Bishopstoke History Society
(Produced from a presentation compiled by Chris Humby in 2016)
In the book, Eastleigh Then and Now, Penny Legg acknowledges that “Eastleigh was of little significance before the coming of the railway”. It was so insignificant it was once described as “a little village near Bishopstoke.” With the arrival of the Carriage Works in 1890 and the Locomotive Works in 1910, Eastleigh emerged as an industrial town, in what had been an agricultural area. Populated by railway employees, living in accommodation specified by the railway company and the Town Council managed by senior railway officials, the town was not owned by the railway, but it was most effectively developed and controlled by it. This outline will focus on the town before WWII.
The Station was originally called Bishopstoke in 1839 and later re-named Bishopstoke Junction. It was named Eastleigh and Bishopstoke in 1899 and named Eastleigh in 1923. This picture taken around 1918 shows a troop train on route to Southampton Docks. The station name sign reads, Eastleigh and Bishopstoke. When Bishopstoke Station was opened in 1839 there were only thirteen houses in Eastleigh. The buildings beyond the bridge, on the right, are the Old Cheese and Livestock Market.
The County Cheese Market for Hampshire was opened at Bishopstoke in February 1852. On the opening day, 350 tons of cheeses were displayed. The event exceeded expectations with over 300 tons of cheese sold and the market became a regular feature.
This advert for the Cheese Market is dated September 1852 only six months after the Bishopstoke Cheese Market opened. This illustration shows where the sidings entered the Market and its position in relation to the station. Next to the station it shows an hotel. This hotel was used to accommodate buyers and sellers visiting the market. Originally, the Junction Hotel had been built as a navvy’s hostel to accommodate workers building the lines to Gosport and Salisbury. This advert, in 1852, states that 80 Trains Daily stop at Bishopstoke.
The Cheese Market was superseded by a Livestock Market which was also very successful. A newspaper report relating to a sale in July 1876 advised that 200 sheep, 40 horses, 40 head of fat stock and 70 pigs were auctioned. In this picture, probably taken in the early 1870s, a livestock pen can be seen between Southampton Road and the Station entrance. The old Home Tavern is the thatched building on the corner of Leigh Road and the Junction Hotel is the large building opposite, next to the Station.
Originating as a brew house in Barton’s manorial days, the Home Tavern was originally built in 1716.
With the arrival of the railway, Eastleigh developed rapidly. These houses at the southern end of Southampton Road were developed in the early 1900s to accommodate workers for the new Locomotive Works.
In the previous picture, in the far distance was the Eastleigh Hotel, at 272 Southampton Road. Between 1907 and 1935 the landlord was James Bowering.
The building that dominated the front of the locomotive works was the administrative offices and this picture must have been taken in 1909 or 1910 when they had just been constructed. They are still there.
Jonas Nichols, a builder from Southampton provided most of the accommodation for railway workers in the new town of Eastleigh. With all the houses being built, workers and their families arriving in the new town must have imagined that they were living on a building site. There were problems for the incomers and controversy, at the time, centred on the deplorable state of the unmade streets, lack of street lighting and lack of adequate drainage and sewerage in the town.
This picture shows houses in Southampton Road on the left, and workmen constructing foundations for the walling and ramp that extend from Southampton Road to form the approach to the Campbell Road bridge. The buildings on the right are the old Running Sheds, built around 1870. These Running Sheds were demolished around 1903, so that the new Locomotive Works and Office Building could be constructed. This picture was probably taken around 1900.
The first Police Station in Eastleigh was in Southampton Road, near to the junction with Campbell Road. In 1907 the Sergeant in charge was Henry Gregory. 140 Southampton Road was still the Police Station in the 1920s, Frederick Dore was the sergeant. You can see the blue lantern, denoting the Police Station, hanging above the building to the left of the two men walking towards Eastleigh Railway Station.
Originally built in the 1860s as a brewery, this building became Eastleigh Brewery, Bishopstoke in 1873 and was one of the first factories in the new town. Originally the road alongside was called Brewery Road and later was renamed Factory Road. Now it is called Wells Place. This building had many industrial uses. Between 1908 and 1912 it was home to the Humphris Patent Gear Company, they built the Humphris motor car. The designer of the vehicle and owner of the company, F. Humphris, lived in the old Barton Farm House in Bishopstoke Road. By 1916, the Fair Oak Dairy Produce Company, who were wholesale dairymen and provision merchants, operated from the site, and did so into the 1960s. Many people will remember it as Peter Green’s Furniture Showrooms. Today it is the site of the Swan Centre Car Park and Cinema on the corner of Southampton Road and Wells Place. This picture was taken in 1937.
John Barton operated premises at 80 to 86 Southampton Road and also at No 1 Leigh Road, from before1907 until 1935, after which the business, from both premises, relocated to 41 Leigh Road.
The tobacconist’s shop, at 46 & 48 Southampton Road, on the left, was run by George Burrington in 1907. Next door, at No 44, was a Gents Hairdresser’s. Between 1912 and 1920 the proprietor was Frederick Dawes. Beyond at No 40 & 42 Southampton Road were Dining Rooms. The name above the window says, “South Western Dining Rooms”. In 1907 they were run by Samuel Thomas, between 1912 and 1920 by Henry Baker and by 1925 the proprietor was Arthur Baker, presumably his son.
