The Heritage100 Road Show met up with 9 regular users of the Hampshire Record Office. Everyone enjoyed looking at the website together and the discussion was lively throughout the morning.
The picture of the 1925 Shell Poster, which is on display at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu, prompted one member of the group to recall seeing such posters on railway carriages and in stations. The posters were usually produced by talented young artists and were aimed at encouraging people to explore the British countryside. This particular poster (drawn by Dominic Charles Fouqueray (1869-1956) was considered an especially beautiful example of the art and is part of a collection of 7,000 Posters in the Shell Art Collection at the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu.
The Group then looked at the items on the website from the Hampshire Archives; in particular the Jane Austen’s ‘Marriage Records’. Austen’s father had been a Rector at Steventon in Hampshire and Jane had filled in a specimen page at the front of the Marriage register with fake details of several marriages for herself!
This item was displayed at the Roadshow event, and so the group lucky enough to see Jane Austen’s handwriting for themselves.
Also on display was the First Winchester Charter which was given by Henry II to the citizens of the Winchester Merchant Guild, granting them freedom from tolls, passage and custom. This can be dated to 1155 or 1158 and one of the witnesses to the document was Thomas the Chancellor (i.e. Thomas a Becket).
An album of fairground photographs from the Record office led to lively reminiscences with people remembering about how fairs came to their villages every year and set up for a few days on waste ground. This would be a major event in the life of most villagers in the days before themes parks and would sport such attractions as “The Tattooed Lady” or “The World’s Thinnest Man”. Or as one man remembered “The Naked Lady” who was allowed to be on display nude as long as she didn’t move! In Lyndhurst there used to be a circus that came every year which relied heavily on animal entertainment – most of which wouldn’t be permitted today.
One man talked of how his mother who had been born in 1901 had been enthralled by the street lights she had seen when visiting Oxford or Swindon because in her home village street lighting did not exist. People reminisced about the days when they played out as children and how with no watch between them they relied on their stomachs to tell them when it was time to go home.
Another person told how in the 1950’s there was a lot of ex-forces equipment that came up for sale and his family had used an old army truck for day trips, taking with them a primus stove and other camping equipment of the day.
People remembered how long the bus trips used to be going from the Hampshire borders to Southsea or getting up at four a.m. for a day trip to Weymouth. If you went on the Coach to Bognor or Little Hampton and had a treat of a fish supper on the way home that was more or less your annual holiday.
When on a trip to Bournemouth, one person’s mother had bought him a toy yacht which he and his granddaughter had taken out and sailed only recently.
At one school a local woman had left money in her will so that all the children could have a day trip to the seaside and be given sixpence for an ice cream.
Looking at the box of old pounds shillings and pence reminded people that it used to 1s 9d to go to the cinema. One man had joined the Navy in 1958 and been paid 10s a week which he said had seemed a good sum of money.
Several of the group brought along items of their own to talk about:
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