The story of Private Timothy O’Hea

Was your ancestor ever in the army? Do you have a medal for an unknown soldier? Want to find out more about what they did and where they went? These questions could be answered by sources at Hampshire Archives and Local Studies which can reveal amazing stories of bravery and heroism from the past.


Continue reading “The story of Private Timothy O’Hea”


Mysteries in the archives

In most of our blog posts, we take the opportunity to introduce you to documents held at Hampshire Record Office that we know something about. The main qualification for items to appear this week, by contrast, is that we don’t know much about them, or at any rate not as much as we should like to.

When we catalogue documents, we do try to work out the places and people that they relate to, although this can take a little detective work: sometimes, for instance, we can identify the location of a building shown in a photograph by comparing it with other photographs of a likely building. Most of the photographs that we receive arrive as part of the archive of a family, an estate or an organisation, and that can give us a clue to the likely location.

There are times, however, when there are no clues that give us any idea of the likely area to look in. It’s frustrating to think that a photograph we are struggling to identify may be the only illustration we hold of a particular scene, but if we cannot work out where it was taken, future researchers will be unable to make use of it.

f 79a01-G1-05Can you identify this pub?

Continue reading “Mysteries in the archives”

Capturing Christmas

Hampshire Record Office is home to 8 miles of shelving, housing over a million items, containing everything from medieval pipe rolls to 1970s 8mm cinefilm.  Amongst these many miles of archive items nestle a host of festive gems, glimpses of a bygone era and insights into Christmas past.

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The custom of sending Christmas cards was begun in 1843 by Sir Henry Cole and has since become a mainstay of the festive period. 678.9 million Christmas cards were sent in the United Kingdom in 2010.  Hampshire Archives and Local Studies has an assortment of Christmas cards dating back to the mid-late 19th century.  Included in our collection are some beautiful hand-painted cards depicting flowers, butterflies, horses and Christmas messages.  There are also some wonderful original Christmas cards including a cat knitting next to a stocking with the message ‘Stock-in Greetings’.  The artwork for the card was created by Louis Wain, an English artist best known for his drawings of large eyed-cats and kittens with anthropomorphised features –perfectly displayed in this Christmas card.  Continue reading “Capturing Christmas”

Practical War Memorials: A peal of bells

At this time of year, our thoughts often turn to those lost in conflicts across the globe, with Remembrance services held locally and nationally. Services are frequently held at war memorials, from the Cenotaph in London to local memorials on village greens or in parish churches.

War memorials take many forms. They are commemorative, but some are also practical. I know of two bus shelters erected as village war memorials; in another county, the war memorial fund was used to install electricity in a church, and the plaque is on the fuse box in the vestry! Continue reading “Practical War Memorials: A peal of bells”

Watermills and Windmills

 The Old Mill Wheel part1The Old Mill Wheel part2Letter from H W Veck to Tom Duke and the latter’s reply, re James Duke and a poem, by Alf Beck, entitled ‘The Old Mill Wheel’, 1969 (ref: 4M91/73)

For hundreds of years mills have provided us with a power source, and although working mills are now few and far between, the Domesday survey of 1086 references 300 or so watermills in Hampshire alone!  Although the waters in and around Hampshire provided ideal conditions for watermills, the county also had its share of windmills.  Windmills have been in existence in this country since the 12th century, although sadly very few have survived in Hampshire.  Early watermills and windmills were made of wood, however as they were very vulnerable to fire they were rebuilt and replaced by stone or brick.  Mills provided power for the production of flour, cutting timber (saw mills), cleaning textiles (fulling mills) and producing paper.  To better understand how these mills worked, why not visit the record office and view some of the documents we hold in our archives.  We also have some very informative books available from our local studies library, which can be found in the searchroom.

The Domesday Survey showed at least one mill based at Eling, however it is difficult to say whether this was in fact a tide mill, as is present today.  Eling Tide Mill is located in the New Forest district and sits on a causeway off Southampton Water.  It is the one of two fully working tide mills in the whole of the United Kingdom and produces flour on a regular basis (currently undergoing work and reopening in Spring 2018).  By the late 1930s only one of the two waterwheels was in use and by the 1940s the mill was using oil as a power source.  Milling then ceased in the 1940s, although the building was still in use. Fortunately it survived this period and restoration work began in the 1970s; the result is a working tide mill!

Eling Tide MillEling: Eling Tide Mill (postcard postmarked 22 Nov 1905) (ref: HPP63/019)

Another restored and working mill in Hampshire is the Bursledon Windmill.  The only working windmill in Hampshire; a corn mill which produces its own flour, it has been in situ for 200 or so years and fell into disrepair for many years.  Various projects spanning from 1978-2014 have seen the windmill restored to its former glory, and it has now been reopened to the public.

Bursledon WindmillBursledon: Bursledon Windmill, 1902 (ref: 12A05/7/4)

Leases, sales particulars and legal documents such as an indenture or abstract of title can provide useful insight into the owners, occupiers and millers.  The below image is taken from an ‘abstract of title’ and documents the history of ownership for Chewton Mill, covering the period 1741-1808.

