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Alton Papers

Alton Papers, no. 12

Alton Papers Alton Papers, no. 12

Publication Date: 2008

Cost: Out of print (available to view at Curtis Museum)


  • Did Edmund Spenser Live Here?
    Author: Jane Hurst
    A plaque on 1 Amery Street, Alton, says ‘Here Lived Edmund Spenser Poet - 1590’. This article first explains who Edmund Spenser was and gives a short history of his life. It then looks at all the evidence to see if the above statement is true. The story starts when Rev Samuel Woodford mentions that ‘Mr Spenser lived sometime in these parts’ and ends when the supposed connection saves the building from demolition.
  • John Butler Harrison, 1739-1767
    Author: Malcolm Barton
    John Butler Harrison was one of the few friends that Edward Gibbon, the historian, had and there are many references to him in Gibbon’s Journal. John’s father inherited Amery House in Alton soon after John was born and the family moved there from London. John joined the Hampshire Militia (South) on the same day as Edward Gibbon and his father. He married twice - the second time was by his relation Rev John Hinton of Chawton. Both of John’s wives were members of the Ballard family. Sadly he died of smallpox in 1767, aged only 27.
  • The Fighting Cocks
    Author: Jane Hurst
    This short piece is an addition to ‘Alton’s Pubs’. The Fighting Cocks, which was on the site of 15a High Street in Alton, only lasted from about 1770 until sometime before 1786. The publican was James Glover and he was described as a ‘victualler and stage waggoner’.
  • Reg. Kemp’s memories, 1999
    Author: Reg. Kemp
    Reg was born in 1908 in Froyle and moved to Alton when his father, Daniel Kemp, took over JH and E Dyer, builders of Alton, in 1914. Reg’s uncle-in-law was Clifford Clare Rattey and he started the Alton Battery Company in the old Alton Paper Mill buildings. The company produced batteries and accumulators for houses, telephone exchanges and other public places. Reg also described many other things he could remember about life in Alton in times gone by.
  • Main Roads Around Alton. Part 1: The Arrival of the Turnpikes
    Author: Martin Morris
    Before the coming of the turnpikes, the main roads were often in a terrible state which made travelling very difficult. The system for their maintenance is given together with its problems. The first turnpike in the Alton area received Royal Assent in 1753 and that ran from the Jolly Farmer at Bagshot in Surrey, through Alton and on to Winchester. The Gosport and Chawton Pond Turnpike was next and others followed. There were also some schemes that never came to fruition and some road improvements that were never turnpikes.