Archive for the ‘Local Businesses’ Category

1980s Alresford – Part 1: Starter dishes

……From residents of the time

 

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A well used copy of the 1985 Oxfam recipe book

The following are descriptions by Alresford families of their houses/homes, and their lives in the early 1980s, provided to the charity recipe book 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, but 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 recipes for Starters are as follows – all written in the early 1980s: TO GET THE RECIPES YOU NEED TO BUY THE BOOK!

Marjorie Fuller, Villa Kedros, 11 Dover Close:

“Mrs Fuller is secretary of the Alresford branch of the Townswomen’s Guild, whose aim is to “Advance the education of women”, and to encourage them to contribute to their own community. Joining TG is a very good way of making friends. There are handicrafts and cookery classes, play-readings and outings, interesting and educational talks.” Recipe provided: Jellied Hors D’Oeuvres.

Kitchen Elegance, 34 West Street:

Kitchen Elegance specialises in planning, designing and installing fitted kitchens. They are agents for Commodore Kitchens and AEG Kitchen and Laundry Appliances. Recipe provided: Cheesy Fish Starter.

Glenys Brundish, 2 Shepherd’s Down:

Glenys Brundish’s husband Keith is manager of the Alresford branch of Barclays Bank. Recipe provided: Mixed Fish Patés.

Sue Clark, Studley House, Rosebery Road:

Mrs Clark is a Research Nursing Sister at Alresford surgery looking into blood pressure. She is married to one of the Group Surgery doctors. Recipe provided: Fish Paté.

Ann Wadman, Chestnut House, Dorian Grove:

Mrs Wadman is secretary of the Alresford Art Society, which welcomes anyone who is interested to talks on all aspects of the visual arts. Painting, enamelling, book binding and calligraphy are some of the subjects in this present season. Outings to places of interest and theatres are arranged regularly. The society meets on the first Friday of each month. Recipe provided: Chicken Liver Paté.

Jo Newbury, The Globe Inn, the Soke:

Recipe provided: Stilton Paté.

Hampshire Watercress Ltd:

Mr Raymond Isaac began growing watercress on one acre of land in the 1940s. Today his company, Hampshire Watercress Ltd, with its trade name Vitacress, cultivates more then 50 acres, and is the biggest grower in the UK and possibly the world. They supply most major supermarkets.

Watercress has long been regarded as a natural source of important nutrients, and contains vitamins A and B and Riboflavin, plus mineral salts such as calcium and iron. It is ideal for diets, having only 4 calories per ounce.

If bought as a bunch, wash thoroughly and trim as required, shake off excess water and put in a closed polythene bag, or a container from which air has been excluded. Keep it, and pre-packed cress, in a refrigerator.

Recipes provided: Tangy Starter, Slimmer’s Special, Stuffed Tomatoes, and Egg and Watercress Mousse.

Jill Shackleton, 24 Arle Gardens:

Jill Shackleton is Clerk to New Alresford Parish Council. As its only paid officer she is secretary and archivist, keeping all plans, deeds records, letters, writings etc, and carrying out all functions and duties imposed by statute, regulation or order.

The council’s duties are to provide public open spaces, recreational facilities, street lighting, bus shelters, litter bins, and seats, and to make byelaws. Possibly its most important role, however, is to bring local matters to the notice of the District Council and the Hampshire County Council. Recipe provided: Stuffed Mushrooms.

Jane Long, Linnets Cottage, Tichborne Down:

Alresford Golf Club (the course is opposite her cottage) was founded in 1890 on downland owned by Sir Joseph Tichborne (of the family of the Greta Tichborne Inheritance case fame), the course was grazed by sheep until 1907.Charles Marks, of Woking Golf Club, was then employed as the first professional greenkeeper, but unfortunately he fell out with Sir Joseph and only stayed for two years.

