Actress Sarah Sutton who, amogst other roles, played Dr Who's companion Nyssa alongside Tom Baker (who called her "Miss Basingstoke") and Peter Davidson. Sarah is famous in Dr Who circles for gratuitously removing her skirt half way through her last appearance, in the story "Terminus", and playing out the rest of the episode in her underwear.
As Sarah put it in an interview: "Dropping my skirt was my parting gesture to all those fans who wanted to see the real Nyssa."
Sir Harold Gillies
pioneering surgeon Sir Harold Gillies "the father of plastic surgery" worked from Rooksdown House
at Park Prewett Hospital during WWII reconstructing horrifically injured soldiers. The plastic surgery of the time
required connected tissue to be used and it was "a common sight to see patients from Rooksdown undergoing skin grafts,
walking the streets of Basinsgtoke in hospital blue, with arms connected to their faces". According to Judy Stokes who worked as a nurse with Sir Harold "The patients also mixed
in well with Basingstoke residents.When some of the patients were able to go into town, not surprisingly
they would attract attention[..]The people of Basingstoke were absolutely wonderful in the way they opened
their arms, hearts and doors, asking the patients to come in and have tea with them – they rallied
In 1951 Sir Harold completed the first male to female gender reassignement of a transexual through vaginoplasty.
The Libertines and Dirty Pretty Things Carl Barat was born in Basingstoke. The son of an armaments factory worker and a CND activist, at seven years old he dressed as a whale and took part in a demonstration on the motorway to stop a nuclear weapons convoy.
,Photo by Holly Calder, many thanks.
Basingstoke electrician Pete Staples is none other than the bass player of the 1960's supergroup 'The Troggs', most famous for their hit 'Wild Thing', and more recently 'Love is all Around' featured in the film 'Four Weddings and a Funeral', and also covered by R.E.M.
The T1 Capero, the world's fastest accelerating road car, is designed and
built on the Houndmills industrial estate. With 0-100mph in under 5seconds and 3G cornering, it claimed the fastest
laptime on Top Gear at 1' 10.1", trashing all its closest rivals, the likes of Ferrari, Maserati and Zonda, by around
Click for some early spy camera footage of a road test around Basingstoke.
And the TopGear lap,
and Fifth Gear test on Youtube.
model and actress, attended Harriet Costello school and Queen Mary's College in Basingstoke, amongst local acting roles, in 1980, she played 'Fairy Starlight' in Jack and the Beanstalk in a local Panto
the presenter of various "homes and renovations" TV programmes studied drama at Queen Mary's College
for as long as I can remember (and since at least the 1970s) Mister Clappy, as he is known locally, has been daily jogging and walking the streets of Basingstoke, in all weathers, always wearing his signature trainers, baggy joggers, tucked in sweat shirt, baseball cap and a pair of industrial or gardening gloves, always clapping and shouting at the traffic.
He disappeared for a few years and reappeared, much less animated in 2005.
If anyone knows the story of this guy, or when he started or why he disappeared, do drop me an email.(address at the bottom of the page)
Presenter and chief correspondent for Channel 4 News attended Cranborne school and Queen Mary's College, where he appeared on stage wearing a gorilla suit
Author and columnist for, amongst others, Marxism Today and The Independent, where he, along with Helen Fielding, devised the 'Bridget Jones's Diary' column, that grew to become the eponymous books and film, attended The Vyne and Queen Mary's College
Cricket commentator and bon viveur lived for many years in the gothic mansion on Chapel Hill and was a pupil of Fairfields school.
1728-1790, son of the vicar of St. Michaels, was Poet Laureate from 1785.
Warton wrote a sonnet 'To the River Loddon' in praise of the river that runs through Basingstoke.
Jane Austen and Fanny Trollope
the authoresses, lived in the nearby villages of Steventon and Heckfield respectively and regularly attended the dances held at the Assembly Rooms in Basingstoke.
Click for guided tours of Jane Austin's Basingstoke
Ernest Arthur George Gage
winner of the penny farthing world speed record, if you have any more details about year or speed etc., do please email (address at the bottom of the page)
who played Action Man in the Action Man films, and was also Trojan in the Gladiator TV series
Songstress and her actor brother . . .
. . . Ramon Tikaram
lived for many years in Basingstoke
Sir James Lancaster
founder of the East India Company, after whom Canada's Lancaster Sound (and Lancaster Road in Southview) was named.
inventor of Gabardine and maker of the coats so beloved by Americans and Japanese lived in Basingstoke (The Shrubbery) and had his original raincoat factory and shop in Winchester Road. Unfortunately the shop was burnt down in 'The Great Fire of Basingstoke' in 1905. He is buried in the town's chapel Hill cemetary.
Walter de Merton
was founder, in 1264, of Oxford's oldest college, Merton.
was in charge of the footballs at the 1966 World Cup final when England beat Germany 4 2. Cyril was eye witness to the theft of the famous football, "When the whistle went it was my job to get the ball and hand it to the FIFA official. But before I could get it, Helmut Haller stuffed it up under his shirt" "Then he walked off the field calm as day, looking seven months pregnant!" "I couldn't believe what I was seeing. It should have been Geoff Hurst's but when I went to the German dressing room they wouldn't even let me in."
is world record holder for boomerang catching, with 20 throws/catches in one minute.
The Beast of Basingstoke
There have been many sightings of The Beast of Basingstoke in the countryside around Basingstoke since 1993 it is believed to be one or a pair of Pumas
The last woman to be hanged in Britain was a pupil of Worting Junior school and Fairfields Senior Girls' School
Basinsgtoke even has a type face named after it:
poster courtesy Bobby Haiqalsyah
font from Decade Type Foundry
Basingstoke in Print
Basingstoke is featuring as the subject of more and more works in print, this new section to the website for 2011 is to feature non fiction about the town, it is very much a 'work in progress'
so any suggestions for additional content welcome, I know there is an awful lot to add
Basingstoke and its Contribution to World Culture by Rupert Willoughby (2010)
he describes the book "as a quest for the lost Basingstoke" which he believes has been ruined by post-war developers.
click here for more
Basingstoke features in many works of literature and the arts the
first known being:
Second Part of King Henry IV by William Shakespeare
In act 2 scene 1 of the Second Part of King Henry IV Shakespeare pokes mild fun at Basingstoke:
Lord Chief-Justice "I have heard better news."
Falstaff "What's the news, my lord?"
Ch-Just "Where lay the king last night?"
Gower "At Basingstoke, my lord"
Fal "I hope, my lord, all's well: what is the news, my lord?"
makes use of the Basingstoke/roundabout theme in
Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy
"How did we get here?" he (Arthur) asked, shivering slightly.
"We hitched a lift," said Ford.
"Excuse me?" said Arthur. "Are you trying to tell me that we just stuck out our thumbs and some green bug-eyed monster stuck his head out and said, Hi fellas, hop right in. I can take you as far as the Basingstoke roundabout?"
