Summer Outing – Houghton Lodge, Stockbridge 19 June 2019

Our destination for the first summer outing of 2019 was suggested to us by our Chairman, Caroline Birch. We liked the idea of Houghton Lodge Gardens, with a tour of the house, so the booking was made with Sophie Busk, the owner of Houghton Lodge. We gathered in Lymington at the appointed place and everyone was there in plenty of time, all but the coach! After some worried phone calls it eventually turned up and we finally arrived at our destination about 30 minutes late.

Sophie greeted us warmly and we were shown into the orangery to enjoy coffee and shortbread before dividing into two groups. One group headed for the gardens and grounds whilst the other group had a most interesting tour of the house.

Houghton Lodge is one of the finest and earliest surviving examples of a cottage ornée, a genre of ‘picturesque’ Gothic architecture that flourished for about 25 years from 1790. Houghton was thought to be designed in 1790 by John Plaw – one of the pioneers of the style – and was probably intended as a fishing lodge. Today the house is Grade II* listed with extensive fine trees and lawns sweeping down to the banks of the River Test. It was fascinating to be taken on a tour of what is obviously a family home, but with so much history. There were intriguing tales of how a visitor had correctly identified the designer as being Naval as the bannisters were carved in a rope pattern, and there was a rivet from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco as a previous family member had worked on the project. The table in the dining room was covered with photos and magazine and newspaper articles about the house and the owner had a horrific tale of the ceiling beams being found to be unsupported at both ends! Whilst renovating the ceiling, the letter A was discovered decorating it, an initial of previous owners. The Chinese painted wallpaper was glorious in the dining room as were the murals in the interesting round room, now sometimes used for weddings and filming.

Lunch was served in the orangery and then the two groups changed places.
The formal walled kitchen garden was beautiful with a glorious mix of fruit trees, flowers and vegetables. We could walk around the water meadows and greet the alpacas and even experience a fire-breathing dragon! The topiary peacock garden was a haven of peace and the views over the River Test were idyllic. Back on the coach, we travelled smoothly home through the countryside around Romsey, pleased to have chosen such a beautiful destination and glad that the weather hadn’t actually been too bad after all.

LDHS Outing to Houghton Lodge – seats available

Dear Members and Friends
Here is a reminder about our outing to Houghton Lodge and Gardens on 19 June.

Houghton Lodge is a Grade II* listed Cottage Orné, surrounded by mature trees and lawns sweeping down to the banks of the famous River Test and is arguably one of the most beautiful privately owned homes and gardens in Hampshire.

There are still some seats available so if you haven’t booked your place yet, then download the attached form and send it to me as soon as possible.

It may sound a little expensive, but remember it includes the coach, coffee and biscuits on arrival, a tour of the house, and a self-guided tour of the beautiful gardens, plus lunch of course.

With just a little sunshine as well, it should be a really lovely day out!
Best wishes

Form download

Upcoming events in Local Area

Dear Members and Friends,You might be interested in some of the events shown below. If you any queries or want to book, send to Heather Needham, don’t send anything to me!

We do encourage all of our supporters to come along to our events. All of the events help to raise awareness of the variety of archives and interactions with them. Those events with a ticket price are helping to support the work of the Archives and Local Studies service, so please do support those if you can. Tickets will sell quickly for the event on 12 March, Hampshire Travels the World, as John Pilkington is a popular speaker, so book early to avoid disappointment and to take advantage of the cheaper early bird rate!  

Monday 25 February, 6.30pm – 8.30pm,
Voices for Heritage LGBT History Month Event
See some of Hampshire’s LGBT archives and hear about ‘Aspects of Hampshire’s Queer History’ with guest speaker Dr Clifford Williams admission charge, book by emailing .  

