Milestone Miscellany Day No.4: Heritage Lottery funded Milepost restoration project

Last Saturday I attended the Annual General Meeting of the Milestone Society.

The meeting was held in the village hall in Long Compton on the A3400 road, not far from Chipping Norton. The location was chosen as the hall is on the former Stratford-upon-Avon to Long Compton Turnpike. It’s on this road the Milestone Society’s National Lottery funded project restored the remaining six mileposts to their functioning state.

The project is called Finding the Way, described in the leaflet below, and a dedicated website HERE. My photo of the village hall and one of the restored mileposts, click on photo to expand.

Click on upward pointing arrow in bottom right-hand corner of image below to expand.

Fully kitted out in Hi-Viz wear for milestone cleaning

I think I may have mentioned, in the past, that I’m a member of the Milestone Society – dedicated to researching and preserving milestones.

At the instigation of Reg Davis, a friend of Surrey Heath Museum, he and I have committed to clean all of the milestones in Surrey Heath. After our vigorous cleaning with a brush and soap and water, we’ll apply a coat of paint, pick out the letters in black paint, and surrounding the base of the milestone with a small amount of gravel/white stones.

When finished, they’ll look splendid. Amazingly, none of the milestones in Surrey Heath are listed, and look what happened to the one by Camberley Glass on the A30. So, think I’ll ask a question at the next Surrey Heath Council meeting to seek their commitment to acquire it for them. Neighbouring County Councils have listed the majority of their milestones.

Reg and I cleaned two milestones yesterday, this morning we’ll be out again, hoping to clean two more. Here’s the before and after photos of our work yesterday.

Camberley Milestone replica installed with due ceremony

I the previous article I apologised for my embarrassing incompetence with technology. The short video below hopefully recovers some credibility. I was so lucky that Gillian Barnes-Riding spoke clearly, and the traffic noise while she spoke was not as intrusive as when the Mayor spoke. Had my audio been successful this would’ve been no problem. Ah, well. At least you’ve Gillian’s heartfelt thanks for those involved in the restoration. Below the video, I’ve posted the Mayor’s address.

 

Cllr John Winterton, Mayor of Surrey Heath, – address at the unveiling of the renovated milestone.

Thank you all for coming here today to celebrate the restoration of the London Road milestone. The original stone was removed for structural reasons in 2015. After much public support and funding from the Milestone Society, Surrey Heath Local History Club, Surrey Built Heritage Trust, Camberley Glass, and some private donors, we are able to be here today and acknowledge this ‘past signpost to the past.

The original milestone stood here from the mid 1700’s, when a ‘mile stone’ indicated to passing stagecoaches how many miles there were left to Bagshot of Hartford Bridge, depending on which direction they were travelling. Both places have changed significantly since that time, one has grown immensely, while the other has an airport. The road – now the A30 – was a toll road of the Great West Turnpike Road running from London to Exeter. People paid a fee to travel along the road. The Toll House – where you paid your fee – was near the entrance to Laundry Lane on the other side of London Road,

Behind this milestone a time capsule has been inserted into one of the bricks with information on the stagecoach industry locally, a new style £5 note, historic photos of York Town, a memory sticks of the journals offrom the Surrey Heath Local History Society, and press coverage of the removal of the stone, and the successful ‘hug-a-milestone campaign run by Surrey Heath Museum last year. There is also information on Camberley Glass and Windows, and Alfred Elliott, greengrocer, fruiterer and florist who ran a shop on the other side of the entrance to Camberley Glass from 1920s to 1980s.

Thank you all who have been involved in the milestone re-creation, including Rob Predgen from Camberley Glass, Peter Greatbatch, Tim Steggles, and Haven memorials.

Camberley Glass have kindly organised light refreshments in their showroom, following the blessing by the Vicar of St Michael’s Church, the Rev Bruce Nicole.

Restored London Road milestone to be unvieled

Surrey Heath Borough Council announce the unveiling of the restored London Road milestone. See press release below. Yesterday I joined Mike Hillman, photographer and Friend of Surrey Heath Museum, and Alan Meeks to witness the restoration of the milestone. Sadly, I had to leave before the restorers arrived. Mike Hillman was around to capture the event. Below are three of his photos – click to expand.