Conversations with Spirits by E O Higgins
This is wonderfully written and very funny tale about the cherry brandy loving Trelawney Hart, debunker of Victorian psychics, who is tasked by Arthur Doyle (he of Sherlock Holmes fame) to investigate a case. Hart persues the mystery getting into many scrapes along the way, largely caused by an over entusiasm for brandy. The book, written with a marvellous Victorian tone, features an interlude at the Holy Ghost on Basingstoke's Chapel Hill.
A highly recommended read, contains some wonderful lines such as that when Hart wakes up nursing a hangover and an empty bottle of brandy and calls to his club barman
“A drink, Horrocks,” I called out to the waiting barman. “Better make it strong. I have a mouth as dry as a Shavian epigram.”
the book can be found on Amazon
also see here
AMAZINGSTOKE by Samuel Roberts
the tale of Emmanuel Cain, a Basingstoker with the unusual, triple, drug fuelled obsessions of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Basingstoke and blocking toilets, it's contemporaneously set in and around the town's streets and haunts, and contains some absolute gems:
here the 'hero' talking about his despised father.
"When we leave Laarsen's [...] it is dark outside on Wote Street. [...] as we start walking uphill, the old man turns on his heel and suddenly bounds back down the cobbled incline, for maybe thirty yards, until he stands beneath the enormous sculpted phallus with a look of childish wonderment on his round, bald face. The big stone penis weighs seven tons and is the heaviest sculpture of a male organ in the UK. It seems somewhat less impressive with Great Britain's biggest prick standing next to it.
Great book, contains astonishing amounts of drugs and violence.
It's available here
highly enjoyable but truely bizzare book
"The Big Over Easy"
Contains numerous references to Basingstoke, all in a similar vein:
Mary Mary. And she was from Basingstoke, which is nothing to be ashamed of.
Where did you say you were from?
'That's nothing to be ashamed of'
'I'm not ashamed of it'
'You used to work with DI Flowwe at Basingstoke?'
'That's nothing to be ashamed of.'
'Flowwe or Basingstoke, sir?'
'Where do we live?'
She glared at him and crossed her arms and said: 'Basingstoke,' through gritted teeth.
'Basingstoke,' Jack repeated into the mobile. He laughed again. 'No, we're not at all ashamed. Call us any time'
'You're from Basingstoke, yes?'
'Born and bred = and it's nothing to be ashamed of.'
''Yes' agreed Gretel, 'so I've heard.'
film of homosexual teen love
is set, and was filmed on location in, Basingstoke. The location was apparently chosen for a number of reasons including its similarity to US towns (sic) to make it viewable by a US audience, its dissimilarity to Northern English towns (to get away from the 'Social Realism' genre) and (probably not least) because Simon Shore at one time went out with a Basingstoker.
The film contains the lines (spoken by the couple in the picture above)
'I want to go back to Basingstoke'
'But nobody wants to go back to Basingstoke'
'Well I do'
from 'Jeeves and Wooster'
Bertie Wooster: [about the song "Good Night, Vienna"] I mean, fancy writing a song about saying good night to a whole city. I mean, you may as well say, "Good Afternoon, Manchester" or "Fancy Bumping into You, Basingstoke."
Jeeves: Yes, sir.
Bertie Wooster: Or "I Didn't See You at the Club Last Night, Cleethorpes."
(click heare to watch the video)
Luke Rhinehart's 'Dice Man'
character, who made all his decisions based on the roll of a die, is thought to have been based on the real life of Basingstoker Albert Headon ( if you have any more information on this please drop me an email, address at the bottom of the page)
Steve Harris' horror story 'Adventureland'
is a set in 1980's Basingstoke and packed full of references to places in and around the town, but BEWARE, should you fancy reading it, the nature of the book means it is kept in the vaults of the Basingstoke town library and is not available straight from the shelves . . .
Steve Harris also wrote the short story 'Escape from Doughnut City'
in which the central character discovers he can enter an alternate reality by driving 360 degrees around all of Basingstoke's roundabouts in sequence.
Cool! must give it a go.
From the final episode of
"The Young Ones":
[stops crying, stares ahead] Oh, yeah?!
[seeing what Vyvyan sees] Oh, no! [Neil is playing guitar, and the boys are singing Cliff Richard's "Summer Holiday."]
Yes! Yes! It's really happening!
[reading a road sign] Basingstoke, 35 miles!
Yeah, this is what I call riding around in a double-decker bus.
Right on. I'm aboard the Freedom Bus, heading for Good Time City. And I haven't even paid my fare.
Sad but true . . . . RFCs 1484, 1485, 1779, 1781 and 2538
all feature Basingstoke as the fictional home of James Hacker and his business Widgets Inc..
(RFCs (Request For Comment documents) are the reference documents that define how the Internet and World Wide Web function)
featured Basingstoke in the episode 42 (can we spot a connection here to HHGTTG?) sketch "Basingstoke in Westphalia":
Sir, we all know the facts of this case; that Sapper Walters, being in possession of expensive military equipment, to wit one Lee Enfield .303 rifle and 72 round of ammunition, valued at a hundred and forty pounds three shillings and sixpence, chose instead to use wet towels to take an enemy command post in the area of Basingstoke ...
Basingstoke? Basingstoke in Hampshire?
No, no, no, sir, no.
I see, carry on.
The result of his action was that the enemy ...
Basingstoke Westphalia, sir.
includes Basingstoke in
'Tess of the D'Urbervilles' and 'Jude the Obscure'
as the town of Stoke Barehills.
From Jude the Obscure: "There is in Upper Wessex an old town of nine or ten thousand souls;
the town mat be called Stoke Barehills. It stands with its gaunt, unattractive ancient church, and its new red brick suburb . . . . The most familiar object in Stoke Barehills nowadays is its cemetary, standing among some picturesque
medieval ruins beside the railway . . . .
In Only Fools and Horses
attended Basingstoke Art College, where he was 'busted' for smoking a joint.
The Great Basingstoke Drought
During 2012, the wettest summer on record, South East Water had a drought order and hose pipe ban in force on Basingstoke, at the time of the drought there was so much rain it had caused the river Lodden burst its banks and flood the town centre parks
Basingstoke Live! is the UK's largest free music event, an estimated 40-50,000 visitors enjoying an eclectic mix of music and artists. Famous artists that have
appeared over the years (earlier as "Jammin' in the Park") include Chas 'n'Dave, Courtney Pine, XTC, The Beat, Chipmunk, The Blockheads and The Cheeky Girls
(War Memorial Park)
Basingstoke's 279' high Skyline Plaza (converted from the former IBM 'Liquorice Allsort' building) is the tallest building between London and New York. (I've not got a definitive source for this height, if you know of one please drop me an email, address at the bottom of the page)
|Basingstoke's 274' high Fanum House
|is was the tallest building between London and New York, until the IBM 'Liquorice Allsort' building got a top floor and neon strip added when it became Skyline Plaza, making it about 4 feet taller than Fanum House.
