Archive for the ‘Pubs and Brewing’ Category

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.”

bell hotel fire 1

Efforts were originally made on preventing the flames spreading to nearby buildings.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.”

bell hotel fire 2

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.

Alresford lamb seen shopping in Minneapolis….

Yet another of the Alresford Crafts animal owners has written to keep in touch, as their white lamb has been passed on to the next generation, and is in use in Minneapolis: as the photo shows he is still fit and well, at the ripe old age of 37, and enjoying life in the USA, despite the snow!


The photo is of Giovanni Howell, taken in January 2017 while out shopping in a supermarket in Minneapolis, in Minnesota. The lamb is in a mini-trolley, or a ‘kiddies shopping kart’, a clever (or cunning) idea the supermarkets there use to encourage the younger shoppers, particularly in the chocolate biscuit aisle it seems! (Giovanni seems to have resisted the biscuits and chosen some healthy vegetables instead).

The Alresford Crafts lamb was bought in 1980 for his father, Eric Howell, when he came on a visit to Alresford with his parents: at that time their home was in Basingstoke. The lamb was possibly purchased from Pastimes in West Street (or at the Old Bakehouse in Broad Street). Gay Revi, Eric’s mother, tells that the family used to enjoy a visit to Alresford, for lunch at the Globe, which was a favourite destination.

The good news is that Giovanni seems to be a discerning shopper: the kiddies kart is pictured below still using the lamb to protect the final shopping selections in the checkout lane by the till, and there are no chocolate biscuits in sight!


The photo below from back in 1986 shows the Pastimes shop in West Street.


The “Hampshire Eurofest”, and the Story of the Alresford Carnival

An article from the Hampshire Chronicle of 17th July 1992 gave the following report on the “Hampshire Eurofest 1992”, an Alresford event that celebrated the entry of the UK into the EEC, otherwise known as the Common Market:

“Alresford’s historic Broad Street took on a continental air on Sunday as residents turned out in their hundreds to join in the fun of the town’s Eurofest.

Café tables lined the street, residents and visitors alike enjoying lunch or liquid refreshments whilst listening to music.

Local organizations, under the banner of the Chamber of Trade, had joined together to put on a day of fun for everyone to celebrate entry into the single European community.

Festivities began at noon, as the Eurofest was opened by BBC South Today and Radio Solent presenter Sally Taylor, together with colleague Mark Longhurst, who sent up a shower of balloons. Nick Kingsford and Alistair Dilley welcomed the crowds in every one of the languages of the countries of the EEC.

Chamber Chairman, Jan Robb, said the day had been made possible by the efforts of many people. She spoke of a wider European community in which Alresford, an energetic, outward-looking town, was eager to play its part.

She thanked the sponsors and praised traders and businessmen who had taken part, with special mention for Nick Kingsford, David Birmingham, Sue Gentry and Alistair Dilley, who had worked hard since January.

Euro-MP, Edward Kellet-Bowman, there to join in the fun, congratulated everyone on putting on such a good show.

Eurofest, 1992, Pound Hill

Eurofest, 1992, Pound Hill

Everyone had entered into the spirit of the event. The Swan Hotel became a Greek taverna; The Bell was offering John Bull Specials, including jellied eels and cockles and mussels, while in Broad Street, the Horse and Groom was an Old English pub with traditional roast beef.

The queue for food at a barbecue laid on in Broad Street by the Old School House Restaurant never seemed to get any shorter, whilst El Pigador’s (Alresford Pigs) offer of “Amazing Tapas” was also popular.

A “bouncy castle” was in the garden at the rear of Hunter’s, where a children’s tea party was held later in the afternoon. Alresford Twinning Association offered crepes, whilst the Rotary Club and the ladies of the Inner Wheel sold Italian ices and enticed all-comers to “be photographed in a gondola”.

Bishop’s Sutton Village Hall Committee offered Dutch fare and the New Alresford WI’s “Eurotunnel” had demonstrations of continental flower arranging, painting, lace and broomstick crochet.

Perin’s School represented Germany, with students offering a five minute German lesson, whilst the Community Association picked Denmark and offered a free draw for two air tickets to Denmark, courtesy of MaerskAir.