Next to the dining Rooms at No 38 Southampton Road was a Butchers Shop. According to the legend on this photograph, J.J. Budd, Butchers was established in 1850. This would make them one of the earliest established retail business in the emerging town of Eastleigh. John James Budd is recorded as proprietor until 1912, after which it was run by the Budd Brothers, presumably his son’s, until Frank Budd took over in 1925. In those days butchers’ shops had their own slaughter house, and this picture shows the facilities at the rear of their premises.
Next door, on the corner of Leigh Road at 34 and 36 Southampton Road was Prismall Brothers Grocery Shop. Although listed in Kelly’s directory for 1907 and 1912, it is suspected that, like Budd’s Butchers next door, they had occupied these premises from a lot earlier. When this picture was taken around 1913, the sign above the door reads: “these premises will shortly be opened by the Union of London and Smith’s Bank Ltd”.
In the late 1890’s, the Railway Station was enhanced with a new entrance and alterations were made to the Junction Hotel.
The houses in the distance, just past the station, on the left, were built for Railway supervisors and their families, alongside the main railway line. Today this area is a car park.
This was the view that greeted visitors leaving Eastleigh and Bishopstoke Station in the early 1900’s.
Although there is no date for this picture, the new Home Tavern was not constructed until 1896, so presumably this tobacconist operated from the corner of Southampton Road and Leigh Road around 1900.
The same tobacco shop was run by Arthur Lewington, next to the Home Tavern, from 1907 until 1931. Today this shop would protrude into Leigh Road.
The new Home Tavern, built in 1896 is a large brick Victorian building that replaced the old, thatched building that we saw earlier.
William Cox is recorded as proprietor of this sweetshop at 22 Station Hill from the early 1900s to the 1930s. The caption written on the back of the original photograph is “setting off for Portsmouth”. As he is pictured cycling uphill towards Winchester Road, it begs the question is he going in the right direction?
Scammell and Smith operated as auctioneers and estate agents from premises at 16 Station Hill from 1890 until the 1970s. The building was multi-occupancy and provided accommodation for the local Bailiff, Solicitors, Architects, Accountants and for a time was also home to the town’s unemployment office.
In the early 1900s other premises on Station Hill were occupied by a piano shop at no 14, a fruit shop and later a hairdressers at No 12, a Chemists at no 10. 8 Station Hill became the British Legion Club and Institute around 1925. Premises at the lower part of Station Hill, near Romsey Road, opposite the railway goods yard, and freight depot, were occupied by coal merchants and haulage companies in the early to mid-1900s.
Eastleigh Parish Church can be seen on the corner of Romsey Road. In the distance a bridge, known as Salisbury Arch, can be seen over the Romsey & Salisbury line. This bridge replaced an earlier level crossing. The road north of Romsey Road was called Winchester Road. It did not become Twyford Road until the late 1930s.
The original Parish Church was funded by the author Charlotte Yonge in 1868 and is the smaller building to the right. Eastleigh Parish Church was considerably enlarged with funding donated by the London & South Western Railway Company in 1891. Charlotte Yonge is the lady immortalised to-day as the “Wench on the Bench”, outside Eastleigh Railway Station.
The first school in Eastleigh, The Winchester Road School, was opened in January 1870, it later became known as the Crescent School. It was located next to the Parish Church.
Just past the school, the Newtown area of Eastleigh, north of Romsey Road, was created to house families of the “professional” classes such as railway managers, foremen, local government officials and bank managers. This is a picture of The Crescent constructed following the arc of the railway line towards Romsey and the west.
In some parts of the world this style of architecture would be restored and highly valued.
Romsey Road, to the south of the Newtown area overlooked the Recreation Ground, and was once lined with grand houses, like this property, on the corner of Archers Road.
Many of these private homes in Romsey Road were occupied by leading members of the community. A number of these houses were occupied by members of the medical profession, and before the days of the National Health Service, this was from where they ran their surgeries.
This area north of Romsey Road, was considered the elite area of the town, whilst families of ordinary workmen lived in terrace houses that had been developed on the south of the town. This picture shows the tree lined Archers Road with a lady in a bath chair and a little girl on her lap being wheeled towards the photographer by a nurse in uniform. There are also two young lads stood by the tree on the right.
Clearly when these houses were built in the early 1900s, no provision was made for automobiles. This picture shows how difficult it was to find a parking space, just like today.
In Newton Road, Thomas Washbourn and Son were Bakers at the Newtown Steam Bakery, 12 Newtown Road in 1920.
These premises changed hands and were recorded under the ownership of Henry Knight, Baker & Confectioner in 1925.
Again, in this picture, the same shop, now trading as The Newton Cash Bakery and being run by M.H. James. I have not been able to establish a date for this image, but by the dresses worn by the ladies I would imagine that this picture could have been taken in the early 1930s. It is a fascinating glimpse into history to be able to show images of the same shop in little more than a ten year timespan.