Basingstoke has a higher density of spy cameras watching its population than New York. As of September 2005 there were 186 in total, twelve in London Street alone.
Weighing in at 7 tonnes Basingstoke's Wote Street Willie is the largest phallus on public display in Britain.
||The sun sets over the 'Costa del Basingstoke', a new apartment complex built in the style of a 'Costa' resort, however as Basingstoke has no beach it has to make do with a view over the town's enormous car park.
|Basingstoke is also known as Dallas, Hampshire.
The 'Great Wall of Basingstoke" was built in the 1960s to contain the great mass of concrete poured over the razed remains of the old market town.
'The Hanging Gardens of Basingstoke', (rooftop gardens) were created in the 1970s, though sadly now not as magnificent as in their heyday. In Feb 2015 the building received Grade II listed status.
Basingstoke railway station's gents' toilet was bombed by the IRA in 1993, and the macheted to death body of a Buddhist monk was found in a suitcase left there, and is also the highest sation above sea level between London and Southampton.
The Basingstoke Canal was created to link London to Basingstoke, when built it had the world's longest canal tunnel, which is now a home for Britain's largest bat colony.
A town centre graveyard is home to a string of 4'concrete cubes, tanks traps from WW1.
The 'Gates of Hell' (which incorporate a barbed wire design!) greet visitors to a local graveyard; the gates actually represent the daily passage of the sun across a row of poplars (sic)
The river Loddon as it flows through Basingstoke is the subject of a sonnet by Poet Laureate Thomas Warton and . . .
. . . the rare Loddon Lily (Leucojum Aestivum), named after Basingstoke's river, grows in profusion in the Basing Fen
In 2002 Basingstoke was chosen as the site for the first licensed crop of poppies grown in Britain for commercial opiate manufacture. Details are sketchy and the location kept secret.
Basinghdad or Baghstoke? There is a striking similarity between the L'Arc sculpture on Alençon Link and the Iran-Iraq war monument in Baghdad, the latter was cast in Basingstoke from the melted guns of dead Iraqi soldiers. More recently the original casts of the hands were given to the US army so they could extract Saddam Hussein's fingerprints.
In a new twist to the Baghstoke saga, De La Rue's factory in Basingstoke was chosen to print all the post Saddam Iraqi currency 'the New Iraqi Dinar'.
Basingstoke's Festival Place shopping centre is the eigth largest in Britain
|In case anyone decided to 'nuke' Basingstoke, there was a nuclear bunker located under this town centre building. The building survived the Cold War but was razed in 2001 to make way for a block of flats, the bunker becoming a basement gymnasium. more
These laser cut steel service doors to Festival Place were designed by artist Chris Knight and nominatied for the £30,000 Jerwood applied arts prize.
Designed to be "not unlike a spiky egg carton", according to Knight
(Bus station taxi rank)
|Basingstoke's banana ripening warehouse is the largest in Europe.
(Ffyfes Houndmills Road)
Basingstoke Old Bits
Yes, Basingstoke even has some old bits like . . . .
Eli Lilly's 1939 Art Deco building was originally topped with bright neon signage the building got painted in green and brown camouflage to stop German bombers using it as a route marker. The building is believed to be tornado proof, the design being copied from Lilly's Kansas factory. (if anyone has any more info or photos please do drop me an email, address at the bottom of the page)
. . . . Sir Edwin Lutyens' 1905 brick factory office. Lutyens built the factory in Basingstoke because of the high quality of the local clay and it provided the bricks for many of his famous buildings . . . .
. . . . this 1856 Gothic mansion at the side of a graveyard, birthplace of John Arlott . . . .
. . . . and the alms houses from 1608, charitably built for the benefit of the poor . . . next to the pig market . . . .
. . . . and the Holy Ghost ruins from the 1200's, where Basingstoker Mrs Blunden was accidentally buried alive . . . .
. . . . and even a Roman road c. AD 50
Basingstoke is known to CBers as 'Doughnut City' due to the large number of Roundabouts. Indeed so famed is Basingstoke for roundabouts that the 'Basingstoke roundabout'
gets a mention in Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. . . .
. . . . and Vauxhall promote their Vectra car by demonstrating how well it handles the fictitious 'Basingstoke Mitchell's Bush' roundabout. (also note the ironic number of exits)
The Crockford Lane roundabout displays a ribbon of around 100 red steel human
silhouettes. Click image for panoramic view.
The body of a Basingstoker who died in the middle of the massive 'Town Centre West'
roundabout wasn't found for four days. Another Basingstoker 'lost' several hours whilst crossing this roundabout and claimed to have been abducted by aliens.
The Daneshill roundabout is home to the 'Basinghenge' stone circle, the scene of strange rituals at Summer Solstice.
Cranbourne roundabout has Britain's shortest standard gauge railway line.
The Victory roundabout, named after the pub that used to stand here, in turn named after Nelson's ship the Victory.
The Hatch Warren roundabout is home to a bizarre brightly coloured metallic sculpture depicting vegetables and clothing.
(Winchester Road, Hatch Warren)
The Venture roundabout, was built with a novel oval shape to ease the traffic flow along what was the main trunk road between London and Southampton (equivalent of today's M3). Caroline Thorpe, wife of the Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe, was killed here in a car crash in 1970.
This Intergalactic roundabout was created by aliens in a field off Pack Lane in 2000, using interdimensional technology, to ease the congestion of UFOs overflying Basingstoke (source).
(Pack Lane, East Oakley)
Henry Moore's massive abstract sculptures were cast at the
foundry in Wade Road, including his largest, the 20 ton 'Figure in a Shelter'
presented "Basingstoke 1985/86" at the Long Gallery.
From the catalogue: "Never has the population of any one town increased so dramatically in such a short space of time". Anna Fox's colour photographs present the relationship between the inhabitants and their town, "which claims sixth place in the national wealth league", with
a subtle yet piercing irony.
In her introduction to the exhibition she points to the political spokespeople who hope that "those of
us who live in the prosperous South will export our sense of optimism and dynamism". She continues, "'Doughnut City', voted by a national
newspaper one of the ten most boring towns in Britain, is rumoured to be the divorce capital of the nation". More recently inhabitants have
been criticised for their "startling apathy".
Basingstoke in Music and Song
wrote "Song for Basingstoke", a great song, jam packed full of great lyrics, this wonderful piece is a
Oh Baby hear me shoutin’,
I love each roundabout in
I’ll sing your praises ‘til my voice is just a croak!
