Alton in old picture postcards

Alton in old picture postcards

Author
:   Annette Booth
Municipality
:   Alton
Province
:   Hampshire
Country
:   United Kingdom
ISBN13
:   978-90-288-5787-2
Pages
:   80
Price
:   EUR 16.95 Including VAT *

Delivery time: 2-3 weeks (subject too). The illustrated cover may differ.

   


Fragments from the book 'Alton in old picture postcards'

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9. Youngsters hurry excitedly along Normandy Street in August 1911. We are not sure where they are headed, but on Saturday 12th August we read in the Hampshire Heraid & Alton Gazette that 'two wagons look happy boys and girls 10 Selborne' for St. Lawrence's Band of Hope outing. On the left of the picture can be seen another of Normandy Street's many public houses - and again it's one that hasn't survived. The Oueen's Arms stood al the junction with Nether Street and was pulled down in the 70's to make way for the new magistrates' courts. In No. 36 was the advertising office of the Alton Mail (later to be renarned the Alton Heraid) . This, along with Nos. 34 and 32, was pulled down during the construction of Victoria Road and theMail moved to No. 49. Just past the children on the right can be seen the London and Counties' Stores, with almost everything, including the kitchen sink no doubt, hanging outside, while, next door, a drayman unloads outside the Red Lion.

10. Normandy Street, looking towards Anstey, at the turn of the century. The actual shape of the street has changed very little, although now there are shop fronts where before there were houses. Up unti! this time many businesses were little more than front parlours. H. Cork's furnishing store was at Nos. 8 and 10. It offered everything from bedsteads to baskets. Next to Cork's was Ebenezer Williams, one of at least three hairdressers and perfurniers in this part of Alton. Robert Harrison, another hairdresser, was in business right next door and James Froude opposite. You can just see Mr. Froude's barber's pole outside his premises and he also boasted a 'Ladies' Hairdressing Room'. The postcard was produced by E.J. & A. Halliday, the E.J. being Elizabeth!

11. It's Christmas 1909 and Alfred Mugridge puts on a fine display in his Normandy Street shop. There was great competition between all shopkeepers, let alone butchers, over the Christmas period, with everyone trying to outdo their neighbour. Mr. Mugridge's display would surely be very hard to beat. But just imagine how long it must have taken the staff to set it up in the first place, let alone take it down every night. Can you imagine how today's health inspeetors would react to all that uncovered meat!! Ducks, geese, chicken, turkeys, pigs and piglets, pheasants, rabbits, beef, even an OX, and, no doubt, all prepared by Mr. Mugridge and his staff. Butchers prided themselves on their home-produced meats and most would have a yard and slaughterhouse at the rear of their premises.

N ormandy Street, Alton.

12. Normandy Street at the junetion with Chureh Street in about 1925. The young man is standing outside Arthur Eades' eycle shop at No. 2. Mr. Eades has only recently moved from his premises in ├╗ld Acre Raad, having taken over Mrs. Munday's Dining Rooms. There were quite a few eycle agents in Alton around this time, sinee eycling was a very popular methad of travel. The Cyclists' Touring Club had been set up and loeal hotels competed with eaeh ot her for the honour of displaying the club's logo, indieating that they were a suitable resting plaee for saddle sore tourists, Just past the car, on the right, is the gabled roof of Normandy Cottage, a delightful building little changed today. It was an almshouse for 'six needy wamen' and, at this time, belonged to Mrs. H. Chalcraft.

13. The parish Church of St. Lawrence, pictured in the early 1900's but looking very much as it does today. In essence a 15th century church, although the Norman tower dates from 1070, it is one of the finest examples of the Perpendicular style in Hampshire. In 1643 it bare witness to an event which put Alton firmlyon the historical map. As the Civil War raged, the town found itselfbeing fought over by the Roundheads, under Sir William Waller, and the Cavaliers, led by Lord Crawford. As Waller advanced from Farnharn, Crawford retreated to Winchester , leaving Colonel John Boles and one infantry unit to defend the position. Boles fought gallantly and was eventually forced to make a last stand in the church, where, after a fight which lasted some seven hours, he was finally killed, along with sixty of his troops. Ta this day, bullet marks can still be seen in the fabric of the church.

