Community NewsGosport

Mistress who wanted her maids ‘bangs to rights’


By Pam Marsden

AN INTEREST in buildings and their inhabitants blossomed during lockdown and became the subject of a fascinating presentation at the meeting of Stokes Bay WI.

Joyce Neville and Dorrie Crabbe, later joined by Penny Webb, explored the back streets of Gosport and in doing so found very different properties.

Their research led them to builders, occupiers, their occupations and households.

Joyce said: “Our curiosity about the occupiers overtook the initial interest in the architecture. Research included a trip to the Hampshire Records Office in Winchester to try to unravel some confused ‘facts’ contained in local publications.”

Members recognised pictures of buildings around Gosport from 1800 onwards and compared the originals with the present-day properties.

Research uncovered a host of distinguished occupants: Joseph Gibson a Gosport wine merchant (mercer and draper); Amelia Snow who required her parlourmaids to be tall and Church of England with no fringe; William McKinley Clay (retired from the Indian Civil Service), and Arthur Nicholson, of Camper Nicholson, who donated the ground for Foster Gardens where our Stokes Bay WI commemorative tree is planted.

During the presentation members heard that the centre of Alverstoke village boasted four public houses: The Lamb, in Church Road; The Five Bells, on the corner of Church Road and Little Lane; The Sir Charles Napier (now demolished), on the corner of Village Road and The Avenue; and The Village Home, the only one remaining.

There are fascinating tales attached to them all and everyone agreed our very own ‘History Girls’ should return with even more of the tales they have unearthed about local families, businesses and buildings.

A ‘sightseeing’ walk for members, to take in some of Gosport’s hidden treasures, is planned for the warmer weather.

PICTURED: The Stokes Bay WI ‘History Girls’, from left, Penny Webb, Joyce Neville and Dorrie Crabbe