Alton, Hampshire

Alton, Hampshire

Overview
Alton is a historic market town
Market town
Market town or market right is a legal term, originating in the medieval period, for a European settlement that has the right to host markets, distinguishing it from a village and city...

 and civil parish
Civil parish
In England, a civil parish is a territorial designation and, where they are found, the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties...

 in the East Hampshire
East Hampshire
East Hampshire is a local government district in Hampshire, England. Its council is based in Petersfield. Other towns are Alton, Horndean and Whitehill-Bordon....

 district of the English county of Hampshire
Hampshire
Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, a historic cathedral city that was once the capital of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force...

. It had a population
Population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

 of 16,584 at the 1991 census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

 and is administered by East Hampshire
East Hampshire
East Hampshire is a local government district in Hampshire, England. Its council is based in Petersfield. Other towns are Alton, Horndean and Whitehill-Bordon....

 district council. It is located on the source of the River Wey
River Wey
The River Wey in Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex is a tributary of the River Thames with two separate branches which join at Tilford. The source of the north branch is at Alton, Hampshire and of the south branch at both Blackdown south of Haslemere, and also close to Gibbet Hill, near Hindhead...

 and is the highest town in Hampshire and South East England
South East England
South East England is one of the nine official regions of England, designated in 1994 and adopted for statistical purposes in 1999. It consists of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex...

. It also is home to Treloar College
Treloar College
Treloar College is a secondary school and sixth-form college for physically disabled students in Alton, Hampshire, England.It is one of the longest established special schools in South East England. The sixth-form college caters for students aged 16 to 25 and has 180 places. The students reside in...

, the National Specialist college for Young Disabled People. The town is twinned with Pertuis
Pertuis
Pertuis is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France.Located south of the Luberon, this town is also near Aix-en-Provence, a famous town. Pertuis has existed since at least 981, while a castle was first built in the 12th century...

 in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and Montecchio Maggiore
Montecchio Maggiore
Montecchio Maggiore is a town and comune in the province of Vicenza, Veneto, Italy. It is situated approximately 12 km west of Vicenza and 43 km east of Verona, SP 246 passes through it....

 in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. The town is famous for its connection with Sweet Fanny Adams
Fanny Adams
Fanny Adams was a young English girl murdered by solicitor's clerk Frederick Baker in Alton, Hampshire. The expression "sweet Fanny Adams" refers to her and has come, through British naval slang, to mean "nothing at all".-Murder:On 24 August 1867 at about 1.30 pm, Fanny's mother, Harriet Adams,...

.

The town of Alton began as a Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 settlement known as Vindomis.
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Encyclopedia
Alton is a historic market town
Market town
Market town or market right is a legal term, originating in the medieval period, for a European settlement that has the right to host markets, distinguishing it from a village and city...

 and civil parish
Civil parish
In England, a civil parish is a territorial designation and, where they are found, the lowest tier of local government below districts and counties...

 in the East Hampshire
East Hampshire
East Hampshire is a local government district in Hampshire, England. Its council is based in Petersfield. Other towns are Alton, Horndean and Whitehill-Bordon....

 district of the English county of Hampshire
Hampshire
Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, a historic cathedral city that was once the capital of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force...

. It had a population
Population
A population is all the organisms that both belong to the same group or species and live in the same geographical area. The area that is used to define a sexual population is such that inter-breeding is possible between any pair within the area and more probable than cross-breeding with individuals...

 of 16,584 at the 1991 census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

 and is administered by East Hampshire
East Hampshire
East Hampshire is a local government district in Hampshire, England. Its council is based in Petersfield. Other towns are Alton, Horndean and Whitehill-Bordon....

 district council. It is located on the source of the River Wey
River Wey
The River Wey in Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex is a tributary of the River Thames with two separate branches which join at Tilford. The source of the north branch is at Alton, Hampshire and of the south branch at both Blackdown south of Haslemere, and also close to Gibbet Hill, near Hindhead...

 and is the highest town in Hampshire and South East England
South East England
South East England is one of the nine official regions of England, designated in 1994 and adopted for statistical purposes in 1999. It consists of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex...

