Caring for our town - past, present and future

Registered Charity No 1000447

Basingstoke Heritage Society

Latest News......

Good news that the pavilions on the former Park Prewett site are to be saved. Ownership will be transferred to The Land Trust along with the woodland. The local agent will be Rooksdown Community Association. Thanks to Cllr Simon Bound for that information. We had urged the council's conservation officers to oppose the requested demolition. The pavilions are an important part of the history of the site and this was recognised in the council's own Conservation Area Appraisal.

Gardens of Remembrance Arch

The arch at the entrance to the Church Square Gardens of Remembrance has been rebuilt exactly as it was and looks good. Thanks to the council for this work. The gardens are on the site of houses which were destroyed by bombing in August 1940.  St Michael’s Church still shows the scars of that event on the church’s east wall opposite Festival Place entrance.

The Haymarket Theatre, formerly the Corn Exchange is 150 years old – it opened in 1865. We hope to mark this event (a little late) with some interpretation boards in the windows of the theatre, telling its interesting history

   Two new books for your     entertainment.

      Drunkards, Thieves and Rioters is written by Bob Clarke      so you can expect a good lively read. Bob has trawled the     newspapers to find some interesting stories  about    historic trouble-makers and badly-behaved policemen!

  Raz Razzle’s book describes just what it says – the  music  scene in the 1960s; the great music legends  who played in  Basingstoke and the local bands who entertained us in those days.

John Aidan Liddell V.C.  1888-1915

This plaque (left) has been put up in Sherfield-on-Loddon to commemorate the village’s Victoria Cross holder (the family lived at Sherfield Hall (now a school). Most of the boards we did for the 2011 exhibition are in the Discovery Centre, but the Liddell board was larger. We offered it to the Village Hall and they have accepted it and we look forward to seeing it on show.  Liddell’s M.C. is commemorated in a window in the Holy Ghost Catholic Church and he is buried in the cemetery at South View.
Sir Harold Gillies – the plastic surgeon (as they were then known) was the subject of one of our blue plaques. If you saw a TV programme on Channel 4 on 24 October 2015, entitled ‘The Sex-Change Spitfire Ace’, you would have been interested to discover that Gillies did the very first female-to-male reconstruction at Rooksdown in 1946. An interesting ‘First for Basingstoke’.  
Click the link to see a great bibliography of sources of writing about Basingstoke compiled by:
Bob & Barbara Applin.    
Guide to Sources of Information on the History of Basingstoke

(Note - this is a pdf file)

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.

Many thanks to those members who have renewed their subscription for this year.  

And a gentle reminder to those who may have forgotten.  

Consent has already been granted for the old Burberry Emporium in Winchester Street to be converted into flats. However, they have now come back to the council to ask for consent to add an extra floor on the top, which would really alter the look of the building, which dates from 1908. Have a look on the council's website and if you think it would be a shame, then object. The Heritage Society have already objected.

Application No 16/00568/FUL

A picture of the Burberry factory in 1918

JANE AUSTEN  Basingstoke Heritage society has produced a leaflet which takes us round the Basingstoke which Jane Austen would have known.  Born in 1775 in Steventon, just 7 miles from Basingstoke, this was the town where Jane came to shop and to dance. The Austen family doctor lived here and was a guest at Steventon Rectory. 2017 will be the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death in Winchester and will be commemorated there. Find out more about her connections with our town and read the verse that Jane’s mother wrote about the people at the Basingstoke Ball.
Pick up your Trail in The Willis Museum or Discovery Centre or contact us via the contact tab above.
You can see it here by clicking on this link



Introducing Jane Austen 200 - a Preview, opening at the Willis Museum in Basingstoke on 9 Januarygives you the chance to see Jane Austen’s portable writing desk* and one of her original manuscripts on loan from the British Library - displayed in Hampshire for the first time. You will also find out about Jane’s links to Hampshire and Basingstoke and be given a taste of what we are planning for our Big Theme in 2017 - Jane Austen 200 - a Life in Hampshire. The exhibition runs until 20 February and admission is free. It will be accompanied by a range of events for adults and children.  * See ledger entry, right, from John Ring of Basingstoke.   

'a small mahogany writing desk with a long drawer and glass ink stand compleat' to Revd Austen Senior, Steventon in 1794

New poster boards in the The Haymarket windows, which the Basingstoke Heritage Society have researched to mark the 150th anniversary of the building. A fourth panel will come later to bring the story up to date. Pop by and have a look.

25-27A Winchester Street – former Burton’s building proposed for change of use to betting and gaming by William Hill. The council’s Licensing Committee eventually granted the licence.   The proposal refused for the Change of Use has gone to Appeal. The upper floors are proposed to be a drinking establishment/nightclub.

The Society held it’s AGM on Tuesday 19th April which was well attended by both members and non-members.  Many thanks to those who attended and made it a successful evening. Click to see the minutes.

You can follow and contact us on facebook by following this link.

War Graves Trail

Ray-Anne Lutener is a member of the South View Conservation Group which works in the South View, (Holy Ghost) Cemetery in Chapel Hill, Basingstoke.  She produced this detailed and illustrated guide to the Commonwealth War Graves in the cemetery