Village History

20th Century Work


Up till now we have tried to show you what has shaped our village: how it has grown from a small farming hamlet, to one of the largest villages in this corner of Hampshire. The military influence has been well documented; a whole Chapter has been devoted to the Church and Chapel. This Chapter gives an insight into the two main employers of labour before the mobility of the motor car enabled folk to seek work in Andover and Salisbury. It also tries to sketch the leisure pastimes that have flourished and enriched the lives of the Villagers.

Personal Memories of the Hants. and Wilts. Laundry

By 1903 Salisbury Plain had become a training area for the Army, and the building of Tidworth Barracks had started. Hale Laundry from Aldershot decided to open a branch near Tidworth and chose a site in Shipton for the Hants and Wilts Laundry. This site must have been a small farm because I well remember the old chalk-walled farm buildings and 2 adjoining thatched cottages.

My father came down with a Director of Hale Laundry to see the proposed site, and he was asked to come on trial and start the laundry. He was then a young single man so two of his sisters came with him to help. They moved into tine two cottages and workmen were sent down to adapt and alter some of the old buildings and fit the first boiler and machinery. At first, I believe it was all very primitive compared with the washing machines and driers used there today, but I can remember the old laundry very well. My father married in 1905 and by 1912 my parents had five children so we needed both cottages which were then made into one house.

I have happy memories of my early childhood with my brothers and sister and the laundry as our playground, but our lives were disrupted a bit during 1914-1918 War. After 1918 I remember the thousands and thousands of army blankets that were washed in a large circular tub, called a ''Dolly'', which was about 8-9 feet in diameter with big punching holes or thick rods in the centre going up and down. The men wore thick waterproof aprons and the wet blankets were taken out and piled on to wheelbarrows. Outside the wash house was a concreted area with rows of thick horizontal poles and the wet blankets were thrown over them to drip. When they had dripped and were a bit lighter they were loaded on to carts and the horses and carts took them up to the blanket drying fields. Drying fields were used a lot, and I suppose that's why the laundry owned so much land. They had acquired Gilberts Farm and Parsonage Farm, but not Parsonage Farmhouse. They owned all the land south of the Laundry and the 80 acres not used as drying fields, were farmed by tenants

The blanket field stretched from White's Allotments to the Church Allotments. From the Church Allotments to the school playground was a drying ground for sheets, towels etc. This second drying ground, I believe, was used for only a short time and much later became the village football field, and later still, around 1933, Hedges Close was built on it. Less outdoor drying fields were needed because three long drying sheds were built. These long sheds had corrugated roofs, open on both sides and sheets were hung in two tiers on long wooden rods, which could be moved into slots. An arterial well was bored early on and the dirty water was pumped up to the extreme top of the blanket field. Much later one of Mrs. Dabill's grandsons was drowned in this old soakway, he was 3 or 4 years old and lived in Hedges Close. As the years went on more modern machinery was introduced. Between 1918 - 1922 the tall chimney and boiler house was built. This date can be checked when the tall chimney is demolished. A photographer took a picture of Mr. Maynard (the Manager) at the very top of the chimney laying the last brick and placing a coin of the year underneath it.

The large barn behind Parsonage Farm was used to remake Army beds, Charlie Horne and his family re-stuffed the mattresses. The laundry ground, which ran from the school right along Parkhouse, was sold off in plots at a later date. Ernie Frampton, Bruce Gerrat's grandfather, built the first bungalow (Hawthorns) this was the only building in the road, but by 1925 the buildings on this side of the road had increased by a block of 4 tin bungalows next to Hawthorns, followed by the Orchard, Goodwyns, Alwill and another block of four tin bungalows known as Holt's bungalows. In 1925 the first business to operate from Parkhouse Road was a coal, coke and oil merchant. As with the laundry it was first operated by the use of carts and shire horses. These were replaced in the early 1930s by a Ford lorry.

The laundry had electricity before the rest of the village as it installed its own generator.