Sun Hill kids, 1993

Sun Hill kids, 1993

There was entertainment throughout the afternoon, with music from Winchester Brass Band, the Chris Walker Quintet and Perin’s School Band, plus Scottish dancing and country dancing from the two Sun Hill schools.

Jugglers Matthew and Dunn featured fire-eating, while the Turn on the Taps Appalachian dancers gave two displays of tap dancing.

Shop window displays featured other countries. The library had a splendid display representing Ireland: Eddolls, the United Kingdom; Portman Building Society, Greece. There were others featuring Portugal, several the UK, whilst Styles China Shop chose Denmark.

In the George Yard there was a display of ten cars from the 1920’s to 1960, put on by the Allsorts Motor Club.”


This cutting from the Hampshire Chronicle is included alongside the set of colour photos taken on the day by Nelson Trowbridge, of South Close, Alresford. These were made into a presentation booklet about the event, created by Nelson, which was later donated to the Alresford Museum. All the photos can be seen on the website

Included in this 1992 booklet was the following account of “The Story of the Alresford Carnival”, charting its origins, leading up to when the Alresford Rotary Club took over the organisation of the event in 1989:

“The Story of the Alresford Carnival

Although the Parish Council’s Recreation ground in Arlebury Park only dates back to the late 1970’s, the park lands saw the first Carnival in recent years as far back as 1953 when the town put on a celebration on June 2nd, the day of Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation.

Sun Hill School, 1980s

Sun Hill School, 1980s

Like many things that happen in Alresford, it was organised by a group of like-minded people who wanted the town to join together in a day of family fun, and by all accounts it was a great success. Mrs Rita Blundell of Ropley was the very first Carnival Queen, a position which she held for several years! After the first, and special, celebration, the Carnival moved to what was then known as the Whit-Monday Bank Holiday, and a procession was led from the Station Yard to that part of Arlebury Park now occupied by Mrs Mary Hide’s Caravan Club location. Celebrities sometimes opened the event, including on one occasion Julia Lockwood, the film actress.

A popular event was the Donkey Derby. One year the donkeys failed to materialise, and Miss pring, who kept a small riding school was called upon to supply suitable mounts, at very short notice. Another year, a six foot diameter leather ball was pushed along in the procession – until it ran away down West Street, causing havoc! Luckily no-one was injured, and having been rescued it was used for a game of “push-ball” in the arena. Water seems to have played a large part in the proceedings, with a large tank in which duckings, and ‘Crossing the Line’ initiations were carried out!

1984, Cub Scouts(?) in Broad Street

1984, Cub Scouts(?) and floats in Broad Street

The late Mr Geoffrey Cradduck was the “human dynamo” whose enthusiasm kept the event going for several years, but like many other events organised by a small number of people it became difficult to sustain. After the present Arlebury Park land had been purchased by the Parish Council, the Arlebury Park Association decided to revive the Carnival using the new ground for entertainment following on from the procession. They too found it difficult to organize an annual event with a shrinking committee, and invited the newly chartered Rotary Club to take it over in 1989. This year [1992] will be the fourth run by the club and we are determined that it will not meet the same fate as its predecessors.

Although it raises a considerable amount for our charity funds, the Club see the Carnival as a service to the town and surrounding villages, and hope that other organisations may wish to become involved in the organisation of the Carnival, as well as participating on the day.”


Alresford Carnival photographs

The Alresford Museum has several sets of photographs relating to the early Alresford Carnivals: these are visible on the Museum website, These photos show the large leather football quoted above, and several water features! There is also a cine film from the 1950s, which we hope to be able to load onto the website soon.

Later Carnival pictures, including those taken by Nelson Trowbridge, are available as FlickR web-albums:







If you have other pictures taken at Alresford events, like the Carnivals, why not let us copy them and show them via our stories and websites? Maybe you can also add a story to describe the photos? Please contact us via this website, or via the Museum Committee of the New Alresford Town Trustees, at

Coach trips from Alresford

The first motor coach in Alresford was probably the coach built just after the First World War, in 1919, by Mr A W Vickers, at his works in the Dean. He built the bodywork on top of a commercially produced chassis, sold by William and George Du Cros of Acton, in London. Apparently the registration was HO 2955, the letters HO were used as the Hampshire reference at the time. The picture below shows Mr Vickers with his bus, quoted by some as a “blue” bus. The service was advertised as a replacement for horse drawn carriers, and the fares quoted were sixpence each way to Winchester, and three shillings as the return fare to Bournemouth. But the coach had solid tyres, so it was still maybe a bumpy ride!

