Caring for our town - past, present and future

Registered Charity No 1000447

Basingstoke Heritage Society

Basingstoke Heritage Society






Caring for our town – past, present and future


News for Members no 107

May 2017


The 2017 Festival will begin on Friday 16th June and end on Sunday 9th July. Lots going on – pick up a programme, which will be available soon.

There are many events taking place this summer as part of the celebration of Jane Austen’s life in Hampshire to coincide with the 200th anniversary of her death on July 18th 1817. We have been involved in a tiny number of them and give details below ….

We produced the leaflet, which is a trail around the Basingstoke she would have known. The 1762 map provides a useful guide for a writer born in Steventon in 1775. You can get a  leaflet from the museum or the library or download it here
Other events with the society’s involvement.
1)  Talk
 Thursday June 15th
‘Jane Austen in Basingstoke’ talk by Debbie Reavell for the Friends of the Willis
at The Willis Museum at 7.30. Free to members, but non-members must book Tel: 465902   (daytime) at least 24 hours in advance.  £2
2) Walks led by Debbie Reavell
Saturday 24th June
Jane Austen. Basingstoke as she knew it.’ for the Basingstoke Festival - details have to wait until the Festival programme is published along with many other Austen-related events.
Thursday 20th July at 10.30
Jane Austen in Basingstoke. A Guided Walk.  Debbie is also doing a walk for the Discovery Centre. Book through the Discovery Centre. £4.   01256 478670

On July 18th, the first ever sculpture of the author will be unveiled in Basingstoke’s Market Place. Details to follow as plans are finalised.
3) Exhibition:  ‘Retail and Romance; Jane Goes to the Ball’
Saturday July 29th The exhibition transfers from Winchester to The Willis with, we understand,  some changes to give it a ‘Basingstoke’ twist. It will be called ‘Retail and Romance; Jane Goes to the Ball’ and will note that Basingstoke is primarily where she danced. I guess the romance is because she had her flirtation with Tom Lefroy at a ball at Ashe, and a not-so-romantic one with Harris Bigg-Wither when she returned from Bath for a Ball at Manydown.

And finally … … would you like to join the many who have donated for the sculpture, which is entirely funded from private subscription? You could then claim to own a finger or a foot!! If so, then follow this link to this National Funding Scheme. Even £5 would help.
Jane Austen Basingstoke Sculpture donation

Oh, and don’t forget the ‘Sitting with Jane’ bookbenches, which are being installed all around the Borough from June 13.th
May’s Bounty Cricket Ground – new Pavilion. The Basingstoke and North Hants Cricket Club need to enhance facilities in the pavilion at May’s Bounty and it may end up looking like this.  John May provided the ground and built the first pavilion, much altered since then.  Maybe the new facilities will lead to some County fixtures being played in the town again ..
May’s Bounty in the 1960s.  Photo by Robert Brown
Genealogist and Local Historian, Ken Smallbone has published this book on Basingstoke’s inns, hotels and pubs. It’s a fascinatingly detailed book whether you remember these places or not, but if you don’t, locations are well-described. To get a copy, you need to contact Ken.  ksmallbone@aol.com  or 01256-355590 (leave message if unavailable). Price on application!
Gone but not Forgotten. Basingstoke inns and pubs.
Another recent publication is the story of the Irish Centre in Council Road, written by Joe Shevlin. Joe researched many old records of the Centre for this little book, which can be bought at The Willis Museum.
The Lamb – we will lose this building. The state of it is beyond reasonable repair. We regret that the council did not get it onto the Local List when we nominated it in September 2015. Although this might not have made any difference, it is a message to the developer from the outset that they are proposing for a significant building. We have recently had a meeting with conservation officers and hope that the List will be revived.
The former Hop Leaf pub, Church Street – is to be a café and flats. We had included information in the Town Trail about an old, possibly Jacobean fire place and overmantle. However, the council’s conservation officers have visited and it is not there. Just a 19th century basket grate. It is a listed building because of its age, but the internal features would not have warranted listing. Once known as The Black Boy, it had a small wooden sculpture on the building, now in The Willis. For its history, you’ll have to get Ken Smallbone’s book!!
Hampshire Genealogical Society’s Family History Day - Sunday 8 October 2017, 10 am to 4 pm at Everest Community Academy, Oxford Way, Basingstoke RG24 9FP. Free entry - free parking - light refreshments - disabled access - three free talks. Theme: World War II - Britain at Home.
Basingstoke Union Workhouse - if you missed Barbara Large’s talk at the AGM and would like to hear it, then she is doing it again on May 20th in the Barn Education Room, Basing House at 2.00pm.  It is extremely interesting both from a local and national point of view.
Light railway plaque – the society plaque, which SWT moved from the front of the building up to the Information point between platforms 2 and 3 has been made into a war memorial (to our surprise).
Young Archaeologists.  Basingstoke Archaeological and Historical Society is planning a new and exciting Archaeology Club aimed at 8-16 year olds in the Basingstoke area. If you know any young people who would be interested and become the next generation of this fascinating work, then contact Cathy Williams for more information.   cthwlms@hotmail.com or phone 01256 462688
The Town Trail. The updated version is now available and will be on our website soon or find one in The Willis or Discovery Centre.
Planning issues:  
 Downsland Parade – an appeal has been lodged by the new shop owners.
 23 Cromwell Road – consent has been refused for conversion of a Victorian villa into 5 flats. The issues for the refusal are parking spaces and bin clutter.