The first fire I can remember was caused by a damp blanket being left with dry ones, almost like a haystack fire. The next fire was rather bigger (1930 approx.). The laundry house was thatched and although positioned some distance from the fire the sparks were flying onto the thatch, Jack Maynard and a friend were being passed buckets of water to damp down the thatch. It destroyed a lot of the laundry, so the new buildings at the top were built after this and all of the machinery which had been housed in buildings in the middle of the yard were moved to them. The lorries and the dirty blankets had been kept at the top of the site.

When the laundry was shut down for the annual boiler inspection men and boys had to climb inside and sweep the chimney manually. Newer machinery was installed in 1930 and again after World War II. There have also been two more fires in recent years. The Laundry provided employment for 60 people until almost 1989.

[Ed: See the section Since 1984 for changes since the factory closed down.]

Memories Of ''The Pop Factory''

The firm of Allan and Lloyd from Aldershot whose motto was ''We follow the troops'' moved to Shipton when Tidworth Garrison was built. Unlike the laundry, which also came with the troops, it did not employ a large staff. The first building to be put up was made of corrugated iron and still stands today and is used as a garage. The later factory was built in 1912 and is still in use. When Raymond Bradbury joined in 1919, marble bottles were used. The old stone jar with cork stopper and wire clip used for bottling ginger beer finished its run in 1918. The marble stopper bottles or red bottles were gradually phased out and replaced by the metal crown cork bottles. The production with the marble bottles was 80 dozen an hour. On the new plant it was 400 dozen an hour. (The latest plant to be used there.) The plant used in 1919 was still in use in 1939. When putting marble stopper bottles in the machine they had to be the right way up or the marble wouldn't flow and seal the neck and you would end up with a wet and sticky shirt. Pressurized soda syphons were also filled which was quite a dangerous job. If over pressurized they would explode and one man was very badly cut when this happened. Transport for deliveries was horse and cart and these also followed the soldiers across the plain on exercises. In 1910 a small Foden traction engine was used but didn't last long and they reverted to the horse and cart until 1920 when the one motor lorry was introduced and the horse and cart became obsolete. When the horse and cart was used for transport between Shipton and Aldershot and back it was a four day journey with an overnight stop at Basingstoke. Before the Second World War the ''Officer Training Corps'' used to camp in the field beside Ashdown Woods and the Pennings and the factory used to have to supply them with ''old fashioned brewed ginger beer''. The factory was always very well stocked shortly before their arrival with 18 gallon barrels of this.

Hooper-Struve took over the factory in 1953 and had a new plant put in. The old plant could be managed and run by 3 people in the winter more staff were taken on for the summer months. The new plant needed 22 to 24 to man it. With the new plant in, they supplied depots at Exeter, Southampton, Swindon and Aldershot, ''7-Up'' was first made here in 1950 under contract to the Americans, samples of this pop had to be sent to America for testing once a month. Mr. Bradbury was once sent a ribbon to tie on his finger to remind him to do this job as he had forgotten the previous month. Compared with the one lorry previously used, Hoopers had three and an articulated lorry. Canada Dry took over the factory in 1965 and closed down the production side in 1966 using it only as a supply depot. The factory was then closed for a couple of years and was eventually taken over by C. J. Little and is now called ''Screenbase''. It employs 20 people and makes office furniture for the Greater London Council.

Farming

In 1850 the Parish was divided amongst many small farmers. Today the 2000 acres is divided between four farms. Manor Farm and Gilberts Farm, Shipton, Home Farm South Tidworth and Snoddington Farm employ a labour force of less than ten between them.

There are no dairy cattle or pigs in the Parish and occasionally a few sheep on 20 acres near Althorne. The hay is carted in gigantic round bales, untouched by hand, and combine harvesters ensure that the corn harvest is similarly mechanized. Like most villages in present day England, we are no longer ergonomically dependent on the soil.

The hedges that once divided Gilberts Farm into small fields have been grubbed out long ago. Fortunately the Defence Land Agent has not allowed this to happen on Manor Farm, which still retains most of its hedges, dating back to the Enclosure Act 1800. The D.L.A. has however, sanctioned a new plantation on the ridge between Ashdown Woods and the Croft Wood. This will, when mature, destroy the view of the bare top of the downs, which is a feature of the Plain.