Mr Vickers with the first Alresford Minibus

Mr Vickers with the first Alresford Minibus

The photo was provided by Nelson Trowbridge, who suggests the picture came from a print found during the demolition/dismantling of the works in the Dean many years later.

During the Second World War, Mr A W Vickers ran a company officially called “Blue Coach Services” in the Dene (sic) Alresford. In a letter dated 2 March 1940, to Mr Wilkinson of Broadway Garage in Broad Street – found when that building was demolished in the 1990s – Mr Vickers explains that his company, plus “Winchester & District, and Aldershot & District coaches are quite capable of catering for all the Military traffic from the Military camp at Northington to Winchester and back”. It appears Mr Wilkinson wanted to run a service from Northington to Winchester to take the soldiers to the cinema in Winchester in the evening, but Mr Vickers objected. You could say that getting home from Winchester late in the evening has apparently been a problem since 1940!

A day trip to Southsea from the pub?

A day trip to Southsea from the pub?

Coach travel after WW2 might have had some boom years, and Alresford residents used the coaches for weekend trips. One seems to have been to a Funfair, probably in Southsea, with the passenger list being drawn from the customers of a local pub! The picture shows this outing – is this from the 1930s, or even earlier? Fourth from the right in the back row is Tom Port, of East Street, we believe.

Another Alresford coach trip was to the Wannock Gardens, in Polegate, Sussex: this photo of the people on the trip was taken by NH Portraits of 73 Hartington Road, Brighton.The trip was reported to have been organized by the Bell Hotel, probably in the 1940s after the war: in the front row, in the centre, is Bill Williams, the proprietor of the Bell at the time. Who are the rest of the people? We now have quite a number of names and answers after help from Audrey Chalk and Margaret Wingate, amongst others, as now listed below the photo. There are 37 in all, so it was a fairly big coach!

An outing to Wannock Gardens from the Bell Hotel.

An outing to Wannock Gardens from the Bell Hotel.

On the back row, from the left, there is Mr White (who ran the Alresford cinema), with his wife in front on the end of the second row. Then at number 5 on the back row is Mrs Rustell, caretaker at the Dean School,

Second row Numbers 4 and 5 from the left are Mr and Mrs White of East St (Manager of a shoe shop), and 6 and 7 are Alf and Renie Chalk: 8 and 9 are Bob Deere and his wife, who lived over the Wessex chemist shop, next to Mr Port (again) on the end.

Third row: in number 2 this lady became Mrs Dawes, and her mother is on her right. At position 7 the older lady is Mrs Port, wife of Mr Port. Mr Blake, who ran the World Stores in East Street, is the tall man at number 3 (behind his wife in the front row).

In the fourth/front row: the first two are Reg and Emily Smith; third is Mrs Blake. On the other side of Bill Williams, in numbers 7 and 8 are a couple of which the husband worked at Hankins Garage, but we’ve forgotten his name. We’ve also forgotten the name of the couple on the right hand end!


This story was first posted in February 2013, and several comments were added then. When by accident it was re-posted in June 2014, it was not possible to move them, so they are listed here:

Posted by Len Strong on February 15, 2013 at 11:02 pm

What an interesting photo. I recognize most of the people in the ‘Swan Hotel’ photo. It was prior to the 1939 war. My grandad who had a bakery at the bottom of Broad Street actually hired the charabanc from Mr Vickers to take all the family to Southsea one Whitsuntide Monday. I was about 10 at the time so it would have been around 1935. The ‘chara’ was an open top affair with pull-over canvas roof if it rained, but it had pneumatic tyres (middle photo).
When he ran the Blue bus service to Winchester (top photo) he would pick up and set people down as near to their homes as possible through Itchen Stoke and the Worthies. Those were the days!!