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Thatched and wood clad, this was the Golf course Clubhouse, based round a railway carriage: picture from alresfordheritage.co.uk, and “The History of Alresford Golf Club” by ER Hedges, 1990.

A room at the ‘Cricketer’s’ served as a clubhouse at first (no ladies permitted of course); later, in 1953, a retired railway carriage was placed by the first tee, and used for 16 years. The present Clubhouse on the Cheriton road now serves a membership of over 400 and is a social and sporting centre.

Recipes provided: Mushrooms Provencales, and also Savoury Toasts

June Gregory, Grasshoppers, Grange Road

June Gregory has worked hard for Oxfam for many years. Her husband Peter is a partner in a firm of Solicitors whose offices in Broad Street were formerly part of the Old George [Inn]. This In was owned by Winchester College and built for them in about 1420. Twenty years later, in 1439, it was burnt down in one of Alresford’s Great Fires, and not rebuilt until a lease was granted in 1460.

In 424 it was referred to as the ‘St George’. Presumably it was then known colloquially as ‘the Old George’ and that gradually became its proper name.

The Inn was sold by the college to a brewery in 1914. It was then closed on 1st September 1927, after more than 500 years of innkeeping.

Recipe provided: Mushroom Savouries (‘Mock Snails’)

Vasanti Rogers, Chalk Hill, New Farm Road

Born of Indian parents in the city of Lucknow, where she spent her childhood, Vasanti studied Manipuri dance at the Vidyodaya School in Madras and was a student at Wellesley Collegeand Columbia University in the USA. She teaches yoga in Alresford and Winchester.

Vasanti is part-owner, with her husband Tom, of the antique shop ‘Rogers of Alresford’. They deal in English pottery, furniture and works of art. They also exhibit at major antiques fairs.

Recipe provided: Indian Spiced Meatballs (Kofra Balls)

Part 2 of 1980s Alresford, covering people who gave recipes for Soups, will follow!

 

 

 

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1996 Bell Hotel Fire

News topics from the 1996 papers

The following two items appeared in the local newspapers found in the time capsule placed in the Methodist Chapel in the Dean, during its renovation for the Alresford Youth Association in 1996.

Bell Hotel Fire

In the issue of the Hampshire Chronicle that was placed in the Methodist Chapel time capsule that was re-created in 1996, there was a news item about a recent fire in the Bell Hotel. The newspaper was dated 8 March 1996 – it said

“Four people who were asleep in the Bell Hotel in Alresford, on Sunday night, had a lucky escape. Carl May, son of the Manager, woke up to the smell of smoke just before 0230 and raised the alarm. Hotel manager Courtney May, Carl, and two guests who were in the hotel at the time made their way to safety.

The first fire fighters on the scene were from Alresford, followed by those from Winchester. “When we arrived we could see fire coming out of the roof, it had obviously been burning for some time,” said Winchester sub-officer Kevin Oxlade. “It was a very serious fire.”

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Efforts were originally made on preventing the flames spreading to nearby buildings. It took about four hours for six units plus a turntable ladder, and 40 firefighters from Alresford, Winchester, Twyford and Alton to get the blaze under control. Damping down operations continued for most of the morning. Fire investigators attended the scene on Monday: the cause of the fire was thought to have been an electrical fault

The roof, top floor, and the first floor where the guest bedrooms were located suffered the most damage.”

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The scene the next morning

The hotel was owned by Phoenix Inns at the time. The building is Grade II listed, recorded as a coaching inn dating from 1756. Additional reporting by the Winchester Extra is included above.

Creamfields – Boomtown gets go-ahead

Also in a front page feature in the Hampshire Chronicle of 8 March 1996, the Winchester City Council gave the go-ahead for the music festival at Cheesefoot Head, stating the assumption that it would be likely to attract 50,000 people.

Helping the local community

FareShare food distribution

The charity ‘FareShare’ is working with the Tesco store in Alresford to ensure that food that is no longer suitable for sale is distributed around the local community. Basically the food has reached its ‘sell by date’, and is surplus to their requirements. FareShare and Tesco wish to see that this food is not wasted, but distributed to anyone who can make use of it.