In Leigh Road, The Union of the London and Smith’s Bank had replaced Prismall’s on the corner of Southampton Road by about 1914. It was re named the National Provincial Bank Ltd in the 1920s.
Brixey & Sons at 1D Leigh Road ran a bakers and tea room between 1916 and 1925 whilst next door, James Eathorne ran a tailors and gent’s outfitters.
Where HSBC bank is to-day there were refreshment rooms. The upper floor of this building accommodated the Radnor Hotel. Next door at 5 Leigh Road, W & R Fletcher Ltd were butchers from before 1907 until the 1950s, whilst the neighbouring shop, at no 7, was a fruiterers under numerous owners until the 1960s. On the corner, at no 9, was Higgins and Badman who were grocers and provision merchants from 1870 until around 1930, when the premises became Freeman, Hardy & Willis Ltd, boot and shoe retailers.
This is a rather tasteful advert for Higgins and Badman, probably from the 1920s.
In the early 1900s the Wilts and Dorset Bank stood opposite the shops on the corner of Market Street. The premises became Lloyds Bank in 1916.
The junction of Leigh Road and Market Street was dominated by large imposing buildings. The Railway Institute being a prime example.
The Railway Institute opened in October 1891. Council meetings were held in this building until the Town Hall was constructed in 1899. Although originally built with gas lighting, this was probably the first building in Eastleigh to have electric lighting installed, when it was connected to a power supply fed directly from the Carriage Works.
The Institute provided a social centre for railway employees who had transferred from Nine Elms, but it was also an education centre for training railway employees. In 1904, rooms at the institute were let to a Miss Smith to start a private school. Barton Peveril College, now in Chestnut Avenue, can trace its origins to the Railway Institute.
It may seem strange to us today that when first built, Market Street and High Street were mainly residential roads. As the years progressed more and more residents converted the front room of their house for retail use. Nowadays, Upper Market Street has been redeveloped with offices, banks, Sainsbury’s supermarket, a taxi rank, and the bus station.
This picture is of 18 Market Street, which stood opposite the Railway Institute. Today it is Eastleigh Working Men’s Club. This was the St. Mary’s Catholic Industrial Home for Children until the 1920s. As it was also the premises for the St. Mary’s Laundry, it does not take a lot of imagination to work out how the children were expected to “earn their keep”.
The dominant retail building on the corner of Leigh Road and Market Street was J. Baker & Company Ltd. In the early 1900s this was the biggest shop in town.
An old style emporium, they sold clothes, shoes, and furniture from the late 1800s until sometime after 1970. Judging by this picture their sales were very popular.
A little further down Market Street, the Eastleigh Variety Theatre can be seen on the left. This became the Regal Theatre Cinema around 1930.
Entertainment was very popular when these pictures were taken during WWI.
Eastleigh was blessed with two cinemas in Market Street. Opposite The Variety Theatre, which became The Regal Cinema, The Eastleigh Electric Theatre Company was established around 1912. It was listed as Eastleigh Picture Palace from 1916. Notice that when this picture was taken some of the buildings in this part of Market Street were still residential.
Joseph Frisby ran a shoe shop at 54 Market Street until the 1920s, the Maypole Dairy Company Ltd are listed from early 1900s until the 1960s, whilst Halfords at no 58 was a bicycle shop in the late 1920s. The main shop on the right is William Dibben & Sons, at no 60. They were ironmongers who traded here from the early 1900s until the 1960s.
Describing the business as an Ironmongers seems to have been an understatement when you look at the range of goods on display. What a wonderful picture to illustrate the way goods were displayed for sale in days gone by, and how much effort had to be put in by the staff to set out the displays, and pack it away each day.
The shops at 47, 49, 51 & 53 Market Street were run by George & William Peacock who were fruiterers from before 1907 until the late 1950s. Opposite at no 82 Market Street stood George Oliver’s shoe shop and next to the shoe shop you can see the sign for Eathorn’s outfitters at no 80. Both these shops were operating before 1907, and Oliver’s was still trading in the 1970s.
James Kennedy ran a bookshop and stationers at 84 Market Street from at least 1907 until 1916. This shop continued to trade as a stationers under different proprietors until the early 1970s.
Notice that many of the houses in this part of Market Street were still residential when this picture was taken in 1907.
The shop at no 86 Market Street between 1912 and 1920 was a butchers called Chard & Green. Frank Wainwright opened a Pharmacy next door at no 88 around 1912. No 90 was also a butchers. James Nelson was the proprietor when this picture was taken around 1910, later the shop became the British and Argentinian Meat Company Ltd until the mid-1930s. At no 92 Alfred Hatcher ran a boot and shoe repair business. In the 1920s the shop became H & G Holloway who undertook cycle and motor repairs. On the corner of Market Street and Factory Road you can just see the corner of the Misselbrook and Weston building at no 96. They traded here from the very early 1900s until the mid-1950s.
At 61 Market Street, on the opposite corner of Factory Road stood Frederick Parker’s Drapers shop from the very early 1900s until the 1930s. This shop continued to trade as a drapers under the name Allen & Knight, well into the 1970s.
