Glorious view of Langstone Harbour while sipping a pint | Nostalgia

On March 18 I wrote an article about Hill House that stood on Bedhampton Hill, Bedhampton.

Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 3:09 pm
Updated Tuesday, 30th March 2021, 3:17 pm
Prospect Cottage, formerly the Cat and Fiddle pub, Bedhampton Hill. Picture: Lionel Fawkes/Bedhampton Historical Society collection.

It has since emerged that my source material was wrong. Thanks to Jill Munden, Ron Tate, Maureen Beirne and Nigel Westerman for putting me straight.

Hill House was next door to Prospect Cottage, the building that was once the Cat and Fiddle pub and where Fred Jane of Jane’s Fighting Ships fame lived.

In the 1910 watercolour by Lionel Fawkes you see Prospect House overlooking Langstone Harbour. Hill House would have been to the left of the cottage.

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The redundant playing fields of Oak Park School, Havan,t in 1992, several years after the school’s closure. Picture: Bob Hind

Bedhampton Hill runs behind the hedge. In the distance is Marsh Lane leading to the Victorian brick-built bridge over the railway line. In the mid-distance is the ancient hedgerow of Lower Road.

On the left of the cottage is a track which led to a chalk pit now covered by housing in Nelson Road.

• Here’s one for the thousands of ex-Oak Park, Havant, schoolboys. In 1992 I visited the then closed Oak Park Secondary Modern School, later a comprehensive mixed school.

I was lucky enough to take a couple of reels of film as the school was demolished shortly after.

Nearly 30 years later the playing fields have been built on. The tree remains, but for how long? Picture: Bob Hind

The gym had already gone, but I must be the only one with a record of the former boys’ school buildings.

The girls’ school was built as a mirror image although the main hall was shared. That school closed in the late 1980s.

I walked the former playing fields which, when I was at the school, had three rugby pitches, two football pitches, a hockey pitch plus a quarter mile running oval with a cricket pitch in the middle. There was also long and high jump sandpits.

I walked to the south end of the fields and took the photograph of the tree looking north with Crosslands Drive in the far distance.

I made another visit last week nearly 30 years on, and what changes. Most of the field has been built on with many of the roads named after former headmasters and headmistresses, as they were called in my day.

Playing fields at schools were all down to one man, Admiral James, a former C-in-C Portsmouth later MP for Portsmouth North. It was down to him and his speeches in parliament demanding that children must have grass to run on and not hard playgrounds. After the war nearly all schools were built with playing fields attached.

On the right of the 1992 photograph are two old barns. the distant one was used by the groundsman, Ollie, to keep his mowers. The nearer one housed the hurdles for the 100-yard running track. All the pitches were immaculate.

A message from the editor, Mark Waldron.

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