The people who supply prints of old postcards, www.francisfrith.com, have 135 old pictures of “New Alresford” on their website: you need to use the “New” in the Search box to distinguish it from the other town in Essex. Plus they encourage people to write in and post their memories of the town under the pictures.
The following, with thanks to Francis Frith and to John Dear, who sent the comments in, back in 2012, is his memory sparked by the postcard, which seems to show his Dad’s old Morris Minor parked at the top of Broad Street, by the Chemist’s, in about 1965. Slightly edited for clarity, he writes:
“My family lived at No 3 (the top flat), Corner House, at the top end of Broad Street, first on the left looking at the photo (but just out of the picture) for many years from 1947 or so. I was eleven when we moved to Alresford from Bournemouth. My brother Rex and I have both lived in the North East of Scotland since our early twenties. But in Alresford, in the early fifties, a butcher, a chemist and a flower shop occupied the building below our flat, at street level.
May I offer my disjointed and rambling memories of Alresford?
We went to primary school ‘down the Dean’ – Mrs Warburton was Headmistress, or was it Mrs. Waldron? Warburton’s was a newsagent’s shop? Then Perins, and by steam train – now known as the Watercress Line, and a preserved steam railway – to Peter Symonds in Winchester. SCATS feed mill – still working then, was in the railway station yard, with kindly Mr Gordon Porter, who with his dear wife Nancy, who lived at Ladycroft, where the high road and the low road, (the bus route to Winchester), went their different ways. There was the bike shop (for sales and repairs) on the corner of Station Road, next to the Post Office. My dad Bob worked at Conders, in Winchester. My mum Esther, ran Dr Skegg’s flower/vegetable shop which was just under the flat. Cruickshanks the grocers was opposite, across Broad Street and ’employed’ me – bagging sugar in neatly folded bags and other ‘help’ (I hope I wasn’t a nuisance). Biscuits were sold from big glass topped tins, and I was allowed to take home broken biscuits and bacon pieces from the slicer – for my own fry-up! The big ironmongers down Broad Street, is it still there? (Yes, its still there – Ed) Brian, a good go-about friend, where is he now? And Thelma Lane from their Dad’s electricians down West Street. Looking across to St. Johns Church, its lovely pealing bells and striking clock. Watercress beds, streams (paddling), the outdoor cold! A swimming pool, little used for swimming, but model boats, yes. The Fulling Mill, trout, waving water weed in clear water, meadows, cowslips.
Our four uncles, Gordon (and Barbara), Sidney (and Gladys), Charlie (and Marjorie) and John (and Mollie) running C.E.Evans (our Grandad), which was the butchers down the Soke, at No. 7. Their slaughterhouse round the back, bacon smoker with oak sawdust, sides of bacon in brine. Jimmy Whyte and his cars, down the lane. Follow round to the big working mill, eels in the water, wild playground next to it (built on now, I expect), the big Weir (the ‘little weir’ on the opposite side of the watercress beds- a nice track with trees). Going to Old Alresford, the Pond down the lane, Robin Greenwood’s cottage, a ‘big pond!’ Walk right round if very daring, rickety bridge, high reeds, willow trees to sit and climb on. Abbotstone Down, New Farm Road, paper round including the Institute (the dear souls did so enjoy their papers). Sun Lane, deep chalk railway cutting, tame jackdaw, flying model airplanes on the Golf Course (Jetex fuel pellet engine and fuse – or elastic band). Opposite the Cricketers Arms – we’d be in the middle of a motorway now! (Well its just the bypass – Ed) Double decker bus to Winchester through the Worthies – sitting upstairs and the tree branches brushing the bus. Owls in cool, misty, still evenings, swans, ducks, coots, moorhens, water voles, Miller’s thumb fish, sticklebacks, minnows, cadis fly larvae in their stone tubes and more eels. Bike ride to Bighton and to Syd and Gladys at the Ramblers at Ropley, woods and deep lanes. Charlie and family up Pound Hill on the way to The Avenue – a beautiful avenue of lime trees. The pubs, the London to Bournemouth Stagecoach, stopping overnight at The Bell Inn, looking down on and listening to the Broad Street Fair.
We walked everywhere, safe and sound and had no need to get thrills from vandalising anything – though I readily admit to much harmless trespass… hmm…yes…”
While there are not that many eels left any more, John, the Broad Street Fair continues: pictured from today: