Caring for our town - past, present and future

Registered Charity No 1000447

Basingstoke Heritage Society


 Latest News...…


      October 2020



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


Burberry the answer to Q4 on the last newsletter showed one of Thomas Burberry’s many establishments, this one on the south side of Winchester Street. Visible is the tall gable of the former Halifax building, now the Maidenhead and once upon a time The Basingstoke Bank, which is why it has the town’s arms on it. (left)







Doing research on Thomas Burberry we have learnt that his father was a steward for the Duke of Norfolk’s farmland in the Horsham area. Thomas was the third child from his father’s second marriage. The four children born to his first marriage were all dead by the time he remarried Elizabeth Flint  in 1832. In the 1841 census, she was 35 and he was just twice her age.
‘Basingstoke’ Thomas,  had a sister Mary, who married a John George Mares, who had an ‘Outfitters’ shop in Luton. His nephew, John Mares was in business in Basingstoke, probably first in partnership with his aunt’s brother, Thomas Burberry, but later as John Mares alone. He built as his home the Manor House in Winchester Road.  See picture, right.
We also know that Thomas, aged 15 in 1851, was a young apprentice with a draper in Horsham in a shop owned by James Angus and furthermore that Thomas, by then of Basingstoke, was executor to his former boss, who, by the way left £40,000 odd – not a bad sum in those days. Was Thomas also a beneficiary? Would be interesting to know that.
Picture quiz answers. From left
1. Where are these houses? Burgess Road, possibly the second houses built in South View
2. Where is this taken? The Vyne Road bridge
3. What is being demolished here? Percy Fisher factory in Kingsclere Road
4. Which side of Winchester Street are these premises? South side – see above.  
















Cathy Williams and Debbie Reavell were kept busy after Debbie posted on our Facebook page offering to identify the origins of road names.  We managed most queries although some names are just bizarre. We were defeated as usual by Castle Field in Fairfields for which there is no reasonable explanation. It is clear that many people during lockdown are discovering the town and we have tried to post links to the Town Trail, Jane Austen leaflet. Public Art and the South View cemetery leaflets. Your secretary, walking every day in the old cemetery,  is frustrated by not being easily able to approach people to tell them what they might see there. There is also a page called Basingstoke History, run by Ian Richards who writes a good number of the Flashback pages for the Gazette. This site is often very nostalgic but some interesting photos are turning up all the time.



The Gazette would like up to 300 words on lockdown and if from a heritage point of view, your walks have taken you to rarely visited parts of the town, then do send them in .   katie.french@basingstokegazette.co.uk Or by post to Gazette House Pelton Road Basingstoke RG21 6YD.


All our other work is slowed to a virtual standstill. We continue to look at planning applications and noted that the Inspector had upheld the council’s decision about unauthorised changes to windows at 62-64 New Road.


During lockdown, your secretary has been reading Hilary Mantel’s final book about Thomas Cromwell. After his execution, his son, Gregory and wife, Elizabeth were not penalised. Gregory died in 1551 and his widow then married John Paulet , 2nd Marquess of Winchester and she is buried in St Mary’s, Old Basing.

Because of meeting restrictions, the Committee hasn’t met since February, but we are in regular contact with each other and we are busy. Some of the work we have done is listed below.

Joined Hampshire Archives Trust – this is a grant-making group of other local history societies.  

The Local Plan – we have considered responses to the Borough of Basingstoke and Deane’s local plan.
The government has issued a White paper on reform of the planning system in  England and Wales. The paper aims to reduce local council powers to manage planning approvals or refusals. For instance,  a business which wants to take over a business premises has to apply for a Change of Use, for instance fast-food takeaway to Gaming premises.  The Paper proposes to remove this, and it would become what is called Permitted Development. These are very often things which we comment on in the top of town  particularly. We are working up some responses to the White Paper which will be through our M.P.  

We responded to the  Old Basing Conservation area Appraisal Review insofar as it proposed extending in 2 areas which have remains of the canal - an area behind Cavalier Road and the garages on the A30 and the other  on Redbridge Lane, where the canal route was. Although our comments are normally only about the unparished areas of Basingstoke, we have always had an interest in the Basingstoke Canal. We have welcomed these extensions to the conservation area in Old Basing.


The WW2 Whiteditch building. We know what it is and we now know when it was built. We think further research will be helpful and have decided to get expert help. A professional researcher will do research at the Public Record Office at Kew when access etc permits. We have agreed documents which he has suggested which might be helpful and we have agreed a price. We think this is worth it.



Our Tree Wardens continue look at planning applications which affect trees and hedgerows in the town, and we comment using their advice. It was one of our Tree Wardens who spotted that one of the 3 trees we had bought for the town’s three main parks was the wrong tree. ‘Our’ tree – a Liquidamber – had been put in Oakridge Road near the little Tesco where it will look lovely. Where it should have gone - in Eastrop Park - is a Pawlownia. The council will get us the Liquidamber when the time is right for planting it and put it in Eastrop Park.


The Great Western Hotel will soon see a planning application to preserve the pub but add apartments to it. It’s a sorry site at the moment and although there will be disagreements about the design of the newbuild, it certainly needs something to be done.  




Planning Applications. These continue to come in – Chris looks at the list every week and sorts  out all that affect Conservation Areas as well as other areas within the town. We then share these and look at the plans and then if necessary, comment.

We  commented on an application from Network Rail which we thought would mean that old track from the surviving bit of the Alton Light Railway spur would be taken up. We also asked the Conservation officer to look at this. We have been successful as Network Rail now recognise the historic interest of this piece of rail, which we had proposed successfully for the Local List some time ago.




The Bluecoat Boy. We know that this still lacks a couple of tiles. Champion Group have said that they will fix it but nothing gets done at the moment.