TE Owen was responsible for some additional building away from the lodges and villas of western Southsea. At South Parade there is one of his terraces, and just behind in Eastern Villas Road, three more. He also built two chapels and a lodge at the Highland Road Cemetery. Elsewhere, the drained land of Southsea was quickly built upon, with road after road of terraced houses, generally developing west to east. Interspersed in these residential areas are the large Victorian and Edwardian structures: the schools, town churches, a former convent, and the entertainment centres of The Kings Theatre and The Plaza, which is now the mosque. Near the theatre is a set of mill cottages next to which there used to be a windmill. Here I present the listed buildings of Southsea, away from the western terraces and the main part of TE Owen’s Southsea.
In the 19th Century Southsea spread eastwards from the initial building east of the Portsmouth walls. This growth was slow at first, from around 1830-60, with the creation of the villa suburbs around Kent Road, Sussex Road, Queens Crescent, Portland Road, Grove Road South, The Vale and Villers Road. These roads were planned and built for the most part by TE Owen, who gave them a spacious feel with walled gardens, curved roads and gentrified villas, lodges and terraces. It’s some kind of leafy, expensive, stucco heaven. He centred this new suburb on St Jude’s Church (1851). To the south are Netley and Clifton Terraces, by Gauntlett.
Thank you to all the owners who allowed me on their property to get better views. Here I present the listed buildings of central Southsea, along with some general views, starting with my favourite today, 3 Queens Place:
In the early Nineteenth Century, building spread outside of the city’s defensive walls with their moats and vast ravelins. Facing the battlements to the west, running north to south, several terraces were established, beginning around 1809. Southsea meets Portsmouth here and the space offered must have been very appealing compared to the cramped conditions of Old Portsmouth and Portsea. From the north, the terraces are named Hampshire, Landport, King’s, Jubilee and Bellevue. Much of the area was bombed in WWII and since modified, but many of the early C19 houses survive, with the characteristic maritime bay windows seen in Old Portsmouth. Behind the terraces, small streets were established by skilled tradesmen: the ‘mineral streets’ of Croxton Town – but were all bombed. Just further east are Great Southsea Street and Castle Street, with many plain but stylish town houses, my favourite designs, and a couple of older villas, along with early 1900s pubs and antique shops. Southsea Lodge was built in the C18, before there really was a Southsea, and before it was a resort, in what must have been a fairly rural area. To the north are a couple of other pockets of C19 houses, in King Street and Gloucester View and Mews. Gloucester View is a well kept secret, a superb terrace of identical houses in a cul-de-sac. Gloucester Mews in Norfolk Street hints at Owen’s Southsea to come. Park Lodge may have been built by T. E. Owen’s father. Further west towards the old city are the former Clarence Barracks, now Portsmouth Museum, a quite spectacular affair built for officers, and the Victorian lower school of the grammar school.
Here I present the listed buildings of west Southsea, and Portsmouth east of the wall:
How King’s Terrace once looked:
Not far to the north west of where I live is the largest wood in the area, Cheriton Wood. It’s near the site of one of the famous battles in the (Un)Civil War. I think it was closed to the public for most of the time I’ve lived here but is now open under the CROW Act. Here are some images from walking through the woods, and just outside the trees.
Here we have the central area of Old Portsmouth. High street runs from just inside the now flattened defensive town walls, down to the coast near to the Square Tower, where it meets Broad Street and Grand Parade, just past the cathedral. At the north eastern end are the former Cambridge Barracks, now the Portsmouth Grammar School. In between are many C18 and C19 town houses, pubs and a former bank. Grand Parade is next to the Royal Garrison Church, and Penny Street runs parallel with the High Street, with a few surviving pre-war buildings. The narrow Peacock lane joins the two streets. Pembroke Road joins Old Portsmouth to Southsea, where along with Landport, gentrified properties overspilled when the old town got too crowded. The Cathedral was started in the C13 and underwent many additions over the centuries, including a large extension to the south west in the 1990s. To the north is Landport Gate, redesigned in 1760 and remaining in its original location but without the earth banks of the walls either side. Here are all the listed buildings of this area and a couple of street views:
A map of Portsmouth in 1762, showing the defensive walls and extent of the old town:
This area of Old Portsmouth feels very nautical, with narrow town houses, usually three story, squeezed in to form non-uniform terraces, many with those characteristic maritime bays on the first floor. Lombard Street and St Thomas Street are just east of The Camber harbour, with The Point being on the west side: Broad Street and Bath Square leading towards the narrow entrance to Portsmouth Harbour. All of this area was within the old walled city. Apart from the town houses, one can find fortifications, an old savings bank, historic inns, a former bathing house (Quebec House), the Popinjays warehouse, the sailing club and an old customs watch house with an observation hut. Most of the buildings are C18, with some C17 and C19. The landmark former Seagull Restaurant is from the early C20.
