Archive for June, 2015

What is ‘Made in Alresford’?

WHAT is actually made, and sold world-wide, from Alresford?

The displays in the Alresford Library (Broad Street, Alresford, underneath the scaffolding at the moment!) are being updated from July 1st to show a collection of the many unusual items that are “Made in Alresford”, and exported around the world – in some cases at least.

First in any such display are the dolls and soft toys made by Alresford Crafts: but since there is a permanent display of these dolls and toys in the upstairs cabinet, in the children’s section of the library, there is just one Teddy-bear in the downstairs cabinet to represent this Alresford business.

DSCN1608Next in worldwide exports comes Etchmasters Ltd, of Prospect Road, who operated in the 1970s and 1980s. In the display we have five examples, three of which are railway engine pictures. The fourth is a classic ‘Knight and His Lady’ brass rubbing style of picture (see below), and fifth is a Ploughing scene, with a horse drawn plough. The museum is pleased to have this last picture as the artist is Alan Longford, who worked for Etchmasters around 1980, and then went on to specialise in equestrian and other horse related pictures, becoming a member of the Society of Equestrian Artists.

DSCN1612Almost along the same theme, Alresford has had several saddlers and producers of horse-related equipment in leather, such as reins and so on. An interesting saddle by Alresford Saddlers is on display, which has a sheepskin underside: Alresford Saddlers were located at 16 West Street.

Alresford is famous for some well known clockmakers: at the moment the only example in the Museum is a very worn face of a Grandfather clock inscribed “Jno Howe – Alresford”. He was working in The Dean from 1828-32. This clock face is on show. Equally famous was Evans and Evans, of West Street, where Jaga Designs are now, but until when? – Maybe it was 2000? Or 2010?

DSCN1605Brewing has always been a major industry in Alresford, whether ginger beer or real beer! So there are two beer bottles from Batchelors of the “Pineapple House” at the bottom end of Broad Street, one with a marble stopper in the neck of a glass bottle, and one stone bottle. Batchelors also had a china shop, and a special plate from them is on show that commemorated the first 50 years of Queen Victoria’s reign, presumably therefore dating from 1890. For more about the Batchelors bottling business, see the AlresfordMemories story entitled “The very Best Ginger Beer in Great Britain”, dated 10 March 2013.

What else was made in Alresford?

What else can you think of that was made in Alresford? What have you got that could join this display? We would love to borrow more items to add.

I am also keen to be able to show one of the vibrating spools that were used to measure the density of crude oil flows, made by Agar Instrumentation Ltd in Prospect Road in the 1970s, thru to about 1981. These were essential for every oil well and refinery, and were exported all over the world – the only real competitor was Solartron in Farnborough. Has anyone saved any of these spool pieces? There must have been lots of rejects. The factory was taken over by Redland, the bricks and tiles people, and moved to Kingsworthy, but the products are now obsolete, so the company has now disappeared. Please can we find one of the vibrating spools?


World Record Cyclist and the Rugby World Cup in Alresford!

Something for you to tell your grandchildren maybe!

The Webb Ellis Cup, the Rugby World Cup, came to Alresford in August this year. On 26th August it arrived at Arlebury Park, as did the rain. The Alresford Rugby Club had arranged a full day of events to celebrate this, with an afternoon and evening of FUN RUGBY for EVERYONE. As they said, “Keep that date free to join Alresford Rugby Club, the community of Alresford, and Rugby enthusiasts from far and wide”. I’m sure there were some stalwarts out playing in the mud!

304587609The Webb Ellis Cup is the trophy awarded to the winner of the Rugby World Cup, the premier competition in men’s international rugby union. The Cup is named after William Webb Ellis, who is often credited as the inventor of rugby football. The trophy is silver gilt and has been presented to the winner of the Rugby World Cup since the first competition in 1987.

The 38 centimetre trophy weighs 4.5kg, is gilded silver and is supported by two cast scroll handles. On one handle there is a head satyr, on the other there is head of a nymph. On the face of the trophy, the words International Rugby Football Board and below that arch The Webb Ellis Cup are engraved.

ARFC has its own website, for more info,

Plus a cycling World Record holder!  

On Saturday 22nd August Dominic Irvine visited Alresford Library, to meet fellow cycling enthusiasts. Dominic and Charlie Mitchell broke the World record, in May, for cycling non-stop between Land’s End and John O’Groats on a tandem, smashing the 1966 record by a massive 5 hours! During his visit to Alresford Library he talked about long distance cycling and making world records – or at least one record!