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Some of the food recently made available by Tesco

 

Various local community groups have undertaken to distribute the food, according to the FareShare principles: two of the first organisations to sign up in Alresford were the Giles Group and the ADCA, the Alresford & District Community Association. The Giles Group is arranging to distribute the surplus Tesco food that is available on Tuesday mornings, from their ‘Drop-in’ coffee morning held every week in the Community Centre. This operates from 1030 till 12 noon. Any food remaining is then delivered to the Makins Court Common Room, at around 1230. On Fridays, the food available from Tesco is distributed to those who attend the ADCA coffee morning, also held in the Community Centre. Again, any left over at the end of the morning is delivered to makins Court for the residents there.

The Giles Group

The Giles Group was established in Alresford some 23 years ago. The original objective was to provide people in Alresford who had a disability, or a family member with a disability of any form, with a place to go, to discuss problems and find advice from people who had faced similar problems, and could understand their difficulties. The Group acted as a source of information about disability aids, suppliers of equipment, and services, grants and funding available. Nowadays this sort of information is more easily accessible via the internet, but the Group still provides such services, and also acts as a meeting place for the members.

The Giles members also include carers for disabled people, other elderly people who have trouble walking, and also those who are just isolated and need some friendly companionship. We meet together once a month* for an afternoon, in the Community Centre, to exchange ideas and listen to visiting speakers – who often represent organisations that are relevant to those with mobility problems, or the disabled in the town. There is also the weekly coffee morning, in the Community Centre, where the Tesco food is distributed.

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Another week’s food distribution from Tesco, with the Alresford Society salver awarded to the Giles Group for 2018

Problems experienced by the members are collected, and referred to the local Council when relevant: such things as better road crossings, repairs to broken pavements and installation of dropped kerbs have been positive results.  The Group also provides a source for locating mobility aids, fluorescent jackets and items for help around the house. In co-operation with the Alresford Pigs and others, mobility aids like Zimmer frames, wheelchairs, ‘Rollator’ walkers and even mobility scooters are regularly re-cycled amongst the Giles membership.

The Alresford Society award

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Clive and Tessa receiving the Salver Award for 2018 at the Alresford Society AGM

After 23 years working in the town for the disabled, the Giles Group is delighted to have been awarded the Alresford Society’s Silver Salver Award for 2018, in recognition of the assistance provided to the Community over this time. Founder member Tessa Purkiss attended the recent AGM of the Alresford Society to receive the award from their Chairman, Jan Field. Tessa was accompanied by Clive Earthy, a long term member of the Giles Committee, and the current Treasurer. Clive and Tessa stressed that Giles membership is open to anyone who feels they could benefit, and is only run for the benefit of the members – currently 35 in total. New members are always welcome – membership in 2017 was only £15 a year, as the Group receives occasional external support – recently from the NATC and from personal donations.

  • For more information about the Giles Group, please see www.gilesgroup.org.uk . Monthly meetings are held on the second monday in the month, from 2pm to 4pm in the Community Centre.

How to stay safe at home….

You always feel safe at home. Maybe you get your gas boiler serviced regularly, maybe you have smoke detectors, with new batteries fitted regularly? Above all you get competent professionals to install your new cooker, and also the new gas hob in the kitchen.

When was that done, when was your gas supply system checked? If you were in rented accommodation, the landlord is legally obliged to have it checked every year. But if you own your own home, there’s no obligation to have anything checked on a regular basis. Even if you have lived there 30 years. But things can go wrong.

Take your own precautions

Yes I did that. I installed a carbon monoxide alarm system, alongside the smoke detector, to check whether the gas boiler flue had been blocked, and CO was building up in the boiler area. I installed a flammable gas alarm to monitor the kitchen, in case a gas ring was inadvertently not switched off, or had a fault. Not expensive, maybe £30 each.

