Archive for the ‘Local people’ Category

Community Volunteers – can you help?

For those recently retired, or anyone wishing to volunteer to help the less able-bodied in Alresford, the Giles Group of Alresford is seeking help for one or two days a month, assisting people at their meetings or on their Minibus outings. The group (www.gilesgroup.org.uk) organises a monthly talk in the Community Centre, and a monthly outing in the town Minibus, for old, infirm or otherwise disabled/lonely people in the town.

The current organisers are also getting old, and need some help in shepherding the visitors onto the Minibus, handing out teas, organising tables and chairs, fastening seat belts etc. The meetings are held on the second Monday in the month, in the afternoon, and the Minibus trips, to a garden centre, or a market, or a café on the coast (in the good weather) are on the third Monday in the month, again in the afternoon.

The Giles Group has around 35 members, with maybe 30 attending the meetings regularly, and 13 is the minibus capacity for the outings. Volunteer drivers are already available driving the bus, both to collect people for the meeting in the Community Centre, and on the outings.

If you would be able to help, please come along and see what we do, what help is needed, and how such events can be so useful for the Community. Or call Nick on 734824, with any questions!  Thankyou

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A 1914 Description of Alresford

In Pursuit of Spring

Edward Thomas, in 1914, lived in London. That Spring, he decided to journey from his home, down through Guildford, Alresford, Salisbury and on to the Quantocks, on (and with) his bicycle. Whether he cycled all the way is not really clear at all. But his account of this journey was described in his book, “In Pursuit of Spring”. This gives an early account of the towns and villages, “Rich in literary associations and observations”. Robert Frost recognised this book as “A kind of poetry, having the cadences of fine verse”.

What drew me to this book was that Thomas, later a resident of Petersfield, took a camera with him on this journey, and has an interesting picture of the Avenue in Alresford, in 1914, before the older carriage track and path were covered over with grassed areas. Petersfield Museum put on a display of some of these photographs in 2017: the picture of the Alresford Avenue is shown below.

DSCN6006 The Avenue Alresford in 1914

More or less the same view in August 2017, with all the trees in leaf, is shown below. Obviously his original photo is taken from a higher viewpoint, maybe standing on his bicycle!

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Further old pictures, circa 1900, of the Avenue and the various paths and tracks, can be seen in the AlresfordHeritage website collection, in the pages that feature the Avenue. Also the picture below from AlresfordHeritage shows these paths in the early 1900s, near the top of Pound Hill, and what is now the site of the ARC.

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The Edward Thomas account

The book – the copy I have seen – is words only (it has none of his photos), ISBN 0 7045 0423 5, a 1981 reissue by Wildwood House, available from Hampshire Libraries, with an introduction by P J Kavanagh. It describes Farnham, Bentley, Holybourne, Alton and Fourmarks, before arriving in Ropley. The comments about Ropley, and Bishops Sutton, are shown below, before he enters Alresford.

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Then he enters Alresford, ‘sad coloured, but not cold, and very airy’. At least East Street is no longer “sad” in colour! He considered Alresford was “Consisting of one street, plus a side turning, very broad”! The following pages also describe Alresford Pond in the words of George Wither, a poet, who praised the pond for its beauty:

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So, Thomas then goes on to spend pages extolling the virtues of the Norgett family, who lived at Oldhurst. Anyone know where that is, or who they were?

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The next extract sees him leaving Alresford, along the Avenue, where he stops to take a photo, and then he turns right along the Worthies road, but on the pages shown below does not get past Itchen Abbas.

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The pictures

The Edward Thomas photographs, 53 of them, were unearthed by Rob Hudson, a Photographer specialising in landscapes, based in Wales. Rob has published them in his blog, of March 1st 2016, accessible via his website. A couple more are shown below, that might interest local residents.

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Bishop’s Sutton Church, 1914

 

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Getting dark, at Headbourne Worthy, 1914

 

 

Alresford link to the last BA flight into Kuwait in the Gulf War, 1990

Many of you would, like me, probably have listened to the BBC News avidly around the start of the Gulf War, and would have been horrified to hear that normal airline flights had continued arriving in Kuwait as the town was being over-run by Saddam Hussein’s troops. What I did not know at the time was that one of my Alresford neighbours was on that flight!

Clive Earthy is now retired, still living in Alresford, and an active member and organiser of various Clubs and Societies in the town, like the Bowls Club, the Badminton Club, the Petanque Club and the Giles Group. But in 1990 he was a ‘Cabin Services Director’, responsible for the cabin staff on various long-haul BA flights. Arriving in Kuwait that day in August 1990 he was taken hostage by the Iraqi forces, and the crew and the passengers were not returned home until December that year.

