How I remember Waltham Chase about 60 years ago

by Sue Rogers

We start at the Village Hall, which was once upon a time, St Hubert’s Hall; built of wood. It had an Altar behind large wooden doors at the top of the hall. A kitchen – well, a cold water tap anyway. At the back was a billiards room, where the men played darts, billiards, smoked and played cards. There were old bucket loos. My mother Jess Lacy ran a youth club; three nights a week without payment and there was never ever any trouble. In both hall and billiards room there was a pot bellied stove (mum and dad were caretakers). When you lit the fires you could not see across the room, the coal fumes were bad. No Health and Safety in those days and no one was ever hurt. The hut burnt down about 40 years ago. The new hall fund started by mum and the youth club consisted of saving old ship halfpennies in a milk bottle. George Young also did a lot of work for the village hut. There was a wooden bungalow where the car park is now.

Opposite, was an old cottage, where a Mrs. Braburn lived, this was the old hardware shop which eventually became Grange Copiers. There was large elm tree and two small cottages. Mrs. Blackman lived in one. (Peter Blackman still lives up by Morgans. His sister Sheila lives by the Chase pub on the way to Bishops Waltham.)

After the cottage was a very large barn and Brookland Nursery. Before the war it was a sawmill. On the other side of the road were the two cottages that are still there and a very old bungalow with a bike shop and a very old shed. Miss Alice Bowers lived there with her brother Harold Bowers. He mended bikes and was the only one I knew who had a radio. Miss Bowers walked about a lot, always in a large overcoat, woolly hat and big boots.

On up the hill were three small cottages and two down a little lane. Then Morgan’s garage. Opposite were what we called the barrack and a small shop. The Conduct family lived in the wooden bungalow. I think that Joyce had seven boys, then two or three girls. Some still live around.

Out through the fields (No Brooklynns) to Little Bull Lane. Mr. Smith lived at the bottom. Joe Wylie had a small bungalow; his daughter still lives there. He used to give us kids a ride up the lane in his horse and cart. Tommy Steel (not the rock boy) lived in an old cottage – still there but changed. He had a water trough where the cows from the fields drunk, plus Mr Joe’s horse. Two old houses but the rest fields.

Bull Lane from the bottom….. a butcher’s shop, a yard where they had large shed and about six cows, we used to drink milk from the bucket as it came from the cows. I was born at No 2 Bull Lane. The two lovely old cottages were pulled down and – built Redleaves.

Mr and Mrs Knight owned farm opposite, which had a lovely house and hay barn with a really nice field – pulled that down and built built Ashley Gdns. I used to ride the horse and play in the barn. George Young lived at the top of Ashley Gardens, he sold up and they– built more houses in Ashley Gdns

George Young’s brother owned Lawsonia bungalow, which has just been demolished and – guess what – more houses for Ashley Gardens.

On the corner of Little Bull Lane and Bull Lane was two old cottages now made into one (bottom end of garden sold off ) –for Ashley Gardens more houses.

Mr and Mrs Dole lived in Briar Cottage. He had a large steam organ, as seen at the fair. They then built Summerfields about 1955. Smithy Cottage was the smithy; before my time. Don’t look at it now!!! Top of Bull Lane which was all fields was a lovely old thatched cottage.

Going up Club House Lane – two Bungalows on corner. Doris Simms lived in Rosemary cottage (she worked very hard for the village); Rosemary cottage was knocked down and more houses built in Ashley Gardens and Clubhouse lane.

Doris Simms dad lived in Smithy Cottage. Miss Privett lived in a really lovely old house – pulled that down and built the Poplars. Yes, it used to have a large Poplar Tree. Club House Lane is where Dr Bostock lives. My grandparents lived there. We had an orchard, lots of trees, chickens, a barn, and pig sties – such freedom to run! At the top was Coolgardie (where Dulcie lived). I used to go there to get tomatoes. – pulled down and built several houses. Opposite were the Black Houses, not sure if there were six or four – pulled them down to build Chase Grove.

Mr Perry lived in old house and grew fruit and veg. I was always allowed the small tomatoes – pulled that down to build more of Chase Grove.

Down to Curdridge Lane. Small Chapel – now very large. Next to that is ‘Landfall’ Large house made into two or three. Neville Shute stayed there. One of his books is called Landfall.

Opposite was A Burrow fruit and veg store with lots of lorries – pulled that down and built Clayhill close.

Down a bit further was a very large house where Clutterbucks lived – pulled that down and build lots of houses called Hillcrest Gdns extending down to Provene Gardens.

Mrs Stedell lived in old house with barn on other corner.

Mr Wilbee had shop over the crossroads. Just down Forest road was an old house (still there) a boot mender Mr Hector Coombes worked every day. I can still smell the leather if I think about it. Lots of field, no Forest Gardens. On the corner, where they have turned the house into flats was a large hardware shop owned by Mr Hart. He was deaf; we used to ring the bell but he still didn’t come. One house was a doctor’s surgery some afternoons. This house is 99% certain to be Pam’s house. One house was a school house, which they pulled down and built Linden Close.

Forest Close was a very wet boggy field, – built bungalows about 1957. Sold first one for about £1500.00 (I think).

I used to catch the coach to Hedge End School, as there was no Swanmore School then.

Opposite on the corner of what is now Chase Grove was three shops owned by Woodward’s. – general store – a wool shop and a barbers shop. The general store sold ice cream, but only on Sundays. It was once owned by Mr. Challis and at that time it was also the Post Office. The current Post Office was a general store and garage.

Beaucroft Road had only a cinder track.

When the Coronation took place we had a street party and the table was very unsafe- nothing was level but a good party.

The present post office had a taxi next door run by Mr Baily. Opposite was a sweet shop, run by Mrs Richards. We had our ration book and a stick of barley sugar was what I really liked.

Next to that a very nice Farm House. – pulled it down and built Chase Farm.

Only my story – what have they done to Waltham Chase?

(Ed: all of the photographs referenced by the text and others of the village can be seen here.)

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