For many years the flammable gas alarm worked fine – in other words it just sat there, and never said a word. Then it started going off, whenever there was any wine added to the stew on the hob, whenever there was any bread dough rising in a low oven, and whenever the windows were sprayed with a solvent cleaner. Eventually the alarm started going off so often – for example when the kettle boiled and steam was seen rising past the detector, that this was the final straw. It must be worn out, or faulty, it is just giving too many false alarms. So the gas detector was discarded.

Smart metering

OK I’m a real geek, I like the idea of monitoring the gas and electricity consumption, so readily joined in the offer for Scottish Power to install new “Smart” meters free of charge. Its part of a Government scheme, but means the meter readers don’t trample all over your home. That is the real benefit.

Meters installed aok, but just the final safety test – oh dear, there seems to be a slow gas leak somewhere in your system, its not major, but it falls outside permitted levels. Now I have to call out a ‘Gas Safe’ engineer to check the system, and have to pay for that (!) .

You know the problem, for the first two appointments no-one turns up. For the third, he is called away for urgent safety checks on a tower block, otherwise the tenants will all need to be evacuated. Finally, Saturday afternoon, I get an engineer to visit: this is Simon from JPS Plumbing and Heating in Winchester.

A hob problem

Simon very quickly locates the area of the problem, it’s in the supply to the ten year old gas hob. If the leak is in the hob itself, it would not be economical to repair. There are only two joints underneath to check, so Simon lies upside down in the oven space to feel the state of each one. Now the leak checks show the leak rate is smaller, and within the allowable tolerance – only a sixth of what can be permitted.

He is actually surprised to have made such a difference, compared to the initial leak test, so re-checks the joints. Now the supply pipework where it joins to the hob falls away completely. The steel 90 degree bend feeding the hob has sheared off between the thread holding the pipework and the bend. Although this newly created ‘nut’ unscrews, it immediately falls apart in two halves, in what could be described as a brittle fracture.

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This is supposed to be a 90 angle steel union. The thread holds the fitting on the copper pipe down onto the blue looking seal. The whole thread has cracked off, maybe its a very short length of thread, but it was not strong enough to take the stud fitting on the hob.

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Side view of the fitting, where the hob would be above. The cracks and failures are obvious.

The photos above show the union, with its broken thread, and the crack around the pipe, which had obviously been growing, and leaking, over the years. The false alarms the gas detector had given were just saying “Whatever else you are doing, its made the gas that’s leaking exceed the thresh-hold to trip my alarm”. Even the steam from the kettle was just making the gas rise faster on a route past the detector.

It would seem the elbow had been twisted too tight onto the hob, necessary to get the entry angle for the supply pipe to fit in the right direction. Maybe it was pulled too far on installation?  Or the sealing washer (the blue bit) was not flexible/compressible enough?

Lessons learned….

That union could have failed catastrophically, at any time, but maybe in the middle of the night, and filled up the kitchen with gas. When the boiler ignited at 7am, it would have had a willing flame ready to set off a really big bang.

Listen to your alarm sensors, and don’t ignore persistent false alarms! Buy a new sensor if the old one seems to be getting unreliable.

Get your gas supply around the house checked regularly – how do you know that even a properly installed hob – like we believed ours was – has not developed a fault, over 10 years?

Call a reputable plumber, a Gas Safe engineer who knows what he’s doing, like Simon from JPS Plumbing! Don’t just use a guy down the road who’s installed a few gas fires….