Clive has been interviewed for various TV and other documentary reports on this terrifying scenario, and has given talks about his personal experiences at the time to various organisations. In 2012 he gave a talk to the Alresford Historical and Literary Society, which was reported by Robert Fowler, Secretary of the Hist and Lit Society. His summary of the talk by Clive Earthy is presented below:

BA Flight 149 (into Saddam Hussein’s Kuwait)

A personal story by Clive Earthy, ex BA Steward and Cabin Services Officer. As told to the Alresford Historical and Literary Society on June 20th 2012.  Recorded and interpreted by Robert Fowler who has added some comments of his own.

Summary:

This article details the events when Jumbo Jet BA 149 flew into a War Zone in Kuwait and the experiences of the passengers and crew when they were held by the Iraqi Military as ‘Human Shields’.  Clive’s reporting of the events are still covered by the Official Secrets Act, so the reader will have to piece together the missing parts with their own imagination. A 25 year ‘D’ notice was served on all information relating to the incident. What follows here is only a brief record of the events and readers should look elsewhere for greater detail. See ‘Further reading’ at the end of the article.

Background:

After joining British Overseas Airways in 1960 as a catering apprentice, Clive became cabin crew in 1964 working on Boeing 707s and VC10s on long haul flights to North and South America and many other places around the world. After 5 years Clive was promoted to Chief Steward.  When the New Jumbo jets arrived the airline decided that the 400 seat aircraft needed a senior person to manage all the staff working in the passenger cabins. This was Clive’s job, which was given the impressive title of Cabin Services Director. He was responsible for the 18 cabin crew, cabin security; in flight safety; customer relations and Diplomatic services provided at times to the Foreign Office, plus liaison with the Captain on the flight deck.

The Flight

The story starts on the 1st of August 1990 at the time when a border dispute between Iraq and Kuwait came to a head over the ownership of the desert oil fields. All this was public knowledge and was being reported on the main news channels and when Clive arrived at Heathrow to pick up a flight scheduled to travel to Kuala Lumpur, via Kuwait and Madras, the first question he asked was about the latest situation in Kuwait. The airline officials said they would check and report back bearing in mind that some members of the Kuwaiti Royal family and the Defence Minister were listed as passengers.

Half an hour before the official take off time a call came through from BA admin saying some of the Royal Family were not taking the flight. This was not seen as an unusual move because it happens all the time with VIPs and other passengers. Meanwhile the Defence Minister still planned to take the flight and all passengers subsequently boarded. Half an hour before take-off the Foreign Office said that the Iraqi’s were just ‘Sabre Rattling’ and it was OK to fly. With no further negative reports on the situation in Kuwait the Flight Crew boarded BA 149 as normal. The Boeing 747 ‘Jumbo’ (G-AWND) was one of the oldest in BA’s fleet and was due to be replaced with a newer model in the not too distant future. It was no surprise therefore that a technical problem arose with the Auxiliary Power Unit, which is a generator for starting the engines and keeping the air conditioning unit running. This caused a 2 hour delay but the passengers boarded-on for the re-scheduled departure time of 6:15pm.

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This photo of Boeing 747 G-AWND was taken in Toronto by Bob Garrard

Then a message came through on the radio that about 8 late arrival passengers also required to be boarded. These were all young men looking very fit, and were allocated seats at the rear of the aircraft – they were carrying very large cabin bags. Flight Ground Co-ordination said they would Fax the flight documentation for these late arrived passengers whilst the aircraft was in flight, this being normal practice in these circumstances. The only area of difficulty was the ‘Passenger load sheet’ which the ground departure rep said they did not have time to rewrite. (The booking for these men turned out to be a ‘group booking’ placed in Hereford apparently from a military account!)

In response for an update on the situation in Kuwait, BA said that they would report every half hour whilst the plane was in flight. However, the Captain was suspicious and resolved to remain in constant contact with Flight Control. The remainder of the flight towards the Middle East was without incident with the flight crew keeping the passengers occupied with meals and watching videos. Whilst en route, the Air Controllers in other countries were reporting that there not many flights going to Kuwait, they had all been ordered to divert by their Governments: so the Captain contacted Kuwaiti Air Traffic Control 20 minutes before landing to ask for a report. ATC came back and said there was no problem and BA149 was cleared to land. The approach to Kuwait Airport was in darkness – because the Captain was still concerned about the possible situation, he asked to circuit the airport to see if he could see any flashes or explosions, but not observing anything untoward he landed 2 hours late, at 3am local time.

Arrival and incarceration.

