History Questions and Answers

History  Questions and Answers

This page, on the old site, was started from a suggestion by Victoria Parker. The site was receiving historical questions the odd one was receiving answers, which I was adding to the page. As an historian Victoria offered to answer a number of the questions. I have added the questions nd the answers to the page. I have also added other questions and answers as well as questions where no answer has yet been received. I will add them to an index page as well links to pages and sites for other information. The page is quite long so as I sort out the index and find  related questions I will split them up on to page with other questions on the same topic.

I have just stumbled across the “requests” pages of your website. Below are some notes (some are a bit vague!) on some of the queries, which may be of interest. Victoria Parker

-Ron ask?s; St.Marys Church,Fareham Rd,Bridgemary was on the north side of the A32, between the last house and the entrance to Fleetlands. It is now the site of a Ready Mix Concrete Plant. The Church was there during the 1940’s. I was baptised there and my father made some of the church furniture. The Church was demolished in the 1950’s. I’ve been told that the land was sold to Portsmouth Dairies in 1958 for £4,000 I’m told it does not appear on any maps because it was ex government land. The Church Bell is [I’ve been told] under the alter at St.Thomas Church, Elson, this would seem to be in keeping, as a record shows that a Rev.Michael went in 1913 from St.Thomas to a Bridgemary Mission. I have been unable to find any picture of this church [other than the picture I remember] or anyone else [other than my family] who has knowledge of it. I have been unable to trace the Church Records and would like to see the christenings and any marriage entry’s. I have my own baptism card [1942].  CAN YOU HELP ?

(VP) – The Bridgemary mission mentioned was in one of the houses in Foxbury Lane and I do not think that it has any connection with the site on the A32. I am pretty sure that the place that Ron refers to was erected in the 1940s to serve the population of the new Bridgemary post-war housing estates and that a new building was erected in the 1950s in a more central position – I am not sure what it was (or is)called, but I imagine that any records are kept there. As the building on Fareham Road was so short lived it probably never appeared on any maps.

-Eileen said, I would like to know if you have any photos of the old Seahorse Hotel, which was in Seahorse Road near where Mumby Road joins South Street, by the marina?

(VP)– The Seahorse was in Seahorse Street between North Street and Clarence Square and was demolished in the 1960s when the White Lion Estate was built. There is a photograph in Gosport Records number 7 although it is boarded up awaiting demolition.

– I live in one of the houses which was part of the Home from 1901. ie CHADWICK Hse, no 14 St Marks Rd. I am trying to trace the history of this house could you help me. Do have a copy of an old photo of 1901 showing the children outside the house when it was a hospital Does anybody know where the name Chadwick House came from D W Burgess

– I was wondering if you knew of anywhere or even a book on the NCH in Clayhall Road I could obtain I lived in Hudson House In the National Children?s Home between 1963 and 1967 photographs of the home would  be very much appreciated if you know anyone who has some I would be willing to pay for copies. Steve Dade

– Julie said, hello I am wondering if I could ask for your help… my uncle was at your care home(NCH Alverstoke) in 1939 and died he was 9 they said he was buried in the grounds and my mother well in her 70’s would love to find his grave do you know if there was a consecrated place or a churchyard attached to the home ? My uncles name was William “billy” Stocks I am trying to find a way of finding his grave. thanks.

– Lynne said, am wondering if you have any information about Wakefield House in Stokes Bay? My sister was stationed there, whilst she was in the WRENS during WWII. I understand it became a children?s’ home and has since been demolished. A picture as it used to be and any history of its wartime use would be much appreciated for a special display her family is putting together to celebrate her 80th birthday.

(VP) – There are a few photographs of the NCH buildings in John Sadden’s “Gosport in Old Photographs” including Wakefield House (which is, of course, still standing). Most (if not all) children who died there were buried in Anns Hill, Cemetery.

– A request from Gordon  for information about Holbrook School. Also:

– Trudy said, I am trying to locate information and pictures of the old Holbrook school, it used to stand were the ice rink and swimming pool is. I can’t seem to find any information at all please help many thanks.

(VP) – All I know about this is that the name comes from a house in Rowner where, I presume, the school originated. I seem to recall that the school in Fareham Road occupied a former Army encampment.

– Julie asks, ?Does any one know any thing about the legendary ‘Jackie Spencer Bridge’? That is haunted? but I never saw any thing as a child.

– Mandie Oliver said my Grandad, Val Habens is from Gosport. He popped into the library to ask about the Jackie Spencer Bridge question, which apparently so have lots of other people. It had something to do with the signal or track change at the bridge for the track to Alton and the bridge was manned by Jackie Spencer. The bridge apparently is near the Nicky Adams Pit (I think that’s what he called it) which provided the shingle for the track to be built on. He later remembered that he  went to school with Jackie Spencer’s son. Hope this is of some help to the lady,  by the way no one knew of it being haunted, I’d love to know the story.