Postscript – the Hob itself

It is very likely that the 90 degree bend in steel that failed was supplied as an integral part of the hob itself, and not as a component by the original gas installation engineer. The hob was a PROline PGH460GL-U black glass top hob, with four burners, purchased via Currys. ProLine is reported by UKwhitegoods.co.uk as a trading name/brand owned by the retailer Comet, who sourced Eastern European or Chinese domestic appliances at the lower end of the market, and sold these via many other retail outlets. Particularly after the break-up of Kingfisher Group and transfer of the Comet business to Kesa, the quality of their product supply was not good.  The products were also still sold through the Darty chain of shops in France. This was apparently from 2006 onwards: the manual that came with this hob is dated 2007 and was originated by Kesa in Hull. PROline products are no longer sold, the business has closed.

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A ProLine gas hob of the PGH460GL-U type described here

History of Tiffin Tea Rooms

A story reported on the Francis Frith (vintage postcard suppliers) website came from a Rodney James, who was born on West Street in Alresford.

In 2007 he wrote to Frith about one of their postcards of Alresford, talking about the building at number 50 West Street (the original Tiffin Tea rooms building), which is where he was born. In those days it was a bakers and confectioners known as the ‘Black and White Bakery’, actually owned by a Mr White. Rodney’s father, presumably Mr James, was the baker there, and they lived with his wife and family (Rodney) ‘on the premises’ in the flat above the shop.  The bake-house was through the broad alleyway entrance to the right (labelled as Bakehouse Yard in the photo below): the ovens were wood (oak) fired and there was a large well in the yard which supplied the water – this well, or spring is still (2017) visible in the courtyard behind Tiffin Tea Rooms.

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Tiffin Tea Rooms, as seen in 2017

Rodney comments that the shop next door, down towards The Dean, was a general grocer when he was a youngster: this was number 52, later occupied by Design Realities, which relatively recently moved further up West Street, and Tiffin Tea Rooms expanded from the small shop where Rodney had lived, adding the premises at number 52. This became the Tea Rooms, and the original building, where Rodney had lived, became the chocolates and ice cream sales section of Tiffin, no longer using the upstairs rooms for serving the tea.

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The photos above show the Tiffin Tea Rooms as they were in 1986, and some of the girls looking out of the tea room window upstairs, during the Carnival procession in 1988.

Rodney also remembers the Café on the corner, owned by the Chalke family (he remembers their daughter Susan well). Opposite, across the road from the bakery was the garage owned by Mr C Hankin.

 

Etchmasters of Alresford

Who can tell us about working at Etchmasters of Alresford, in Prospect Road? If you have some memories of working there, let us know! Their pictures were mentioned in an earlier post, on Alresford exporters.

Many of the Etchmaster pictures are regrettably to be found regularly in the shop at the tip, not far from where they were created of course. The Alresford Museum does not want to buy these, particularly at tip prices, as one or two are enough!

Museum Donations

However, imagine my face when my aging sister-in-law proudly brought back two Etchmaster pictures from the USA, in her luggage, for me to keep, or put in the Museum! One is an imitation of the Haywain, by John Constable, where moisture has penetrated the varnish particularly in the clouds. It is actually very well drawn, and signed by J.R.Hurley. You never know this might be Liz’s Dad. There’s a number 92 on the back, but this could surely not be a date, as I thought they were produced in the 60s and 70s.

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The second one is a pub scene, which seems to represent a coach stopping at “The Marquis of Granby” public house and coach stop. This version of the Pubs of that name was part of a “Nalder & Collyers” chain – anyone know where this one was? The N&C brewery started in 1586 in the High Street in Croydon. There were pubs named like this, said to have been started by soldiers returning from the Seven Years War after serving under the Marquis (in 1762 approx) in Esher, Epsom, Sompting (Sussex), Weymouth, Wellingore (Lincs), Lincoln, Sleaford (Lincs), and Sunniside (Gateshead) to mention a few of those still active. The drawing seems to have been created by Sue Sturgess, and might even have a date shown – 1974. The coach in the picture is labelled Epsom – Box-Hill, so maybe this pub was indeed in Epsom?