So all you cats and chicks, turn off at junction 6
click for full lyrics
and here are One Jump Ahead
performing it live at The Hideaway in Streatham
The Robb Johnson Band
released tracks called "Towers of Basingstoke" and "From Babylon to Basingstoke" (Irregular Records) Any
further info on these releases welcome.
in 'I Often Dream Of Trains' sang:
"And there in the buffet car, I wait for eternity"
"Or Basingstoke, or Reading"
Gilbert and Sullivan
While Shakespeare may actually have been first Gilbert and Sullivan
are widely credited with being the first (in 1887) to make Basingstoke the butt of a joke, with the following lines from
spoken by 'Mad Margaret:
"And I sometimes think, if we could hit upon some word for you to use whenever I am about to relapse, some word that teems with hidden meaning - like Basingstoke - it might restore me to my saner self."
(Mad Margaret was only calmed down when she heard the word 'Basingstoke')
And of course Ruddigore's finale
contains these classic lines:
"We shall toddle off tomorrow,
From this scene of sin and sorrow,
For to settle in the town of Basingstoke."
Click for a Ruddigore ringtone for your mobile
Sir John Betjeman
In the preface to "Within Living Memory" (a book about the pre sixties Basingstoke) Poet Laureate John Betjeman
wrote of Basingstoke, "God bless Basingstoke in these pictures and in this text, may it bask in an eternal summer day.",
which were rather kinder than the famous words than he had for that other old English town that was razed and rebuilt,
Slough, "Come, friendly bombs, and fall on Slough, It isn't fit for humans now"
This section is a home for local street art and all the stuff people make about Basingstoke that isn't necessarily commercially available
there seems to be a thriving street art scene evolving in Basingstoke, from stencillings and yarn bombings to paste-ups and installations, as I find more, and get the time I'll put them up here.
My first recollection of Basingstoke street art is a host of stencilled slugs appearing all around the town a few years back, it seems to have grown from there.
If you know of any still in place around town do please drop me an email to the addy at the bottom of the page (I've got quite a collection of photos, but am always interested in more).
I've come across nine of these Mondrian style installations:
(click for big, and if you know any more about these please do drop me an email to the addy at the bottom of the page)
four different 'black cat' stencils (images to be added)
a yarn bombing at the station (images to be added)
and a variety of paste ups (images to be added)
Artikinesis: The Basingstoke Project
A great exhibition by Artikinesis a group of Basingstoke-local painters painting Basingstoke. Showing 16-26 Nov at Basingstoke's 'Proteus Creation Space'. Well worth a visit.
click for more: artikinesis.org.uk
As Thick as Thieves
a novel by Adam George
This is a great story about pub life and growing up in punk and post punk Basingstoke in the 80s and 90s, loads of
local detail and colour which I really enjoyed reading, features loads of local haunts, Martines, Magnums, The Great Western,
etc.. Strongly recommended for a download and read.
Adam's looking to get this published, drop me an email (address at the bottom of the page) if you can help.
a poem by GC
Unfortunately the email addy that this came attached is no longer valid, so can't credit the author fully,
please drop me an email (address at the bottom of the page) if you know.
a poem by Desmond Fairybreath "the self styled Bard of Basingstoke"
a poem by "Anon"
This was published in the local paper, sadly uncredited, if it was you, then drop me an email (address at the bottom of the page).
a song by the Horizontal Bulgarians
Absolutely classic indie punk stuff from around 1978: "Got to go an' ave me teef done, dahn at Bramley Graa-aa-aaa-nge, they've got the drills there, they've got the blood there; th' wot there? The blood from the teef! Oh No! The blood from the teeth." Click and listen Now!
The Basingstoke Gazelle
a song by Garnet South Mimms
The tale of Footballing Forward, Johnny Ravelle, the boy they called the Basingstoke Gazelle, he even played in goal as well. More rhymes than you can shake a stick at in this story of local league rivalry.
More great tracks can be heard on Garnet South Mimms MySpace
Basingstoke, the Gateway to Northern Hampshire
a song by Richard and Friends
What a classic track! Listen out for the line
"they even used to have a PoundStretcher"
(I don't want to go to) Basingstoke
a song by International Werewolf Conspiracy
if you know how to contact anyone from International Werewolf Conspiracy
do let me know a their sites don't have any contact details
and email to the domains just bounces
a song by John 'Big Boy' Culley
- you need to listen all the way through this one, very funny
If you've got stuff you've created about the town
and want it here drop me an email (address at the bottom of the page)
The Miscellaneous Section
EasyJet in-flight Magazine November 2005
VISIT THESE DESTINATIONS AT YOUR OWN RISK:
The epitome of all determinedly characterless, soulless, exceptionally unprepossessing, sterile town planning based on the guiding artistic principle of "We can't afford to make it nice". Basingstoke boasts the headquarters of the AA and Europe's largest multi-storey car park, which you won't be able to see because it is always full. It is renowned for its oven chips and microwave cookery. And nothing much else. (Hacked out by journo Kevin Pilley)
a book by Sam Jordison and Dan Kieran
rates Basingstoke in Britain's top ten most "Crap Towns" . . . the town centre "resembles 'Ground Zero on September 12'". After the book was launched there was a bit of a furore in the local paper when it was discovered that the authors hadn't even set foot in the town, they were invited to come an inspect, with even the offer of having their train fare here paid.
Basingstoke is the birthplace of the ancient game of "Stoches Leape" dating back to the early 16th century, in which competitors attempt to jump a brook or river carrying increasing numbers of piglets, the winner being the competitor that makes the jump to the far bank, and back, with the most piglets without dropping any of them. It is believed to have originated when a pig market was held in the town (near where the Alms houses stand on London Road), with the jump taking place across the nearby River Lodden.
Country Life 2003
in 2003 readers of Country Life voted Basingstoke's town centre as the sixth "most hated eyesore" in the country.
OK Yah, absolutely!
Beatrix Campbell New Times Towns 1989
Where will we find an urban monument to Thatcherism, pure, unpolluted by municipal modernism, or socialism by stealth, the Thatchergrad that tells us what British society is becoming?
How about Basingstoke? Don't laugh. For here we have a flourishing economy unimpeded by planning, civic pride, or by community politics. It's a monumnet to the Thatcherite version of new times.
It seems to be a society that strives to express Mrs Thatcher's mantra: there's no such thing as society.
The rat-hole that is Basingstoke
The following is a quote believed to be from Dr Tony Webster,of NATFHE, the college lecturers union:
"Nowhere more epitomised the real morality of Thatchers age than Basingstoke, Hampshire. A squalid, ugly, uncomfortable place, an intolerant, racist, homophobic, narrow-minded, authoritarian rat-hole, run by vicious, suburban-minded materialistic philistines. A spiritual and moral emptiness of a way of life based on greed and rampant egomania. Care has no place and tolerance is regarded as a dangerous weakness."