Abstract of title

Abstract of title of the Earl of Morton to a messuage, mill and lands at Chewton in the parochial chapelry of Miton, purchased from Robert Young, 1741-1808 (ref: 2M30/291)

‘And also all that mill commonly called or known as Chuton Mill situate standing and being in Chuton foresaid then in the possession tenure or occupation of John Norris together with all the arable meadow and pasture ground thereunto belonging containing in the whole by estimation 25 acres more or less together with dwelling house barn and stable to the said mill belonging.’

Sale particulars
Sale particulars of Lower Fulling mill and dwelling house, Whitchurch, 1901 (ref: 46M84/F101/22)

The above sales particulars are for the auction of the Whitchurch Fulling Mill, situated on The Weirs.  For many years, the mill formed part of the Winchester Dean and Chapter Estate, and our catalogue includes a great many leases and counterparts for the mill and the water.  Fulling mills were typically used to cleanse cloth, usually wool, for the textile industry.  As with many mills, Whitchurch Fulling Mill came complete with a dwelling house and land.

INewspapern 1908 a small newspaper advert in the Daily Telegraph detailing the sale of Kings Worthy Saw Mills sparked a great deal of interest and Mr F Cundell Blake, an estate agent dealing with the sale, received and responded to a great many enquiries.


Correspondence file about the sale of the saw mills at Kings Worthy.  Frank Blake was acting as estate agent for the sale, 1908 (ref: 153M89/16)

Today, mills have been, and are still being preserved, restored, reopened and converted into residential properties.  Hampshire Mills Group have identified over 240 watermill sites and 100 windmill sites across Hampshire, some of which are open to the public.

‘The old Town Mill, Arlesford, shortly before it was demolished in 1893, to be replaced by the present mill.  The miller’s cart on the left of this picture, carried flour to the local bakeries.  The man holding the horse is probably Mr. Harry Hall, the miller.’

Old Town Mill

The Old Town Mill with group outside including Harry Hall, miller, and miller’s cart, c.1893 (ref: 41M93/3/83)

Steff Palmer, Archive Assistant


Hammering home the point: 500th anniversary of the Reformation

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Pictorial portraits of Tudor monarchs from different Hampshire land grants.

On 31 October 1517 Martin Luther nailed (or more likely pasted) his now infamous 95 Theses, or Disputation on the Power of Indulgences, to the door of Wittenburg church in Germany, and in so doing triggered the Protestant Reformation in Europe.

For those in England, however, the Reformation did not begin for another decade, with Henry VIII’s quest for a male heir. This led to a series of see-sawing events across the 16th century, during which the Church of England broke away from the authority of the Pope and the Roman Catholic Church.

Continue reading “Hammering home the point: 500th anniversary of the Reformation”

On your marks, get set, BAAAKE!

The Great British Bake Off has been back on our screens recently and last nights episode went back in time to look at forgotten recipes. Food and drink have, not surprisingly, been an important part of our past and recipes feature widely in the collections held here at Hampshire Archives and Local Studies.  I’m going to share with you just a few of those that I have found in the archives. So…on your marks….get set…..BAAAAAAKE!

cheriton baker

Baker (probably George Strong) baking bread for sale in Cheriton General Supply Store, c1905, ref: HPP5/4/07

One of my favourite discoveries is a wonderful recipe book and a bundle of loose recipes by E H Eggar of Bentley Green from the mid 19th century.  Recipes cover everything from fish sauce, orange brandy, jams, marmalades, cheesecake, lemonade to the more unusual such as, wassail bowl (a traditional hot mulled drink), calves feet broth, arrowroot jelly (a lightly sweetened trifle) and mock turtle soup (a cheap imitation of green turtle soup often made using calf’s heads).

28M82-F2 selection

A selection of recipes by E H Eggar, ref: 2M82/F2


Lemon cheesecake recipe
‘Juice of 5 lemons 4oz of sugar 2oz of
butter, 4 eggs, two whites well beat
with some of the lemon peel in a
marble mortar till very fine, put
a little thin puff paste into your
patty pans & do not fill them too full
N.B. Do not put the eggs in till last’

E Eggar obviously loved cooking and even wrote a poem entitled ‘Paradise Pudding’

If you’re have a good pudding
Pray mind what you’re taught,
Take two penny worth of Eggs
When they’re twelve for a groat…..
Six ounces of bread
Let your maid eat the crust,
Six ounces of carrots and
Pray pick them clean
Or they’ll grate in your teeth
You know what I mean,

Six ounces of sugar,
Won’t make it too sweet
Some salt & some nutmeg
To make it complete
To this you may add if you’re
Willing and hardy
Some ground lemon peel
And a large glass of Brandy
Adam tasted this pudding
Thought it wondrous nice
So Eve gave her husband
Another large slice.’

A north-eastern Hampshire farm account book and general notebook, from the 18th century, contains recipes for custard and plain boiled puddings as well as how to burn butter. Ways to fry veal and mutton cutlets are also provided. Next to these are also recipes for cures for rheumatism and two recipes for curing piles. The rheumatism recipe was recommended by a ‘worthy Clergyman’ who ‘said it had to his certain experience, a very good effect, upon great numbers of people that made use of it’. One of the recipes for piles needed the juice from bruised bark mixed with cream and then to be used ‘according to discrection’ and that it was ‘recommen’d as an excellent oil for the piles and to be made in the May month’.  Alternatively, you could burn a new cork and use the ashes with hogs lard as a remedy. Hopefully, nobody ever mistook a pudding recipe for a cure for piles!