The listed buildings of Lombard Street and St Thomas Street, Old Portsmouth:
Broad Street Portsmouth:
The listed buildings of The Point / Spice Island, Old Portsmouth:
Bath Square, Old Portsmouth:
New Alresford is about 7 miles east of Winchester. The ‘New’ distinguishes it from Old Alresford village a mile to the north. The old part of New Alresford centres around East St, West St and Broad St, a T-shape. Pretty much the entirety of this area is listed. Broad street is probably the best-known street in the town, for it’s grand scale and colourful Georgian buildings. Many of the buildings have carriage entrances leading to the back of the buildings.
Here’s a panorama shot of the street, looking north, followed by the listed buildings of this street:
Crumbling away, still very apparent in most places, the Meon Valley railway line ran between Alton and Fareham in Hampshire. The dismantled railway passes a few miles from my home, near West Meon Hut and at the village. It was quite an engineering undertaking considering the small populations along its route, serving only villages along its 23 miles. This is probably why it only lasted 50 years or so – that and Gosport and Stokes Bay not taking off as tourist destinations. Most of the bridges remain, as does the station platform just south of West Meon. Nothing is left of the iron viaduct except some foundations, abutments and the mighty embankments either edge of the river Meon. Here’s my tour:
First up, the north end of West Meon Tunnel. This is near West Meon Hut. The tunnel entrance is locked and it’s used to store caravans. It’s private property but some bloke fixing his motorhome said I could take some photos.
Just to the north, Vinnels lane crosses the old line, now infilled almost to the height of the bridge, by soil and by trash:
West Meon Station building is dismantled. It was situated just south of the village along, yes, Station Road:
Some views of the old platform, being eaten by nature:
At one point the platform lowers to allow people to walk across the line:
The platform runs under the road bridge of Old Winchester Hill Lane:
A few hundred meters north of the station is the site of the viaduct, crossing the Meon Valley. The river here is just a stream. It crossed between two 20m embankments:
All that is left is some foundations and the abutments either end of the viaduct, with huge slots for the iron girders:
North of the viaduct is not open to the public, but I followed the line through some woods, probably overgrown in summer, the embankment turning into a cutting as it approaches the hill:
Less than a km from the viaduct, the hill is too steep and one reaches the southern end of West Meon Tunnel. It’s closed off with earth, metal and blocks. Where the blocks have been knocked though, bars and wire prevent access. There was a damp breeze coming from the hole, and a strange atmosphere about the place. I was drawn to it, wanted to stay, but at the same time I was slightly spooked:
I then walked back to the village via the footpath in the spring sun to shake the mood. Here’s where the viaduct crossed the river and lane, and how it once looked:
Back at the station, the road bridge and looking down to where the station was, and a similar view in the old days:
At the former West Meon goods yard next to the station:
I then drove north out of the village along a little-used gravelly lane over the hill towards Arbor Trees farm where there’s a bridge of the consistent black engineering/red bricks. I find these quite charming. MEL = ‘Meon Line’?
And another bridge just to the east, probably taken down to allow farm vehicle access:
There’s no footpath here, but I couldn’t resist following the old line to the A272 tunnel, for a very different view of a familiar road:
Varied textures, colours and crumbly brickwork of the road tunnel:
Finally, a romantic image of the viaduct, and a brand new station once upon a time:
New Alresford is about 7 miles east of Winchester. The ‘New’ distinguishes it from Old Alresford village a mile to the north. The old part of New Alresford centres around East St, West St and Broad St, a T-shape. To the north of Broad Street is the ancient town bridge (pretty much hidden) and the area of The Soke and Mill Hill, which leads to Ladywell Lane, where one can find C18 (and earlier) houses, the Globe Inn and Old Fulling Mill (C17). At the opposite end of town are Bell House, a former workhouse then mental hospital, and some old cottages.
