Archive for February, 2020

Lloyds Bank in 1959

The Francis Frith company, with their catalogue of old photographs, has many pictures of New Alresford, which you can see on their website. They also publish stories, or memories, from readers, and one, published in 2010, is from Valerie Neal, describing the time she worked in Lloyds Bank in 1959:

“I was working in Lloyds bank in 1959. I remember going across the road to fetch cakes from the bakery every day for the staff. We had six staff, this was before the extension to the bank. The other members were Mr Rainford, Mr Sherwood, and the manager whose name escapes me. The girls were Myrtle Young, another Anne and me. I also remember going to the cinema in Station Road. You could not hear a thing if it was raining because of the tin roof. I travelled to work by train from Winchester, it cost six shillings and fourpence return. Those were the days.”


The Mural in the Old Fire Station

Once it was agreed that the old Merryweather Fire Appliance would be returned to the Old Fire Station garage, as the first major exhibit of the Alresford Museum, attention turned to the decoration of the garage walls. Other major investments went into the lighting system to be used, and the folding glass doors installed behind the original wooden doors. But it was felt that the back wall should feature a major relevant picture, or photograph, of something representing the history of fires in the town, or why the fire appliance was needed.

Undoubtedly the front cover picture from Arthur Stowell’s book “The Story of Alresford” was one of the best images available. It totally fitted the subject and history, and was very colourful. The photos available of the Fire Appliance from around 1900 were also largely black and white. Many were available from the Gog Andrews collection ( so these were used on a slide show on a TV screen on another wall of the garage.

Arthur Stowell’s picture was drawn by Brian Wynne, but neither the original nor any prints could be found. The book had been published via the Alresford History and Literary Society, but enquiries there did not produce any leads. So the only copies available were on the covers of his book. At that time I had a scanner that could be used to scan at a very detailed resolution, so to see what could be done I scanned the front and back covers, using a new ‘clean’ copy. I soon realised that it would be necessary to scan the spine, so eventually that was also achieved. These three scans were then brought together (using free PC software known as “Paint”).


As you can see, the scan of the spine is fairly obvious! The joins down the middle were bridged together (using more free PC software, called “PhotoScape”), to get rid of the visible edges and mould the colours together. The words had to go too.


Then another problem arose: the dimensions of this image, when scaled up to fill across the back wall of the garage, meant that it was too tall, and would be hidden behind the cabinets. Ideally it was necessary to lose most of the sky, and even some of the foreground where the people were standing. Normally, pictures can be stretched up to about 10%, without becoming too distorted. This was done, using ‘Paint’, but it was still not wide enough. So the ‘Photoscape’ software came back again, to add extra rooms on the houses at either side, copying the existing bits of wall. The final result was as below.

OFS plan 4 stretch crop add 10pc patch

Getting the mural printed 10 feet wide also was difficult, and the result came in two sections, once again joined down the middle! The width was not quite as wide as the garage wall, so it appears the picture version used was not a stretched one, after all! A 2019 picture in the garage (below) shows the final version on the wall. For 2020 this wall has disappeared… the mural will be repositioned!

Nick Denbow




Alresford cartoons

Inspired by an artist producing “Wobbly” pictures of their local town, Ian McDonald, a local amateur painter and DIY enthusiast has brought these skills together, maybe, to produce some “wonky” pics of Alresford. I think they are worth presenting here:


Then, by chance, I found some similar pics produced by Mad Lou Publishing, of Steep, near Petersfield. Created by Louise Braithwaite ( also from Ashford, near Steep, there is also a lovely card with her  pic of Broad Street in a similar vein…


Arthur Stowell used a similar pic, but set some 400 years earlier, on the front cover of his book about Alresford History. This now is used as a mural on the wall of the Old Fire Station Museum display area:


Ian has now branched out, and attempted an alternative view of the Alresford centre, looking up the hill along West Street.  This is his second Wobbly pic of Alresford, which also has an acknowledgement to our friends from Odiham:


Another slightly more conventional view of Alresford houses is afforded by Hellards, the Estate Agents, on their notepaper: this is primarily of East Street, and is more in the style of the architect Lawrence Wright’s drawings..;;

1986 East Street South side0003

While Louise Braithwaite seems to specialise in pics in and around Winchester, another of her cards shows the backs at Cambridge, which I also rather like:


Others have tried to picture Broad Street before it was taken over as the most preferred car parking area in Alresford:


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