Click on the thumbnail to see the full photo of cows being driven up the High Street near Garden and Hamble House in 1920.

Ordnance

For those who could not find work in the Laundry or "Pop" factory, the route to Tidworth was short. A crowded double decker bus and a multitude of bicycles conveyed these workers daily to the Ordnance Depot. Fortunately, when this was shut in the fifties, increased mobility enabled these workers to seek work further afield

The Village School

Work or leisure, take your pick, but it is the attendance at the local school that is the nub of a community. Perhaps this is less so in a highly mobile society where most of our activities today have a happy blend of so called old and new villagers and the distinction is blurred.

Our first school was built opposite the Boot Inn by Reverend Cotton in 1858. The first teachers were the Misses Halls who lived behind the Forge at the Old School House.

The 60 or so children were all in one room and when the school leaving age was raised from twelve hears to fourteen years the school became overcrowded, especially with the influx of population from 1900 onwards. No wonder His Majesty's Inspectors complained that the children were very backward due to overcrowding.

In 1908 the school had to be closed, because of an outbreak of scarlet fever and isolation tents were erected at Snoddington.

A new school was needed and discussions with County Officials, Church Officials and the Parishoners continued over several years. Meanwhile the Mission Hall in Salisbury Road offered their rooms to accommodate the pupils. Eventually H. C. Stephens, Chairman of the Parish Council, offered a site where the present school now stands, in trust forever for the benefit of the children of Shipton. (The Charity Commissioners are still debating the ownership of the capital outstanding from the recent sale of the School House).

The new school at last was opened in 1912 with Mr. Muscott as Headmaster. He had an unhappy relationship with the school managers because of his taxi business and at the end of World War I, Mr. Johnston became Headmaster.

Most of the resident senior citizens remember him well, as he was also church organist. He was an eccentric but dedicated teacher, always striving for scholarship from his pupils. Roy Home was the first pupil to gain admittance to Andover Grammar School. Johnny Johnston, as he was called, also had the pupils cultivating a small allotment, growing apples and soft fruit on the play area behind the school. He also had a remarkable old Jowett. Its' solid tyres came off half a dozen times when he once took the school football team to Burbage. During this period Army huts were purchased and erected on the playground as additional classrooms and many village infants started their schooling there.

After Mr. Johnston moved to Otterbourne Mrs. Astle was temporary Head from 1931 - 1934 and the children produced a village census.

Adults 511
Children198
Sheep 936
Cattle 240
Horses 56
Pigs 56
Goats 7
Beehives10

From 1934 to 1946 Miss Hyson was Headteacher. She took a group of children to London on Empire Day 1937. She had to cope with the arrival of 20 evacuees from Portsmouth in 1940, resulting in a rota system and part time schooling. However, this was the year when the new Senior School at Tidworth Down was opened and Shipton became a school for only the Juniors and Infants

From 1946 to 1967 Mrs. Semple was Headmistress. A new kitchen was built to provide school meals under the new Education Act. It was not until 1958 that flush toilets replaced the old outside peat bogs and with new classrooms and a new hall - the school took its present shape.

Click on the Thumbnail left for a School Picture from 1925-26

The village was still expanding and when Mr. Russell came in 1967 mobile classrooms had to be erected in the playground. Mr. Booth became Head in 1982 and although 50% of the pupils are now service children, the school still plays a large part in the local Community.

Shipton Bellinger

Shipton Bellinger with it's country air,
The local school with the children there
In the play-ground in the yard,
Some play nice, some play hard.
People use the local Park,

They play on swings and have a lark,
With army houses scattered all around,
Amongst the locals friendship we found.
Written by one of the above service children

Two ex-pupils later taught at their own school: Connie Bradbury (née Maynard) - 1928 to 1970 and Sam Hart - 1947 to 1954

Village Hall

A study of the Parish Council Minutes reveals that the subject of a Village Hall has been of concern for many years. In 1910, some villagers raised money for a Working Men's club and the subject of a hall was dropped.