Ladies, notice how proudly they display that they are the depot for the “celebrated” C.B. Corsets when this picture was taken in the early 1900s. The window display is a mass of goods for sale, so typical of how shop windows were presented in days gone by.
Opposite Parker’s Drapery, Misselbrook and Weston, at no 96, similarly put as much produce as possible on display. There are also 9 sides of pork, hanging on hooks over the entrance, which you had to walk under to enter the shop. This would nowadays be seen as a bit off-putting. Today these premises are O’Briens Coffee shop.
Inside Misselbrook and Weston’s shop there was barely room to move. This picture shows tins of biscuits, chocolates, preserves, liquor, and Xmas crackers all precariously balanced on shelves or on the floor for an Xmas promotion and hardly room to get to the counter. Just as well customers did not serve themselves.
Whilst today we never complain about the weather, I suspect that there were one or two mutterings of discontent when this next series of pictures were taken in April 1908.The only person likely to have been pleased was the photographer, who captured these images in Market Street. This picture was taken looking towards Leigh Road and the shop on the right of picture is John Groves and Sons Ltd, who were Wine and Spirit Merchants and traded here from before 1907 until 1916.
This picture is looking down Market Street towards the junction with Factory Road, where the Swan Centre stands today. John Morris ran a sweet shop, on the left, at no 78 from before 1907 until 1920, when it became J. Morris & Son, and continued to trade as a sweet shop under this name, until the mid-1960s.
Dear Brothers at 65 Market Street were pork butchers from at least 1907 until 1920. They also had a slaughterhouse in Factory Road. George Frampton traded as an herbalist and is recorded as being at 67 Market street from 1907. John Johnson was a fishmonger at no 69 until the mid-1930s. All of these buildings and business were demolished when the Tesco Supermarket was built in the 1970s.
This picture taken in Market Street is where Tesco’s in the Swan Centre is today.
The Pink family ran a number of businesses in the early days of Eastleigh in grocery and confectionary. This is one of their sweet shops on the corner of Market Street and Factory Road, now part of the Swan Centre.
James Butler’s Ironmongers store stood at 119 and 121 Market Street, on the corner of Blenheim Road in 1907. Today the Salvation Army Church in Blenheim Road stands near this location. You can see The Chamberlayne Arms in the background. It was a puzzle for me to understand why this significant sized shop was not recorded as trading between 1907 and 1948.
A clue, and also confusion is evident from this picture taken in May 1909.The photographer has titled the picture “Marshes Stores, Market Street”, yet the profile of the houses and particularly the chimneys indicate that these are the premises where Butler’s Ironmongers had stood. The distinctive outline of the Chamberlayne Arms can be seen on the far right. So, the immediate assumption is that the photographer wrongly titled the picture. It could be seen as an easy mistake because on the opposite corner of Market Street and Blenheim Road in 1909 was Marshes Stores which can be seen in the next picture.
In 1907, at 158 Market Street was a Drapers Shop run by T. Davies when this picture was taken. According to the sign it was known as the Cheapside Bazaar. By 1912 this shop is recorded as a furniture shop called Marshes Stores and it continued to trade as a furniture shop, under a succession of owners until the late 1960s, when all the houses in this picture were demolished to make way for Tesco which was later incorporated within the Swan Centre.
This picture, taken a while after the fire may help to explain what happened. The site has been surrounded by a screen whilst workmen start to clear the debris. The screen carries large posters which read “Fire! Fire!! – These premises are being re-built – H. Marsh & Co – 158 Market Street opposite”. It is presumed that H. Marsh had bought the premises from James Butler before the fire in 1909 and that the shop was no longer trading as an ironmongers. There is no record of H. Marsh trading at their old premises on the opposite corner at 158 after 1912, and no record of any other trader there until 1920.
After the fire the site does not appear to have been redeveloped until in 1931 when it was listed in Kelly’s Trade Directory as Eastleigh Billiard Hall.
This photo from around 1912 shows the west side of Market Street, looking south towards Blenheim Road. All of these premises have been re-developed as part of The Swan Centre. The shops shown are:
- No. 79, Cornelius Sanger, confectioner
- No. 81, Henry Stevens, bootmaker
- No. 83 The Imperial Meat Supply Company, family butchers
- No. 85, Sidney Boait, baker
These shops were roughly where the checkouts are today in Tesco’s.
There were lots of butcher’s shops in Eastleigh. The Imperial Meat Supply Company, seen in the previous picture, became E.A. Chard around 1912.
Ernest Chard and the staff are the same in both pictures. There is certainly a very large amount of meat on display, considering there was very limited ability to refrigerate. Ernest Chard did not occupy this shop for very long and moved nearer to the centre of town at 86 Market Street around 1913. The shop at 86 Market Street continued to trade as a butchers under a number of different names until the 1970s. Some of the older Eastleigh residents may remember it as Vernon and Tear’s.
No 86 Market Street had been a butchers before becoming Chard & Greens. Hilliers Pork Butchers occupied the shop in 1907. These two young lads do not appear to be enjoying having their photo taken amongst the pig carcases.