Pulling up at one of the large ‘jetties’ the cabin door was opened only to be greeted by a senior uniformed British Army Officer, complete with a cane under his arm, Sandhurst style, and obviously there to meet the VIPs. The 8 young men were first off under the direction of the Army Officer and then the other passengers were all off-loaded into the terminal building, which was uncannily empty. With no Customs or Immigration staff available the crew were away on their mini bus to their Hotel within 20 minutes, having been relieved by the flight and cabin crew due to fly the next leg.  On the way to the Regency Hotel the crew witnessed many large bangs, some frighteningly loud and close. Once in the Hotel the phone rang to advise that BA 149 was still on the ground, the Iraqis had invaded, the runway had been blown up and the control tower knocked out.  The 367 passengers from London were placed in other local hotels packed at 20 people to a room, so the crews got together and organised transport to the Regency Hotel which although full, had better facilities.

In the morning at breakfast 40 tanks could be seen outside the Hotel with numerous soldiers ‘digging in’, it was apparent that the Iraqis were in control. Met by a Iraqi Colonel the crew were informed that “Kuwait now belongs to Iraq”, but don’t worry chaps! There was good cause to worry; there were 200 Iraqi soldiers on the roof!

The next week

However, the borders were still open according to the TV news channels and because the next 7 days of conflict were in stalemate, the crew decided to go out and find buses and other vehicles to transport everyone to the Saudi border some 40 miles away. So they phoned the British Embassy in Kuwait and asked to see the Ambassador. Taken across the city in an Iraqi Land Rover they sought help from the Embassy staff to get the crew and passengers over the border and to be met by the Saudi’s, with food/water/transport assistance. Surprisingly the Ambassador refused to give any help, saying the situation would calm down and the troubles would blow over. As readers will know this didn’t happen and 10 days later all the passengers and crew were ordered out of the Hotel to unknown destinations. Travelling overnight in groups of 12, with friends and groups separated due to a chaotic process based on random personnel selection from a pile of passports, the people from BA 149 were scattered around Kuwait in strategic positions as ‘Human Shields’.

Clive was taken with 5 other men and 6 females to the main Port and ushered into a 2 bed bungalow recently looted and comprehensively defaced by the Iraqi Soldiers. There were no beds and there was no alternative to sleeping on the floor. The 6 females were allocated one bedroom to themselves while the men had the other. Placed under 24 hour guard Clive and his fellow hostages lived for 6 days and nights with only a spoonful of rice each per day.

Some luxuries arrived on the 6th day when mattresses were delivered and the diet supplemented by Pomegranates. This lifestyle continued until after 30 days a Colonel arrived to give permission for all the women and children to be sent home via Baghdad. The men had to endure another 90 days in captivity with some time spent at Iraqi military targets in difficult conditions.

Editor’s note: Separately, Clive mentioned to me their difficulties when having to negotiate, or beg, for food from their Iraqi captors. At one point they were given a large leg of meat, which they eventually identified as from a Giraffe – basically because the leg was 9 feet long. This was a vital source of food for their stews, as they, and the Iraqi troops guarding them, had very little food. When Clive returned to work later, on a flight to Los Angeles, which had originated in Kuwait, he was briefed to introduce himself to one passenger who was a Director of the Kuwait zoo. He recounted this story, and the passenger burst into tears. He had looked after the single giraffe for many years, and his name was George – he had been one of his favourite animals in the zoo. The Iraqis had killed and butchered most of the zoo animals for food. His trip to LA was to try to restock the zoo with some young animals available there.

The men subsequently arrived home on the 10th December 1990 and the Western Coalition started to repel Iraqi forces on the 23rd January after an aerial bombardment which started on 17th January 1991. At some time in this chaos the BA Jumbo was destroyed on the ground at Kuwait.

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On return home it was learnt that the Air Traffic Controller who gave the clearance for BA 149 to land at Kuwait was actually a Royal Air Force Forward Field ATC, who unfortunately lost his life when the Control Tower was stormed.

The Court cases

In the next year (1991) 12 of the BA passengers who were citizens from the USA took a case to court and won compensation, based on US satellite surveillance data showing that at the time when BA149 was 3 hours from Kuwait the Iraqi forces were well over the Kuwaiti border, approaching the city: this information had been forwarded to all the relevant authorities in other countries. The USA authorities confirmed that the UK had received the information as a receipt confirmation was a part of the messaging process when sending the document from the USA. BA claimed that this information had not been passed on from the British authorities.

Subsequently, another group of the passengers went to court in Paris, winning their case using the evidence from the USA. They claimed compensation of £2.5million in total, and this was paid by BA.

