I was looking for information on Aldershot because I am researching my family tree. As I lived there from age about 7 to 19 with my parents on Church Lane East I was interested in other relatives who also lived in Aldershot. I came across your web site and could not resist contributing. I lived on Church Lane East from age about 7 (we moved there in the snow of the 62/63 winter) and I went to Cub Scouts in St Michael's Church Hall and to Scouts about 1967. We used to play in the clay pit and I remember it being a bit of a general dumping ground, although we used to go fishing in the pond and there were a lot of frogs and newts. I think around 1968/9 the St Michaels Scout Group obtained land at the top of the pit and an old army wooden hut, in pieces. The hut was put up on brick pillars, my father helping, and we had access from the lane that ran from the church hall. Is the hut still there? Around the same time as the hut was built a lot of clay was dumped in the top of the pit and a bulldozer used to push it over the edge. I remember the clay cracking in the dry weather a large chunks breaking off and falling down towards the pond.
Feel free to add my comments, I have looked for photos but sadly cannot find any from that time.
This latest recollection matches that of the bulldozer driver who we met at one of our Fundays several years ago. Builders material, soil, hardcore and other rubbish was tipped into the area from an entrance in Evelyn Avenue. Several times a year the bulldozer was trucked in from the Farnborough depot and the dumped material was flattened out and pushed into the old clay pit. Tales of a Scout Hut being onsite match a small outline map held in Hampshire County Councils archive for Chrismas Lodge. Nick has been updated on the eventual demise of the Scout Hut and the land that became Chrismas lodge, and now in development by the Stoll charity.
"As a boy in the late 40s early 50s I used to play there. I lived in Morland Road and attended Park Primary School. I seem to recall that, from the path between St. Michael's Church Hall and Highfield Avenue there was a track which lead to a small cliff which we used to slide down. At the bottom of the cliff there was a small pond, very overgrown and difficult to get to. I used to go fishing there for Roach and Tench. The fish were small and there were lots of weeds. I remember one boy caught a good sized Perch, over 1lb in weight, which caused much excitement. At some later date I went to the works on a school trip, they were manufacturing concrete blocks by hand, and nearby by the Eggars Hill railway bridge, the Mid Wessex Water Company had a pumping station with one or two largish horizontal engines."
We emailed David back with our thanks and asking about the Concrete works and if he remembered who they were. The path David remembered is Croft Lane which goes back many centuries in Aldershot's history, back to when the Monks from Waverley Abbey used the Brickfields area as overnight pasture when taking sheep to London for sale. They would travel a days walk from church to church driving the flock, with St. Michael The Archangel being the first days stop from Waverley. The concrete works we think was Caywood Concrete Products but we cannot find out anything about them or dates when they were there. The water pumping station is still there but we have no knowledge of any horizontal engines, presumably they would have been converted many years ago. The Mid Wessex Water Company site has recently become much smaller as they sold of the surrounding land subsequently re-developed for housing.
"By all means publish my email. I cannot remember much about the concrete works, only that it seemed rather primitive, even then. I suppose that in those post war years every little mattered. I do not recall the date I visited, but it was probably before July 1951, when I left primary school."
While surfing the net I decided to have a look at my birthplace on the web and came across your website. It drew my interest, as I lived in Moorland road and went to school at St. Michaels Secondary School during the late 50s and early sixties. Brickfields along with Rowhill copse was a favourite haunt of my friends and me. While attending St. Michaels I was a member of the Army Cadets and we used the Brickfields as a training ground during 1960 to 1962.
I remember well, spending an afternoon lying in the grass on the western escarpment looking down into the partially filled pit, lost in the beauty of the overgrown but very hypnotic view of natures natural reclamation of the abandoned area. I was supposed to be ambushing an assault team (such were our training war games). The day was warm and balmy, but not so warm that I was drowsy, but more a sinking into the environment and being one with It. The impressions of that afternoon were so strong that after 45 years they are still clear in my memory, and if I could revelry again in that afternoon I would.
Since then I have become involved in our local flora and fauna here in Australia, and I am a member of the local committee responsible for the upkeep, protection and promotion of our local environment. My original interest, I credit, to those early years in some of Englands most beautiful and unspoilt areas.
Listed below are those areas that stay within my memories as significant-
Patersons Pond, Rowhill copse, Brickfields, The area around what we as kids called Old Mother Hubbard's cave, The Hogs Back, Caesars Camp. The area around Basingstoke canal - Between North Lane and North Camp. The area around Runfold. There was also a very large hazel nut tree, in fact so large, that all the multiple trunks had combined to form a single large trunk base with a stage like appearance, about 20 feet in diameter. We liked to think that it was the tree that Robin Hood used as a base camp. It was over in the army training area west of Farnborough near fleet. I forget exactly where. As you can see, we roamed far and wide. They were the days when one felt a lot safer than we do today. From the River Wey south of Farnham, east to Guilford, north to Camberley and east to Basingstoke, we roamed walking or on bicycles, from the age of eight. They were glorious days.
If I were young again, I wouldn't change a moment.
PS. If this letter, in any way, may prove to be useful in the promotion of your Park, by all means, you may publish it."