The southern part of Eastleigh remained mainly residential but typically shops were developed on street corners like this Post Office and General stores at 251/ 253 Market Street on the corner of Derby Road, which was run by the Hockey family from 1916 until the mid-1960s.
Although technically in Southampton Road, the Eastleigh Hotel was also bordered by Market Street. At the very end of Market Street was a shop at no 325 which must have had the highest turnover of owners of any shop in Eastleigh. It had ten different owners between 1907 and 1964 according to Kelly’s Trade Directory. It was a grocers shop for much of its life.
This picture, taken at the junction of High Street and Leigh Road shows Bazeley Brothers seedsman, florists, and fruit shop on the left of picture. They traded here before 1907 until 1930 when they moved to other premises in Leigh Road. They also ran a nursery in Winchester Road, now called Twyford Road. Today it is where the Domino’s Pizza shop is. The shop on the corner, where Kentucky Fried Chicken are today, was a Milliners and Drapers in 1907, run by Miss Jessie Robinson.
Slightly further along High Street, the shop on the right belonged to Edwin Dean, who traded as a bootmaker from before 1907 until the early 1920s. Today the premises are occupied by Charlie Girl and Dee Gee’s Hairdressers. The next shop at No 3 was an Ironmongers operated by John Read and his son until the mid-1950s. It is noticeable in this picture, probably taken in the mid-1910s that there are still a number of residential properties in this part of High Street.
At no 2 High Street, the first shop on the left was Godfrey & Co who traded as a Music and Musical Instrument Shop until the early 1920s. Next door at 2a, the shop with the white canopy on the left of this picture, was Alfred Jackson’s Plumbing Merchants between 1916 and 1920. Next door at 2b was the Singer Sewing Machine Company and next to them at 2c, a Wine & Spirit Merchants, then, at 2d, Brixey and Sons, Bakers and Confectioners. The next row of terrace houses in the picture were residential until they were converted into shops around 1930.
This picture is looking up High Street, towards the Recreation Ground. Notice of the sign on the right of the picture saying F.J. Varnes, Pork Butcher.
F.J. Varnes had a shop at 40 High Street from 1912. Frederick Varnes is then recorded as moving to premises at 27 High Street, in 1920, where he traded until the late 1940s. The Varnes family ran butcher’s shops in Eastleigh for many years, and also traded at premises in Twyford Road in the 1940s/1950s. They continued to trade at premises in Market Street and High Street into the1970s.
This picture, taken in High Street is looking towards Leigh Road. Immediately on the right, are No’s 30, 28, 26, and 24 High Street. This picture was probably taken around 1914. The shop immediately on the right, at No 30, is John Hoole’s Newsagents. At No 28 is Houghton’s Stationers, and Horace Norgate ran a fried fish Shop at No 26, which is just this side of the alley. On the other side of the alley, in the larger shop, was Mrs Davies Drapery.
In 1905, the building at No 24, was home to The Southern Cigarette Manufacturing Company, when it was ironically destroyed by fire.
In the mid-1920s the building became the Southampton Gaslight and Coke Company and will be remembered by some of us older residents as the Gas Service showrooms. The premises at 26 and 28 next door, whilst still fronted by shop units was also home to Eastleigh Printing Works who published the Eastleigh Weekly News. You can see the alley by the side of the Gas Showroom which led to their premises. This alley is still there and provides a pedestrian shortcut between High Street and Market Street. I apologise for including a relatively recent picture from the 1960s but thought you may like to see the comparison. The old Gas Showrooms are now the Salvation Army Charity Shop and the building to the right, is now part of Iceland.
Jackson Brothers were recorded as builders at 36 High Street, which is strange as the sign in the window is advertising Lyon’s Tea. Alfred Penny was a fishmonger at 38 High Street and both these shops were listed as operating under these names around 1925. This is where The Station public house is today.
The shop on the left, on the corner of High Street and Factory Road was a bakers and confectioners from the early 1900s until the 1940s. It then became a furniture shop which operated as Smith, Bradbeer & Co in the 1960s and 1970s. Notice that when this picture was taken, probably around 1910, many of the properties at the bottom of the first block on High Street were still residential. Today the corner shop has been rebuilt and is occupied by the “A” Plan Insurance Company Offices.
Frederick Baker and Sons were Coal Merchants at 61 High Street from the early 1900s until around 1920. Notice the early motorbike and side-car. Today the motorbike would be parked outside Robert Dyas in the Swan Centre.
Bond’s Furniture Stores were established at 82 High Street around 1912. This shop was acquired by the co-op in the 1920s, along with a number of other neighbouring businesses.
Today, this section of High Street between Blenheim Road and Factory Road has been completely re-developed. The large building, to the left of centre, with the ornate gable was the Wesleyan Methodist Church.
This picture shows a Band of Hope procession outside the Wesleyan Methodist Church. This church was one of Eastleigh’s lost landmarks when it was demolished in the late1980s to make way for the Swan Centre. For some strange reason, the decorative façade shown in this picture, had been replaced by a modernist concrete structure in the 1960s. The location of the church was roughly where Card Market, and Boots Opticians are located in the Swan Centre today.