A new milestone along the A30 in Camberley is to be officially unveiled at a blessing ceremony later this month.

The original milestone, located outside Camberley Glass and Windows on London Road, was taken down last year due to structural reasons. A campaign was launched to raise the £1,800 required to replace the historic landmark, one of seven milestones across the borough to still survive from the 1700s.

This campaign raised public awareness of the milestones, helped by Surrey Heath Museum’s #hugamilestone social media campaign, which was featured in the national and local media, print, broadcast and online.

The commitment and dedication of individuals and local societies,  including the Surrey Heath Local History Group, The Milestone Society and Surrey Historic Buildings Trust has meant the fundraising campaign was successful, and a replacement milestone is due to reinstated at the site on 31 March.

To mark the importance of the area’s milestone heritage, and acknowledge local support, the vicar of St Michael’s Church, Camberley, Rev. Bruce Nicole, will bless the stone at the ceremony, and the Mayor of Surrey Heath, Cllr John Winterton, will officially unveil it.

The new milestone shows the distance to London, Hartford Bridge and Bagshot from its location – as did the original.

The milestone is a legacy from the 1700s, when two busy stagecoach routes passed through the area we now know as Surrey Heath. The Portsmouth Road and London Road routes were each managed by a Turnpike Trust who maintained the road and charged a toll for its use. One such Trust was the Bedford and Bagshot Turnpike Trust, managing the London Road, who placed milestones along its route.

For more information go to www.surreyheath.gov.uk/museum

Replacement for damaged London Road milestone ready for installation

I know this will please Lightwater Retiree, who recently bemoaned the lack of progess on the repair to the damaged milestone.

I’ve received a lovely New Year message from Surrey Heath Museum Curator, Gillian Barnes-Riding. She says the replacement for the damaged milestone on the London Road [A30] is ready for installation. Continuing, she said plans are being made to install the replacement, and a celebration of the event. I’ll let you know here, when I know.

If you want to know more about the damaged milestone, I recommend this front page article in the Camberley News – Historic Camberley milestone defaced, which reported on the mindless vandalism to the milestone. It’s simply amazing that this report was on May 12th 2015. Goes to show how long it takes to organise a replacement, and the funding for it.

The magnificent Gillian Barnes-Riding raised the funds for the replacement, variously from grants from Surrey Historic Buildings Trust, Surrey Heath Local History Club, The Milestone Society, and private donors – including yours truly.

Here are photos of the replacement in the museum, awaiting installation.

 

An appreciation society enjoying blurring fact and fiction

You may have read here of my interest in milestones, and that I’m a member of the Milestone Society. No doubt some of you will have thought how very quaint, and very British to have a society set up to protect milestones. I’ve even, occasionally, thought that myself.

There’s the equally quaint Letter Box Study Group, and with all seriousness they say they’re “the recognised definitive authority on the British letter box”.

Well, if you’re thinking that these are pretty obscure society’s. How about this one I’ve just discovered – The Telegraph Pole Appreciation Society. There appears to be a whimsical attitude to the posts on its website. They don’t take themselves too seriously. Somewhat difficult to differentiate between fact and fiction on their website.

None more so than this video of the last Telegraph Pole Alignment Officer in Wales. Not true of course – amusing though.

Always better to see things for yourself

I travelled to Chesterfield in Derbyshire on Saturday to attend the AGM of The Milestone Society. Visiting Chesterfield is a new experience. Approaching it from the A61 road I saw Chesterfield below, and shining in the early morning sunlight was the famous twisted spire of Church of St Mary and All Saints.

1280px-saint-mary-chesterfieldI’d loved to have stopped to take a photo. No opportunity, and a desire to get to the venue meant no photo.

The spire was in my eyeline for a while, and I saw it closer up as I drove to the venue.

It got me thinking. I’ve seen the twisted spire in various TV programmes, there’s no substitute for seeing it in reality. I’m pleased I saw it, and would like to have had more time to see it. [Click on image to expand]