Archive for the ‘Photographs’ Category

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

 

 

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Photos of local villages

Old Alresford

A collection of photos of Old Alresford is available in the FlickR album on webpage www.flickr.com/photos/83468450@N03/albums/72157678155397343. This includes pics from the Old Alresford Village Fair in June 2017, as well as a few from 1988. The 2017 pics are summarised below.

Old Alresford Village Fair 2017

Itchen Abbas

I wanted to take some pics of the Edward Grey cottage site in Itchen Abbas, so went for a walk round the area, including the Church and the village school, which I had never found before, while my wife enjoyed some Zumba in the Village Hall. These pics are in the album on www.flickr.com/photos/83468450@N03/albums/72157685001511695 These photos were taken April 7 this year.

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Winchester

There’s another little place near Alresford, called Winchester. Many trips there produced various pics, some better than others! The architectural photos, taken in January 2017, were inspired by the “Look Up!” book about the history of all the buildings, which was a Christmas present. I must add some older ones from the previous few years next.

The web album reference is www.flickr.com/photos/83468450@N03/albums/72157682047854913/with/34766840213/

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Pigs Duck Race photos

The 2017 Alresford Pigs Duck Race was held last Sunday thanks to the generosity of George and Janette Hollingbery and family, at the Weir House in Old Alresford. It was a scorching day, so as ever the Pigs worked hard to gather lots of Gazebos to provide as much shelter as possible on the lawn by the river.

The whole event was basically a great big party, with entertainment from the Alresford Ukulele Band, the Duck Racing, Tombola and Scalextrics car racing stands, plus a Bouncy Castle for the kids. And a bar for the Dads, because it was Father’s Day after all.

It was a lot of work, but a good way to thank the Community for their support to the Pigs Charity over the last two years. You can see the Pigs at work in the photos below, but this was of course before the bar opened……

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Being Father’s Day, the kids were still working….

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But the lawn looked pretty full up with Gazebos for shelter

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and chairs everywhere.

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The Ukulele Band started up, with help….

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Although the Dads were going strong

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And the audience liked it

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Some people did the 10k run, and then had a beer, , which was maybe a bit too much on a hot day…..

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The rest enjoyed themselves, and the band, and the ice cream.

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Placing a bet for the first time is a big thing, so you need help from an older sister, or friend.

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But you have to make your own decision.

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That decision is a bit more difficult the older you get….

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But it doesn’t look like the bookies know much about it all

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Well, the Ducks have set off, in a crowd.

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Most seem to be wanting to go backwards…

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But one has been seen going forwards, backwards.

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There they go.

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Even if you don’t care about the races, it is still a good day…..

If you know someone who might qualify for help from the local community funds donated to the Alresford Pigs, please contact us and tell us about them. We support those in the Community who need help, that the community would wish to support. We have been operating for over 40 years, and raise over £10,000 a year, which is all used to help the community.

 

Alresford Christmas 2016

The Christmas trees on the shops in Alresford, organised by the Alresford Pigs, have always made the town look really special – but with the growth in the numbers of businesses and residents who subscribe to this scheme, the whole town has stepped up a gear. The trees have spread down the Dean, up Pound Hill, and up Jacklyn’s Lane, as well as to some of the out-lying parts of the town.

For 2016, several businesses, notably those in West Street, added a lot more in the way of decoration, internally and externally: and it was good to see that these seemed free of any real vandalism in the evenings.

It would be unfair not to mention that the window decorations inside the shops were also particularly attractive this year, notably in Caracoli and the Oxfam shop, and the Swan Hotel entrance was beautifully framed.

A large selection of photos for 2016, and for previous years, are shown on the FlickR album on https://www.flickr.com/photos/83468450@N03/albums/72157662148395779, which is also accessible via tinyurl.com/NewAlresford. Some of my favourites from 2016 are shown below.