(VP) – The official name appears to be “Little Anglesey Viaduct” – very grand! There was a John Spencer (so presumably Jackie is a nickname) who looked after the level crossing where the Stokes Bay Railway crossed Little Anglesey Road. When the bridge was originally built it replaced a ford across Stoke Lake so the locals used to trespass on the railway; I presume that Jackie Spencer used to chase them and so it became “his” bridge. Eventually the railway company literally bolted on a footpath on the eastern (Haslar) side. I read in “The News” recently that Alverstoke historian David Maber was researching the subject and was trying to trace some of Spencer’s descendant’s.

– Pat Godfrey, asks, I am currently involved in an extended over dinner discussion regarding the actual name of the spit of land on which Fort Blockhouse – and even Haslar Hospital now stand. The museum (Fortifications Folder)leads me to a small number of possibilities; Gosport Spit, Camp Field (perhaps nearer the Bulwark in Haslar site?), Gosport Point (Gosport Pouint), or most promisingly in one reference to the building of the Blockhouse at Childrode – though whether this is the Western side of the harbour I could not be sure as I can find no other mention. Unfortunately most references/maps I have found to the history of the site refer only to the beginning of Gosport’s defences and the Blockhouse that almost mythically always seems to have been there (1400+). I cannot believe the Romans or Anglo Saxons would not have named the point at least for navigation if not for defensive reasons?.

(VP) Gosport Spit or Point do not sound correct as the land is not within the original Gosport boundaries. Camp Field is a later name for land to the west of Haslar Barracks (the Immigrant Holding Centre) which was used for armies to camp on whilst waiting for naval transport. There is a “Portsmouth Paper” By Godfrey Williams called “The Western Defences of Portsmouth Harbour” (incidentally the best researched book ever written on Gosport’s history) which, on page 8, is reasonably clear about the place being known as Childrode.

– Roland says I’m trying to find an old map to trace a house in Hardway Gosport. In the 1800’s, each house had a name and not a number. I’m trying to find something that can point me to the where abouts of Rose Villa, Grove Road Gosport. Some houses still have the original name plates, others don’t. Do you where I can find this sort of information? Reply from Julie  try 12 Grove Rd.

(VP) The best bet is to check through the 1891 and 2001 Census returns for Grove Road and try to match up the houses. As the Western side of the road had not been built on at that it should not be too difficult. The 1896 Kelly’s Directory may also help.

– Lesley asks, as an ex pupil of Old Elson Infant school, School Road during the mid 1940’s I was wondering if you have or know of any photos available as I have never seen any. I have class photos taken in the school grounds but none of the actual school. I remember the Head Mistress was a Miss Austwick (spelling?) and I also have a strong memory of one particular boy in the class who swore and the teacher rubbed his tongue with the red carbolic soap that was in use in those days. I don’t know if it cured his swearing or not!

(VP) I believe that Gosport Museum have a couple of photographs of Elson School.

– Sue said, in 1731, John Mortimer of ‘Brockhurst, Alverstoke’ died, and in his will bequeathed “2 shops, gate rooms and garden plot etc” to his wife and large family. Over 100 years later, Dr John Mortimer of Gosport, Doctor of Medicine and Medical Inspector of hospitals, in 1853, bequeathed the bulk of his estate to his niece Charlotte, who in 1861 was living in Brockhurst Cottage, Anns Hill. What are the chances that this would have been the same cottage as occupied by the earlier John Mortimer?

(VP) This seems highly unlikely! The 1851 census lists John Mortimer, occupation former Hospital Inspector, living in South Street, Gosport aged 68. He was born in Devon.

– Suzanne asks, I wonder if you can help. I have often noticed a large house behind Stoke Road shops, and cycling past on Sunday I noticed the name on the gate being Bourton House. I wonder if you could tell me any more information on this. When it was built, any photos, whether it has always been a private residence, and if so, do you know who.

(VP) This was used by the Toc-H organisation at some point during the last century. There is a booklet in Gosport Museum about the history of Toc-H in Gosport which might be helpful. The house was built on the site of the Stoke Brewery.

– Tony Weekes in Perth,can you tell me if marriage records for Gosport 1968 are kept in the public domain to the extent they can be accessed via the Net, or where in fact they are stored. Thanks-Tony

(VP) Civil registration within Gosport has always come under Fareham’s registrar in Osbourn Road. There is the GRO index as well which may be available somewhere in Perth.