Posted by Margaret Wingate (nee Stevens) on February 20, 2013 at 3:48 pm

Hello, I recognise 5 people on the coach trip to Polegate,they are Alf and Rene Chalk and Reg and Emily Smith (my aunts and uncles) also Mrs Rustell who used to live near us in the Dean.

Posted by Alresford Memories (the Editor) on February 16, 2013 at 11:56 am

See Len Strong’s story titled the ‘Alresford Fire Service’ for more information about his grandad’s bakery in Broad Street. His sister Pat also mentions it in her story ‘A 1940’s childhood at 45 Broad Street’.
The middle photo on this story shows the charabanc with the roll top roof rolled back – we can’t see the name on the side of the bus. Len describes such a charabanc trip to the seaside in his new story, just published, titled ‘A day at the Seaside’.
Thanks for your input too Margaret, the names have been included in the revised listing of names below the third picture! We now have quite a few names! Thankyou all!


The Inns of Alresford

– from an information sheet on display in the Alresford Museum exhibition of brewing and bottles used in Alresford, at the Broad Street Library, March 2013.  

Alresford may appear to be well endowed with its seven public houses, but few realise that there have been many more through the centuries, and that even those we see today have been renamed, or moved.

Inns at the edge of town

The Globe was the first Inn to be reached by travellers on the old London Road from Bighton, and was the “early warning” system for the town before newspapers. The Cricketers (originally the White Horse) was first sited at the junction of Sun Lane and Bramdean Lane, in an isolated spot [next to the Workhouse], which made it a popular venue for cock-fighting. In 1611, the Running Horse was the Dog and Star, and the hideous sport of bull-baiting took place quite regularly.

The Swan Hotel

From the middle of the 18th century, the most important Inn was the Swan, which
catered for the Bailiffs and Burgesses with turtle and venison dinners! The Justices held fortnightly Sessions on the premises. At a time when it cost five shillings to travel to London, the daily stage from Southampton stopped for passengers to take breakfast whilst the horses were changed in the yard behind the Inn.

The Bell Hotel

Opposite was the Market Inn [now the Bell], recognised as the market centre; a room
for settling transactions, and a yard in which important beasts could be auctioned.
In the early 19th century, as well as retailing wines and spirits, the inn was licensed
as a place of worship for Non-Conformists!

The Horse and Groom

As long ago as 1550, there was an inn in Broad Street which specialised in good liquor, and good conversation mainly on horsey matters, the Horse and Jockey. In the 19th Century there were racing stables on both Abbotstone and Tichborne Down, as well as at Bishops Sutton, where was trained the Grand National winner of 1893. The name was changed to Horse and Groom by landlord Charles Butler when he started a business in hiring out a ‘fly’.

The Peaceful Home

The Peaceful Home [on the north side of East Street next to the alleyway to the George Yard] was originally the Bricklayer’s Arms, and the first to become a Free House, and a popular place with shepherds and drovers attending the annual sheep fair.

The building that was once The Peaceful Home

The building that was once The Peaceful Home

Fifteen other inns are lost!

A traveller crossing the Bishop’s weir into Alresford might have stopped at the Stag
[opposite the Globe] in the house recently vacated by Evans Butchers. At the bottom of Broad Street (now number 42) was Le Hart, possibly the oldest inn in the town. The George (now George Yard, and the Library and shops) was built as The Angel, owned by Winchester College, in 1415, but before the sign could be erected, its name was changed in celebration of the “assistance” given by our patron saint to Henry V and his men at the battle of Agincourt. Where now stands the Old Post House was the Anchor, burnt down in the fire of 1689.

West and East Street Inns

There was a second Globe on the site of the old Co-op building, now replaced by two
new shopfronts. The Volunteer Arms became the Clipper stationary shop [and is now the Moda Rosa dress shop]. The Lindens in East Street was once the Golden Lyon, and on the site of the Phair Hall Community Centre was the Fox. Opposite was the New Inn, the whole of the building of which the Wessex Pharmacy now forms a part.

The Old Sun Inn on East Street was converted into a private house by John Arlott in 1961, and the Dean Arms, built to quench the thirst of workers at the Gasworks opposite, closed shortly after the gasometer was taken down. Finally, on the site of Watercress Travel [now the Naked Grape] was the Queen’s Tap, which housed an early form of bioscope which offered instead of electronic one-arm bandits, the simpler delights of a peepshow (and so was known locally as the New Found Out].

