Part Two: 1913
If we now time-travel twenty years or so to the eve of the First World War, let’s see what has changed on our route. Once again, we come up from Southampton to the Asda roundabout and up Bournemouth Road. Chandler’s Ford now has a police constable who lives at the police house at 5 York Villas, Bournemouth Road. We pass the home of one R. E. Burke, a lounge steward on HMS Titanic who sadly perished when the ship foundered last year. As we pass the Hut Hotel (see image below, forgiving the cars!), we may see Chandler’s Ford United FC training in a field behind, using the hotel as their changing room. The big brickfield on our left is still busy.
At the junction with Hursley Road, a post office has opened and if we peer up Hursley Road we might see the Railway Hotel (now the Monk’s Brook pub) and opposite it Albert Dean’s coal, corn and seed premises. As we continue up Winchester Road, we pass the end of King’s Road. If we glance down it, we’ll see not only the home of the vicar, Rev Rene Pierssene, but also the new infant school, built a few years back (making the older school at School Lane the senior school).
At Fryern Hill there are now some more cottages and larger houses. On the corner with Pine Hill Clump (Brownhill Road) a private house has been built (later Brownhill Surgery and now Co-op Funeralcare). Just a short way down Brownhill Road the first Methodist church has been built (now the Age Concern hall). Where the Co-op is now there is some open space called The Green, where children play amongst the trees, scrub and a small pond. Opposite, the Halfway Inn has had some bay windows added (see right). There is a baker’s shop on the corner of Oakmount Road and if we want to stop for tea there is a tea-garden behind. If we were to turn right down Oakmount Road, we’d come to Fryernhill Brick Works (around where Constantine Avenue is now).
But we stay on the main road. Somewhere around the present-day Roman Close is a leech pond (perhaps leeches are bred for medicinal use?) and opposite, on the corner with Crescent Road (later Merdon Avenue) is ‘The Mount’ boarding house (now the King Rufus pub). Just opposite Pitmore Farm there is another wood confusingly also called Fryernhill Wood. And so on to Winchester …
Our town grew steadily over the next hundred years: between the wars, post-war and in the latter years of the twentieth century. Even now infill housing goes up, as well as bungalows being replaced by flats or larger houses. It can be difficult to envisage how it looked all those years ago. But if you look carefully at the development on the old roads you can pick out what is really old and what is more recent.
Sources: Maps of 1985 and 1913 by Frances Frith and various books by Barbara Hillier.