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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59. A picture of Kingsmere Cottages with Ashdell Bridge beyond thern, just after the turn of the century. Joseph Cox recalls the cottages in his autobiography, since his father moved there from Ashdell Lodge on the death of Mr. Crowley. The cottages stood adjacent to the railway bridge and Joe teils how at the beginning ofthe First World War, as a soldier on his way to join his ship, he threw his Ilb tin of beef ration out of the train as it passed by his father's cottage. 'The other men in the carriage doing likewise, sa that he had six tins of beef to share with his neighbours.' Ashdell Bridge, spanning Ashdell Road, was constructed of 6 inch larch trees and linked Ashdell House and its magnificent grounds with King's Pond. It was built for Frederick Crowley by an engineer called Ames, who's wife ran the Ashdelllaundry. Shortly after the First World War the bridge was removed by Mr. Ferrand, who was worried about his children's safety.

60. John Oakley and Lewis Bavage were saddlers and harness makers at No. 4 Turk Street at the beginning of this century and their craftsmanship is very much on display in this photo, taken around 1910. As we saw in the last photograph, the horse was still in use into the 1920's, but the days of the saddler were numbered! H's interesting to look at the pavement in this picture. OriginaUy paved with flints, known as 'pitchings', al! the pavements in the town were repaved in 1867 with blue Staffordshire bricks, made in Bishop's Waltham. As you can see, these bricks were laid in a herringbone design, the idea being that a walker's foot would span three bricks with each step, thus providing a firmer foundation. Smal! sections of this pavement can still be found in the town, particularly in Church Street.

61. We are now back in the High Street and back to those Relief of Mafeking celebrations in May 1900. This is another of George Frost's souvenir pictures of the event and it shows some of the excitement the news generated. I like this photograph for another reason, however, and that's because it includes one of Alton's most colourful characters. Admittedly, you need a magnifying glass, but, standingin the doorway of his hairdressers's shop at No. 66is Mr. Julius Caesar. Somehow, you would expect hirn to be special with a name like that! Bom in 1852, Mr. Caesar, as I've mentioned before, was the buglerforthe Volunteer Fire Brigade and, in the early days offire fighting, would sound the alert with a bugle call, His first stop would be on the corner of Turk Street, then he would rush up to Crown HilI and repeat the call, then race back to the Hop Poles. He would then take his place with the other members of the Brigade.

62. Redevelopment has changed this part ofthe High Street, known as West End, although Swarthmore House, the ivy-clad house on the left of the picture, and Lansdowne House, on the right, by the carriage, are still much as they were in this postcard by W. P. Varney, dated around 1906. On the right you ean just make out the special 'Fire CaU' gas lamp that had been mounted outside Julius Caesar's hairdressing shop in 1904. This lamp was kept lit night and day, so that people knew where to go in the case of a fire. It's hard to imagine not being able to simply piek up the phone and call for help. At the beginning of the century you either had to run or ride down to Julius Caesar's, or, of course, you could send hirn a telegram! Absurd though it sounds, this was of ten the way the Fire Brigade was called out. There is an example of one such telegram in the Curtis Museum in Alton. Addressed to 'Caesar, Alton' it reads: 'Riek Hay on fire. Come. Another close by. Knight of Kingsley.'

63. This view of West End, Alton, at the turn of the century, was available not only as a postcard, but also, as in this case, a 'Never Absent - Never Late' Attendance Card. These were presented to schoolchildren by Hampshire County Council's Education Committee when they completed a full month in class without any days absent. Mind you, that was something of an achievement, as education was very much in its infancy and events such as hop picking and hay making always took preeedenee over schooling. This is a part of Alton that has changed out of all recognition. The fine ivy-clad house on the left, Rawdon House, is almast the only identifiable building today, although Westbrook House can just be seen, behind the large tree. At the time of this photograph the building was the Westbrook House Asylum, a 'private lunatie asylum for upper and middle classes'. Founded by Dr. Burnett in 1843, it was under the supervision of Mrs. E. Warrilowand had thirty patients.

64. We've now reached the top ofthe High Street, or West End, with our 1911 photographer. On the left-hand side, the White Horse is little altered today, while the scene on the right is very different. The Methodist Chapel was demolished in the 1970's. It began life in 1846 as the Wesleyan Chapel, costing f850 to build and seating 300. The final services were held on 28th March 1976, and it was not long after that the chapel and all adjoining property in French's Court and Byre Lane were demolished. The foundation stone for the new Methodist Chapel was laid in 1979. Next to the chapel in 1911 is the West End grocer's and baker's store ofJohn Albert Hayden at No. 83. Mr. Hayden had two stores atthis time, the other being at the opposite endoftown, at No. 23 Normandy Street. Albert Wateridge is the licensee ofthe White Horse public house, which advertises 'Ales drawn from the wood' over its door. His wife, Sarah, has a sweet shop and tobacconist's right next door!

65. The 19th century saw the population of Alton rise from 2,499 in 1821 to 4,092 by 1871. A particular area of growth was that to the west of the town. Already by the early 1870's some eighty houses had been erected at what became known as Newtown. So, a new church was built to serve the new area. Begunin 1873, All Saints' was consecratedin December 1874.1t was built ofSelborne stone with Bath stone facings. In 1881 a square tower and spire were added, the spire apparently being built by local carpenters in a meadow opposite the church, before being erected on to the tower- what a sight that must have been and what an occasion! This postcard ofthe church was sent in 1912 by Emily to her parents, complaining that her brother , Bill, had forgotten her birthday.

66. A picture of Queen's Road, taken in 1925, with an X marking the spot whe

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