The Alresford Museum is a charity, managed locally by the New Alresford Town Trust, For further pictures please consult,
and further accounts of the history of the Inns can be found in Alresford Displayed
issues on the Alresford Historical and Literary Society website,

The very best Ginger Beer in Great Britain

The work of Frederick Charles Batchelor of Alresford, 1840-1931: an article by Adrian Jones of Kingsworthy, 2006.

Examples of his bottles are currently on display in the Library in Broad Street, which has been organized by the Alresford Museum section of the New Alresford Town Trustees. [See the separate article about this display.]

It is fitting that in the 75th year since Frederick Charles Batchelor’s death in 1931,
the location of his grave has finally been found in St John’s Alresford Parish Church yard.
For many years fruitless searches were made attempting to locate the headstone of his
final resting place. However recent reference to the Alresford Monumental inscriptions
held in the Hampshire Records Office revealed that the family plot was numbered 85 and
also contained the graves of his wife Frances and his son Walter.

On returning to the Church and using for reference graves listed nearby, his plot was
located, but nothing on the surface betrayed the grave site, unfortunately it had no
headstone! However just below the overgrown wild grass was found the stone carved edge
to Frederick, Frances and Walter’s grave.

This corner of the churchyard is actually an award winning conservation area deliberately
left for nature to reclaim. All the graves in this area are very old, and in the Summer
there is a beautiful display of wild native flowers attracting insects and butterflies.
Kindly Chris Lillywhite, who is responsible for the churchyard, allowed permission for
a sympathetic tidy of the grave, enabling the inscriptions to be read without damaging
the established natural growth or spoiling the tranquil corner.

As a child in the 1970s I first became acquainted with the name of F.C.Batchelor of
Alresford and Alton when I dug up some old bottles embossed with it. Since then I have
acquired several different variations of bottles used by him. Alresford is not a large town,
and with a little research I decided I would try to find out more about the man and his

Batchelor’s Early Life

Frederick Charles Batchelor was born in 1840 and lived in Ovington, his mother died young, and his father George, a carpenter, brought up Frederick and his sister Ann with the help of his sister-in-law. In 1861 the family moved to 49 Broad Street Alresford where his father sold household goods and china from the building. Frederick took over a carrier’s business at the age of 21, taking horse drawn goods between Alresford and Basingstoke three times weekly. It was with this business that he developed a great love for his horses, and was later to use them for deliveries of his mineral waters even when it was not economically viable. By 1870 he had started manufacture and sell lemonade, mineral waters and ginger beer. He married Frances and they lived in lodgings before buying 49 Broad Street from his father in 1879.

He then began to concentrate on his mineral waters business, but also kept the carriers business going. He brought goods from Basingstoke to sell from the front room of 49 Broad Street, becoming a hardware supplier. He continued selling china and earthenware, but also did a great trade in candles and lighting oil, and also became the biggest supplier of sugar locally. It was bought in bulk and then sold to Alresford residents in smaller amounts. It is believed that the sugar was delivered to him via the nearby railway station. With so much to do, he asked his wife Frances, well known locally as Frannie, to run the hardware and china business. She was very successful and in time was able to purchase a Tea Shop in West Street, and also a bakery that supplied the tea shop and the locals. In 1897 for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee she has an advertising plate produced, with a picture of the Queen in the centre and F.C.Batchelor’s name around the rim. You have to remember that her success was at a time when a Woman in business was very unusual, but perhaps she was able to use Frederick’s good name to her advantage.

Batchelor's house at 49 Broad Street - Pineapple House

Batchelor’s house at 49 Broad Street – Pineapple House

With his wife Frances running part of the business, Frederick was able to concentrate on his mineral waters. H produced many different drinks beverages, including Codd’s Wallop, a type of lemonade mineral water, that was sold in returnable codd bottles with the marbles. He also sold Iron Brew, containing not only iron but also Vitamin C: many people at that time were suffering from deficiencies and even malaria, brought back from India, so it sold very well, it was said to be similar to Guinness, but alcohol free. However his most popular product was his ’Great British Brewers Exhibition, London 1901, Gold Medal winning Ginger Beer’. In the years prior to and following the Gold Medal, he won both the Bronze and Silver medals for this ginger beer. This was a huge achievement because at that time there were thousands of different Ginger Beer manufacturers nationally. He was extremelyproud of his win, and went on to show images of his medals in his advertisements. He even had his pocket watch fob made into a miniature copy of the medal. He never revealed the award winning secret recipe, even after substantial amounts of money were offered to him. It is said he took the recipe to his grave.

