1980s Taste of Alresford – 2: Soup Dishes

…………………..Stories from residents at the time

 

taste of alreThe following are descriptions by Alresford families of their houses/homes, and their lives in the early 1980s, provided to the charity recipe book ‘A Taste of Alresford’ published by Sally March, on behalf of Oxfam. There have already been several extracts from this book published in stories on this website. Most are listed under the “Taste of Alresford” tag, they include stories about the Hobby Horse, Beresford House, The Cricketer’s Pub and the Golf Course, Fulling Mill, and Anderson’s green-grocers.

The introduction to the book was written by John Arlott, which is also featured in one story, and his life here in the old Sun Inn is described in another AlresfordMemories story.

The authors and their recipe subjects for Soup dishes are as follows – all written in the early 1980s: TO GET THE RECIPES YOU NEED TO BUY THE BOOK!

 

John [and Betty] Bevan, The Manor Farm, Old Alresford.

‘The Alresford and District Annual Agricultural Show’

‘The entries in all classes are numerous, and the Show and Dinner are expected to be a great success’ proclaimed the advertisement in ‘The Hampshire Chronicle’ in December 1909. With such optimism, the Alresford and District Annual Agricultural Show began. Seventy five years later, despite two World Wars and epidemics of foot and mouth disease, the Show is the major event in the Alresford year, held nowadays at Tichborne Park.

Cattle and horses, sheep, goats and pigs, cereal and produce are shown, and there are more than a hundred Trade and Exhibition stands. The Horticultural tent bulges with fat onions and enormous dahlias, and visitors to the Rural Craft Tent are fascinated by displays of antique-style lace, pottery and painting, hand-turned wood and home-spun wool. But for most of us, the Show is especially a social occasion – meeting and greeting, and a spot of liquid refreshment, plus fun for all ages with Punch And Judy and the Perins school band.

The present Chairman is Mr John Bevan of Manor Farm, whose father, Mr J A Bevan, was President of the Show in 1958.

Recipe: Cold Watercress Soup

 

Betty [and John] Bevan, The Manor Farm, Old Alresford.

The Manor Farm illustrates Alresford agriculture very well. Besides the 450 acres of mixed farming, Mr Bevan has 3 acres of watercress, and 4 large ‘stews’ od trout, with 5000-6000 fish in each. His father, Mr J A Bevan, sent off the first consignment of watercress from Alresford railway station.

Today it is harvested all the year round: lorries take it to Hurn Airport, from where it is flown in refrigerated containers to London, the Midlands and the North. ‘Watercress is reckoned to be a sure fire cure for a hangover’.

Farm stock includes 100 dairy cattle, 40 calves and 25 in-calf heifers. They grow winter wheat and barley, some for malting, (for beer) and some for seed.

Recipe: Royal Watercress Soup

 

Terry and Sara McTurk, The Old School House Restaurant, 60 West Street.

The ‘Old School House’ is the original home of Perins Free Grammar School (Perins Community School). In 1774, Robert Boyes, Master of Perin’s Grammar School, wrote*: ‘The school was founded in 1698 by Christopher Perin ‘for educating 19 poor men’s sons in the Latin tongue, writing accounts etc. Every scholar was to pay one shilling a year for his admission, and one shilling a year towards providing rods and brooms to be used in the school. The School House is a plain strong building standing at the bottom of West Street, The school itself is in a large, very lofty room adjoining the dwelling house (occupied by the schoolmaster).

Today this building is the home of the Chef-Proprietors, Terry and Sara McTurk, who, with 25 years combined catering experience behind them,were delighted to discover the Old School House and to have such a good reception accorded to their style of cooking.

*‘The History of Alresford’ by A J Robertson.

Recipe: Cream of Parsley Soup.

 

Joan Riley, The Nythe House, Old Alresford.

Dr and Mrs Riley have lived in Alresford for over 30 years. Their home is an old Victorian house on the Old Alresford side of the big pond. Dr Riley is a partner in the Alresford Group Surgery in Station Road.

Recipe: Iced Carrot and Orange Soup.

 

Elinor Gush, The Fulling Mill, Old Alresford.

When Mr and Mrs Bryan Gush bought and restored the derelict Fulling Mill standing astride the lovely River Alre, they little realised that in 30-odd years it would attract so many visitors from all over the world.

In the 13th century, the English wool staple was at Winchester, where wool was sorted and graded. The Fulling Mill probably dates from then, soon after Bishop de Lucy had his Great Weir, and where the River Alre now runs purposefully along its new path.  The Mill was built above the water, with a smooth slope down into it, where woollen cloth could be washed and laid out to be dressed with powdered chalk (there being no Fuller’s earth in the district). It was then trodden or beaten to rid it of excess oil, and to shrink and concentrate the loosely woven cloth. The industry declined when the staple was moved to ‘English’ Calais, sometime before 1452.

The Old Mill, almost surrounded by running water, has the most beautiful garden, designed and cared for by Mr and Mrs Gush. They have also developed a small nursery, alongside the river, near where the old open swimming pool used to be. By selling its produce to passing visitors, they have raised £27,000 for charity since 1974.

Recipe: A Simplified Bortsch

 

Country Fare, Craft Gallery, 11 East Street.

Where would you find drunken sailors in Alresford? As skittles in Country Fare Where would you find a silver deck chair? In the jewellery case at Country Fare. Where would you find a hunter on an elephant? As a teapot. Or a six foot high tulip? As a lamp. Where do you find the smartest people in town? In Country Fare

Country Fare displays and sells original crafts from the British Isles.

Recipe: Juan’s Gazpacho.

 

Mike and Peewee Burchett, The Cricketer’s Arms, Tichborne Down.

The Cricketer’s Arms takes its name from an earlier pub, but Mike Burchett, its Landlord, is a well-known local cricketer, having captained Winchester and played for Tichborne and the famous ‘Hampshire Hogs’.

The pub was purpose built in the 1920’s, with a clubroom attached to it for the use of the neighbouring Golf Club. The first tenant, Mr W Boniface, was in fact the Club’s Professional.

Today Mike and Peewee welcome guests to the comfort of a Lounge bar, where families may sample a wide menu; to a public bar, and a poolroom-cum-children’s room. In the garden are tables, children’s swings and a trampoline. There are toilet facilities for the physically handicapped, and French windows with a ramp for wheelchairs.

The Cricketer’s Arms is very much a family pub, with good bar food and a friendly welcome to Alresford residents and visitors from further afield.

Recipe: Stilton and Celery Soup.

In Part 3 the recipes provided will introduce various fish courses.

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