5th April 2019
Sorry it's taken a while to reply, and I could say, where shall I begin?!
In the interim, with your informative guide to Bedhampton Village, and the aid of technology, I've visited some old haunts (some not so easy to identify) just sitting at my desk! And goodness, how the whole area has expanded.
Using your map as a guide, at the junction of Portsdown Hill Road and Bedhampton Hill, there stood the Belmont Tavern, the triangular frontage allowing a 'stepping stone' when trying to cross 2 very dangerous roads. Now facing Brookside, on the corner was Coldman's general store (No. 19 in your guide refers) which, as we lived in Penhurst Road, was our nearest and local.
If I recall, it was once possible to rejoin Bedhampton Hill via Lower Road.
Bidbury Mead was just known as the park, and it would seem that the children's play area, albeit probably now fenced off, is still in the same corner. There were swings for both older and younger children, a manually propelled 'roundabout' which used to make me feel sick, a see-saw, plus metal rocking horse which we would stretch to its limits! I found it fascinating whilst on the swings that one could only see the heads of people walking along King's Croft Lane, this of course, due to its sunken aspect. There was a rough slope access to the lane in that corner.
The Mill House was a host to Summer fetes, and it was at one such that I won my first gold fish! My Mother always helped out with something. Pony and cart rides would take us over the railway bridge to Bidbury Lane and back. When old enough to cycle, friends and I would ride to the bridge and train spot. There used to be a pedestrian open wooden crossing under!
Mill Lane eventually just went to a shore line.
My Sister (also confirmed at the church of St. Thomas) reminded me that the Rev. David White was then in situ, and the Rectory was called The Manse, logical given its purpose!
Going off the map, funds were raised to build the church hall (now church of St. Nicholas). This was illustrated on paper as/when bricks were purchased, thus it visually became a reality! I recall attending Bible class there. It was also used for my Bedhampton girl guides, scout meetings, and as a social club!
At the top of our road, Penhurst, Scratchface Lane (then unmade) literally lived up to its name, bordered by brambles and blackberry bushes on the side of the field which I am heartened to see has not been developed! Many a Summer evening was had making 'camps' from the newly cut grass, playing cricket (I never mastered!), kicking a ball or just meeting our friends.
Nearby, or on the site of now L&S Waste, once stood a dairy farm. When old enough, and then bent on a career in agriculture, I obtained a Saturday job, learnt how to milk cows (by machine) and generally helped out. My route took me via the end of Scratchface Lane, the edge of the woods and across the fields!
My schooling days at Betweenways (The Elms) were happy ones. I made my 'stage debut' in the Pied Piper which was performed in the back garden! I liked most of the teachers, especially Mrs. George, and of course, Mrs. Warrington!
For those who stayed to lunch, the Waterloo room served as a dining room. Upon our return, those of us (me included) who went off premises, were required to sit on the floor, cross legged and in silence until lunch was concluded!
The impressive room also played host to, amongst others, many an elocution examination, and yes, I still have my certificates!
Thanks again for your very interesting guide to Bedhampton Village, and prompting me to share, albeit a 'snapshot', of some bygone days.
Kind regards, Bridget.
We are looking for your memories of Bedhampton for
publication in a booklet which will keep alive your
recollections of school days, play, family life, the war and post war years, local businesses, jobs, characters,
celebrities, memorable events and so much more, for
future generations to enjoy.
You can write your reminiscences down on paper, send them in an email or sit down with one of our team to talk about them over a nice cup of tea with biscuits. In addition, if you have any old photographs, postcards, letters or newspaper cuttings which you think would help to illustrate the booklet, please let us know.
We can meet with just you, or you are welcome to bring a friend to help with the memories. We can come to you or you can come to us at The Elms in Bedhampton.
Nigel and Wendy Gossop
c/o The Elms
2 Lower Road
Tel: 023 9237 5594