he Council Ho

14. Alton's first council houses in the 1920's. Chauntsingers was the first phase in a housing scheme that started in 1921, with seven houses being erected in Victoria Raad on what had been the tewn's allotments. This picture shows the junction of St. Lawrence's Raad with Chauntsingers and Victoria Road. After the war there was an urgent need for cheap housing that could be erected quickly. The Housing and Town Planning Act of 1919 made alliocal authorities responsible for dealing with housing in their own areas, a penny rate being fixed to help with costs and the government providing a subsidy to cover the rest. To qualify for a grant the private builder had to work within certain limits. A two-storey dwelling had to cover an area of between 620 and 950 square feet and each house had to have a fixed bath, which after 1924 had to be in a bathroom.

15. Crown HilI in the early 1920's. On the right can just be seen the Crown Hotel with its sign for garaging and stabling, as weil as the badge of the Cyclists' Touring Club. The hotel is famous for its hauntings - not just one, but three! A lady dressed in white and an old man have been seen on several different occasions, as late as the 1970's, but the most celebrated occurrence concerns the main bar in the hotel. For years people had reported hearing a dog whining in the vicinity of the fireplace. In the late 1960's, during redecoration, the fireplace was opened up and the bones of a dog were found. They were thought to be at least two hundred years old. Now isn't that enough to make you feellike a good strong drink! Next to the Crown is a fine red brick house, No. 4 High Street, the home of Dr. William Curtis, whose 'History of Alton' , published in 1896, gives us such a vivid picture of life at the end of the last century.

16. August 4th 1899 - the circus comes to town and what a circus. Lord George 'The Original' Sanger's Circus boasted no less than twenty carriages of wild animals 'of the most rare and valuable species' and twelve 'monstre' elephants, the most famous ofwhich can be seen in this postcard leading the Grand Street Procession past the public buildings at the top of Crown HilI. HRH, as the elephant was known, was the very animal on which the Prince of Wales travelled during all his state visits to India, orso we are led to believe! Sanger's Big Top, which was erected in the field next to the workhouse in Anstey Lane, was reputed to be the largest waterproof marquee ever! It could accommodate 20,000 people. Seats ranged in price from 10/6. down to 6d. and there were 5,000 of these cheap seats, so everyone could enjoy the spectacle of 700 men, women, horses, elephants, camels and dromedaries re-enacting 'With Kitchener to Khartoum'.

17. The Public Buildings' Square about 1895. A young man takes a welcome drink at Miss Bell's Fountain. The fountain is one of two presented to the town by Miss Bell, who lived at Borovere. This particular one was moved to the junction of Paper Mill Lane and Anstey Road to make way for the War Memorial in 1920. I t was later dismantled because it impeded the sightlines at this junction - at a Council Meeting in January 1927 it was described as 'ugly and a danger to traffic'. After years of laying neglected, the marbie base was finally given a permanent horne in the Public Gardens. The other fountain still stands where it was originally erected, in Butts Road opposite Borovere Lane. On the left is the Curtis Museum with, in the middle of the picture, the Inwood Cottage Hospital. The Assembly Rooms, on the right, opened in 1880. The season began with a dramatic and musical Entertainment entitled 'The Chimney Corner', oerformed by the Piekwiek Historical Club.

18. A crowd of around 4,000 people gather in Public Buildings' Square to hear the Proclamation of King George Von 20th May 1910. Earlier a memorial service to the late King Edward VII had been held in St. Lawrence's Church. After the Service the procession went to the Square, where the Band, Territorials and Scouts took up their positions around the public flagpole. St. Lawrence's surplieed choir can be seen standing in front ofthe Cottage Hospital. The men in the crowd are just replacing their hats, having stood in reverence as the Alton Military Band, under bandmaster Lovell, sounded the Last Post. As the strains of the musie died away MT. C.J. Ryman ran the Union Jack to the top of the flagpole. Mr. H.P. Burrell, chairman of Alton Urban District Council, stepped forward and read the proclamation and the band struck up 'God Save the King'.

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