Caring for our town - past, present and future

Registered Charity No 1000447

Basingstoke Heritage Society


 Latest News...…


      September 2021



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
Do get in touch  - we like to hear from you.


William Russell of Basing with his wife, Mabel and daughters Ann, Mabel, Elizabeth and Jane.

Christie’s have now published their auction catalogue and have included some details, which proves that the portrait would have hung in Goldings. The provenance links it to Marianne Frances Apletre and her husband Francis Simpson. We know that they were the last Russell-descended family owners of  Goldings house and land,  which included all of Eastrop Lane and Crossborough Hill. When Eastrop Lane and Eastfield Avenue were first marketed in the 1920s, it was known as the Simpson Estate. Christie’s have also attributed the painting to an Irish painter who worked in England called Stephen Slaughter. The guide price is £30,000-£40,000. We did find out that William had been sacked from the [Basingstoke] Corporation’s General Sessions of the Peace in 1759 for behaviour which reflected “on the  said body in a very gross and opprobrious manner”, whatever that might mean.  His will and subsequent records suggest that he died with very little to his name, unlike his siblings who all were wealthy. Our research was acknowledged in the catalogue. Link below to the Jasper Conran collection, scroll down to find the image as above.
We were grateful to the council for  fixing the tiles on the Bluecoat Boy statue. We have alerted them to the interpretation sign near the former Lloyds Bank which was uprooted by contractors and then just abandoned leaning on the door of Lloyds Bank Chambers! It is County’s contractors who are responsible for not checking after work has been done.
Asked by the Gazette for a Flashback article on the Leisure Park, it is clear that researching events of relatively recent years is harder than earlier history. Useful to mine people’s memories on Facebook to find dates and I did this. We have been offering Flashback articles to the Gazette along with society member Ian Richards.  
Update on the Hackwood House Pump House. Work on this item suddenly got more interesting. (Distanced) research at the HRO took time but produced items from as early as 1794 – this was a statement of account for paid and unpaid amounts referring to repairs to the ‘engine’ as it was called. Early maps of 1754 and 1791 had the Engine marked. Then member Mary Oliver read the piece in the last newsletter and recalled visiting and recording the pump house in 1972 with her late husband, John for a collection called Hampshire Treasures. These slides, when photographed and enlarged showed enough of the name on the ironwork to read ‘Simpson & Son’. This tied up with the invoice from the HRO. Thomas Simpson was a pioneer in supply of cast iron pipes for water and founded Chelsea Water Works. Further correspondence dated 1821 was from architect Lewis Wyatt (who designed our town hall, now The Willis Museum). Wyatt was doing substantial improvements to Hackwood at this point, and these required more water to make the house more comfortable. A further letter from Simpson  of the same year included this:-

H/C/3/2 Letter dated 21st  Nov 1821 from Thomas Simpson
11M49/E/B1/15/2We this day deliver’d 2 Estimates for Water Wheels and Engines and agreeable to your plan which appears well arranged - Our reason for submitting 2 plans is in consequence of our having recommended an open Water Wheel as more suitable to the situation as not only consuming less water but in every respect superior - The Estimates are made for the whole of the work to be executed in London complete for fixing and in the best manner possible … … “


Two images below of the 1972 photos















We would like to arrange an assessment for the Pump House, which was almost entirely overgrown in 1972 and worse now, although that will have protected it. There was even a hand-pump for the needs of the cottages close by. All this land belongs to descendants of Viscount Camrose. We think this may be a structure worth Statutory Listing and are following this up. Although not within our area of concern, we have nominated it for the Local List.
Our Blue Plaques …
As you may know from the Gazette, our James Lancaster plaque is missing. We are not entirely sure when it went, but probably in early July. We wondered if it had been removed because of the association of Lancaster with the East India Co., of which he was a founder member. We commemorated him as a Basingstoke person who had risen to high office, was known for his charitable legacies and also for particular care of the crews who manned the ships. And in his home town,  for founding a petty school. (The plaque was on the small boiler house opposite the west door of St Michael’s church).
Other plaques need refurbishment.
As you can see (left), the Burberry plaque on the new Gabardine Bar has deteriorated in the 21 years since it was put up. Other plaques need some care as well. Removing them and getting them refurbished will be time-consuming. We really need a contractor who will remove, repair and replace the ones which need doing. Any suggestions?


Asked recently why the east side of upper Church Street is so different from the rest of the Top of Town. This is why. A terrible fire in 1935 destroyed a row  of shops here known as Aston’s Parade. In this photo you can see the Black Boy pub, later the Hop Leaf - now The Olive House restaurant. The council rebuilt the whole of the east side with this handsome doorway, now the way in to Performers Together, giving young people the opportunity to practise the arts.
Vivid have an application for a major redevelopment at Winklebury, including building houses on the Iron Age Hillfort itself but restricted to the footprint previously occupied by Fort Hill school. This seems inevitable, but very disappointing. How many towns have such an ancient monument in their towns? Arguably the school was a  transient occupier, but homes mean that this part of the hillfort will be lost forever. There are concerns about tree loss and the need for archaeology in this site, so busy in historic times.

21/02611/ENSC | Request for screening opinion for the demolition of buildings and the redevelopment of the Winklebury Centre, Fort Hill, Newman Bassett, Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council open space and the former Play Council site and other land for the provision of 132 additional residential dwellings (201 units gross), new pre-school, surgery, pharmacy, retail space, with associated parking, landscaping and public open space | Fort Hill And Winklebury Centre Kenilworth Road Basingstoke Hampshire RG23 8JQ    -is the link if you would like to comment.
Friends of the Willis Museum – it was very nice to welcome groups of Friends for a walk around the old cemetery. This has become so overgrown during the last year, that the graves of significant townspeople, such as John May will be un-locatable soon. Some like the way this space has been allowed to run wild and there is no true happy medium. Butterfly species do seem to thrive with a minimum of wildness – it’s all ragwort now!