A meeting with his relations

Last year I was lucky enough to meet his nephew, now aged over 85, who’d traveled over to try, unsuccessfully, to locate his grave. He could remember him as a child. Much of this article came from my meeting with him. He said that his uncle was very straight laced, and he kept out of his way, being a little afraid of him: ’children should be seen and not heard’ was very apt.

Frederick was very religious, disliking anything to do with alcohol. He showed me pictures of Frederick, but best of all he even had the original dated medals awarded for the quality of his Ginger Beer. Surprisingly, even his family, who were with him at the time, didn’t know they still existed, and I had the thrill of actually holding them. He told me a very interesting piece of information: when the family occasionally got together, Frederick would always tell this story, because it made him laugh. At that time most ginger beers were made using a ginger concentrate, however some manufacturers also added fresh ginger during manufacture to improve the taste. The weekly delivery boy with the ginger concentrate said to Frederick one day, ”Mr Batchelor, we all know by the taste of your ginger beer that you use fresh ginger” and Frederick replied ”Yes of course I do” and had a good laugh afterwards! This was because he never used any fresh ginger, only the concentrate, and he said in hushed tones that the only secret ingredient he used was from his well, Alresford water and its superb quality! Perhaps the distinctive tasting ginger beer’s great secret was just its Alresford water? [Maybe more likely from the extra taste provided by the work at Tanyard Cottages just down the hill? – Editor] The well is still situated in the courtyard of 49 Broad Street today.

Business success

Frederick’s drinks were so successful that he also began trading from Alton’s Pound Hill. His minerals were delivered to the local pubs and shops, all within one day’s horse and cart distance: he supplied as far as North Waltham and East Meon but never Winchester. In his early days Batchelor was in the Hampshire Volunteers; later he volunteered for Alresford Fire Brigade, the fire station was opposite the business. He was regularly in the crew, being able to respond to the alarm calls immediately – he eventually became the Captain. He was one of the original Parish Council members, and when younger did much to help the Alresford people. He was a Freemason of the Shalden Lodge, and became the eldest member and senior trustee of the Loyal Unity Lodge of Oddfellows.

In 1929 Frances his wife died, at the age of 83, three years later on the 14th August 1931 Frederick died at the grand old age of 91. His funeral was attended by a who’s who of Hampshire, most of Alresford’s shops closing for the afternoon as a mark of respect. His business continued under the stewardship of his son William, but when he died in 1949 the business finally folded.

A Future Memorial?

It surprises me that there are no memorials to Frederick Batchelor, a native of Alresford, who lived in the vicinity all his life: a great Humanitarian sand British Champion he had cared about his community and provided employment. At least his grave can now be viewed by visitors to the churchyard and his legacy lives on in the form of his bottles that held his precious and award winning beverages. Perhaps one day the local planners will honour him with a memorial or name a road or place after him, as is the local tradition.

I would like to thank my friend Charles Docherty and his father Chris J Docherty for research, together with Chris Lillywhite, churchyard custodian, and the relatives of Frederick for their information enabling me to complete this.

If anyone has any photos of Frederick or related to his business at 49 Broad Street or has any information not mentioned I would love to hear from you to perhaps take copies.

Adrian Jones

The Brewing History of Alresford!

The Alresford Museum, run by the New Alresford Town Trust, has updated the exhibits on view in their display cabinet in the Alresford Library: this now features various storage jars, flagons and bottles – as used by the breweries and businesses in Alresford over the years.

Prominent amongst this display are stone and glass bottles bearing the name of Batchelor’s Soft Drinks, of Alresford and Alton. Frederick Charles Batchelor established this business in Alresford in the 19th Century, and in fact his ginger beer won a Gold Medal at the Great British Brewer’s Exhibition of 1901.

