Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Goodbye Cherry Grange

Cherry Grange was not a widely known building through its name, but most us who have either lived at Camp or passed regularly along Camp Road, will have known its fine, but slightly austere front elevation.  Well, Cherry Grange is no more, having been demolished earlier this month so that the plot can be redeveloped.

Constructed in the first decade of the twentieth century, it was occupied for many years by Mr J Godseff and his wife.  Mr Godseff was a manager at Sander's Orchid Nursery near the town end of Camp Road, where is today's blue bridge.  Until Oxford Avenue was laid in the 1930s Cherry Grange occupied one corner of an expansive smallholding and fruit orchard.

Demolitions of buildings in our district remind us to check that there exists a record of them and other infrastructure before changes take place.  This may not necessarily be complete demolition, but could involve structural changes, such as extensions, added or removed features, or changes of name boards.

While many may mourn the loss of buildings they have come to love or live with, we have to move on, and the demolition of Cherry Grange will be part of that moving on in a section of Camp Road.  If the proposals include similar properties to those on the opposite corner of Oxford Avenue, a few more households will be joining the Camp community.

For me, the record of Cherry Grange came just in time, and last summer I took this photograph, among others.


On Sunday last the eighth Fleetville Festival took place at its new home of St Paul's Church.  Although there was no full orchestra this year, there were ensembles and choral works, including songs and a recorder group from Fleetville Infants and Junior schools respectively.

It seems that the annual Fleetville Diaries' exhibition, Camp, was well anticipated, judging by the numbers of visitors it generated.  Many people inquired where it would appear again during the year. Although we have one or two booked "pop-up" dates, if any organisations would like to accommodate it for a few days during the year, please email the site at saoee@me.com

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Mr Lupton

We have heard recently of the ongoing competition between the major supermarket companies, and the inroads being made by smaller groups such as Aldi.  With grocery shops around many street corners, competition must have been similarly fierce among the small independent traders before WW2.

Regular readers of this blog will already know of the continuing search for pictures of early shop frontages in and around Fleetville and Camp, so this week it is a delight to show a photo submitted by Ian Tonkin.   It is also rather earlier in time than many, having been taken in either 1908 or 1909.  We can be this precise because Mr Lupton was only at these premises during those two years, although he traded at other addresses in Fleetville at other times.

The shop is at the corner of Hatfield Road and Glenferrie Road, which later would be S G Brown's Dairy (Hedges Dairy) and later still Express Dairy.  Today it is a glass shop.

In typical pose is, presumably, Mr William Lupton with an assistant – or perhaps a brother – and two boys.  There are also two bicycles, so they are possibly delivery boys.

The County Council had recently kerbed and paved Hatfield Road, but it would be some years before the property owners of the parallel roads would agree to make up those roads for which they were responsible.  The front of the shop is neatly paved, but not Glenferrie Road!

Ian also submitted a second photo, because he recognised the name Butler's on the van.  Butler's Garage was on the corner of Hatfield Road and Cavendish Road – houses occupy the site today.  Misfortune had fallen upon a van, which may have been an early electric vehicle, perhaps for the delivery of milk.  The location is not known, but may have been in Hatfield Road, between the Lemsford Road junction and the railway bridge.

On the main site are two more school photos, courtesy of Jean Smith, and taken at the Oakwood Drive buildings of Beaumont School.  From 1938 to 1953 the Girls' School occupied the top floor of the main building; its playground and field was on the north side of the site – now lost underneath modern classrooms and workshops.  Headmistress Miss Ellis is in one of the photos.  Now the hunt begins for the names of the many girls who appear.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

It used to be called Camp Lane

This week's focus is Camp – as it was three weeks ago when we compared two photographs from different eras at Camp School, and the most recent one was 1938!  It was just possible that readers might recognise faces, and so it proved.  As soon as possible the version of the photos which appear on the website (School Groups 2) will have the names of those identified added.

Meanwhile the work undertaken during the winter to create the 2014 Fleetville Diaries' exhibition is complete.  CAMP: the place on The Hill where the Militias trained will have its first airing on Sunday 23rd March at the Fleetville Festival.  In previous years this event took place at Fleetville Junior School, but has now been relocated to St Paul's Church, beginning at 3pm.  There are more details on the Welcome page of the website.

The exhibition contains forty-five photos, together with a short story for each.  You'd be amazed at what you didn't know about this eastern residential district, which spreads from the bottom of Camp Hill all the way to Ashley Road.  Unless, of course you've never lived anywhere else.

The exhibition will also appear at Larks in the Parks at Fleetville Rec on Sunday 29th June.  Like other good 'pop-ups' look out for it at other locations during the year.

Linked to the exhibition is a new guided walk for 2014.  A Ramble Along Camp Lane takes place on the evening of Thursday 29th May, starting at 7pm.  However, twenty-five places only are available.  Booking details are available on this website and that of Fleetville Diaries.

How much Camp has changed.  Some years ago someone who had grown up in the district recalled the fields on each side of Camp Road, and how disappointed she was that they became built on.  That the rubber works came, and then went again; but in its place lots of people now have places to live at Dexter Court.  She remembered the open space at the Spring Field, between Camp Road and Cell Barnes Lane, now the location for the houses which line those roads and Springfield Road.  And the "wonderfully open fields"  on either side of Cell Barnes Lane, now home for hundreds of families.  The district is thriving and evolving: the library arrived, and then went; Mrs Harris' shop opened, stayed for a good number of decades, and then closed.  Businesses such as Mr Crain's taxi and coach operation occupied the triangular space near Ely Road, but is no more.

Is Camp a better place than it was?  Or is it just that it is different?  Do we like it as it was, or as it is? How would we like it to be better.  They sound like questions from a survey, don't they, but we are frequently making our personal judgements about the place where we live.  In one sense we don't want it to change, but in another ...