Here I am at the age of 83+ with still vivid memories of my early life at Chandler’s Ford.
I will have to skip for a moment but you will realise the relevance.
While I lived at Woodbridge (Tasmania) our local GP was a Dr Wilson. When mother was out here she went to visit him. Realising that she was originally from Chandler’s Ford he said that he did his internship at Chandler’s Ford. Mother asked him where and he replied “with Dr Misquith” and it turned out that he was the “Butcher” family Doctor and he had, in fact, brought me into the world.
There were two midwives who ran a private business somewhere in Kingsway Road almost opposite the turn off to “The Lake” and that was where I came into the world.
Some very early recollections when I was about three and living with my Grandparents, George and Enid Butcher, they awoke one morning to find the front door wide open and no David. I was discovered in my dressing gown halfway to the railway station as I “wanted to see the workmen’s train go out”.
My tricycle and a kind policeman
A friend of my Mother lived in Lakewood Road and she had a parrot (I forget her name). At about three or four years old I set off on my little tricycle to see this lady and the local Policeman, P C Longman, found me. Of course he knew me so he bundled me up under one arm and with my tricycle under the other, and proceeded to wheel his own bike and return me home.
When I was about four they decided to seal Kings Road and I was given a ride on the steam roller and waved across to my Mother who was on the back steps receiving milk from Mr Burt, who used to deliver the milk by horse and cart and pour it into your own jugs.
Another year and at the age of five I was enrolled at Kings Road Primary. I remember Miss Bourne in Standard 1, Miss Golding as Headmistress taking Standard 2, Miss Watts in Standard 3. I cannot remember Standard 4 but this was later combined with Standard 5 under Miss Drover.
The beginning of my ‘love life’
Standard 1 was the beginning of my ‘love life’ – I was besotted with a lovely little girl, Irene Pugh, and asked my Grandparents if she could come and live with us but was sadly denied. 1944 and 1945 I was then attending Peter Symonds’ School in Winchester until the family move to Berkshire.
Incident with chestnuts
The area was known then as The Chestnut Woods, where each season we would collect the chestnuts to be roasted in the ashes of the coal fire. One day, having collected a large bag full, I was cycling down a black sandy track when the bag caught in the front forks and I was duly catapulted into a big gorse bush – Grandmother spent quite some time removing the thorns from all parts of my anatomy.
1945 and VE day – the whole community had a massive bonfire along Kings Lane and the children were all regaled with ice-cream, jellies and sweets – where they all suddenly appeared from was a mystery.
My family history
Of the family – Grandfather was an art teacher at Acton County School in London – he would come home late on a Friday night and drive back to London on Sunday so I didn’t see much of him except during holidays.
Uncle Ronald was in the Territorial Army. He was called up in 1939 serving in France and with the First Army in North Africa. During the war he married Molly Wadham but this did not last very long (I don’t know any details) but after the war he studied Medicine and then in about 1946/1947 he married Jean (a vicar’s daughter from Dundee) and later emigrated to America.
Aunt Rhoda studied Botany at Southampton University and was in the Land Army but after the war she taught at a school in Calne (Wiltshire) before marrying Clifford Fletcher. Her first child, Nancy, was born at a house in Merdon Avenue.
Mother worked at the ATS Records Office in Winchester where she met and subsequently married Stephen Shuttler.
Mother used to play the piano for the ‘Elfin School of Dancing’ and I was duly enrolled, against my wishes, into the Ballet School – there was only one other boy there by the name of Phillip Chatfield and I believe he went on to make quite a career out of this and at one time danced opposite Moira Shearer. I got out as soon as I could but as I went on to play Soccer and Rugby I found that this basic training served me well.
How much has Chandler’s Ford changed?
My Aunt, Rhoda Fletcher (nee Butcher) visited me sometime ago, probably in the mid-eighties. As a boy I had a passion for drawing maps of Chandler’s Ford with a basic triangle bounded by Winchester Road, Hursley Road and Hocombe Road and within this area I knew practically every house, birds nests and fishing spots.
I believe that some of the roads (lanes) may have had their names altered. When Rhoda returned to the UK she sent me an A4 copy of Chandler’s Ford and Eastleigh, now apparently completely joined. The ‘triangle’ that was my map then only occupied about 2″x2″x2″of the A4 sheet. The remainder has now all disappeared under urban development.
Article Series by Peter David Shuttler
- Part 1: My Memories of Chandler’s Ford in the 1930s and 1940s
- Part 2: My Memories of Chandler’s Ford in the 1930s and 1940s
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