28M82-F1 pp222-3

Farm account book, ref: 2M82/F1

Recipes can be found in the most unexpected places, for instance in PC 49 David Teague’s notebook, dated 1842, one of the oldest police notebooks we hold. PC Teague, based in Lymington, patrolled the New Forest and he records his daily police duties and activities in the notebook. Unusually, you can discover several recipes written in the back of the notebook, including barley sugars, bulls’ eyes, boiled lozenges, rich pound cake, sponge biscuits, peppermint drops and lemon drops.



PC 49, David Teague’s Notebook, Ref: 200m86

Lemmon drops
‘Grate three large lemons with a pound of load sugar into a plate and a tea spoonful of flour, mix well and beat into a light paste with the white of an egg, drop in on paper with a large dropper, as in No.35. and put them on a tin plate in a moderate oven.’

Recipe books are also found within our regimental collections which perhaps isn’t a surprise considering an army marches on its stomach. Sergeant A Baker records numerous recipes in his Army School of Cookery notebook during a sergeant cooks’ course at Buller Barracks in Aldershot. There are various cake recipes from jam rolls, date pudding, fig pudding, Elizabeth pudding, Hobart pudding, schoolboy pudding and milk puddings and there is even a Christmas pudding recipe with its costs! Sergeant Baker also provides drawings of the stoves that would have been used to cook and bake the various recipes.



Pages from Sergeant A Baker’s recipe book, ref: 170A12W/D/2755

Recipes are also often found in letters with ideas being exchanged between family and friends.  In a letter dated 1857 to Marianne Dyson, Anne Sturges Bourne provides some pudding recipes, including several for apple pie with the apple being ‘boiled before it is baked’. Marianne comments that ‘they are all very good for such as fare eat them.’

Why not try some of these old recipes for yourself and become a star baker! We’d be happy to taste them for you with a cup of tea.

tea and cake

Unknown group shot of 6 women and girls standing around two small tables with tea and cake, outside a house, with two small dolls on the floor.

Matthew Goodwin, Archivist

Passchendaele- We remember

Between July and November 1917, one of the bloodiest battles of the First World War took place, officially known as the Third Battle of Ypres, but to many it is also known as Passchendaele.

Here in our archives, in the collection of the Kings Royal Rifles and Rifle Brigade, is a handwritten volume, one of three, by  Victor Shawyer, bandsman, 1st battalion, Rifle Brigade,  in which he movingly  recalls  his time on the Western Front, including that of Passchendaele. ( reference 170A12W/D/2375). The following are extracts taken from his journal …

16M97_13_11 page 10.jpg

[Victor is shown on the left in the picture] Continue reading “Passchendaele- We remember”

Parish Councils- Local government of a very local variety!

The Local Government Act 1894 created elected urban district councils (UDCs) and rural district councils (RDCs). The act also created elected parish councils as the third tier of local government, except in small parishes of under 300 electors where parishioners could simply have meetings of all parishioners.  Hampshire Archives and Local Studies is the official repository for the records of local government in Hampshire.  However, local government records for Portsmouth and Southampton are held in those cities.  Records for Bournemouth and Christchurch are at Dorset History Centre and records for the Isle of Wight are at the Isle of Wight County Record Office. Continue reading “Parish Councils- Local government of a very local variety!”

Hampshire Constabulary Archive

As a historian and former serving member of the Hampshire Constabulary, I am now preforming a voluntary role in the police dealing with history enquiries and archives. Over the years police forces around the country have disposed of thousands of documents and files. This was necessary for lack of space and storage, and (especially in the past) because few saw any need to keep old files. Personnel files however were usually kept, as these might be required for pension purposes. Thus today we have good records of past police officers, and this delights many people searching for ancestors who were police officers. They hold a lot of detail,such as physical appearance and past occupation (200M86 H36 series). Continue reading “Hampshire Constabulary Archive”

These are a few of my favourite things…..

With Hampshire Record Office’s 70th anniversary fast approaching I thought it would be nice to share with you some of my favourite items from the archives.  This was no easy feat as there are so many interesting documents in our collection; however, I have kept it short and sweet and managed to narrow it down to my top three.


A page from a World War I autograph book. Continue reading “These are a few of my favourite things…..”

Muniments and memories: 70 years of Hampshire Archives

‘… So what does the ‘M’ stand for…?’

I was asked this question at a recent Archive Ambassadors training session at the Record Office, and had to confess I wasn’t quite sure.

The session was aimed at helping non-professional record-keepers think about ways to organise, reference and catalogue their own archive collections, and we started by looking at the various approaches adopted at the Record Office. I explained that, like car number plates, all our archive collections have unique finding numbers to identify them, and that those deposited before 2000 include the letter M. Continue reading “Muniments and memories: 70 years of Hampshire Archives”