The Edward Pay Medical Fund

When visiting the Alresford Surgery, you may have seen a notice in the waiting room that some of the chairs there were provided by the Edward Pay Medical Fund. Certainly I wondered about this, and it took me a while to learn a little more.

Edward Pay, pictured on service in WW2 in Italy

Edward Pay, pictured on service in WW2 in Italy

Edward Pay was a builder, originally from Liss, who worked around Alresford from the 1920s onwards: in those days when travel in the countryside was by horse and cart, or walking, he would have lived near the job in a caravan or in lodgings, at least through the week. With his workmates he built a Mausoleum at Old Alresford Church, and then did some further work on the old Perin’s school buildings at the top of the Dean. As any good builder he noticed all the pretty girls walking past, and he his wife-to-be, Ada White, walked past the school house every day on her way from her home in the Dean, to her work at Upton Park House. Edward and Ada were married in Alresford in the 1930s – married in a service conducted by his cousin, Rev Harry Carpenter (who later became Bishop of Oxford). They set up home in Ashburton Place, as it was then known: it is now Ashburton Road. He continued working as a builder around Alresford, and had a large family, including seven grandchildren. He was always pleased that his two sons, David and Richard, were volunteers in the Alresford Fire Brigade.

As most Alresford residents, Edward was always a patient at the Alresford Surgery in Station Road. In the 1980s he developed lung cancer, and the Surgery there treated him for this. During the final stages of the disease he needed injections of morphine, and the Surgery, who did not have the morphine syringe driver needed for this treatment, had to borrow one from other NHS surgeries, usually from Andover.

Creating the Charity

Because of the support provided by the Doctors and Nurses in the Alresford surgery, Edward requested that at his funeral – which came in 1988 – any collection should be used to help provide the Alresford Surgery with equipment that would help the community when attending the surgery, but that was not normally provided by the NHS. This first collection raised £500. The Pay family consulted Dr Brill, who advised that to operate effectively the fund should be organised as a Registered Charity, and Mr Alexander in Old Alresford helped create this. A significant benefit of being a Registered Charity is that any charitable purchases made to help people who are disabled or terminally ill are exempt from VAT, which is the Government’s contribution to providing support.

With the help of various fund raising events run in co-operation with the Surgery, the Fire Station, and Edward’s many friends – for example BBQ events, country dances at the ARC, local sausage and cheese tasting evenings, and notably a sponsored cycle ride to Liss and back – the charity raised over £80,000 over the first 20 years.

Villages scan837The cycle ride to Liss covered 66 miles, and was undertaken in 1991 by Dr Green, Dr Tanner and Dr Jane Stebbing, with the practice manager Elaine Guy, as seen in the photo: Dr Brill is in the middle of the cyclists, and they are being greeted here by Edward’s Liss-based relatives, Jean and Jack Pay and Edward’s sister Daisy Hourahine. This was a major initial event for the charity, and raised over £2500 for the fund, which then could afford the £5000 needed to supply the first defibrillator Villages scan833at Alresford Surgery.  This is shown in the second picture, when it arrived in the Surgery, with Dr Clark, Dr Green and two of Edward’s children, Pamela and Richard.

Some money was indeed used for the chairs in the waiting room, but also for the first set of electric doors on the Surgery entrance and the TV screens in the waiting room, as well as the disabled person’s toilet equipment. More directly for medical equipment, the Edward Pay Fund has helped equip the Nurses’ Surgery rooms with equipment and cabinets, and of course initially bought a morphine syringe driver, and then spent £5000 on the defibrillator. In 2015, morphine syringe drivers are available on the NHS, and now four or five are in use in the Alresford area, but the Edward Pay Charity enabled this advanced equipment to be provided before such Government funding became allowable.

dr green letterContributions to the fund have come from many sources, from grateful patients and in bequests from the Alresford townspeople: Alresford businesses have also been generous in providing raffle prizes and support for fund raising events. One of the first fund raising table top sales was organised by two of Edward Pay’s grandchildren, Abbie and Julie Pay, in 1989, when they raised £10 by selling some of their toys from a stall in Beech Road, set up outside their home: the letter of thanks from Dr Green is shown here.

