Aldershot in old picture postcards

Aldershot in old picture postcards

:   T.G. Chilterhouse
:   Aldershot
:   Hampshire
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-2276-4
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Aldershot in old picture postcards'

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lt is curious that Aldershot is not mentioned in 'Doomesday' because the earliest document with the mention of our church is dated as 1137. The Compotus RoU of 1248 again records Alreshete, and in the Court RoU of 1281, recording the proceedings of the Manorial Courts held by the Prior of St. Swithun's, it is recorded that the Tithing of Alreshate was fined five shillings because it did not come when it was summoned to the Hundred (Court). No chronological history gives anything like an adequate idea of its past.

Aldershot is in the Hundred of CrondaU which is formed of the north east part of the county of Hampshire, and cornprises about 30,000 acres of land which was given to the cathedral church of Winchester as far back as the AngloSaxon days, towards the support of the bishops and monks. The entire Hundred was chiefly a vast tract of heath and gorselands, and attracted little attention until, in 1852, the Government resolved to increase and perfect their military forces by the formation of the Aldershot Camp.

The district of Aldershot can pro vide a record of human activities from the dawn of the history of man to his more recent achievements. The surface soil of the 'common lands' has yielded a great number of flint implements of the later stages of human culture, Solutrean, Aurignacean, and Magdalenian phases being weU represented. Some 'factories' of the last named type have been located, probably indicating inhabited spots. The round tumuli which are to be seen in several places represent the later Neolithic and Bronze Ages, Early entrenchments exist on the range of hills on the south and west side of Aldershot and there is also an ancient

encampment known as Bricksbury, which belengs to the preRoman period. lt is suggested that King Alfred erected a fortification there about a thousand years ago.

In 1334, Aldershot was responsible for raising 55/2, its proportion of taxation to the King. For many years, when the Commons granted the King a 'tenth', every parish knew the sum upon which it was assessed, and raised it by a rate among themselves. The old mansion in Aldershot Park was a favourite place for Royal visitors. King John, the first Queen Elizabeth and others are said to have stayed here. King James I was here as a guest to Sir Benjamin Tichborne on 2nd September 1618, 17th August 1622 and 29th August 1623, and on other occasions and King Charles I was here with his Court on 24th August 1627. In later years aU the Kings and Queens of the last one hundred and thirty years, except our present Queen, have at some tirne been in residence in the Borough.

Aldershot, if obscure as to its history , is nevertheless very ancient. lts antiquity is proved by the existence of its Parish Church, portions of which date back to the twelfth century and perhaps earlier, whilst its written records date back to the year 1571.

Another feature is the remarkable growth of Aldershot. In 1725 James Forde, priest of Aldershot, reported 135 to be the number of sou1s in his parish. In 1801 the population was 494. By 1853 the number had risen to 875, but when the camp was formed the number quickly rose till at the census of 1861 the population had increased twenty tirnes over and numbered 16,720, of which nearly 9,000 were military, so

that the civilian population had grown in ten years from 875 to 7,755. Probably no other town in the country ean show such a rapid development. At the 1851 census there were 159 inhabited houses and 4 uninhabited and no houses in building. It is difficult to imagine where the 163 houses were situated. The main group was near the Green and in Drury Lane. There was a group on the edge of the 'common' to the east of the Turnpike Road and there were houses on the 'common', which were cleared away by the War Office after 1854. A few of these half-timbered houses of the 17th century remained until the turn of the present century. In the 'Victoria History of Hampshire' it is said of Aldershot that 'previous to 1855, it was one of the most pleasing and picturesque hamlets in Hampshire'.

During the English Civil War the twelve farmhouses of the vilIage were occupied by the Parliamentary Army. It is recorded that a skirmish on the common between the opposing forces resulted in a victory for the Kings men and that Goring with one hundred and twenty horses entered Aldershot by way of Cranmoor Lane, in January of 1645 to burn the farmhouses and to spare no Roundhead. These fires eaused a great panic in the Parliamentary troops in nearby Farnham. The link between town and Army has been marked by many celebrations, but perhaps the greatest memories have been retained by the millions of men who eame to train here and embark to overseas places, some never to return.

In normal times life at Aldershot stood strangely isolated from the ordinary life of the nation: Aldershot was a community apart, with seperate interests and seperate ambitions. It

was only in the world of sport that it was closely linked with outside movements. It was not until the event of World War I1, that this aloof seclusion of our small exclusive community was finally destroyed.

Military Aidershot

The Primary intention behind the establishment of 'The Camp at Aldershot', as it was first officially designated, was to provide the British Army with a garrison in this country for the concentration and training of troops on a large seale. Altogether over 25,000 acres of common lands of Aldershot Heath were purchased by the War Office, and the building of permanent barracks along Wellington Avenue and of wooden huts to the east of the Turnpike Road commenced in 1854. The development of the camp was given impetus by the Crimean War and by the requirements of the Army upon its return to this country, but was and still is, a continuing process.

More and more land spread over a wide area was purchased and fresh roads and buildings constructed, while in 1881 the conversion of the hutted part of the Camp to permanent brick built barracks was begun. In 1856 the designation of the Camp was changed to "The Division at Aldershot' and in 1870 to 'Aldershot District' and again in 1901 to the 'First Army Corps'. Then in 1904 it was given the status of 'The Aldershot Command' and as such it remained until 1940 when it again became 'Aldershot District'.