New Alresford is about 7 miles east of Winchester. The ‘New’ distinguishes it from Old Alresford village a mile to the north. The old part of New Alresford centres around East St, West St and Broad St, a T-shape. Pretty much the entirety of this area is listed. Most of the buildings in West St are commercial, with accommodation above, and some banks and old coaching inns – The Running Horse, The Bell and The Swan. This collection also includes Pound Hill and The Dean. The majority of these listed buildings are 18th Century:
Train tunnel, raves and BMX in the middle of nowhere…
Today I walked in the area north west of Privett in Hampshire, following some of the old railway line. I started at the Angel, a restaurant and hotel, originally built for rail users:
Not sure why there was a station a mile from the nearest village. Rumour has it that the owners of Basing Park next door insisted on it. There’s a fancy station building opposite the hotel, which is now a house:
The line led under the A32 here and you can climb down a steep cutting and see through to the old station. The area is used for fly tipping, next to the railway cottages:
Having followed the disused railway north to Woodside Farm, where some work was being done on the site of an old rail bridge, I headed east then south, circling Basing Park. Just past the house and Broom farm, on Hempland lane, is the north end of the tunnel:
The tunnel is sealed apart from a gap at the top to provide for a bat sanctuary.
After just 50 years of use the Meon Valley Railway Line was closed in 1955. Sometime in the last twenty years, the deep cutting to the north has been filled in:
Back in 2008 I found the south entrance to the tunnel:
Apparently it’s owned by a local builder. When I visited five years ago, the door had been left unlocked, so I ventured inside, calling out first to see if anyone was in there, my voice echoing far within. No reply.
It looked like the entrance area was part of the late 80s rave scene:
Further in, past some building supplies and a skate ramp, there was… nothing. I made my way deeper. I had no torch and checked the way was clear using my camera flash. After a while though, I started to be concerned that someone might come to lock the door and so didn’t go any further. I read that in the middle is total darkness due to the S shape of the tunnel.
I also read that one man died building it, and another dug himself out after a partial collapse while digging the 1000+ yards.
Back home, during internet searches, a Nike video kept popping up in the results. I ignored it thinking Google was just emphasising the word ‘tunnel’. But no, a year after I was there, Nike 6.0 sponsored the building of cutting edge BMX ramps in the tunnel and held the Tunnel Jam competition. The best BMX riders in the world, in a tunnel in the Hampshire countryside! Here’s some photos by Nuno Oliveira:
Apparently it’s still all in there, usable only by those who know who holds the keys…
New Alresford is about 7 miles east of Winchester. The ‘New’ distinguishes it from Old Alresford village a mile to the north. The old part of New Alresford centres around East St, West St and Broad St, a T-shape. Pretty much the entirety of this area is listed. Many of the houses in East St feature old shop windows, now bay-windowed living rooms. At least two are former pubs – the Peaceful Home and the Sun Inn. This collection also includes the old mill, then warehouse, now offices, next to the (steam train) station, the church, and just beyond East St the unusual Hurdle House (literally to store sheep hurdles for the fair, now converted) and Langtons, a grand house behind high walls where East St meets Sun Lane. The majority of these buildings are 18th Century.
Here’s a panorama shot of the south side of the street, showing the many colours, followed by all the listed buildings of this area.
Petersfield is a market town 18 miles north of Portsmouth and about 20 miles east of Winchester. Today I explored the outlying areas of the town, away from the centre. There are villas, old farmhouses, cottages and a mill, dotted between the C20 housing and along lanes headed to the countryside. Also the Roman Catholic church and the octagonal chapels at the cemetery. The pictures below are all of Grade II Listed buildings.
Petersfield is a market town 18 miles north of Portsmouth and about 20 miles east of Winchester. Today I explored the town centre: High Street, The Square, Sheep Street, The Spain, Swan Street, Hylton Road, Church Path and St Peters Street. Most of the listed buildings here are C17 and C18, with some as old as C16. Many have older sections behind the newer facades. Petersfield grew as a coach stop on the Portsmouth-London route and due to its sheep market in the square, to which Sheep Street leads. The pictures below are all of Grade II buildings, with the exception of the church and statue, both grade 1. Goodyers in The Spain is II*, it being a large C16 house, with an early C18 addition in brick. The Spain itself is almost like a village green, situated very close to the town centre. Here are two panoramas:
In warm sunshine and cool winter air, we walked from the hamlet of Chidden on the South Downs to Hambledon and back again in a loop.