In 1996 300 British passengers, buoyed up by the Court successes in the States and France, took their case to court against BA. BA denied liability and were found ‘Not Guilty’ because they apparently were not informed of the situation by the Foreign Office nor MoD.

The question therefore arises as to why British Airways didn’t receive the information? What did the government do after receiving the information from the USA satellite?

The group was denied court action based on the Government’s legal argument, that the Government Departments and Ministries cannot be prosecuted directly unless there had been an Inquiry first, and that could not take place due to Military sensitivity. In 1996 the Prime Minister (then John Major, successor to Margaret Thatcher -the PM in charge in 1990-91) declared that… “…..no serving British military personnel were on flight BA149…”  Note the word ‘Serving’. It has been suggested in some quarters that the Government set up a special group of ex-SAS soldiers after the Iranian siege, to deal with extra-territorial events – and that this group was paid using overseas funds and thus the Government are able to deny any actions taken by them.

In 2007 the BBC made a film about the BA 149 incident that contained new information.  The BBC was told that the film would have to be seen by the Ministry of Defence prior to viewing. A copy was provided, and the film was not returned for 6 months, after which time all the sensitive information had been cut and the film reduced to half of its original length. Researchers for the film contacted four of the original “late-arrival” passengers onto the plane having signed legal affidavits for protection. The subject was raised by Norman Baker in Parliament to the Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon in 2007 and the discussion is in the public domain. The Minister sympathised but couldn’t admit any involvement in public, refusing to answer any questions.

What we shall never know is whether the government willingly allowed BA 149 to fly into the war zone. It may have been a miscalculation of the timing of events? Perhaps it was just a cock-up. If it was an error then it doesn’t say much for the ability of the Authorities to plan ahead. If it was deliberate then some consider it a criminal act and the Government should have been prosecuted.

In any case the people and their families that suffered were entitled to an apology, at least!

Footnotes

1:  The ageing Jumbo, which just happened to have been chosen for this flight, was blown up on the ground at Kuwait airport. As the Jumbo was insured against losses in war the beneficiaries were Boeing and British Airways.

2: Not all the young men who boarded BA 149 in London returned from their mission.

3: One passenger, a member of the Kuwaiti Royal Family was detained and executed. The other regular passengers were returned home safely after five months.

4: Clive retired in 1994, returning to his home in Alresford after a long career in British Airways, and its predecessor BOAC

5: Norman Baker’s Parliamentary debate with Geoff Hoon on 27th April 2007 can be seen on http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2007-04-27c.1209.5.

6: More information can be found on websites such as Wikipedia, plus a Channel 5 documentary in April 2017.

7: Some of the video reports on the strange events surrounding this flight are available on YouTube, see: http://www.youtube.com

This account is published with thanks to the Alresford Historical and Literary Society, and Bob Fowler. See their website on www.alresfordhistandlit.co.uk. 

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.

 

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!

OLD Alresford Memories (Recorded 1977)

These contributions were made by visitors to the “Old Alresford Revived” Jubilee Exhibition held in 1977, at the Old Forge on Basingstoke Road, next to Forge Cottage/Prospect House. The original typed records, presumably typed by Pru Ransom, who organised the exhibition, are now held by the Alresford Museum, with other documents and photos that were on display back then. These are the reproduced records, as typed:

Mr Jackson remembers talk of a ‘Pub’ – The Fox – at the other end of the Green, but it was before his time, ie prior to 1905. Air Commodore Paul (at Wearne House) has found tiles which look as though they may have come from a stable yard in the south west corner of his garden.

Mr Ransom can remember the footpaths crossing the fields at the back of the village – the one to Northington being seldom empty of people – girls used to walk over to work in the Laundry (now (in 1977) belonging to Mr and Mrs Flood) every day, and the village women to shop. He has a pile of flints which came from the old lane that used to run behind the Council houses opposite the Home. Mr Bevan’s father was going to take them away to fill the ruts in the Coombe drive, but never did so! Eventually flints from this pile were taken by Mr Kemp for building at Beech Monastery (nr Alton). On this bend (the left hand side of the entrance to Coombe) people from the top end of the village used to dump their rubbish.

The ‘Nit’ House was demolished long ago – about the time of WW1 according to Miss Whitlock – who lived in Alresford for 12 years before coming here in 1912. She used to walk over from Preston, past the Nit House to fetch her sister’s clothes from Alresford where she was in service. Judging from the foundations, it was quite large. There also was a large rubbish dump at the Wield turning.

The Hoskissons came down from London in 1939. At that time their cottage was in a state of bad repair, with the roof falling in. The man who took the photographs belonging to Mrs Hoskisson was named Broad, and he owned some cottages in the village. He has conveniently dated his shots! Miss Whitlock thinks the man playing with the snowman is Harry West.