1. The Parish Church of Saint Michael The Archangel dates from the 12th century or earlier, and was originally built as a Chape1 of Ease at the time when the nearest church was at Crondall. The original church was modified in 1859 and it is very much to be regretted that the nave and south door should have been destroyed in the enlargement and rebuilding of 1865; there is reason to believe that this part of the Church dated from the 12th century. Further additions and alterations were made in the early years of this century. The church lies back from the road in the south-east corner of Manor Park at the junction of Church Hill and Church Lane East. lt stands in a wen tended church-yard, with firs, yews, cypress, roses and shrubs and some of the gravestones date from as early as 1740. This view was taken at about 1880. In Sheldrake's Guide to Aldershot, 1859, the church-yard wall is recorded as having abutted on to the Turnpike Road.

2. This view of the Parish Church from the west shows the enlargement of the church as carried out under the direction of Sir T. Jackson, R.A. in 1910-1911. South of the new nave is the original bell tower. This tower is unusual, being a unique mixture of stone and brick. The tower is 'garnetted' - that is, small pièces of sandstone are set in mortar. It is generally of the 15th century, but it has been suggested that the tower may have been raised in order that it might form part of the beacon chain, in which Crondall was included. We know it was extended in Elizabeth's reign, as an invasion alarm. On the south wall of the tower is a clock made by James Staples of Odiham, and given by the Reverend George West in 1810.

3. The Heroes Shrine. Circa 1925. Just below the church in a corner of Manor Park is a secluded and peaceful retreat dedicated to the memory of those who feIl in the First World War. Here stands a rough granite memoriaion a square of crazy-paving in which is set a mosaic bearing the words "The Heroes' Garden. The Manor Park was purchased by the Council in 1919. It has spacious p1aying fields, pleasant walks, flower beds, an ornamentallake and tennis courts. Here amid delightful surroundings stand the Manor House, which was built in 1670. The house has undergone both externa! and interna! alterations over the years, but it remains in a fine state of preservation.

4. Church Hili (1924). This triangular piece of ground was originally the village green around which was scattered a number of thatched cottages, all of them having disappeared by 1900. Opposite the green was St. George's Square and a small cluster of houses, thus green and square formed the centre of the village. In the centre of the green is a stone plinth bearing a sundial dedicated to Walter Fineh, one of the town's prominent citizens. On one side is enscribed the words 'I Count the Bright HouIS Only', on one other side is written 'Ta my native Town-Walter Finch-1922'. Ta the light hand side of Church Hili is the south-eastern corner of Manor Park. The Park Lodge is on the right.

5. Victoria Road, Circa 1910. Looking towards Cooks Bottom. On the local map of 1850 a hedgerow runs from Cooks Bottom (area of Recreation Ground), joining a footpath which leads to another footpath junction just about where the line of Grosvenor Road stands today, This hedge and path were parallel to the track which was soon to become High Street. By 1859 a road is clearly defined, but no houses are yet indicated. The 1862 map shows ÏIVe houses in the lower region, Albert Villa, up the road on the north side and a small number of buildings along the upper stretch of the road. Prirnarily planned as a residentlal area, the rapid expansion of the town soon absorbed the road as the commercial and religieus centre, five churches and one chapel were built in this half mile length of road, Large residential houses seen lower left,

Victoria Road, fldershOt.

6. Looking west from Post Office. Circa 1910. The wall on the left surrounds the English Presbyterian Church. Already the front gardens of the houses have been turned into shop fronts. The second house on the left is the birthplace of Field Marshal Sir Claude Auchinleck and the tree beyend hides the Church of England Institute. On the right is the Aldershot Institute, built in 1887 by public subscription, and unlike many of the institutes in town was solely for the benefit of the Aldershot inhabitants, without distinction of class, sex or creed. The bottom portion of this building has in time become a sewing school, a café and numerous types of shops. The Wesleyan Church is at the top of the road.

7. Victoria Road from the Arcade entrance. The building on the left with the arched windows was loaned by Foster's the solicitors as a meeting place for the Aldershot Urban District Council before the erection of the Municipal Town Hall in 1904. Out of sight behind the railings is the Strict Baptists Church, the first church built in the town after the Parish Church. The blank: area beyond hides the gardens of a small row of terraeed houses. The sign on the right indicated a passage way which led 10 the weIl used meeting and entertainments place of the Tin Hall, and the bath house at the rear of the Institute. A.W. Gamage, the athletic outfitters of Holborn, London, had premises in Victoria Road in 1900.

Vicforia ,Rcad, c:lUderst.ot

8. Victoria Road from the corner of Wellington Street, 1904. This junction contained three banks and the George Hotel. The bank names have changed but most of the other buildings have disappeared. The Capita! and Counties Bank on the right was built in 1881, and that on the opposite corner in 1896. The original shop of John Farmers, Boot repairers, is on the left and Savage, the men's shop, is seen opposite. The Victoria Family Hotel was perhaps the most necessary residential hotel ever to serve Aldershot. The platoon of soldiers are wearing the peakless Broderic Cap which dates the photograph as 1904.

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