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?


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