In October 1960 in Chandler’s Ford, the Monks Brook river that ran behind our house burst its banks and many of the houses in Mead Road were flooded, some up to 18” of water inside, but I remember our house staying dry inside because the ground floor was built higher than those around it and stayed just below the floorboards.
In the 1950’s during my teens I had a paper round working for the newsagents on the corner of Mead Road and Park Road. On Saturdays I used to take a tea chest full of old newspapers to the waste land opposite the newsagents and burn them on a bonfire.
I also used to do odd jobs for a little old lady called Mrs Baily who lived in a small thatched cottage half way up the footpath that runs from Park Road to Hursley Road opposite Kings Road. She had a small holding and kept a few animals including a pony which she used to pull a small cart around the village. When she used to pay me for the jobs I had done for her she used to take a handful of coins from her pocket and I had to take sixpence from her hand and show her what I had taken.
Chandler’s Ford Station
Some Saturdays I used to watch the trains shunting carriages full of coal into the sidings at Chandler’s Ford Station on a track that ran along the side of Hursley Road.
On Sunday afternoons I would either watch Chandler’s Ford Stars Cycle speedway team whose track was on the land between Hursley Road and the Monks Brook opposite the railway station or watch Chandler’s Ford Cricket Team who played on ground on the corner of Hursley Road and Baddesley Road.
Mead Road bonfire
During the summer holidays the children living in Mead Road used to spend time building a huge bonfire on waste land opposite to where I lived. When built, we used it as a den until it was lit on the 5th November and we would all come out and let off our fireworks.
Two other things I did as a teenager was to join the Chandler’s Ford Boys Club which met in a building in Park Road opposite Tyrrell Road. Getting to the boys club during the winter months was a bit of a journey.
Mead Road had not been made up so was a stony track full of large puddles with small pathways between them and no street lighting so you had to remember where the puddles were. Park Road did have gas lit street lights but were so far apart and did not give much light.
I also joined the Chandler’s Ford Army Cadet Force. We used to meet in a large wooden hut which was behind the Chandler’s Ford Central Club and next to the Rifle Club whose members used to allow us Cadets to use their rifle range to fire .22 rifles for target practise. We also used the regular army shooting range at Chilcolm near Winchester.
We found ourselves surrounded by police
On my first visit to this range, using a 3.03 rifle shooting at a target 100 yards away I hit the bullseye 4 times with my first 5 rounds. The instructor alongside me said I had done quite well as I had closed my eyes each time I pressed the trigger. One evening our Commanding officer had us on manoeuvres in Ramalley Woods during which we were making a quite a bit of noise firing blanks. We found ourselves surrounded by police as people living in the nearby houses had reported lots of gunfire in the woods.
Our officer should have informed the police about us exercising in the woods. We got a good telling off and were told not to do it again. On other Cadet manoeuvres we had weekend camping in Farley Mount. We were usually taken there by transport although we did march once all the way there some 8 miles, not bad for 15 &16 year olds. We also went further afield in small groups and spent the weekend potholing in the Mendips in Somerset.
The weekend after leaving school in July 1957 age 15 I started working for the Kents Oak Building Company whose office and yard was in Bournemouth Road. At 16 I started my apprenticeship as a brick layer and spent the year working for Kents Oak building new houses mainly in Chandler’s Ford with some in Romsey, Otterbourne and one in St. Cross. Later I joined my father’s firm W.M Hammerton & Sons mainly building extensions and general building work.
When my father retired I, along with my brother John set up our own building firm J&P Hammerton for a few years. Later I worked for two other local building firms until I retired on my 65th birthday Friday 9th July 2007 after working as a bricklayer for 50 years mainly in and around Chandler’s Ford.
Coming up next: I In 1963 I met Mandy Fry…