Mr Batchelor always claimed that his ginger beer tasted so good because of his secret recipe: in fact it is still a secret, because he didn’t even tell his family, and took it to his grave! It has always been assumed that the secret was in using the pure chalk-fed water from the local springs around Alresford, but he won the medals to justify the claims!

Operating from number 49 at the bottom of Broad Street, Batchelor’s lemonade, mineral waters and ginger beer was delivered in the 1800s by horse and carriage as far away as Basingstoke: the lemonade was sold in marble-stoppered Codd bottles – hence often referred to as “Codd’s Wallop” – and several are featured in this display in the library. The ginger beer was sold in earthenware containers, various styles of which are also on display, labelled as produced by Batchelor’s, W H Twine of Old Alresford, and Hunt and Co, of West Street, Alresford. Mr Batchelor in fact introduced the first motorised vehicle to Alresford, when this van was introduced to speed up his delivery service!

Earthenware bottles from Alresford makers

Earthenware bottles from Alresford makers

The display has bottles owned by the Alresford Museum, plus many bottles on loan for the display by local collector Darren Goodley of Bishop’s Waltham. Other items include jars of cold cream and medicines from suppliers in Alresford, and also a rare whisky flask – a type known as a “pumpkin flask”, which is labelled as from the Swan Hotel in Alresford. More modern bottles, still full of beer, have also been given for the display by the current local bottlers, the Itchen Valley Brewery! With Alresford having a history of so many public houses, these are also identified in a display of photographs.

Bottles with marbles as stoppers, and the Swan Hotel bottle

Bottles with marbles as stoppers, and the Swan Hotel bottle

The Alresford Museum intends to update the display cabinet in the library on a regular basis, with items of local historic interest, at approximately three month intervals.

For more information please consult the NATT website,

The Bush at Ovington from 1920

The Bush Inn, Ovington, 1920 style

The Bush Inn, Ovington, 1920 style

Once upon a time there was a pub in Ovington, known as the Bush Inn. Actually the Bush Inn is still there, but it looks a little different now to the picture above. This old picture is believed to have been taken in the early 1920s, when Charles Coward and his wife Laura Emmeline ran the pub. Charles is pictured here with the white jug on the plate, in the middle of the row of people. Second from the right is George Smith, his son-in-law, and second from the left is Fred Biggs. The window that is open on the ground floor behind them was Laura’s parlour window, and very few drinkers were allowed through to sit in there. Nowadays the pub has been extended to the right and the bar continues through Laura’s parlour, past her fire, into a new room. D203 The Bush ovington 1920s

Some of the same group of drinkers appear in the second picture, now positioned near the door to the pub. This does not seem to be the door in the side lane, because the brickwork lacks the chimney, and the side of the building has some flint sections in the walls, so maybe the pictures are close to the pub doorway that opens into the garden. In the picture here Fred Biggs is on the left, and Charlie Coward is still dispensing from the tray.

The next two pictures show the side lane next to the Bush, used as a starting point for the local Hunt and their dogs. The side door to the pub seems to be in a different position to the current doorway, and has a porch with the advert for Bell tobacco.

D207 Bush

D206Charles Coward died in 1930, and his daughter Kathy, married to George Smith, and her mother Laura Emmeline managed the pub from then onwards. George worked on a farm in Bishop’s Sutton, primarily on the steam powered equipment used there. They had children Charlie, pictured here in the Bush garden with his grandmother Laura Emmeline, who lived with them at the pub probably until 1949, and also a daughter called Doreen.


The final picture is taken at the Bush on Doreen’s wedding day in 1945, with George and Kathy to the right of the bride, and Laura next to Kathy: sitting on the extreme right is George Smith’s mother. Doreen married Ted Saint from Upham, whose mother ran the village shop in Upham, and is sitting to his right. Standing second from the right on the bride’s side is Una, who provided the photos and was another grand-daughter of Laura Coward: Una Coward lived in West Meon, but regularly cycled to the Bush to see the family.


One of the biggest problems for Charles Coward was that a fair proportion of his customers and evening trade was from Itchen Stoke. There were many nights when the men from Itchen Stoke arrived home very wet and presumably having sobered up quickly, after a ducking in the river, trying to negotiate their way along the path to Itchen Stoke in the dark.