The Chamberlayne Arms (on the left) still stands on the corner of High Street and Blenheim Road. Today this view would be looking at the rear entrance to the Swan Centre.
The Chamberlayne Arms was trading at this location before 1907.
Looking north along High Street where the Swan Centre stands today. The small parade of shops on the corner of Blenheim Road, opposite the Chamberlayne Arms, are still there.
Frederick Peacock’s Greengrocers shop at 103 High Street stood where the Argos store was in the Swan Centre, to the left as you enter the rear door. Notice the Rabbits hung over the entrance. The shop only traded under this name between 1907 and 1912 according to records in Kelly’s Trade Directory.
This picture was taken in the 1930s and shows the shops on the other side, on the corner of High Street and Blenheim Road. The shop on the corner is 88 High Street which, today is also by the rear entrance to the Swan Centre, on the right hand side as you enter. By the late 1930s, The Eastleigh Co-operative Society Ltd had acquired all the premises from 64 to 88 High Street. Each shop retained its individual character until, The Co-op, redeveloped some of their area with a two floor department store.
This architects’ illustration shows how the appearance of the corner was to be transformed into this very art-deco style in the 1930s. The corner section of the building was constructed in 1937, however, the outbreak of war and building restrictions in the 1940s limited the extent of development of the other properties owned by the Co-op in High Street.
The Eastleigh Co-operative Society Ltd was first formed in 1892 and was born out of concern by the newly arrived railway workers in the Carriage Works that they were being charged too high a price by local businesses for basic commodities. The demand grew more so when larger numbers of workers and their families arrived to staff the Locomotive Works in 1910.
With links to a national organisation that was able to exert purchasing leverage and by being able to give members of the society a dividend. Such organisations were seen as fair and equitable, operating as a non-profit organisation under strong socialist principles. If you shopped at the Co-op the inference, was you were paying a fair price and would get value for money.
Business for the Co-op in Eastleigh was brisk, and premises expanded rapidly. These are just the shops in High Street. There were other Co-op premises in Winchester Road, Southampton Road, and Derby Road, where a restaurant, laundry, and a milk bottling dairy were established. These pictures are from the early 1900s.
Although there were a few shops on street corners, the southern end of High Street, like Market Street, remained mainly residential. This tranquil scene is how residential roads in Eastleigh used to appear. Traffic congestion has been created by the Milkman leaving his hand drawn milk cart in the middle of the road on his early morning milk round. I have not been able to trace the name on the cart, but there was a dairy operating at 87 Market Street from before 1907 until the mid-1930’s, which was not far away.
Back in the centre of Eastleigh, the area of Leigh Road between Market Street and High Street is now a pedestrian precinct. It used to be the main road through the town centre with Baker & Co. dominating the corner opposite the Railway Institute.
Next to Baker’s at 17 Leigh Road, in 1912, was Charles Gough’s Butchers shop.
The larger building, with the high gable roof, is Eagle Buildings, so named because of the sculpture of a large eagle which stood resplendent on the apex of the gable. Most older residents will relate Eagle buildings with Woolworth’s, who occupied these premises from around 1930 until just a few years ago.
Next to Gough’s, at No’s 19 and 21 was E & H Rowes Drapery shop, before it became Woolworth’s. The building at No 23 Leigh Road had been occupied by Boots Cash Chemist’s (Southern) Ltd since before 1907. This picture could have been taken around 1912 and certainly before 1916, when the draper’s business was taken over by Walter Blomfield.
The sign on the shopfront of Eagle buildings proudly displays that Woolworth’s are the threepenny and sixpenny store. All items were either threepence or sixpence when the shop first opened around 1930. It seems ironic that the premises are now Poundland, where everything costs, yes you have guessed it, £1.
The “Railwayman” Statue now stands at this end of the precinct where the young lads are stood on the pavement opposite High Street. Bazeley Brothers shop was at 39 Leigh Road, on the corner of High Street.
Eastleigh Central Working Men’s Club at 45 Leigh Road is the large building on the right. This picture was probably taken before 1920.
The Eastleigh Central Working Men’s Club occupied this building before 1907 and was still recorded as operating from these premises in 1964, before it was demolished and replaced with a utilitarian office block, and restaurants on the ground floor.
This picture was taken during WWI. On the right is The Holy Cross Roman Catholic Church at 53 Leigh Road. On the left there are huts in the Leigh Road Recreation Ground and a patient from Eastleigh Clearing Hospital is leaning on the railings talking to a young lady who is stood on the pavement.
The church building on the right, built in 1904, was the Bible Christian Church on the corner of Leigh Road, and Cranbury Road. To-day it is the Masonic Hall.
Opposite Cranbury Road stands the old Town Hall, now called The Point.
In 1896 the London and South Western Railway bought the Cricket Field between Leigh Road and Romsey Road and handed it, as a gift, to the then Town Council, in perpetuity, for the people of the town. One of the first acts of the newly formed Town Council was to use part of the land to build new civic offices.
The new Town Hall was built in 1899. Previously council meetings had been held in the Railway Institute building on the corner of Leigh Road and Market Street.
