The vicar of Lee-on-the-Solent looks at the history of the town
Recently, I’ve been reading about the history of Lee-on-the-Solent.
We know a lot about its history because it’s so short – the town was only established in the 1880s.
Before that, other than a very few older buildings, the whole area was just fields leading down to the sea.
The Robinson family, who had the idea for Lee-on-the-Solent, provided the initial finances for the town, and laid out its first streets – the roads around St Faith’s Church, High Street, the seafront, and some of the roads in Elmore.
Over time the Robinsons’ plan developed, and even after they ceased to be involved Lee continued to change, with the tower built on the seafront and extra roads added to the growing community.
In 1931, around the time the current St Faith’s building was constructed, the population of Lee-on-the-Solent was 2,700; by 1961 it was 4,400; by 1981 it was 7,000, and today, now that the Cherque Farm estate has been built, it is around 11,000. Not bad for a little seaside town which 140 years ago didn’t exist.
One thing I haven’t been able to find out is how long the St Faith’s Summer Fete has been going.
I suspect it’s been quite a while, possibly even close to the founding of the town. And although there’s been a lot of change over the years, the fete is a tradition which we still keep going.
Tomorrow from 10am to 2pm St Faith’s is holding this year’s fete – and you’re all invited.
It is a traditional fete for the whole community. We’ve got things for children – inflatables to play on, a magic roundabout, and more – and things for adults who think they’re children – a test-your-strength machine, pole jousting.
We’ve got food and live music; stalls selling crafts, beauty products, homemade baby clothes, books, cakes and jewellery; and the fire brigade and community police coming with their vehicles.
We’ve even got a plate-smashing stall, raising money for our local First Responders.
Last year one of our guests said ‘This is fantastic – I didn’t realise these kinds of fetes still happened.’
Well, they do. Do join us tomorrow and enjoy a Lee tradition which is still going strong.
St Faith’s Church is in Victoria Square, Lee-on-the-Solent.
Go to stfaithslee.org.uk