Longparish Village Handbook (1999 edition)
<< Previous Page
Next Page >>

The railway came to Longparish in the 1880s, when the London and South West Railway Company built a railway between Hurstbourne Priors and Fullerton through Harewood Forest to link the London-Exeter line with the Andover-Redbridge line. The line came to be called the Nile Valley, perhaps because Queen Victoria likened the views to those of the Nile Valley. She disliked tunnels, and this was her preferred route to the Isle of Wight. It involved new stations at Hurstbourne, Longparish and Wherwell which were completed in 1884. The first passenger trains ran in June 1885, and the school log book comments that the roll had fallen because the railway labourers had left. The railway was never profitable as a passenger line. In 1913 it was reduced to single track and in 1931 the passenger service stopped, but it was useful for local goods traffic, especially during the Second World War, when the Forest was used for storing RAF munitions, and Middleton House was taken over by the RAF Maintenance Unit no. 202. After the war the military pressed British Rail to keep the line open until the long job of clearing munitions was completed in the 1950s. The last goods train ran in May 1956; in 1959 the station was sold and in 1960 the track lifted. In 1961 plans for the Andover Bypass were helped by the blowing up of the railway bridge over the A303. The bypass opened in 1962.

The other railway through the parish was part of the line built by the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway Company to link Didcot and Newbury with the London Southampton line at Shawford which opened in 1891. The old embankment can be seen to the south of the village, running parallel to the river. This closed to passengers in 1960, but continued to carry freight to Fawley for a few more years.

Both world wars had an impact on the village. The war memorial in the cemetery commemorates those who lost their lives in the services, 28 from 1914 to 1918 and 11 from 1939 to 1945. The small Harewood Industrial Estate by the Station started with a gunpowder factory in the First World War, and remained after the war with the engineers, Kennedy and Kempe, as the largest firm. The Second World War had a more direct impact, as an important army transit camp was established at Drayton at the top of Southside hill. It had its own cinema and post office, and the men who passed through there liked to come to the village pubs, and the small cafe near Stream House. Dances were held in the village hall, resulting in some marriages with local girls. During the years of National Service following the Second World War, the camp became a headquarters of the War Office Selection Board.

Contact and Search

Legal

Menu design based on one copyright © Stu Nicholls

This site uses CSS. To see it at its best, you should use a browser that understands them. See, for example, www.mozilla.com