Caring for our town - past, present and future

Registered Charity No 1000447

Basingstoke Heritage Society

 Latest News...…

Membership Information
If a Basingstoke resident why not Join us? -  We need your support
Help us by joining the Basingstoke Heritage Society today.
Annual subscription - £5.00 per person, or £6 per household
      (Students and under 18’s FREE)

Membership Benefits:

Quarterly Newsletter

Occasional free talks, walks and visits to places of local interest

Opportunity to attend the Society’s monthly Business Meetings & make views known

Opportunity to contribute to submissions on issues of concern

Support the protection of your locality from inappropriate development

To download an application form go to the ‘contact us’ page.
The Society focuses its attentions on the town centre area of the Borough where residents have no Parish Councillors to represent them.  Particular emphasis is on the six conservation areas and any surrounding area likely to impact on the town.  Subject to this the Societies objectives are -

To promote high standards of planning and architecture.

To inform the public in the geography, history, natural history and architecture in the area.

To secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of features of historic or public interest.

You can follow and contact us on facebook by following this link.

General Data Protection Regulations 2018 – please click here for the BHS Data Privacy Policy
Date for your diary. There will be a Local History Open Day in the Discovery Centre on Saturday 19th October. Do come and support us.
Where is the Lamb inn sign? We understood that the inn sign had been preserved and would be returned to the site once the development was complete. We have been in touch with developers Kidbrook and the sign should return in the next 6 – 8 weeks.
The Lamb, earlier this year …
The Gazette Archive update – some progress has been made. The Hampshire Record Office have taken photos, cds, microfilmed copies of The Gazette from 1878 and other items which will in due course be added to their collection and will then be available to the public. They have been very helpful.
The paper archive, in bound volumes, has no home to go to as yet. We would like it to remain in the town. The British Library and the Discovery Centre have the microfilm copies and the British Newspaper Library has digitised years 1892 – 1910, which is a disappointingly small number of years. Viewing these items requires a subscription. We are grateful for the help which Cllr Terri Reid has given in trying to find a home for the paper archive.

Jane Austen’s dilemma.  Fans of all things Austen will know about the proposal she received and accepted from Harris Bigg-Wither, only to withdraw her acceptance the next morning and flee from Manydown. Phil Howe has written a monologue which imagines Jane Austen’s thought processes through that night. If you don’t get to the performance, then you can buy a copy in the Discovery

Holm Oaks – two trees in War Memorial Park near the Crossborough Hill car park are being damaged by parked cars. We have raised this with the council, who have said they will put  barriers in place to protect the trees. These are fine trees.
The Peace Garden wildflower space looked lovely last month.  The reflective sphere is back in place, although a bit the worse for wear. A couple of the birches have not survived the scorching they got last summer but overall, the garden is developing nicely.
The ice-rink and the Leisure Park. We were concerned to see the council produce a list of sites which might house a temporary ice-rink which included War Memorial Park. We sent an email to each of the councillors on the CEP committee asking them to ensure this site’s safety. Fortunately, the councillors voted to exclude all sites which had been included in their own Green Infrastructure Strategy, which included the WMP. But the future of the ice-rink is in jeopardy. It has come to the end of its life; there is no firm provision for a rink on the ‘new’ Leisure Park when and if that happens. Yet we have a thriving rink and a successful ice-hockey team. Although this isn’t a heritage concern, yet we do wonder  how a Leisure Park, which dates from good town planning days, can become a retail outlet and fail to find space for an ice-rink?
Walls. We asked the Brick Society for advice about the various old walls we had identified around the town. We had a long and helpful response but as a detailed project, we don’t think we can take this forward. Clearly dating walls is a specialist task!
Gladys Aylward.      This will be the last on this story we think. Yes, she did give a talk to girls at The Shrubbery school and some girls from the High School also went along. What is more there is a photo in Robert Brown’s ‘Basingstoke’s Pictorial Past’ of Gladys Aylward at the Rectory Garden Party in 1966.  Thanks to members who helped with this.
World War 2 structure at Whiteditch.  We still haven’t got access, although we had managed to line up an expert from the Airfield Research Group, at which point, the council refused us access. Very frustrating … …  we hope we have arranged another date.
Viables slides – we have been given some photographic slides taken at Viables in the early years of its use as a community and craft centre. They were taken by Richard (Dick) Osborne, who evidently was a driving force for the success of the centre. Some show the farm buildings as they were before work began, others record events and a mayoral visit by Councillor Bob O’Bee. They are interesting – if anyone has memories of the early days of Viables as a Trust and then later, when the council took back the management of it, please do get in touch.
Planning Issues
Former police station, London Road. Although a majority vote of our committee thought this development was suitable for this site, the council has refused permission, citing overbearing on the historic White Hart.
We commented on a proposal behind houses on Winchester Road/Portacre Rise because of the effect of an extra dwelling on traffic concerns and back garden infill and overlooking. The council has refused consent.
Former Papersmiths shop. The frontage has been altered without consent. The chairman reported this very quickly and enforcement action is under way.

Mountbatten House (former Wiggins Teape building) is the subject of a planning application which will seek to restore the (hanging) gardens to something of their original state. Both the building and the gardens are listed. The committee was invited to hear their plans together with members of the Hampshire Gardens Trust, who got the gardens listed. It is the intention of the new owners that public access will be available at certain times.
The Basingstoke Festival Walk around South View added a bit to  our knowledge of the area. The houses in Fencott Place, which were built to expressly annoy the then owner of South View House, have several of these little plaques on them. They were presumably financed by Soper’s friend, John Fencott, as it was understood that he had built them. Dr Croker, who lived in South View House, responded by building a very high wall  … …
New publication from Amberley Publishing
Basingstoke Heritage Society is 35 years old this year.
Spread the word and let’s increase our membership