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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19. In 1920 a War Memorial to those who had fallen in the Great War was erected in the Public Buildings' Square. It stood in place of Miss Bell's Fountain. The Cairn was constructed of 30 tons of unpolished Cornish granite and had been built by the Alton firm of D.J. Kemp and Sons. There was some controversy regarding the Cairn, it being described by some Altonians as 'a heap of stones'. The flagstaff in the picture had been presented by MI. H.P. Burrel! and the Union Jack was kept flying at this time. The bronze tablet at the base of the Cairn reads 'Our Glorious Dead, 1914-1919'.169 Alton men lost their lives in 'the warto end al! wars'. Just some 29 years later another 53 names would be added to the Memorial.

20. With the outbreak of the First World War the Assembly Rooms became a Red Cross Hospital for wounded English and Belgian troops. Paper chains and decorations help lift the men's spirits as they spend Christmas in a foreign land. No doubt the dose proximity of the beds to one another was simply to enable the photographer to indude everyone in his picture. The Assembly Rooms were reopened on 7th April 1919 by Lord Selborne. At this gathering the Chairman of the trustees of the Institute, Mr. Charles Archer , confirmed to members th at the Institute would be handed over to the Alton Urban District Council as a memorial to those who had lost their lives in the Great War.

21. In the early years of the 20th century, weIl before the introduetion of the National Health Service, it was up to the residents of a particular town to look after their hospital. This was achieved to a great extent by donations and legacies from the local gentry - indeed, the Inwood Cottage Hospital in the Public Buildings' Square is so named because of a El ,500 legacy in the will of Mr. Daniel Inwood of Binsted. The ordinary people contributed as well- on a special week-end, usually the last in September, known as Hospital Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday the local band would be out in the street and house-to-house as weil as street coIlections would be made. Then, on Sunday, as we see in this Hospital Sunday postcard of 1916, there was a parade of local dignitaries and a service of thanksgiving. It's interesting to note that the total raised during this particular 'Hospital Weekend' amounted to !l27/16/1.

22. In the summer of 1911, when this photograph was taken, Alton High Street was mueh quieter than it is today! The photographer was in no danger of being mown down as he set up his eumbersome equipment in the middle of the road. The two young lads are standing outside the CastIe Inn, while on the other side of the street can just be seen a billboard advertising 'The Alton Cinema', in the Assembly Rooms. Animated pietures were shown every Friday and Saturday at 6.15 p.m. and8.15 p.m. with a matinee on Saturday at3 p.m. Seats eost 6d, 4d and 2d, with ehildren half priee at the matinee. During the rest of the week the 'Cinema' beeame a 'Rink' with four sessions a day enabling Altonians to enjoy the Edwardian eraze of rollerskating. Admission was 6d and that included your skates! Notiee the protruding steps on the right of Crown Hill- fine in the days of horse and eart, but with the advent of the car these would be made safer.

Crown HilI, Alton.

23. By 1925 there was a little more traffic on the roads, but life still seems unhurried. It would appear that Crown Hill was considered too steep not only to cycle up, but also to cycle down, or perhaps it wasn't considered gentile to fly down at top speed! The ladies on the right are just passing William Andrews' newsagent's at No. 9 and approaching Frederick Bateheler's china ware house at No. 11 High Streel. An Alton resident, who was just five when this picture was taken, remembers Bateheler's as 'a shop fuIl of high class china and ornaments, definitely a place you always behaved in as a child'! On the left is Munday's the saddler and the harnesses and feed bags hanging up outside serve to remind us that this was still very much the age of the horse!

.ft/ton.

Qigh Stree: ?

24. A busy Alton High Street at the turn of the century with a very new Post Office on the left of the postcard. So new, in fact, that the words Alton Post Office have not yet been painted on the facia panel, although a sign on the gas lamp opposite proudly points the way. And postmaster John Fred Parsons could feel equally proud of the service offered. The Post Office was open for business from 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. Letters posted locally before lunchtime reached their destination by afternoon and those posted after lunch would be delivered that same evening. Looking out from his saddler's shop on the right is Mr. Munday, while the large white building a few doors down the street is Hetherington & Son, the ironmongers. Alfred Hetherington was the very first Chief Officer of Alton's Volunteer Fire Brigade and his son, A.C. Hetherington, followed in bis Iather's footsteps. The ironmonger's store was on several occasions used for Fire Brigade practice.

25. The same view of the High Street, but some 25 years later. Mr. Munday still appears to be standing at the door of his shop, while Hetherington & Sons at No. 30 has been taken over by T.M. Kingdon and Co. At No. 28 is John Eighteen's fishmonger's shop. Altonians who remember John teIl me that he acquired his unusual sumame because he had been found, as a baby, on the doorstep of a house (not in Alton) bearing the number 18. Motorized transport is beginning to make its mark on the town. A motor bike and sidecar are parked outside Kerridge's garage, while a car fills up from the petrol pump on the pavement. And could that be one of the early buses belonging to the Aldershot and District Traction Company, which ran between Aldershot and Winchester , via Alton, just puIling away from the bus stop?

26. The Manor House at the bottorn of Crown HilI was an imposing building, to say the least. This was perhaps because it was not showing its best side, since it was the rear ofthe property that faced the High Street. The house was owned by Mr. and Mrs. Goodwyn Hall, members of the Alton brewing family, and the front looked out over a deer park which, in 1993, is the site of the Bass Brewery. The main entrance was in Turk Street, but visitors could enter via the conservatory seen on the left of the house. Mr. Goodwyn Hall was a public-spirited gentleman and of ten opened his grounds to the public in aid oflocal good causes. When the house went up for sale in 1927 it was described as covering an area of 6,000 square feet and having '3 reception rooms, a billiard room, palm court, 16 bedrooms, bathrooms and domestic offices'. This particular picture was taken in about 1899. By 1931 the house had become the Co-op and was eventually demolished in the 1960's to make way for the present store.

27. Another view of the Manor House and High Street, also about 1899, but looking towards Crown Hili. The man with the horse and cart appears to be making a delivery of furniture - perhaps to the Manor House, and he has alighted outside the grocer's stores of Mr. J.H. Farthing at No. 19. As wen as being a 'grocer, provisions merehant and tea dealer', James Henry Farthing was an agent for W. & A. Gilbey , wine and spirit merehants. And to go with the wine - what better than a 'choice pareel of cheddar eheese at IOd perlb'! Once again the emptiness ofthe streets is perhaps what strikes us most. An old Altonian, Joseph Cox, who was barn in 1877 and who's book 'An Ordinary Working Man's Life Story' gives a wonderful insight into those early days, remembers how pleasant it was to 'promenade up and down the street in the evening to meet one's friends and have a ehat in the then quiet and peaeeful High Streel'.

28. When Mafeking was relieved in May 1900, Alton, like almost every town throughout the length and breadth of the country, celebrated in style. The Hampshire Heraid (now The Alton Gazette) of 26th May 1900 reported: 'Never in the history of the town was so much bunting displayed. ' The celebrations began in the early morning and continued right through the day into the night. There was great competition amongst shopkeepers and tradesmen to see who could get their flags up first and by 9.00 a.m. the town was ablaze with red, white and blue flags. This is one of several photographs the Alton photographer George Frost took in celebration of the Relief of Mafeking. He was out bright and early to capture this special day and we can see that people are already gathering in the streets, even though the decorations are still being put up. One couple have staked a claim to their good vantage point on the, then, flat roof to the porch of the Swan Hotel.

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