This picture of the newly built Town Hall was probably taken around 1900. The field shown in the foreground is the site of the new Bible Christian church which was built on the corner of Leigh Road and Cranbury Road, and opened in 1904. The honour of opening the new church was given to my great grandfather, William Pope, who was the oldest Bible Christian preacher on the circuit at this time and who had preached from this field, under Police protection, some years earlier. Police protection had been required to keep order as in those days being a Bible Christian was non-conformist and raised strong objections from members of the Church of England.
This postcard picture of the new church has been signed by the Rev. T. Quance, who was Pastor when the church was first opened. The picture below was taken on the opening day in 1904 and my great grandfather is the gentleman in the centre.
This picture of The Recreation Ground is a perfect illustration of the change of use that took place after the area was gifted to the town by the railway company. Jonas Nichols, the builder, who built much of Eastleigh, had earmarked this area for housing and was reluctant to part with it. It took some years and probably considerable funding before he succumbed to allow the railway company to purchase the site and gift it to the people of Eastleigh.
The Recreation Ground also became popular for large outdoor events like the carnival.
This picture shows some members of the Rogers family, who were undertakers in Market Street, raising money for Bishopstoke Hospital Carnival Fund in Leigh Road, alongside the Recreation Ground railings in the early 1900s. Funds raised by Eastleigh Carnival were donated to “The Hospital Fund” to help support the community, prior to the introduction of the National Health Service in the late 1940s.
The Recreation Ground, in quieter moments also gave lads the opportunity to indulge in a bit of recreation football. Jumpers for goalposts is the phrase that comes to mind.
The Recreation Ground was also an area for quiet contemplation for the elderly.
Although in the snow of April 1908, quiet contemplation was not an option for those who had to keep the pathways clear.
A wooden Victorian Bandstand was created in the recreation Ground by William Panter.
The original wooden bandstand was replaced in 1909.
This path still runs from the Leigh Road pedestrian precinct to Romsey Road. Notice how small the trees are.
During the Great War, the Recreation Ground was turned over to the war effort and huts were provided to house casualties from the front. The casualties received treatment and assessment at Eastleigh Clearing Hospital which was centred at Chamberlayne Road Boy’s School.
These pictures illustrate how the Recreation Ground looked when it was part of the Clearing Hospital. The bottom picture shows a group picture of the Clearing Hospital Staff at Chamberlayne Road School. Orderlies at Eastleigh Clearing Hospital were billeted in The Railway Institute building, next to the Recreation Ground.
Most of the patients at Eastleigh Clearing Hospital were only here for a few days before being relocated to other facilities, given home leave, or returned to combat and recreational facilities were important for the morale of the service personnel. Accommodation was provided for recreation by the Y.M.C.A. to support the patients and staff at the Clearing Hospital. This building was located behind the Railway Institute, near to Romsey Road.
After WWI, the Recreation Ground returned to more leisurely activity and the practical addition of a roof was incorporated over the bandstand in 1923.
After the Great War, life returned to normality. Notice how mature the trees have become.
Captured WWI field guns were placed either side of the pathway as a memorial to the hostilities but were removed in the late 1920s.
In 1929, through a campaign led by the Women’s Branch of the Royal British Legion, a Memorial was erected in Eastleigh to those that had died in the Great War.
The Recreation Ground and Bandstand was used for the official ceremony presenting the Charter of Incorporation to Eastleigh’s Mayor C J Bradshaw when Eastleigh attained Borough status on 3rd October 1936.
Pirelli General Cable Works Ltd, shown centre of picture, opened around 1921. As you can see from when this picture was taken the site was far smaller than the factory that was demolished to make way for housing a few years ago. This site had previously been home to a WWI airfield operated by the Royal Flying Core between Chestnut Avenue and Leigh Road. It is interesting in this picture to observe the Recreation Ground, The new Town Hall, the new Police Station in Leigh Road, and the lack of housing in Brookwood Avenue. Sir Joseph Causton established a printing works which dominated Brookwood Avenue in the late 1930s.
In Desborough Road, Eastleigh Constitutional Club at 4a Desborough Road was established before 1907. It became more familiar, for many years, as the Eastleigh Conservative Club. Today it is known as Churchills Club.
Another feature building in Desborough Road, on the corner with Factory Road, is Eastleigh Baptist Church.
The Baptist Church was photographed on a number of occasions, like this picture showing a Band of Hope parade being assembled in Desborough Road.
Or this Band of Hope march, setting off from the church with children marching behind the Temperance Navy banner holding oars aloft.
Woodford and Son ran a Bakery at 101 &103 Desborough Road on the corner of Blenheim Road before 1907 until the early 1940s.
The Bakery can be seen more clearly in this picture.
All Saints Parish Church in Desborough Road. This church is by the junction with Derby Road and was opened in 1910, about the time this picture was taken.
Housing development to the south of Eastleigh created demand for more schooling and in 1931 the Derby Road School, on the corner of Desborough Road was developed to accommodate education needs, and initially became known as the Eastleigh County School.
This school became Barton Peveril School and later Wyvern Secondary Modern School before becoming an annexe to Eastleigh College. The building has been demolished and the site developed for housing.
Published in the 1933 in the Eastleigh & District Education Week Handbook, this picture shows pupils at the Desborough Road School studying science.