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Stainless Steel Etching

Much more interesting was the last picture to emerge from her suitcases, and this was possibly a picture we bought as a present for her in the 1980s, after arriving in Alresford. The picture is of Broad Street, Alresford and labelled as such. There is no makers mark, but the artist signature is that of Bob Morris.

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With identifiable names shown of Hunters Wine Bar and Pennywise (re-cycled clothes), the picture is probably from the late 1980s. Does anyone know who produced these, and were they made in Alresford too? The picture, with no cars, is very much imaginative, since it was only on Christmas morning that there were likely to be no cars at all parked in Broad Street. Maybe that explains the apparently imaginative cobbled appearance of Broad Street and the parking areas. But it does show the scrawny trees of that time, without metal grilles.

Is Bob Morris known to anyone? The ones on Google do not look right!

New display features town celebrities and businesses

The Alresford Museum display in the Broad Street library has been updated, to add two new items relating to Alresford businesses, two relating to major Alresford celebrities and two versions of an 18th Century Alresford Policeman’s truncheon!

The very ornate saddle, for a horse, was made by Alresford Saddlers of 16 West Street: it is an example of the local trade in skins and leather that developed around the tannery on Mill Hill. Alresford Saddlers was in 16 West Street, now Suzy Watson Designs, and was next door to Lex Leathers, who were still to be found at 18 West Street in the 1965. See the story about Lawrence Wright and his Alresford drawings.

Next is a rather plain box, which is a laundry box, used by the Weir Laundry to deliver cleaned and pressed washing back to the owners. Presumably this would have been a daily service. The Weir Laundry was believed to be housed in the Weir Mill building, later called the Arle Mill, situated alongside the lane linking Mill Hill to the Weir House, in 1900-1920. A photo can be seen of the staff at the Weir House laundry in 1904, on AlresfordHeritage.co.uk, and other photos on that site show the laundry buildings.

The display in the library cabinet also still features some dolls and soft toys from the Alresford Crafts collection featured in the Museum.

Alresford Celebrity – Lord  Rodney

DSCN3888A major Alresford Celebrity was George Brydges Rodney, who was born in 1718 and brought up by his Godfather George Brydges of Avington Park. As the Royal Naval Captain of the 60 gun “Eagle” at the Battle of Finisterre, he captured many Spanish ships, and won £8000 in prize money. With this he bought land next to Old Alresford Church, and built Old Alresford House.

Later as an Admiral, in the West Indies in 1780 he was very successful against the French, using the tactic of splitting the enemy’s line of ships – a tactic later copied and used by Nelson at Trafalgar.

He retired to Old Alresford House, and died there in 1791. But throughout the latter C18th he was the naval hero that everyone in Britain knew. There are still 7 pubs all across England named “The Lord Rodney”.

DSCN5602These Alresford Museum items date from that period, and are a mock Chinese bowl, inscribed “Rodney For Ever” – in tribute to Rodney – and a Beeswax portrait of him, which was the fashionable method of presenting portraits as 3D images at that time – and the technique is still used in Mme Tussauds!

C20th Celebrity – J Ridley Shield

The silver salver on display was made by Heming & Co, in London, and was presented to J. Ridley Shield in recognition of his many years of service (1906 – 1953) as Clerk of the Court at Alresford Petty Sessions.

 

J Ridley Shield, a Solicitor, was a prominent local figure, the first Chairman of the Town Trust in 1890, and first President of the Alresford Bowls Club. It is hoped to add a photo of Mr Shield to the display at some future date.

Two Truncheons

DSCN5603The Alresford Museum has two Batons, or Truncheons, items which were used by the Police Constables in the town in the 1800s. Both carry the Alresford town crest, which denotes that the Policeman was authorised by the town elders.

One is authentic, ie Victorian, the other is a modern reproduction, made in 1987 by AHW – his exact name is unknown. If you can let us know who it was, please do so! Weighing 300/400 grammes, they are fairly effective weapons…..

Maybe not as big as the town Bailiff and Burgesses Maces, also shown in the cabinet!