Current activities

Edward’s son Richard and daughter Pam recently presented some of this history at a coffee morning meeting in St John’s Church, and were proud to say that even the TV screens in the waiting room, with the annoying health messages, had actually helped a patient have a check and get treatment for a major health problem, only identified by the screen messages! Over the last five years the income and spend by the charity has tailed off, to below £2000 total: it is hoped that this can be increased once again. The charity is still active, and still keen to provide funds for any equipment for the Surgery that is needed by the community.

The formal objectives of the Charity are:

To relieve sickness and preserve health among persons residing permanently or temporarily in Alresford and the surrounding district by:

  1. The provision of medical and other equipment and materials for the benefit of the patients of Alresford Group Surgery, or of any other practice of general practitioners in the area.
  2. The provision of some other service or function as the Trustees shall from time to time decide.”

The Charity is based at the Alresford Group Surgery, and the Trustees are David Pay, Pamela Page and Richard Pay, who are Edward Pay’s children, and Dr Richard Cribb and Health Care Assistant Lyndsay Curran of the Alresford Surgery.

Alresford Charities

Other charities in Alresford are listed in a previous Alresford Memories post, “Charities in Alresford: Now, and in the past”, posted on 29 January 2015.

The Edward Pay Fund accepts donations at:

The latest “Alresford Articles”

Issue number 5 of “Alresford Articles” has recently been published. This is the latest in a series of A4 sized booklets which presents a number of local history articles, by local people, continuing the tradition started by “Alresford Displayed”, a similar series of publications. These were started in 1976, and the last issue, number 22, was published in 1997.

Villages scan838Alresford Articles is published by the Alresford Historical and Literary Society,, and any profits arising from sales of the booklets are used to help the society’s funds. Copies are available priced at £4.80.

Alresford Articles Issue 5 has a typical mix of stories covering 48 pages, totalling 15, some of them covering local history as follows:

‘Mr Alresford’ – Alfred Henry White

The George & Red Lion Inns

Albert E Wade: an Artist in Alresford

The Cold War Spies in New Alresford (re Harry Houghton and Ethel Gee) (see the picture below – where is it?)

Hudson’s Summer in the Itchen Valley

The District Nurse & the Ropley Coffee Rooms

Sheep Fairs (and fields)


About the Alresford Historical and Literary Society

The Society was formed in 1966 to bring together members of the local community and encourage interest in the History, Literature and Archaeology of Alresford and the surrounding areas. It has been instrumental in recording the area’s history and events as evidenced by the publication of the original twenty-two original Alresford Displayed booklets. Many of our members have played a pivotal role in the ongoing social and commercial life of our attractive town.

Monthly meetings are held in the Methodist Church, Jacklyns Lane, Alresford SO24 9JJ, where a balanced programme of talks and presentations takes place in a friendly atmosphere. Meetings are normally held on the third Wednesday of the month, and it is not necessary to be a member to attend – visitors are welcome at the door for a small fee. Refreshments are provided.

The topics selected for the monthly talks give an insight into the influence that the political, social and industrial heritage has had on our Community and Hampshire. To stimulate the literary interests of the members, lectures are also chosen to illustrate the work of authors and artistic personalities.

Labels on Alresford Bears

Horace, the Alresford Bear, has a website,, and this has provided some interesting analysis of the labels used on Alresford Crafts Bears over the years. So this is the story, as below, and maybe you should visit his website to see what he has been doing?

Alresford Crafts, based in Alresford, Hampshire, England  manufactured soft toys from about 1970 until 1992 when they ceased trading. They were exported worldwide and many seem to have ended up in USA and Japan.

Here is a page thought to be from a 1980’s Alresford Toys Catalogue, which shows bears that look like Horace in various sizes.  All the bears in this style were known as Honey Bears, and all had flat bottoms that enabled them to sit without being propped up by something.

Alresford Catalogue

Quite a lot of information about Alresford Crafts provided by Alresford Memories can be found at

There is a mention of Alresford Crafts on BBC site Domesday Reloaded 1986 at

Three types of label can be found on the bears

1) Older bears made at the Old Mill up until about 1979 have this sort of label :

Older type label (such as the one that Horace has)

2) Bears made after about 1979 made at The Station Mill have this type of label:

After 1979 Made at Station Mill

3) This type of label was used on bears most recently made at The Station Mill :-

Bears made after 1979

If anyone has any more information about Alresford Crafts Karen would be delighted to hear from you, via Horace’s website. Or send info to Alresford Memories on here too.