The ground floor gymnasium
Eagerly awaiting luncheon in the dining room. This area, on the first floor, above the gymnasium, was also the assembly hall. Furniture would be re-arranged by the caretaker during the day for whichever activities were planned.
Those of you, like me, who went to the old Wyvern in Desborough Road, will recognise these images, even though they were taken in the early 1930s. It was just like this when I went there in the 1960s, although I do not remember table cloths, just plain tables that could be wiped clean.
This picture of Cranbury Road is taken from the junction with Leigh Road. The Bible Christian Church, now the Masonic Hall, is on the left. This picture probably dates from around 1910.
The schools pictured in Cranbury Road are the Girl’s School, on the left with the Infant’s School beyond. The Girl’s School was demolished some years ago and the Infants School has become Little Acorns Day Nursery.
Chamberlayne Road Boy’s School was the main feature in Chamberlayne Road. This picture was taken in the early 1900s.
This picture of the school playground, with pupils assembled for an award ceremony, was taken in the very early 1900s. The date could be 1901.
In 1915 the Chamberlayne Road Boy’s school was commandeered for use as Eastleigh Clearing Hospital.
The school hall and classrooms were converted into a hospital wards. Eastleigh Clearing Hospital was one of a network of triage centres, where Ill or injured servicemen were assessed on being returned from Europe. As mentioned earlier, patients rarely stayed for more than a few days before being relocated to more appropriate facilities, given home leave to recuperate, or returned to combat.
The majority of patients were “walking wounded” and were accommodated in wooden and canvass huts adjacent to the school or allocated to separate accommodation that had been created on the Recreation Ground in Leigh Road.
Initially in 1915 there were 220 beds. This increased to 1280 beds by March 1917 by utilising Eastleigh Recreation Ground. This may not seem that many people, but census data from 1911 and 1921 indicates that Eastleigh only had a civilian population of around 15,000. The Clearing Hospital increased the local population by nearly 10%.
This picture gives a detailed illustration of what life was like at the time. The accommodation was very basic, and, in this picture, the canvass sides of the huts have been raised for ventilation. As poor as these conditions may appear to us to-day, they were infinitely better than the conditions that the soldiers endured on the front line.
The Casualty Hospital uniform was blue jacket and trousers with a white shirt. The soldiers were allowed to keep their khaki cap with regimental badge. Returning to the UK from the front, these men would have been wearing battle worn, bloodied and torn uniforms which would not have been good for morale of the general public. Also, of a more practical nature, the uniforms may well have harboured lice or ticks, so were destroyed. This picture shows a group of orderlies and patients in Chamberlayne Road. The orderlies dressed in their khaki uniforms and patients in their light blue uniform.
The logistics of having such a large influx of soldiers on the town must have challenging, particularly at meal times. This picture of the school playground shows trestle tables set up for dining.
The cook house was set up in part of the school yard. Other public accommodation in Eastleigh was allocated for the needs of the Clearing Hospital including the Council Chambers and various Drill Halls. The fields that can be seen in the distance is from where the Royal Flying Corp operated from during WWI.
In Grantham Road, Thomas Fryer was a baker and grocer on the corner of Desborough Road from 1907 until the early 1930s. You can see the large Nestle Milk Chocolate advertising hoarding on the back of his shop. The horse and cart are collecting from The Pure Water Company, who were Mineral Water Manufacturers and had stores here until the early 1930s. William Gover’s Bakery and Confectioners are on the corner with High Street.
Although technically in Chamberlayne Road, the Grantham Arms on the corner of Grantham Road was a major development. The early landlord was Alfred Smart when this building opened in the mid-1930s. I believe that Alfred Smart is the gentleman stood in the doorway.
I believe that the gentleman stood in the doorway in this picture is also Alfred Smart, who had originally established a beer retailers at 49 Grantham Road in the early 1920s.
Parts of early Eastleigh can still be recognised today, although much has changed in the landscape, and the way that retailing now operates. Eastleigh was once home to a huge number of small independent specialist shops. Butchers, Bakers and Grocers dominated the scene and many food items had to be bought fresh each day. Nowadays, food retailing is dominated by large national supermarkets with food bought in bulk. In the old days you went to the shop, gave them a list, paid for the goods in cash and the shop boy delivered them on his bike. Today we give them a list on-line, pay, and have it delivered by van. We call this progress.
Legg, Penny (2012), Eastleigh Then and Now, The History Press.
Drewitt. A. (1935) Eastleigh’s Yesterdays, Eastleigh Printing Works.
Coates, William (1933), Eastleigh & District Education Week Handbook, Eastleigh Printing Works.
Kelly’s Street Directories, Southampton Neighbourhoods, 1907 to 1970
Hampshire Museum Service.
Brown, W. Henry (1948), Co-operation on the Permanent Way at Eastleigh, Eastleigh Co-op Society Ltd.
Bob Winkworth, Dan Molloy, Roy Smith, Graham Rogers, Allen Guille, Joan Simmonds, Stan Roberts, John Lankaster, Barry Kitchen, Eastleigh and District Local History Society.