A rural scene near Havant transformed by Dutch Elm Disease

I recently published this black and white photograph captioned Warblington Lane. Thanks to several readers I’ve discovered it is in fact Church Lane, Warblington, in the early part of the last century.

By Bob Hind
Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 3:17 pm
Church Lane, Warblington before Dutch Elm disease changed the scene.Picture: Ralph Cousins's postcard collection.
Church Lane, Warblington before Dutch Elm disease changed the scene.Picture: Ralph Cousins's postcard collection.

Then the lane began at the junction of the A27 but when the new road was built it was diverted and now exits off the roundabout 200 yards east of the original junction.

The lane is overshadowed by elm trees. Under the  branches on the right there is what looks like a stream but is a ditch. On the left the wall is of the garden to the gatehouse entrance to the grounds of Warblington Castle, once the home of Margaret Pole. She was executed on Henry VIII’s orders for being a Catholic, on May 27, 1541. 

On the left in the distance is the Church of St Thomas a’ Becket who was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral on December 29, 1170.

NOW: Church Lane, Warblington, with a Jeep parked where the ditch once ran.

The elm trees went as a result of Dutch Elm Disease in the 1970s completely changing the scene. A vehicle is parked where the ditch was. The wall is still there and the roof of the gatehouse can be partly seen. The church is hidden by the overgrown hedgerow. 

Today this scene is overwhelmed by noise from the A27.

• I expect anyone of an age remembers when homes did not have a fridge let alone a freezer; when windows were covered in ice on cold mornings, on the inside; when the only heat was a fire in the living room, and when housewives shopped every day for fresh supplies.

They were days when everyone walked to the shop and hypermarkets were not dreamed of. Wages were paid weekly in cash and something was put by to save for a special event or to buy clothes.

The cover of A 1950s Portsmouth Childhood which will spark many memories.

If you were part of that era, as I was, then A 1950s Portsmouth Childhood is just the book for you.

Author Valerie Reilly takes you back to a time of shortages and make-do-and-mend.

She invokes wonderful long-forgotten memories when kids wore old socks for gloves and nothing was thrown away until it fell apart.

The 190-page book has many photographs of Portsmouth people. It’s available from New To You Books, High Street, Cosham, at £9.99.