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Still here – the Alresford Fair

For 2016 the Alresford Fair took over Alresford Broad Street from Wednesday 2pm till Thursday after midnight, in one week in October. The massive constructions and large vehicles involved for Fairs these days mean that this timescale is needed, and the road needs to be clear of parked vehicles, so the trailers can be manoeuvred into position on the Wednesday afternoon. This was helped enormously by the Traffic Wardens from Winchester, who were present to add weight to the “No Parking” restriction granted from the Wednesday.

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Thursday morning – not an easy path for cars or lorries!

By Thursday morning the road width was significantly restricted, offering a single lane with small passing places. The Fair stalls are large, and they do take up lots of space! The conditions can be seen in the picture above. So it was quite fun to see two watercress lorries heading down Broad Street, meeting two others coming up Broad Street, and trying to cross in the middle of the Fair. It made for a small delay of about 15 minutes in any traffic passing through around 0900. The salads lorry drivers had been told to avoid Broad Street, by their bosses in Alresford Salads: they were advised to take the alternative route – but of course they ignored this. The chaos continued all morning, and whilst simple “Stop/Go” boards would have helped regulate the traffic flow along the single lane section, they were not allowed. And from later experience they would probably have been ignored by frustrated car drivers.

There were plenty of barriers and indications that Broad Street was not one where you would want to go, and many people sensibly opted out. So it was remarkable how many vehicles looking for a quick snack purchase at Tesco spent half an hour going down to the bottom and then turned round to come back! Then there was one notable young lady who refused to accept that she could not park her car in Broad Street, outside Tesco, on the grounds that it was her town! You would have thought she would therefore know that the Fair comes here every October.

The road was closed from 1300. There were people who argued about the odd two minutes showing on their car clock, but it was blocked by Fairground equipment anyway. One charming executive trying to get to Old Alresford Place said his limousine was too big and too smart to go down the diversion round Drove Lane, but we pointed out that various builders lorries and brick transporters had already been diverted down there. He was not very pleasant, but hopefully he did not get brick dust on his car.

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Finally, after 1300 the road is closed fully!

Here’s a selection of photos from the Thursday morning, showing the problems experienced by some people, and the Fairground stands.

That Morris Minor Traveller Has To Be Our Dad’s Car!

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.

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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:

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Teaching at the Dean School, Alresford

The following account is provided by Chris Pines, who remembers his four years teaching the Juniors at the Dean School in Alresford, from 1968-73. Chris writes:

“My first teaching post, back in 1968, was in New Alresford Junior School, in The Dean – half way down the road on the right, just after the caravan park. It was an old, 1887-built, flint and brick building, with a tarmac playground at the front of the school, and two huge beech trees, with a small grass area at the rear which also housed two huts, the outside toilets and the caretaker’s store and coal room. Just before I arrived, the infants’ classes had moved out, and were established in a brand new school building on Sun Hill Lane.

I arrived in 1968, and stayed for four years, joining – among others – the headmaster Ron Longley, deputy head Arthur Hodkin, and teachers Lionel Ginsburg, Grace Strong and Cathy Phillips. My feeling is that a lot of time was spent preparing the children for the eleven plus, and a strong “them and us” feeling was present – that may just have been my view though. My memory says that during the first year there, I caught the train from Winchester to Alresford every day, but after the railway closed, I then used the bus, going along the old Winchester road.

The building was well past its sell-by date even in the 1960s. In the winter the boys’ toilets froze up (they were in an outside building) and this produced no end of inventive solutions, which included the use of buckets of hot water etc.

