade for the Bodega Wine Bar almost next door.

What happened to the garage? Well, at least one of the signs visible over the windows is still visible today – but relocated to another motor car repair garage at the Winchester end of New Farm Road, behind the chapel. Have a look from the bus next time you go to Winchester!

broad street 1985 2

The picture above caused a lot of amusement, around the display put up the following week in the Bodega Wine Bar. The young lady on the photo stormed in and demanded the prints and the negatives and the rest of the world as well. She did not get anything, the picture was taken legally, on a public road. I just liked the way the cars made a nice background.

C Lenz garage

C Lenz garage 2The Garage itself? The actual buildings were knocked down a year or so later, in 1987 I think, after the business moved to New Farm Road. They had stood on the site of the old “Le Hart” Inn, but now made way for three new town houses. The garage itself looked more like the photo above, normally: I am told that the narrow green house next door was the old Alresford Telephone Exchange.

The lower-roofed house that looks a little different, on the left, but which was a part of the garage, was originally a grocer’s shop, owned by the parents of Millie Godwin, during the 1920s-30s. I think this was number 38, whereas the main garage buildings were number 36 Broad Street.

I should get a modern photo of the new town houses, to show the current status!

Can’t resist adding this pic processed today from the Alresford Museum collection of the Lawrence Wright images of Alresford Buildings, in 1965: this is the garage back then: even with petrol pumps! It says the owner/proprietor was John Allen…






Comment on the Scouts and Cubs in Alresford

Comment from Bill Biggs on Len Strong’s Scouts and Cubs in Alresford story:
Several of the Boy Scouts in the picture later became members of the Alresford Football Club. Bill points to a picture which is shown on the Alresford Heritage website, and is borrowed from them here, showing the Football team in 1949. In the back row on the left is Eric Biggs (Bill’s Dad), Eric Lane and Alfred Pearce. Eric Biggs was, like many others, in the local Fire Service during the war.
Les Strong, actually the cousin of Len Strong, and currently still living in Alresford, is on the left in the middle row: he was also in the Alresford Fire Brigade for most of his working life. Alongside Les are Alan Trimmear and Douglas Cox.
In the front row we have Harry White, Ted Tate, John Hillary, Ronald Clavelly and Ken Nutley. (These team names were provided by the late Mr Harry White).
The picture was taken at Alrebury Park, where the car park now stands.


Further pictures like this are available on the Alresford Heritage website – see the story on this blog, or go to

The Dean School in the 60’s

Bill Biggs adds to Len Strong’s memory of the Dean School:

The article by Len Strong is somewhat before my time as I only joined The Dean School in 1960 ………… however a couple of my most vivid memories were that when we had football (games) lessons we were marched through the streets all the way to Grange Road Recreation ground, which was the only football field in Alresford.

And then there was the swimming pool, located in the War Memorial garden, along the riverpath at the bottom of the Dean upstream to where we shared our swimming lessons with the local trout, because the pool was fed by the river through an open pipe.

Both swimming and football was taken by our teacher Mr Ginsberg……….. a no nonsense Welshman with a large ginger moustache.

In my day, the school caretaker was a large lady, called Mrs Foulkes….. who seemed to spend most of her day carrying buckets of coal around the school to the fires in the classrooms – this was the only form of heating we had there.

The Dean School in the 30’s

Len Strong writes about schools in Alresford in around 1930:

In the 1930’s, initial education in Alresford was at the primary school, located in the Dean – or on the other hand, if your parents could afford to pay, you went to Miss Curtis’s Alresford Preparatory School in one of the Mews off at the north side of West Street. This was known as A.P.S., or as we boys dubbed it, the “Alf Pound Sausage” school. I started school in the Dean at five years old under the watchful eye of a plump little lady, Miss Wiggins. When she noticed I was left-handed, she said, ‘We can’t have that Lennie, try and use your right hand’ but when I declined she tied my left hand to the chair with a scarf. I guess this would not be allowed today. Anyway, as a result of this treatment, I became ambidextrous.

We had mixed classes of boys and girls, although at ‘play-time’ we had separate play areas. We boys had our whips and tops, and played leap-frog and football: the girls had their hop-scotch and skipping ropes. As we progressed through the years, in different classes, under various teachers learning the three ‘R’s (reading, riting and rithmatic), we had periodic examinations – ie those by the visiting ‘nit-nurse’ to see if we had head lice.

I finally reached class six, which was taken by the head-master, Mr Jesty. He was a tall Cornish man and used to tell us of his plans to return to the West country when he retired. I don’t know if he made it, but a local road is named after him, in his memory. He was a good teacher and helped us to prepare for our 11-plus exams, with a view to going to college in Winchester. I passed OK but my parents couldn’t afford to send me. So I ‘progressed’ to Perins Senior Council school, which is another story.

The Dean school was closed when the new Sun Hill school was built and a development of bungalows is now on the site of the old Dean School, which is now known as ‘Mallard Close’.