In the First World War, the Australians stationed in the village, built a corrugated iron extension onto the Church Hall (the old village church school building in the High Street, opposite the Boot), as a canteen. After they left this was used by the village until 1971, when it was thought to be unsafe and inadequate

An abortive attempt was made to raise money for a new hall in the 1960s, but this came to nothing, as no grant money was available at that time. The Parish Council decided to use the funds then collected (which included a £1000 grant from the Playing Fields Association) for the building of the Sports Pavilion in 1976, with the hope of extending it later.

The considerable expansion of the village meant, however, that the provision of a Community Centre remained a matter of concern and in 1983, discussions took place with representatives of the County Council and Test Valley Borough Council, with a view to obtaining grants from the Authorities. It appeared that the grants would be forthcoming, as long as the village raised its share. So a fundraising committee was formed, under the chairmanship of Brigadier Neil Fletcher. Over eighteen months, a supreme effort was made and £17,000 was raised, £4,000 of which was donated by the Parochial Church Council, being the proceeds of the sale of the old church hall. Grants made up the remainder of the £70,000 required as follows:

County Council £35,000

Test Valley BC £8,250

Parish Council £8,250

On 31st August 1985, the new Village Centre, built on the Recreation Ground, was formally opened by the Olympic Show Jumper, Lucinda Green (née Prior-Palmer), from Appleshaw and it is in regular use by the Youth Club, badminton players, for short bowls, drama, dances and private parties.

[Waiting for PICTURE OF LAYING OF FIRST BRICK AT THE VILLAGE CENTRE]

Shipton Bellinger's Womens Institute (WI)

One of the oldest organizations in the Village is the Shipton Bellinger branch of the WI, which was formed in 1933 under the Presidency of Mrs. Formby, who lived at 'Althorne'. The meetings were held monthly in the Church Hall, adjoining the Old School Room. The wide range of activities, which took place, included a Drama Society and a Choral Society. The WI concept of improving life in the countryside was also acted upon, and as far back as 1936, there were recommendations from the members to the Parish Council that there should be a 30mph speed limit along the A338 Salisbury Road! The members also looked after the War Memorial for seven years.

The outbreak of war In 1939 saw the ladies of the WI rallying to the needs of the Country, helping out with evacuation, knitting for the forces, Red Cross and various hospitals, fund-raising for many good causes, such as St. Dunstans and Prisoners of War. They also set up a Fruit Preservation Centre and produced 500 lbs of jam in one season! A meat pie scheme was started and 320 meat pies were baked each Thursday by Mr. Borden, who was then the Village baker, helped by Wl members and greatly appreciated by a village on meagre rations. From the dark days of war, through the years of peace, the WI has interested itself in a wide variety of handicrafts and skills. It has always tried to keep abreast of current affairs and tried to improve not only the quality of life in the countryside, but in the Country as a whole.

Allotment & Garden Association

In August 1950, four members of the old Tidworth Allotment Association decided to form their own C1ub in Shipton Bellinger. This was called ''Shipton Bellinger & District Allotment & Garden Association''.

Monthly meetings were held for the first year, then it was decided to hold an Annual meeting with Committee meetings in between. Records were very scarce in the early stages and it was not until 1952 that true records were kept

The first Association Flower Show was held in the old School Rooms on 25th August 1951. At this time, when people were still being asked to grow as much food as possible, all straight fertilizers carried a government subsidy, therefore a typical price list ranged from ls, 2d. (6p) to 2s. 2d. (11p) per 7lb, this worked out at less than half on shop prices. Membership Fees were 2s. 6d. per annum.

Membership is now nearly 100 and the Society runs a Spring Flower Show besides the Annual Flower Show in September when exhibitors compete for about 20 trophies.

One founder member Ron Talbot, has propagated his own individual dahlia "Sarum Queen", which the Horticultural Society has accepted as a new variety.

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Page Last Updated: 21st September 2005