(If anyone knows any more about this please do drop me an email (address at the bottom of the page), as it's very similar to Hanif Kureishi's comment on England: "England has become a squalid, uncomfortable, ugly place ... an intolerant, racist, homophobic, narrow-minded, authoritarian, rat-hole run by vicious, suburban-minded, materialistic philistines.")
Charlie Brooker in the Grauniad writes:
There's surely a great dystopian sci-fi novel yet to be written about a world in which it's suddenly discovered that wireless broadband signals deaden the human brain, slowly robbing us of all emotion, until after 10 years of exposure we're all either rutting in stairwells or listlessly reversing our cars over our own offspring with nary the merest glimmer of sympathy or pain on our faces. It'll be set in Basingstoke and called, "Cuh, Typical."
A national water survey conducted by cosmetics company Lush found that Basingstoke has Britain's hardest water, with a calcium measure of 124.
Some Miscellaneous Accounts of Basingstoke's Super Mushrooms
"A Plain and Easy Account of British Fungi" Mordecai Cubitt Cooke 1862
Dr. Carpenter relates an instance of the expansive power resulting from the rapid growth of the soft cellular tissue of fungi which seems marvelous. Some years ago the town of Basingstoke was paved; and not many months afterwards the pavement was observed to exhibit an unevenness which could not easily be accounted for. In a short time after, the mystery was explained, for some of the heaviest stones were completely lifted out of their beds by the growth of large toadstools beneath them. One of these stones measured twenty-two inches by twenty-one, and weighed eighty-three pounds, and the resistance afforded by the mortar which held it in its place would probably be even a greater obstacle than the weight.
Near where I live there are toadstools growing through the pavement, the surface of which they have displaced in fairly large chunks. What mechanism allows toadstools--essentially very soft and squashy items--to push through two inches of asphalt?
Two inches of asphalt is nothing to the muscular mushroom. One large shaggy ink-cap (Coprinus comatus) discovered at Basingstoke lifted a 75 by 60 centimetre paving stone 4 centimetres above the level of the pavement in about 48 hours.
Richard Scrase, Mushroom Makers Bath Avon
|Basingstoke by any other name would smell as sweet
Basingestoches to the Domesday Book
Doughnut City to CBers
Boringstoke or Basingjoke, to the unenlightened
Amazingstoke to marketeers and the enlightened
Brasingsteak to Foodies
The Big Toke to the chemically inspired
Blazingsmoke to the Fire Brigade after the Digital debacle
B'stoke to road painters
Snogibasket to anagramists
Thatchergrad to socio-political commentators
Basingvegas to inhabitants of The Smoke
Basingrad - a name I've often heard - but don't know where it comes from
|If you've any comments about
It's Basingstoke Not Boringstoke
or there are any Basingstoke features, stories, sons or daughters that you think should be included then send an email to:
click here to send email
The author stands proudly at the entrance to his hometown.
Authors note. I originally set this site up because I was fed up with all and sundry, Basingstokers and out-of-towners, having a downer on the place I liked. Things have changed rather over the years, the email I used to receive about the site was mainly vitriolic hate, that's now dried up and it's all pretty positive these days. Amazingstoke, a name I made up to balance the 'alternative' town names list with something positive, is now the preferred moniker amongst the Blogging, Tweeting and FaceBook generation, there's a book called Amazingstoke, and the local paper promotes "A Town to be Proud Of", and generally there's a more positive air to the town, Brilliant!
It's Basingstoke not Boringstoke
was launched in 1998,
and has received the following accolades:
and featured in the
'Limited Edition', the North Hampshire magazine
Gosh! just got an email saying the site had been nominated for a HantsWeb award, thanks whoever you are, appreciated
If you want more eBasingstoke then my favourites are:
'Son of Baz'
'The Basingstoke Files'
and a plug for my other Basinsgtoke site:
'The Basingstoke PhotoAlbum'
and you can find loads more here:
Hampshire County Council
hits since 24 July 2001
Basingstoke photos on this page are © E.P.Tozer, the images may be freely used non commercially provided the author is notified of the use and the author and source are credited. Commercial use will normally be charged please email me by clicking here, images are available in higher quality and higher resolution.
Attribution for other images is given where known.
Finally a big THANKYOU to the many Basingstokeophiles from around the globe who've emailed amazing Basingstoke articles, pictures, facts, oddities, weirdness and trivia to be included on the page.
. . . the vistors come from 118 countries, here's where from and how many:
United Arab Emirates
Slovakia (Slovak Republic)
Croatia (Local Name: Hrvatska)
Iran (Islamic Republic of)
Bosnia And Herzegowina
Antigua And Barbuda
Syrian Arab Republic
Trinidad And Tobago
Lao People's Democratic Republic
Virgin Islands (British)
| And police suspect
A BOMB SCARE was defused when police discovered a bag dumped in their waiting room contained nothing more than a chicken.
The live cockerel poked its head out when police saw the holdall move and pulled back the zip.
Earlier last Friday night, a man had run into Basingstoke police station and left the bag on the front desk.
"He shouted something like 'Here's one for the Bill' and ran out again." said Acting inspector Graham Apps.
"Then for the next two hours a chap kept ringing up doing a bad impression of a chicken. We've no idea what
it was all about."
The cockerel has now being taken to an animal sanctuary in Overton.
hedgehog's close shave
A HEDGEHOG was celebrating its freedom this week after a reported narrow escape from the frying pan.
Police were called to the spine-raising scene in Fabian Close, off Basingstoke's Penrith Road in the early hours of Tuesday.
Tenant David McGlashan rang officers to say a Chinese man living in the same house had brought a hedgehog home, and was trying to fry the animal up on the kitchen stove.
"There was also loud rock and roll music coming from the house as well," said Pc Martin Foster of Basingstoke police, who attended the scene.
"Mr McGlashan said the other man had been trying to fry this hedgehog," he added.
"but we found the Chinese chap in his room reading a newspaper, and the hedgehog downstairs in a box in
As he couldn't speak a word of English, Pc Foster and his colleague Pc Peter Colt had to contact the police's own language service, based in London.
"Within a few minutes we were put through to a Cantonese intepreter, who spoke to this chap for about five minutes.
"Through the interpreter, the man accused Mr McGlashan of trying to stab the animal, which he had found on the doorstep.
"the Chinese man also said it was the other chap who was playing loud music."
Police never really got to the bottom of the thorny tale, but released the long-suffering hedgehog into a nearby
field, and will not press charges.
But Insp Geoff Hallett, of Basingstoke police, warned: "It would obviously have been an offence if the animal had been cooked.
"And the police will deal with incidents of cruelty to animals most severely."
Rehabilitation orders for public sex act pair
A SHAME_FACED couple who performed a drunken sex act in Basingstoke town centre in broad daylight were given rehabilitation orders - and a good telling off - by a crown court judge.