Mr Jackson can also remember the owner of the Retreat Cottages selling sweets from an “old tin shed” in his garden. Mr Whitlock used to hang his bacon in the Forge, in the small room at the front, before he jointed it, according to his sister.

Members of the Ransom family commented that their father used to keep a smallholding at the end of the village near Manor Farm. In the old days the Home used to hold their xxxxs (games?) in the field behind us, on Basingstoke Road, This was always a pasture until ploughed up in WW2 – Digging for Victory. It also had a cricket pitch on the brow of the hill. In WW1 there was a dug-out at the top of this field, where the footpath goes through to Northington. Here were stored explosives, the caps of which still lie scattered around (in 1977).

Mrs Fletcher remembers the Ransom’s small-holding, as she used to live near it. In those days (early 1900s) the Green was just a marsh – too wet to be safe enough to play on, and full of king cups and rushes. She can remember the hall being built by Mrs Christy, but the villagers were asked to buy bricks at 1 shilling each! Her mother bought 2 and a half bricks!

A chap named Snobby Merritt (no relation of our Mr Merritt (added Pru Randall, typing these notes in 1977) kept a shed on the allotments where he mended shoes (This shed features in one of the old photos, behind Christy Hall, situated where 1 Green Close is now). He actually lived behind where Mr Dory lives now. The field behind the allotments was called ‘Inhams’, and Mrs Fletcher can remember the gypsy encampment up the lane by her home. (Maybe this lane was Inhams Row, up past Prospect House? – Ed).

From about 90 years before 1977, up to 1920, a Swiss Jew named Mr Brollot collected clocks and watches from the village every three months, for repair, and returned them on his next visit. He used to come down by train and stop at “The Globe”, which Mrs Fletcher’s family kept. The “Cosy” was built in about 1915. She can remember two thatched cottages where Arthur and Shirley Wyeth’s house is now.

After the Twinnings family left in 1915, the shop was closed for about 18 months, then the Worthingtons re-opened it, with an off-licence for already bottled beer. After that the first lot of Joneses came and opened the shop as a general store. The sub Post Office was at Green End.

Billy Smith, now of Bishop’s Sutton, added the following:

The Jackson twins went to school with a Mr Benham, Mr Ransom’s brother-in-law (now of Bishop’s Sutton), and Billy Smith and his brothers – this would have been in around 1909. There used to be a bell in a cupola at the back of the school, which was also where Old Alresford Sunday School was held.

The lady who lived in the Laundry (next to the school) used to steam a pud and hang it over the wall for the schoolchildren (presumably only on washdays). The laundry was only for the use of the Upton House family. In those days Christy was at Upton, and used to give new sixpences to all the children every Empire Day.

Green End used to be both Post Office and Sweet Shop. Next door was a carpenter’s shop belonging to ‘Narrow’ Broad’s brother. A man called Sutcliffe took it over. The name of the owner of Green End was ‘Tin’ Rampton – his wife was the mistress in charge of the infants at the school. (Mrs H Rampton eventually retired from the school at Christmas 1923, after 25 years service – Ed)

At this time the Forge was where the Bus shelter is now. Charlie Rampton was the head man, with a chap called Ford, and a Jack Cousins under him. It soon moved to its present position.

The Home owned no fields in those days, and was shut off from the rest of the village. The boys (no girls were mentioned) used to appear only on Sundays, when they were marched to Chapel twice. They were taught at the Home. The field was a rubbish dump, known as “Dory’s Dell”.

Mrs May Smith was a maid at Prospect House for 11 months in 1939 for a Mrs Maynard, who died a few months after. Mrs Smith left to be married. Mr Smith was born at the Nythe in Bighton Lane, which sounds exactly like it is today.

Alf Bucham used to drive the baker’s cart in about 1912.

There was a ‘German’ who once owned Maxwell’s Old Alresford House named Schwert – remembered with affection by the school children as he used to give them a party after Christmas with nice useful presents of clothing – though the children did not appreciate them fully at the time! The other big houses joined together and gave a party before Christmas.

 

 

Len Strong, of Alresford – long ago

It is with sadness that I need to record that Len Strong passed away in the last month, at his home in Derbyshire. He was 92 years old, and had recorded many of his memories of Alresford, where he grew up, on these pages, and other websites. His contributions were always well written and usually light hearted: maybe reflecting his character, but sadly I never met him.

You can read some of his stories on here, as he has his own listing, see “Len Strong’s Memories” on https://alresfordmemories.wordpress.com/category/len-strongs-memories/

Best wishes, RIP Len.