With thanks to Una Yeates of Alresford (nee Coward) for the pictures and background information

The Bush, as it was in September 2012

The Bush, as it was in September 2012

Flying Fortress crash in Alresford Pond

Nelson Trowbridge of Alresford recently wrote to the Alresford Historical and Literary Society:

“I feel sure you will know that in September 1943 the centre of  New Alresford narrowly escaped being blown up by a damaged B-17 Flying Fortress bomber (Lady Luck) of the 303rd bomb group, US 8th Air Force, which was carrying a full bomb load on course to crash at or near St John’s Church and the top of Broad Street.  The pilot, Captain Cogswell, ordered his crew to bail out then stayed with the plane and  steered it to a field on the far side of Old Alresford Pond.  He baled out at the last minute, and survived.

Captain Cogswell is a war hero who should be remembered.  In connection with this you might like to know that the exhibition of the Lady Luck events has been restored by Mike Adams in The Globe Inn and is now open for visitors to explore.  I hope your members will do this.  I donated my scale model of Lady Luck, a copy of my booklet  “Lady Luck: What really happened”, photographs and more. There is a lot to examine and think about.”

Editor’s notes: There is now a plaque, in Soke Gardens, honouring Captain Robert Cogswell: Soke Gardens can be found down the lane to the right of the ‘Globe on the Lake’ pub and the cottages next to it. This cobbled lane leads to the sluices, or “Shettles” which control the flow of water from the lake down the main stream that flows under the bridge, past the Town Mill and then forms the River Alre. It is said that the Shettles  were the landing place for the Bishop of Winchester on his travels to and from his palace at Bishop’s Sutton, presumably getting into a coach in front of the Globe. When first formed, the pond reached as far as his palace at Bishop’s Sutton, but over the years silting has reduced its size and depth.

In the 1980s when my son fished in Alresford Pond, from the Great Weir, he caught pike, trout – escapees from the Bishop’s Sutton fishing lakes – and carp. The largest carp caught by anyone was reported as 34lbs. More recently the otters have ensured that there are no more carp.

There is a photo of the Lady Luck crew on the Alresford Heritage photographs website, see–weir/p-017.html

The Cricketer’s Pub and the Golf Club

The Cricketer's Arms in around 1900, later to become the Links Laundry.  Photo copyright

The Cricketer’s Arms in around 1900, later to become the Links Laundry. Photo copyright

The Cricketer’s Arms takes its name from an earlier pub, in fact the pub that was sited at the other end of Tichborne Down, and indeed possibly stood on the edge of one of the first ever cricket pitches on what is now the golf course. This pub was known as the White Horse, but changed its name to the Cricketer’s Arms when the cricket square was created in front of the windows. This was where the number 5 hole was later sited, and then in 1985 the bypass also cut through this area of the golf course. This old building became a laundry, and was then divided into separate dwelling houses. In 1975, when the book “A Taste of Alresford” was written, Mike Burchett, landlord at the new “Cricketer’s”, was in fact a well-known local cricketer, having captained Winchester and played for Tichborne and the famous Hampshire Hogs. At this time, the pub had an “Off-Sales” entrance at the corner of the building, later removed to create a larger dining room.

The old Cricketer's pub in 1985

The old Cricketer’s pub in 1985

The pub was purpose built in the 1920s, with a clubroom attached for the use of the neighbouring golf club. The first tenant. W. Boniface, was in fact the club’s professional. In the garden are tables, children’s swings and a trampoline: the grounds of the Cricketer’s extend a long way behind the car park, reflecting the large land areas allocated to this and the three other houses built at the time in this area of the town – Shepherd’s Down, Fair View and Paddock Way – the other three have given way to more modern housing.

The Golf Club itself was founded in 1890 on land belonging to Sir Joseph Tichborne: the course was grazed by sheep until 1907. Charles Marks of Woking Golf Club was employed as the first professional greenkeeper, but he fell out with Sir Joseph and only stayed two years. The room at the Cricketer’s pub was used as the clubhouse until 1953, when a retired railway carriage was placed by the first tee and used as clubhouse for 16 years.

The above information is taken largely from Sally March’s book “A Taste of Alresford” published by Oxfam in 1985.