Ms.A , 38, admitted the outrage to public decency charge in performing oral sex on Mr. B, 32, on a bench outside Cafe Rouge, at 4.30pm on September 30 - in full view of old ladies and horrified office workers. Mr. B also pleaded guilty to the charge of outrage to public decency.
Ms. A, of Linchfield Road, Worth Camp, Farnborough, who had been thrown out of Cafe Rouge for drunken behaviour along with some of her friends, was sitting on the bench when Mr. B joined her and she performed the act twice.
Prosecutor Andy Houston said: "Someone who worked in a nearby business premises was so disgusted that she went to tell her workmates and a number went to see what was happening."
He added: "A member of the public said there were mothers with very young children walking by."
When he was arrested, Mr. B, previously of Abbey Road, Popley, Basingstoke, but who is currently homeless, made references to women finding him irresistible.
At Winchester Crown Court he apologised and denied that there were mothers and children around during the incident.
"I'm ashamed about what I have done, and I'm embarrassed," he said. "I never meant it to happen and I had had too much to drink. I have a daughter and I wouldn't want her to see something like that."
Judge Patrick Hooton, sentencing him to an 18-month community rehabilitation order, said: "I don't think that anyone who contemplated doing this in public would think about whether young children were present.
"You had better sort yourself out."
He sentenced Ms. A, who claimed she was so drunk she did not remember what happened, to a 12-month community rehabilitation order
Car smashes into house
By Vicky O'Hare
(photo from BBC News)
A COUPLE had a miraculous escape after a car ploughed into the first floor of their house- just feet from where
they were sleeping.
Joe and Joyce Harman of Rainbow Close were in bed on Wednesday night when the car swerved off London Road,
flipped into the air and crashed through the wall of their study.
The high-powered BMW smashed throiugh the house's brickwork - leaving a gaping hole - before falling into
the couple's front garden and catching fire.
Luckily Mr and Mrs Harman were in the bedroom next door when the bizarre accident happened just before midnight.
They were both shocked but unhurt.
However two people who were in the car were yesterday in a critical condition in Basingstoke hospirtal.
Describing the drama, retired school-teacher Mr Harman, 65 said: "When I first saw hat had happened ny reaction was,
'Oh my God what shall I do?' The flames in the car wre getting bigger and bigger and I just had to do something."[...]
Once outside they saw that the driver had managed to climb out of the car through the passenger window,
Mr Harman said:"I asked him if there was anyone else in the car. He said yes, so my wife and I just ran into the
kitchen to get buckets of water.
"I really didn't think much about my safety - Iwas just on autopilot. The hose was trapped under the car so
we had to make do with buckets. [...]
Mrs Harman who is 62 and works in Husseys Bakery, in W"ote Street, Basingstoke said: "I asked the emergency services
if we should try and put the fire out, but they said no in case the car exploded.
"But we couldn't let a man die in a burning car."
DEBT MANS PLEA: 'TAKE MY LEG'
AMPUTEE Mark Durling had a bizarre request for bailiffs when they turned up to collect a debt - he begged them to take his artificial leg.
The collectors were met with the astonishing payment plea after they called at the 33-year-old's Linden Avenue home in Old Basing.
But Mark, who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident in 1981, was dismayed when his offer of his spare artificial limb was refused and the bailiffs instead took away a computer.
Today, Mark accused the bailiffs of going over the top by taking the machine which he claims was worth £3,000.
He was upset because he said he had stored unpatented limb designs on the computer which was purchased with a grant from the Prince of Wales' charity the Prince's Youth Business Trust.
He said it also contained vital information for campaigners to get a better deal for amputees.
Mark said: "I had my 15 month old son in my arms when they turned up and took my computer.
"I offered them some of the money and the printer. I even offered them my spare artificial leg but they would only take the computer.
"I am no angel but I have tried to do my best for people who are faced with amputation and the computer is vital for my work."
The computer has now been returned on payment of the £30 debt - which was the unpaid part of a court penalty for failure to display car tax - and also a collection fee of more than £100.
Bob Close, a member of the finance department at North Hants magistrates courts, said the company would only be used if a defendant failed to answer a summons and pay the court.
Superintendent Allyn Thomas of Basingstoke Police, said the non-display of car tax is a serious matter.
He said: "Car tax represents a substantial source of income for the Government in terms of road construction programmes and road improvements.
"We take a dim view of people who drive around without tax."
NIGHT IN THE CELLS
A COUPLE spent their wedding night behind bars on Friday after allegedly brawling their way around Basingstoke.
Hundreds of stunned Christmas guests at the Ringway Hotel are said to have watched the screaming newly-weds attack staff in the reception area.
And later the twosome were said to have thrown pool balls at regulars in an Oakridge pub.
The couple even left their marriage certificate crumpled and bloodstained on the pub carpet.
The celebrations started after the Basingstoke couple were married at the Register Office in the centre of town on Friday morning.
After a few drinks with another couple at the Great Western pub in Vyne Road, the bride from South Ham, and the groom, from Oakridge, went to the Ringway Hotel at 4pm, where they had a room.
"They looked awful," said one member of staff. "she was wearing a leopard-skin print dress and had peroxide hair up in a bobble. His suit was all crumpled and he had a pony-tail."
The lovebirds-he's an unemployed builder contractor and she's an electrical assembler-spent a couple of hours in their room and the trouble began in the packed downstairs bar.
"All I know is that the woman hit our duty manageress in the face and mouth". Said Lucy Hiorns, the hotel's head of personnel.
"And the groom took a swing at our bar manager. A lot of people got involved trying to stop it. There was blood all over the toilets. The duty manageress was left with a swollen face."
The newly-weds fled before the police arrived and joined another couple at the Soldier's Return pub in Upper Sherborne Road.
After a round of drinks at the friendly Oakridge local the honeymooners started abusing regulars playing pool said landlady Brenda Coventry, 59.
When the licensee told the unruly pair to leave, she said she was greeted with a volley of pool balls. She was hit once on the head, as was regular Nick Chubb, 29.
"Luckily my regulars came to my defence." Said Mrs Coventry.
It was the first time in 30 years of the pub trade that she had ever been attacked.
"I had a bump on my head and a splitting headache." She said.
After X-rays at Basingstoke hospital, Mrs Coventry and Mr Chubb were assured they had suffered no damage to their skulls.
Police caught up with the honeymooners outside the pub.
The drunken lovebirds then spent their wedding night in separate cells at Aldershot police station.
"We don't have any double cells with four poster beds yet," joked one police officer.
They were released on police bail on Saturday afternoon and may face assault charges.
Rat's in peace
FIREFIGHTERS called to a blaze in woods near Taverners Close, Norn Hill, Basingstoke found a man cremating his pet rat.
Death of pet rat hits the national news
When Miranda Wright's pet rat died she shed a tear - but didn't expect to make the national newspapers.
Unfortunately, she decided to cremate the deceased - named Nausea - rather than bury him. And the resulting blaze caught the attention of vigilant passers by.