A picture of the school from the www.alresfordheritage.co.uk website, which is from a Hampshire Chronicle newspaper article around the time of closure of the Dean School: Chris Pines thinks the fugure guiding the children across the road would be Mr

A picture of the school from the http://www.alresfordheritage.co.uk website, which is from a Hampshire Chronicle newspaper article around the time of closure of the Dean School: Chris Pines thinks the fugure guiding the children across the road would be the deputy head, Mr Hodkin 

My classroom was in the main building, and was a long high-ceilinged room with windows way above our heads. The children sat at old beech desks, in front of the teacher’s high desk: there was a coal burner stove with a rail around, and this always smelt of sour milk. This came from the children’s one third of a pint milk bottles, which were lined up around the fire to warm them up, for those children who liked it that way: these were then issued by the milk monitors at morning break. Several times each winter, especially in October/November, we had a minor flood when it rained – from a little outside passage surrounded by walls, where the drain regularly blocked up with fallen leaves. My job would be to take a long stick and poke away at the drain cover until the water ran away freely.

At the back of the main building, and on the rising ground, were the huts – and a small field of grass, which was used for breaks and lunch-breaks. There we buried my first class “pet” – a guinea-pig which somehow escaped from its cage one night and stuffed itself into its jar of food, where it ate itself to death. For months after the small grave was marked by little crosses that the children made from lollipop sticks and shiny sweet wrappers.

Games and sports were held in a field that seemed to be half way across the town – the trek there reduced the time we had for sports by half every afternoon! But, during the summer term we were able to take nature walks along the river path – going not quite as far as the eel-house in one direction or the swimming pool in the other, but it was always a pleasure to go past the beautiful Fulling Mill, set straddling the main river flow.

Many of the children attending The Dean came from smaller villages such as Old Alresford, Kilmeston, Beauworth, Bishop’s Sutton – so were always a wide mix of experiences and local farming backgrounds – including at least one lad whose main diet seemed to consist of whatever was in season on the farm where his Dad worked. Several of the children had special traditional skills and commitments – every year in July several of the older boys disappeared for what seemed like a long weekend, which coincided with the Alresford Sheep Fair – my guess is they were earning a few shillings helping out.

Although this was over 40 years ago, I still occasionally bump into some of the children I taught then, and have followed their (sometimes glowing) careers with interest.”

Editor’s comment:

Chris Pines went on to teach at the Winnall Primary in Winchester, where he says he spent many happy years: he also became a local City Councillor, and then eventually a Mayor of Winchester (apparently number 808!). Chris still lives in St Cross.

From Chris’s comments, one of the fascinating aspects of teaching in one area over many years, appears to be seeing how the children grow up and develop in later years, and then even teaching their children! One young lady he taught at the Dean School in Alresford, Carol, had three children who went through his classes in Winnall: similarly a young man, Clive, from the Dean School in Alresford, later became a City Councillor in Winchester, and sent his own four children to Chris’s school in Winnall. Some of Chris’s students have developed along previously unexpected lines – one runs an Art Shop, and another developed to be a well-known film star!

A further comment comes from Godfrey Andrews, still living in Alresford, and a member of the Facebook Group “I went to the Dean School, Alresford”, which regrettably only has 12 members currently. Perhaps I should say that I asked Godfrey to comment particularly on the children’s toilets at the Dean School, as I had heard rumours! He comments:

I do remember the school toilets, oh so well! They stood on their own in the small yard at the rear of the old school building. If you needed the toilet during school time you had to face the humiliation of putting your hand up in front of the whole class, to request a toilet visit and then face the further humiliation, as the teacher would issue you with the regulation ‘three sheets of toilet paper’.

I also remember one playtime when it was raining heavily and water was gushing down from a broken drain pipe in the boys’ urinal, and my friend Roger and myself were stood under the full force of the water, getting absolutely soaked. When we were caught by one of the dinner ladies, Mrs Cox, we were instantly sent to the headmistress’s office, to be punished: which meant to receive the cane. We hadn’t expected that, as Mrs Cox was actually Roger’s mother!

Sun Hill Schools:

Your Editor moved to Alresford in 1981, and my son, also called Nick Denbow, went to the Sun Hill Infants School, when Mr Longley was Headmaster there: he enjoyed being taught by Grace Strong, who Chris Pines says has now retired. If anyone else has memories of the Dean or Sun Hill Schools they want to add here, please send them in, either via the NATT website, or direct to nick@nickdenbow.com.