Caring for our town - past, present and future

Registered Charity No 1000447

Basingstoke Heritage Society

 Latest News...…

Local List. We have nominated these surviving structures from the Alton Light Railway for the Local List. We did this in May but don’t know when we will know if they have been successful. Spurs from the line ran into Park Prewett Hospital and to Thornycroft’s.
Walls and Boundaries. We want to start a project to photograph old walls and boundaries around the town. Please do send us photographs or descriptions. The wall in this photo is in South View.
As we start a new year we would like to thank our members for their support.  A good-sized membership gives us the voice we need to have an influence - please consider joining us.
2017 saw some changes 2017 saw some changes. Jane Austen arrived but The Lamb disappeared. Bookbenches came and went and numerous visitors found their way to The Willis for the Jane Austen exhibition.
The Lamb. When demolition began, there was concern that the inn sign would be lost. There is a planning proviso that it will go onto the newbuild. We contacted the developers, who confirm that the sign is safe
Flowers for Jane Austen on her birthday, 16th December.
The Electric Cinema, Wote Street – we don’t expect you to remember this, but you might remember the Savoy which took over and expanded it. Frederick Darrell a ‘Landed Proprietor’ born in Cotterham, Cambridgeshire in 1862 seems to have been key in bringing this new-fangled idea to Basingstoke in 1910. The 1911 census shows that he and his family were living in Bramblys Grange House. It was, in part, his money which funded this early cinema.
Image from Basingstoke Gazette article by Robert Brown, November 2nd , 2010
Park Prewett – new history. A Place Apart. The Story of Park Prewett Hospital. The author of this book is Malcolm Isted. It’s a useful addition to what we know about the old psychiatric hospital, especially as an earlier book by Dilys Smith is difficult to get hold of. The story reminds us of the progress made in the treatment of psychiatric patients over the years and includes ‘inside stories’ of those who worked or were treated there, as well as the use made of the hospital during both World Wars. As the author was not aware of the Blue Plaque we put up to commemorate the work of Sir Harold Gillies during WW2, you will not be surprised to hear that we contacted him and received a pleasant reply. The book is £10 and available from The Willis.
The Willis Museum Sainsbury Gallery has been the venue for some superb exhibitions this year. The latest one, which ended on 16th December was based on works of painter J.M.W.Turner, born in 1775 in Covent Garden. The exhibition was praised by a society member, who commented that the Hampshire Cultural Trust had done a good job of displaying the exhibits of the landscape painter. The exhibition included an early work from 1796, Fishermen at Sea, and some of the views of Venice, for which he was renowned. The sketch books on show were objects of great beauty. His tour of the West Country in 1811 ended with a stop in Basingstoke where he sketched some aspects of the Holy Ghost Ruins. The sketchbook is part of the Turner Bequest at The Tate. Although it’s difficult to see on this image, I hope you can make out the distinctive shape of the ruins.
Photo © Tate   Prov CC-BY-NC-ND 3.0 (Unported).    Turner, JMW, 1811
15 London Street The council obliged the owner of this gaming premises at 15 London Street to tone-down their display as they were in breach of rules covering advertisements in the conservation area. We were pleased to see that the company did reduce the visual impact (photo on
right). However, they have now applied for a change of use from Bingo to Adult Gaming Centre (BDB 03854). Its original consent was for bingo and the applicant argued that this would make it a useful social centre. Adult Gaming places should not be given consent in areas where young people pass frequently. The society has objected – if you would like to comment then please add your voice.
James Lancaster, a notable figure in the early days of trade expansion was a generous benefactor to his home town of Basingstoke. Born, ca 1554, he died in 1618 so this year is a notable anniversary. We are grateful to the member who pointed this out to us.
The Harrow Way – we want to see some interpretation about this ancient route. It was the Saxons, who named it and they called it ‘Herepath’ or ‘ancient way’. On its route is Viables Farm, where a remarkable Romano-British burial was unearthed in the 1970s.  We have the Community Association and the Council both content with this project to put a board at the Craft Centre.
NatWest Bank We wrote to the bank about this graffiti on their building, but got no reply, so your secretary went in to see the manager. They had received our letter and are aware of the issues around access to this high chimney, but we were no nearer understanding what is to be done about it.
45-47 Winchester Street. This application is to alter the frontages of the 3 units (photos, right) and bring them altogether with a flat aluminium frontage. (shown below). This would mean the loss of the features of these frontages which are a rare survivor in the Top of Town. We have raised our objection, but if you would like to as well, then go onto the council’s Search Planning Applications page and comment as a ‘neighbour’. The reference is 03970
This Google image shows Winklebury Ring, with Fort Hill School within it. I wonder how many towns have such a splendid ancient monument in a built-up area? It dates from the Iron Age with a rather overgrown ditch surrounding it. As you know, the school is to close, and it is important that this ancient site is cared for into the future.

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.

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