The fire brigade was alerted and arrived to find the funeral in full swing.
A report appeared on the front page of the Gazette, then in the pages of the Sun newspaper.
Miranda said that the pet had been part of her life for four years.
"We decided to cremate her in the woods because we live in the flats and don't have a garden. We didn't want to bury her because the foxes might dig her up." she said
We had her nearly four years. I was quite upset about it. But then I saw it in the paper and I had a chuckle about it." she said.
Crematorium badly damaged in blaze
by Elizabeth Roberts
BASINGSTOKE Crematorium was badly damaged in a serious fire that required emergency services to be drafted in from across north Hampshire.
Fifty firefighters were involved in the effort to tackle the fire, which broke out on Wednesday evening in the roof above the cremators.
"We had problems with water supplies as there is no hydrant at the crematorium, so we used the pond at the front of the building," said Station Officer Coates, who added that firefighters had removed empty caskets and coffins to ensure they were not damaged.
Station Officer Rob Furniss, of the Fire Investigation Unit ...said: "There is nothing suspicious. I think that the fire is related to the fact that it's a crematorium..."
Natasha Rees, corporate communications co-ordinator for Dignity Funerals, said all of the cremations on Wednesday had been completed before the incident occurred, and no coffins or caskets were damaged in the blaze.
THREE trainspotters got a surprise when they were stopped and searched by police at Basingstoke railway station under legislation aimed to target possible terrorists.
Michael Fidoe, 57, was one of three rail enthusiasts searched by officers at Basingstoke station on April 4.
He had been sitting on the platform for two hours when a pair of police officers approached, asked who he was and what he was doing and then searched his bag, citing Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000. ...
"I do not mind being asked what I am doing, but getting a ticket is a bit much," said Mr Fidoe, who had travelled to Basingstoke from his home in Drybrook, Gloucestershire to watch the trains. ...
"I am a bit upset about the wording of the ticket. It says loitering, which to me means something more sinister than sitting, watching trains."
Kory Thorne, acting chief inspector at Basingstoke police station, said the officers were entitled to stop and search the men.
"The officers were curious as to what the men were doing as they had been there a while without boarding a train," ...
An unexpected punchline! The JOKE that got a man banned for life from a Hilton Hotel
A practical joker has been banned from a Hilton Hotel for life after leaving an 'abusive' joke on its online booking system.
Software consultant Jason Payne said he never expected the tasteless comment to be seen by staff, after responding that he had a 'large snake in his trousers' to a question about pets.
He said it was the only pet he had, adding 'hope that's OK'.
Mr Payne, 35, said he was surprised when the receptionist at the Hilton Hotel in Basingstoke starting laughing when he checked in on February 8, as he hadn't expected his comment to be read.
'The woman at the reception just suddenly burst out laughing hysterically and appeared very amused,' he said.
'I had no idea why and then she read the comment to me ... Her colleague then also laughed.'
However, Payne, who was staying at the hotel for the night for a friend's birthday, received an email days later, banning him for life from staying at the hotel.
In her correspondence, Cathrin Wurst, the hotel's front manager, said staff had been put in an 'uncomfortable situation', and said the hotel was unwilling to accept 'abusive language'.
Banned for life: The email sent to Jason Payne from the Hilton Hotel, calling his comment 'abusive'
The email added: 'After your recent stay with us here at the Hilton Basingstoke Hotel, I am sending you this email in regards to comments found on the booking.
'As an employer, we are not willing to accept that our team members are ever put in an uncomfortable situation, due to the abusive language a guest uses talking to them, writing to them or even on the booking form they fill in online.
'As you will understand, the booking comment made on your booking: "There's a large trouser snake in my trousers. Hope that's OK" is neither appropriate when making a hotel booking, nor is it funny.[...]
The Hilton Hotel in Basingstoke has banned Jason Payne for life[...]
The statement added: 'Hilton Basingstoke continues to operate a legitimate pet-friendly policy, and the guest is welcome to check in at the many other properties in the Hilton Worldwide portfolio.'
What to do if you get chased in Basingstoke's shopping centre by baddies in a Corvette.
You'll need the QuickTime plugin (free download at www.apple.com) to watch this clip
You'll need the QuickTime plugin (free download at www.apple.com) to watch this clip, which is originally from
Pete Shaw's Ben Silverstone site, where you can also find loads of great trip reports made by the pilgrims.(N.B. clip size is 2.1MB . . . you have been warned)
Fans cross the globe to visit movie mecca
5,000 mile pilgrimage to Basingstoke
FILM fans from as far away as America are making a pilgrimage to Britain to visit their favourite movie mecca - Basingstoke.
For die-hard fans of the film Get Real, Hollywood holds no attraction compared to the glamour of locations such as War Memorial Park, The Vyne School and the Top of Town.
Movie Lovers from the US and Europe will be treated to a private screening of the 1988 film, followed by a coach tour that will take in key locations. Organiser Pete Shaw is expecting up to a hundred people to come on the pilgrimage this Saturday, which will raise funds for a gay and lesbian charity, Freedom Youth.
Two of the most far-flung fans who will make the trip are Keith Elliot, from Gadsden, Alabama, who will be travelling over 4,000 miles, and Rodrigo Perez, a computer scientist from Salt Lake City in Utah - almost 5,000 miles away from Basingstoke.
"The pilgrimage stems from a website which I started," said Pete, who works in Basingstoke. "there was an idea on the website for a few of us to get together for a drink and it kind of snowballed. It was decided that having got people together we should raise some money for Freedom Youth."
The pilgrims will view the film at the Anvil, then take a coach tour of sites around Basingstoke featured in the film, including The Vyne School, the Top of Town and War Memorial Park.
Anne Jackson, film liaison officer at Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, told the Observer: " get Real is something that has touched the hearts of many people. Basingstoke was portrayed so beautifully in the film that people from all over the world want to come here."
The film tells the story of two young gay men growing up in a small town that doesn't understand them.
Originally a stage play, writer Patrick Wilde set Get Real in Basingstoke because he thought it "typified suburbia".
Terrorism fear over toy planes
Villagers unite to shoot down model aircraft site on farmland
Exclusive by Warren Wilkins
A F R I G H T E N E D villager objected to plans to transform Basingstoke farmland into a model plan landing strip because he feared the tiny aircraft could be used in a terrorist attack.
The terrorism fear was one of more than 70 objections aimed by locals at shooting down the plans by Aldershot Model Club to have their own airstrip at Manor farm, Upton Grey, Basingstoke.
The unnamed villager claimed a 'demented' person could use or prepare a model aircraft for terrorist purposes.