 Saturday 2 March, 9.45am – 1.00pm,
Community Archive Forum
As in previous years the Community Archive Forum provides an opportunity for representatives of local history societies and similar organisations in Hampshire to showcase what they have been doing; to network; and to share their experiences. It enables anyone with an interest in the county’s history to hear what is happening at local level and be inspired to get involved. The Forum is now a collaborative venture between Hampshire Archives and Local Studies and the Local History Section of the Hampshire Field Club and Archaeological Society. This year, there will be contributions from:

  • Milford on Sea Historical Record Society
  • Christchurch History Society
  • Ashburton Court, Southsea, research project
  • Hyde 900
  • Hampshire Constabulary History Society
  • plus a panel discussion on publications: journals, newsletters and occasional; including allocation of responsibilities; securing contributions; format; editing; financial considerations; marketing and distribution; web presence.

The Forum will be held in the cinema at Hampshire Record Office, Sussex Street, Winchester. This is a free event, and places are limited.
To book, please telephone Hampshire Record Office on 01962 846154 or email no later than 25 February.    

Tuesday 12 March, 6.30pm-9pm
Hampshire Travels the World The Silk Road from Georgia to Afghanistan: 
Join Hampshire’s own explorer and broadcaster John Pilkington in an exciting journey across Central Asia. In 2011 John followed a spectacular branch of the Silk Road, starting in the Caucasus and crossing the Caspian Sea to Bukhara, Khiva and Samarkand. Then, reeling from the beauty of those legendary cities, he turned south-east to explore the High Pamirs of Afghanistan – a region well-known to Marco Polo – before making a dramatic finale at the source of the Oxus in the heart of Central Asia. His stunning photos and some hair-raising stories will make this an evening not to be missed. John is one of Britain’s most experienced adventurers and public speakers. For many years he was a broadcaster with the BBC World Service and Radio 4, making travel documentaries and contributing to programmes such as ‘From Our Own Correspondent’. But it’s for his thought-provoking, beautifully illustrated talks that people know him best. He has spoken to over 1,000 audiences in six countries, and holds the Royal Geographical Society’s much-coveted Ness Award for popularising geography and the wider understanding of the world. More about him at .  An exhibition of archive material relating to Hampshire travellers and explorers will be on display, taking you across the world through journals and other items concerning George Marston, Ernest Shackleton and others. will include a drinks reception and nibbles. Price: £14, early bird deal of £12 if booking before booking before 26 February.To book, please telephone Hampshire Record Office on 01962 846154 or email   

Exhibition, April to June
FORD TRANSITION TOURING EXHIBITION: From Fields to Ford and Beyond, Hampshire Record Office, Sussex Street, Winchester SO23 8TH.The Ford Transition touring exhibition is a repurposed version of the original April 2018 Heritage Lottery funded pop-up museum which was housed in three cargo containers at the site of the Ford Vehicle Repair Centre site off Wide Lane, Swaythling, Southampton. The exhibition explores Southampton’s shift from ‘making’ to ‘moving’ through the changing uses of one small but historically significant site. From production of aircraft parts (Cunliffe-Owen 1937-1945) to motor parts (Briggs 1949-1953) and the iconic Ford transit van (Ford 1953 – 2013) the industrial activity at the site in Swaythling highlights Southampton’s rich transport manufacturing heritage. Now, as it is redeveloped into a logistics park attracting businesses through its land, sea and air connections, the site tells a story of Southampton’s strengthening status as ‘Gateway to the World’ and its economic transition from ‘making’ (manufacturing) to ‘moving’ (logistics) industries.   

Best wishes,
Heather Needham

An interesting book?

A book you might be interested in, read the letter below for details.

 Dear Caroline,

Please can I draw your, and your members, attention my latest book that is now available?

They Turned Out So Ill! deals with the Independent Companies of Foreigners – Frenchmen who had deserted their armies in Spain and Portugal and enlisted in the British Army in the latter stages of the Napoleonic Wars.

These units were formed and trained at Lymington, some served in America (where their actions remain controversial) and others remained. The book deals with the development and operation of the Foreign Depot in the town as well as these companies. Although they were not in Lymington long these Frenchmen made a mark with riot, murder and more.

The book is the result of extensive research in archives here, in France and the USA as well as secondary sources.

It is directly available from the printers:

It can also be bought via the Amazon or Great British Bookshop sites.

Sorry for this sales pitch but after having contact with you during the research I am confident that it will be of interest. Please let me know if you need any further information or if there is anything I can help you with.

Kind regards

Alistair Nichols