With larks calling high above (where are they?) we proceeded south from the village over open downland:
Some winter flowers hinting at spring:
Into Park Wood:
Bird of prey scarecrow:
Cricket has been played up on Windmill Down, Hambledon for more than 250 years:
View north to Leydene Park:
Hambledon vineyards, producing English ‘champagne’:
Into the village. Very nice. Very expensive. Sports cars in front of cottages:
Footpath north through the vineyards:
Panorama north to Chidden Down:
And back to Chidden:
In bright winter sunshine in a crisp breeze we walked a loop of a few km from East Meon church:
From the graveyard the path rapidly ascends 100m up into Park Hill giving great views over the village. Very soon we were higher than the steeple:
Even higher above some red kites effortlessly circled over a corn field. A local said they had been recently introduced:
On the top of the hill looking east to the south downs stretching away in the haze beyond Butser Hill:
The rolling grassland of Park Hill near to Vineyard Hole. (Now there are some vines nearer the village at the Court House.)
On the Bereleigh Estate, Park Farm. The ice on the pond would be soon to melt:
Hey you forgot the hay!
Over open country, down through Rookham Copse, over the road to Pidham Lane. These sunken lanes with trees on the bank always remind me of The Fellowship of the Ring:
Old lanes eaten up by motorbikes and sodden led us to the gravel of the Greenway Track:
No cars. Look how dated the sign design is, some kind of 1960s car:
Frogmore lies to the east of East Meon. Only 2km from its source, the Meon turns west here into the Meon Valley proper. Old cottages and a bridge here:
Taking the lane instead of more mud in the fields, we were soon in the village, with it’s thatched cottages and Georgian houses and pub:
Then back to the church in it’s downland situation:
The old Court House c14 onwards:
Scarecrow at the village allotments:
It’s rained a lot recently so we stuck to lanes this morning. Paths are crazy muddy right now. Starting out just north of Gundleton, Hampshire’s best named village, an hour’s loop:
The order of the photos has got muddled and so shall the order of the descriptions. Here are some geese at a small farm in Gundleton:
Snowdrops on Goscombs Lane:
Two bulls at the farm. The lighter one dominated and soon walked in front of the other, blocking his view of us.
Pigs in the barn and a curious goose:
The cows were eating what looks like watercress:
A wet and muddy horse:
Many plants were pushing through for spring, the green so bright. Here’s some moss that also seemed to have a glow on:
A pair of donkeys:
I think this was called Clivedon. Totally old school bungalow:
A place called The Coffee Tavern. No sign of it being a cafe:
A thatched cottage at Bighton Dean:
The Three Horseshoes Public House. Proper old school again Also known as The Three Osees:
The Old House at Bighton. Digging the windows:
Pines at Bighton Dean Lane:
Looking west from Bighton Lane:
I’m not sure which house this is. Perhaps Bighton Manor:
Windybanks Cottage in Bighton:
There’s no ‘r’ in Bighton:
Wanting to explore the area to the north of Butser Hill, east of East Meon, south of Stroud, we parked in the small Hampshire village of Ramsdean. The area is more varied than is often found around the South Downs, with small streams, undulating countryside and ancient lanes between meadows and copses. The track from Ramsdean to Stroud (pr. strood) is a delight, with warn stone underfoot and steep banks up to beeches overhanging the path. Very hobbit-like. We turned north off the track towards Langrish, up through meadows with great views of Butser Hill behind us. Then down through Mustercoombe Copse almost as far as Stroud, meeting a herd of cows, both curious and literally shit scared of us. Then it was back onto the ancient track to the village with its cottages and farms.
Here I am, aged 15, in our wrecked kitchen in Broughton Gifford. While camping in north Wales we were visited by a policeman who had tracked us down to our pre-mobile phone camping idyl to tell us that neighbours had reported water streaming down the outside of our house. Holiday aborted, we returned to a very sodden home. A pipe had burst in the attic. We dragged everything outside to dry and salvage what we could. Cue total refit for most rooms and the ill-advised allowing us to choose our own decor for bedrooms – diagonal red stripes, walls and carpet for me!