FLEET FLASHBACKS – WITHER FLEET (1977)
“Fleet Flashbacks” takes a journey into the History of Fleet Hampshire by featuring newspaper articles, clippings and snippets from days and years gone by. To view more articles like this, take a look at the Fleet Flashbacks section or take a look at the History of Fleet main page.
This article came from the “News and Mail” Jubilee Supplement in 1977. It looked back over the period of the Queen’s reign at the time (1952 – 1977) to celebrate the Silver Jubilee. Thanks and credit for this article go to Lillian Elwyn Bull.
The original newspaper article is shown below and it has also been typed out underneath, for ease of reading.
Below: Original newspaper article:
The Early 70’s saw the start of development of amenities in the area with the purchase of Fleet Pond, the turning of a derelict gymnasium at Bourley Road into the Peter Driver Sports Hall and Ground, a new sports complex at Calthorpe Park and the start of the clearing of part of Basingstoke Canal by many willing Fleet hands. It was thought that when the finances allow, a swimming pool will be added.
Then the council had to think about a civic centre to contain offices with committee rooms and a public hall and in 1864 preliminary plans were prepared but finance troubles loomed and the administrative block was abandoned but the Civic Hall went up.
Work started on the hall in 1971 and the official opening by County Alderman Mrs. Graham-Taylor took place in 1973. Mrs. Graham-Taylor was the first lady chairman of Fleet Council, which caused a stir among the anti-feminists on the council.
By 1972, the reorganisation of local government was causing a lot of heartaches and although many thought Fleet would join Aldershot and Farnborough, it swung the other way and went in with Hartley Wintney to become Hart District. There was a champagne party in the Victoria Hall at Hartley Wintney when the announcement came.
The much loved Fleet Hospital still exists with half given up to geriatric care and half to G.P. medical beds. The League of Friends is still working hard to support it as well as helping Frimley Park.
A new county home for the frail has been built and the council are adding a fourth warden supervised block of flats for the elderly.
In the last few years Fleet has seen the death of its warrior, General Dudley Johnson V.C. and many prominent citizens who have left their mark on the town in the names of the roads.
Fleet rarely sees royalty but Princess Anne and her husband are often seen at Tweseldown.
With the area now at saturation point and with the cost of travelling soaring, the next 25 years must see a new pattern of living emerging.
Will the hundreds of commuters turn to the “Good Life”, will they break out of their train bound chains and demand another way of living? The Hart Council has a major headache on its hands, with planning the urgent problem.
Many extracts from “Mainly about Old Fleet and Crookham” by Ted Roe were used in this section.
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