About Brighton Hill (Part 1)

DATE:         JUNE-AUGUST 2012 (ISSUE NO. 71)

The area known as "Brighton Hill" being part of Basingstoke was formed as part of the much larger, and controversial at the time, Town Development Plan. This plan almost overnight engulfed what was a small North Hampshire Market Town.
I came to the town in 1973 and lived near the football ground and can remember Brighton Hill school being built and nothing but open ground beyond.

My wife worked part time in the White House Restaurant (an old coaching inn and now Pizza Express) with its row of trees outside, which I believe was locally called the seven sisters. (Although one is now missing). With the children we would all also enjoy a lazy summer's evening where I could enjoy a nice pint in the Stag and Hounds with its wonderful gardens. (Great for kids to run around and so well kept as well). We would go for walks and picnics on the open fields which stretched as far as the the golf club and I also remember the Steam Traction rallies that were held in the area.

What changes have happened since, many for the good, some beyond explanation, but overall it's given us what we have today and you either like it or hate it.

One question I have always asked myself is where did the name Brighton Hill originate from? Having checked only a few archives, they all point me to a map of the area dated 1877. On this map there is reference to a building called "Brighton Hill". But nothing so far found indicates what it was and who, if anyone, lived there. This place on today's map would loosely be just behind Hatch Warren School at the junction of the footpaths surrounding the school. The older map indicates one of these was the original Hatch Warren Lane.

Before 1970 the area was almost entirely farmland and the current Hatch Warren Lane and Beggarwood Lane are the original country lanes which crossed the Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway at Viables roundabout.

Over the next few issues of the Brighton Bell I, with your help wherever possible, want to take a journey back in time and like the TV programme "Time Team" reveal, and try to explain, the hidden treasures of the area. I will continue in my research but I am sure that there are many of you out there who have some interesting stories, facts and information that will be useful for possible inclusion in future articles. So get the grey cells working, search that long forgotten box in the attic and share your historical knowledge with us all.

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