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Holy Ghost Cemetery & South View - a virtual visit, Part 2
25-inch to one mile Ordnance Survey Maps
As mentioned on the Part 1 webpage, the extracts of Hampshire & Isle of Wight Sheet XVIII.8 can be followed from 1870 to 1937. Each link will take you to an enlarged view of the area of interest and each will open in a new webpage to allow comparison of the maps. (You may need to allow pop-ups to see the new map pages.)
Debbie Reavell's excellent account of the area will give a explanantion of the development of housing north of the Cememtery.
Starting Point: Follow the path, which runs from the anti-tank blocks, northwards to reach Burgess Road. Photo 1, as can be confirmed on the first of the 25-inch maps linked above, are the two oldest houses on this road. To the right of these buidlings is Oakley Lodge, which is an example of the larger homes built on the corner plots where, in this case, Burgess Road joined with Vyne Road. Walk westwards, away from Vyne Road, with the Allotments on your left and you will see a variety of late 19th and early 20th century houses. Near the end of Burgess Road, on the left, is the Church Hall for the Holy Ghost RC church; the hall, dating from 1878, was the original church building. Around the corner is the entrance to the current church - Photo 2, built in 1900-01 by Joseph Tigwell.
The housing, across the road from the church, was some of the earliest council housing in Basingstoke. A plaque, now obscured by a garden hedge, commemorates the building of 210 houses and is dated 1920. The route now continues northwards up Sheborne Road until Cromwell Road is reached on the right. On the left side of this road is found an early Victorian post box. This road has a similar mix of housing styles and ages including some later 20th Century buildings. At the junction of Cromwell and Vyne Roads the original houses occupied a large plot; Debbie Reavell gives some details:
The corner of Cromwell and Vyne north side had a large house, for many years in the 20th century the home of popular local GP, Dr Douglas Watt and his family. The house was demolished in the 1990s and four homes are now on the site of this large home. It was the home of Francis Hillary, J.P. who was in business as a monumental mason. The house was known as The Peak, although in Dr Watt’s time it was known as ‘Greensleeves’.
At the end of Cromwell Road, turn left into Vyne Road and left again into Richmond Road. Study of the O.S. 25-inch maps will reveal that development proceeded from the south of the area with Richmond Road being much less built-up by the beginning of the 20th century when compared to Burgess and Cromwell roads. Three pairs of houses, which can be found on the north side towards the western end, were built at the end of the 19th century. Photo 3, below shows the 'elegant pressed or moulded tile decoration' (Reavell p.22) on these properities. Across the road from these 19th century additions stands Temple Towers, photo 4. 'The architect and builders of Temple Towers in Richmond Road were Mussellwhite. These flats, with their art nouveau influenced canopies, date from 1933.' (Reavell, p.22).
Turn right at the end of the road and continue northwards up Sherborne Road and then turn right again into Darlington Road. Across the road, new 21st century building can be seen in what were the extensive grounds of, another large corner plot, Sherborne House. 'This is one of Basingstoke’s only surviving ‘gentleman’s residences’ from the age when men walked to their place of business. We know that this house was built by William H Bayley between 1871 and 1881. He had previously lived in South View house. He was a solicitor, town clerk and clerk to all sorts of town committees and charities – his name turns up everywhere.' (Reavell, p. 23) However, development of the south side of Darlington Road proceeded very slowly; even at the outbreak of WW2 very few houses were to be found here. On the north side of the road, land had been granted to Basingstoke for a covered reservoir. To the east of this area is sited the former 'St. Thomas' Home for the Friendless and Fallen'. A report on this venture has been written for the Victoria County History. Photo 5 shows part of the accommodation for the 'Friendless & Fallen'. For a large number of images of the Home visit a part of the Historic England Archive which has 79 images - the final 14 all relate to St. Thomas'. Across the road was the home of the warden, photo 6. The plaque shown commemorates the granting of the land by Sir Wyndham S Portal.
Getting to Basingstoke: With the relaxation of the 'lockdown' rules it would be possible to have a self-guided walk around the area. If arriving by car, the nearest public car park is 'Vyne Meadow' - the post code is RG21 5NA - and parking will be £1 for the whole day on a Sunday. Alternatively, each of the roads to the north of the Holy Ghost Cemetery has some public parking with no parking restrictions on a Sunday, according to the signs. If travelling by train, then turn left on leaving the station and turn left again to take a subway under the railway lines; once through the tunnel turn left again and walk towards the Great Western PH (currently boarded up); across from the pub is an area of open space. N.B.: Particular care should be taken in the cemetery where the ground can be very uneven, particularly where rabbits have made their burrows.
Any questions about the Landscape Section?
Then email Mike Broderick Landscape Section Chairman