– We have recently moved to Leesland Road , Gosport and have found that the original house built on this plot was destroyed along with three others during a bombing raid in the 2nd World War. A neighbour lent us his book on the history of Gosport during the war and we found a photo of the actual bomb site. He later told us that he thought a woman and her child were killed in the bombing. We are very interested in the history of the area and in particular the actual bombing of Leesland Road. If you could let us know where we could find any information on this we would be very grateful. Jason Kennedy.

– Have you any idea where I can get a sight of a map showing the locations where bombs landed on Gosport during World War II? Gary Dean

(VP) No one has ever (to my knowledge) produced a map of where the bombs fell in Gosport (unlike Portsmouth). There used to be a “bomb diary” held at Gosport Town Hall, but on last inquiring about it (a few years ago) it had “gone missing”. I seem to recall that there is a list of the names, ages and addresses of civilians who were killed in Gosport in WW2. I think I saw it in the old library before it was reincarnated as the discovery centre.

– Dave Press says, Turn of the century (20th) maps show Forton Creek advancing past what is now Mill Lane and reaching up to what is now Forton Rec. (Coulmere Road). My mother-in-law even lived on Forton Road opposite Bedford Street in the late 60s and she remembers her neighbour saying that these houses used to back onto water-meadow. These days of course, they back onto St Lukes Road. Now, I have countless books and publications on local history and none of them show any pictures of Forton Creek beyond St Vincent. I can not believe that none exist, especially when there appears to be an endless resource of pictures of the Stoke Road area! I would love to see what Forton Road looked like when the creek reached right up to the North side of the road.

(VP) The old mill pond above Mill Lane was bought by the Admiralty in the 1850s and filled in because it had become essentially an open sewer which was blamed (probably correctly)for the high number of deaths to Royal Marines stationed at the barracks (where St Vincent College is now). Gosport Borough Council built The Crossways, and the Mill Pond estate in the 1920s and also laid out Forton Rec. It has always been prone to flooding as it is the lowest point for surface water from Forton and Brockhurst. It would seem that no one found the area interesting enough to take any photographs!

(NB there are copies of an 1832 map on this site showing water from Forton Lake up to opposite Anns Hill Road – Ian Jeffery)

– A friend of mine is trying to trace some ancestors and she has some  documentation stating that one of them lived in ?Dock Village?, Gosport. we now  know that Dock Village was part of, or was very close to Alverstoke. this would be around 1850ish. but I’ve looked at old maps and can find nothing of Dock Village……..Stephen Miles

(VP) Dock Village was the alternative name given to the Seafield area between Stoke Road and the Creek where Mayfield Road and Old Road are now. Care has to be taken when referring to Alverstoke as it was, confusingly, the name of two distinct areas. The ecclesiastical parish originally covered all of what became the Borough in 1922 (except Rowner) although, as the population grew, bits were hived off to smaller parishes like St John’s at Forton, St Thomas’s at Elson, Holy Trinity and St Matthew’s in Gosport etc. The “other” Alverstoke was the bit originally called Stoke which was referred as Alverstoke Village to distinguish it from the larger parish.

– Please can anyone advise me; When did Love Lane change its name to Gordon Road, believed to be between 1881 and 1891. Why did the name change. Is Gordon Road named after General Gordon. Ben (Andy)

(VP) Love Lane would appear to have been given its new name in 1887/88 when it was widened and the new roads on the western side (Tintern and Richmond Roads) were laid out. It is probably named after General Gordon who was very popular at that time.

– I have been asked if there are any books available giving the history of Gosport over the last 60 years, if you know of, or are the author of one please let me know.

(VP) The nearest approximation is “Go Ahead Gosport” from the Gosport Society…

– I wonder if anyone can help with this query? My gt grandfather was born in Portsmouth in 1852, his father was serving in the army at the time, in Anglesey Barracks. The family were Catholics and as Portsmouth was a registered borough, apparently only the established church was allowed to function there. The child was therefore baptised in St Mary’s Roman Catholic Chapel in Gosport. I have just found out that the previous year another child of theirs had died and was presumably buried somewhere.  Does anybody know if the Chapel had a graveyard, or if not where those of the Catholic faith were buried? My e-mail address is

(VP) There was no graveyard to St Mary’s RC chapel in Gosport. After 1855  Catholics were buried in Anns Hill Cemetery – certain plots were set aside for Catholics. Before then it is likely that Church of England burial grounds were used irrespective of denomination. The bit about Portsmouth having no Catholic chapel is incorrect. According to “The Spirit of Portsmouth” by Webb, Quail, Haskell & Riley, page 116 there was a small chapel established by the end of the eighteenth century which was enlarged in the early 1850s when the congregation was about 900 people.