Biplane photograph stirred up memories of Dr How

Dr Tony Wakeford's family heirloom showing the plane outside his great grandfather's home at Hayling Island
Dr Tony Wakeford's family heirloom showing the plane outside his great grandfather's home at Hayling Island
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The recent photographs from a century ago of the Bristol biplane on the seafront at Hayling Island delighted Dr Tony Wakeford.

Readers will recall that the plane made several flights from Hayling out over the Solent to conduct experiments in October 1911.

The Bristol biplane next to Green's tea rooms and a couple of bathing machines at Hayling Island in October 1911  PICTURE: Mick O'Farrell

The Bristol biplane next to Green's tea rooms and a couple of bathing machines at Hayling Island in October 1911 PICTURE: Mick O'Farrell

In passing I mentioned that when a storm blew up the flimsy-looking aircraft was run up under a doctor’s ‘bungalow’ for protection. The doctor was a Dr How.

Dr Wakeford, from Rustington, West Sussex, is the great grandson of Dr George Henry How.

He said: ‘Although no stories have passed down through the family, I do have this rather nice picture from the family collection of the aircraft in front of the old Victoria Reading Rooms with a large group of people that include some family members.

‘This is probably the building referred to as Dr How’s bungalow – albeit a rather grand palladian-style building.

‘Although the common was open to all, the land in front of the Crescent was owned by Dr How for the entire width of what would have been the completed Crescent down to the high water mark.’

He added: ‘The family lived in Norfolk House, the principal residence to the west end of the Crescent.

‘1911 was a very sad year for my family as Dr How’s eldest son Harold George Budd How had died earlier in the year, aged 18, in Taunton from septicaemia whilst studying for Holy Orders.’

Dr Wakeford wonders if any Hayling people can recognise their forebears?

Meanwhile, Pam Wilkins (nee Marshall) also got in touch about the picture which showed the plane outside Green’s Tea Rooms.

She said her late mother, Betty, who had a similar photograph, always referred to the building as the Bath House.

Pam, of Heyshott Road, Southsea, said: ‘Rebecca and Alfred Green, who ran the tea rooms, were her mother’s parents – her grandparents, my great grandparents.

‘Rebecca was born just outside Lowestoft, the daughter of a Mary Anne Garrard. There was a family legend that Mary Anne’s father was French, but we have never gone back far enough to find any proof of this.

‘I am not sure if the Greens ran the tea rooms as early as 1911. I believe at one time they had a shop in Shanklin, on the Isle of Wight’

Pam added: ‘My mother was born in 1918, the youngest of six (although another brother arrived eight years later) and I know the whole family used to move over there [Hayling] from Havant during the summer as her mother worked at the tea rooms.

‘As they got older the boys attended Churcher’s College and the girls Petersfield High School, which meant an early morning walk across the common to catch the Hayling Billy to Havant and on to Petersfield.’