From 'The Pennsylvania Gazette' (USA, 1797)
The wife of Mr. Hussey, hair dresser, in Basingstoke, was lately brought to be of her 20th child, all by one husband; fifteen were boys. Mr. Hussey is related to the member for Salisbury, and is in his humble profession as honest and industrious as his namesake and relation. - Though only one of them is a barber, yet both are occasionally good shavers. - Mr. William Hussey sometimes performing the close-cutting art with much adroitness upon Messrs. Pitt, Dundas, &c. whilst the man of Basingstoke, with more placid temper, though no less keen his purpose, or less sharp his inclinations, smoothes the chin of his customers, and with his help-mate patriotically gives subjects to the state.
40st woman in toilet 14 hours
FIREMEN ripped apart a flat yesterday to rescue a 40-stone mum stuck in her loo for FOURTEEN hours.
Caroline Comer, who is in her 50s, got trapped after she went to spend a penny at midnight.
A shocked relative found her at 10am and rang 999.
Paramedics unable to budge her called the fire brigade, who brought in power tools, hammers and chisels.
It took four more hours for 15 firefighters to cut away the toilet door, its frame and an interior window to reach the woman.
The rescuers then battled to stretcher her down a flight of stairs and out on to a first-floor balcony. At 2pm she was finally winched to the ground in Basingstoke, Hants, using a CRANE and PULLEYS.
The woman was loaded into an ambulance which took her to hospital - where firemen who followed had to lift her out again.
Last night she was in intensive care. Fire service spokesman Mark Jones said of the rescue: "It was quite a job.
There was a lot of huffing and puffing from the men involved."
A witness said: "The firemen were cutting away doors, windows - the whole of the inside of her home."
Porn shock for X-word fan Jack, 89
A great-grandad was left shaken after he was bombarded with porn when he looked for help with a crossword clue on the internet.
Retired engineer Jack Sedgewick, 89, typed "Wild Asian ass (6)" into a search engine and was given links to dozens of images of naked women.
Jack, from [Roman Road] Basingstoke, Hants, clicked through a number of sites trying to find the answer but was stunned at the results.
He said: "I have been left shaken by the whole experience.
I did not even know this sort of stuff existed."
Jack, who was at home with wife Hilda, 86, finally found the answer, "onager", by changing his search to "donkey sanctuaries".
Pickled chameleon fumes spark 999 call
Firefighters in chemical protective clothing sent to help clear up broken jar of chameleon in formaldehyde
A fire brigade sent 18 officers, three engines and a specialist equipment unit to clean up a broken jar containing a pickled chameleon in formaldehyde.
Hampshire fire and rescue service swung into action after receiving a 999 call when the jar fell off a shelf and smashed at a house in Basingstoke, Hampshire, last night.
The owners tried to clean it up but were overcome by fumes and called the emergency services.
Firefighters wearing special chemical protective clothing entered the house and dealt with the spillage by washing it down in the garden.
A spokeswoman for the service said formaldehyde could be an irritant and the use of so many firefighters and engines was pre-determined when a hazardous chemical call was made.
"At the point we were called, we did not know what we were dealing with," she explained.
Residents to keep lid on a snake...
People living in an apartment block in Basingstoke, in the south west of England have been warned to keep their toilet seats down in case a seven-foot-long boa constrictor appears. The snake, called Cashmere, vanished after burglars broke into a flat and the snake fled down the toilet in terror.
Andrew Paice, the snake's owner, has told the 300 residents that the hungry snake could have escaped into the flats' network of pipes. Keep your toilet seats down just in case you want to get nibbled from behind whilst attending to your business...
BASINGSTOKE FRIDAY MAY 17, 1957
SHERBORNE ST. JOHN MAN'S UNUSUAL WILL
"Not Written For Amusement"
PUBLISHED yesterday was the extraordinary will of Norman John Mead whose home was "Emang," Sherborne St. John and who lost his life in a car accident in Bahrain on the Persian Gulf on February 10 last year.
By the will which is dated February 4, 1953, he desired that his body be cremated at Southampton and the ashes placed in the nearest dustbin.
He left all or such o his books etc., as dealt with his studies to be or resulted from his being a chartered accountant to William John Lawrence (Aycliffe Buildings, New Street, Basingstoke)
Mr. Lawrence was named executor with Mr B.W. Chapole of Lloyds Bank Basingstoke and Mr. Meads brother, G. E. Mead and the three have been granted probate.
Mr. Mead left £502 gross, £120 net and made some amazing directions about it. "to such of my nephews as are living at my death(cheerful thought)," he wrote, "£50 each with the wish that they blow the lot as they please."
He left £20 each to the executors, £25 to his grandchildren and several other specific bequests, and "the residue to one person and the very best of luck to the others." Such person to be one of his brothers or sisters, Edward A Mead, Minnie G Thatcher, George E. Mead, Arthur F. Mead and Gwendoline E. Mead.
'THROW SET OF DICE'
"For the residue," he explained, "my five brothers and sisters will throw a set of dice (new unused and provided by the executors). The throw will be on a baize card table, and any that fall off to be left off, not to count and not to be re-thrown. The first to throw will have three throws but if he or she choose, he or she may declare after the first or second throw and thus restrict all the others to his number of throws.
"The first throw will be decided by the five members each having a dice with aces up and kings toward them, and on the instructions of the executors flicking the dice away from them by the usual method of spinning contrary to its line.
"The highest point settles: if two or more tie for highest place these will throw as above, if these again tie, throw as above and so on.
"If one of the school inadvertently causes his dice to fall off the table he forfeits his chance of securing his throw. The person with the highest throw takes the residue.
"The order of scoring:- Five of a kind, fours, full house, highest straight, lowest straight, threes and twos and two pairs.
"In the case of arbitration or referee the executors are to appoint Hector Mann of Mill House Club, near Reading (one of my clubs), and if he comes, he is to receive £10.
'£50 SLAP UP'
"The fortunate winner (if the residue is of any appreciable consequence) is asked to give the members of the White House Club, Basingstoke (really I should say the Kempshott Country Club) a £50 slap up as soon as possible after my death. No invitations to members, just those fortunate enough to be there or those in the know.
"The residue is requested to be used for the bona fide use of the winner.
I am not writing this for amusement and do not wish my intentions to be flouted, but in the event of any of the school not wishing to partake they forfeit and all the better for those not squeamish.
"If possible I wish for the throw of the dice to take place on the day of my funeral, drinks and food to be supplied. Death is merely a case of ashes to ashes and dust to dust"
We understand that the family are to obtain a counsel's opinion whether they need to carry out literally the unusual terms of the will.
It could not be carried out exactly as Mr. Mead directed, in any case because it has now been revealed that he did not leave enough to cover the bequests.
Educated at Portsmouth Grammar School, Mr. Mead was a Captain of the Queen Bays during the war. He entered a firm of Basingstoke accountants after the war and later moved to a London firm. In 1952 he passed his accountancy examinations with honours.
A keen horseman and yachtsman, he was well know and liked in the district. While at Sherborne he was a member of the Church Council and of the British Legion.