. It also is home to Treloar College
Treloar College
Treloar College is a secondary school and sixth-form college for physically disabled students in Alton, Hampshire, England.It is one of the longest established special schools in South East England. The sixth-form college caters for students aged 16 to 25 and has 180 places. The students reside in...

, the National Specialist college for Young Disabled People. The town is twinned with Pertuis
Pertuis
Pertuis is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region in southeastern France.Located south of the Luberon, this town is also near Aix-en-Provence, a famous town. Pertuis has existed since at least 981, while a castle was first built in the 12th century...

 in France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, and Montecchio Maggiore
Montecchio Maggiore
Montecchio Maggiore is a town and comune in the province of Vicenza, Veneto, Italy. It is situated approximately 12 km west of Vicenza and 43 km east of Verona, SP 246 passes through it....

 in Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

. The town is famous for its connection with Sweet Fanny Adams
Fanny Adams
Fanny Adams was a young English girl murdered by solicitor's clerk Frederick Baker in Alton, Hampshire. The expression "sweet Fanny Adams" refers to her and has come, through British naval slang, to mean "nothing at all".-Murder:On 24 August 1867 at about 1.30 pm, Fanny's mother, Harriet Adams,...

.

The town of Alton began as a Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 settlement known as Vindomis. It was recorded in the Domesday Survey of 1086 and was notable for having the most valuable recorded market
Market
A market is one of many varieties of systems, institutions, procedures, social relations and infrastructures whereby parties engage in exchange. While parties may exchange goods and services by barter, most markets rely on sellers offering their goods or services in exchange for money from buyers...

 in the Domesday Book under the name Aoltone.

Jane Austen
Jane Austen
Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics.Austen lived...

 lived in the nearby village of Chawton
Chawton
Chawton is a village and civil parish in the East Hampshire district of Hampshire, England. It is 1.6 miles southwest of Alton, just south of the A31 which runs between Farnham and Winchester. The village is famous as the home of Jane Austen for the last eight years of her life...

.

Roman times


A Roman road ran from Chichester
Chichester
Chichester is a cathedral city in West Sussex, within the historic County of Sussex, South-East England. It has a long history as a settlement; its Roman past and its subsequent importance in Anglo-Saxon times are only its beginnings...

 to Silchester
Silchester
Silchester is a village and civil parish about north of Basingstoke in Hampshire. It is adjacent to the county boundary with Berkshire and about south-west of Reading....

 and there is evidence of a Roman posting station at Neatham
Neatham
Neatham is a Roman hamlet in the civil parish of Holybourne in the East Hampshire district of Hampshire, England. Its nearest town is Alton, which lies south-west from the hamlet.- Roman period – Vindomis :...

 near Alton, probably called Vindomis, and a ford
Ford (crossing)
A ford is a shallow place with good footing where a river or stream may be crossed by wading or in a vehicle. A ford is mostly a natural phenomenon, in contrast to a low water crossing, which is an artificial bridge that allows crossing a river or stream when water is low.The names of many towns...

 across the River Wey
River Wey
The River Wey in Surrey, Hampshire and West Sussex is a tributary of the River Thames with two separate branches which join at Tilford. The source of the north branch is at Alton, Hampshire and of the south branch at both Blackdown south of Haslemere, and also close to Gibbet Hill, near Hindhead...

. Centuries later, a Saxon
Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 settlement was established in the area and a large 7th century cemetery has been discovered during building excavations. It contained a selection of grave goods
Grave goods
Grave goods, in archaeology and anthropology, are the items buried along with the body.They are usually personal possessions, supplies to smooth the deceased's journey into the afterlife or offerings to the gods. Grave goods are a type of votive deposit...

 which included the Alton Buckle which is on display in the Curtis Museum
Curtis Museum
The Curtis Museum in Alton, is a local history museum in Hampshire, England.The museum was founded by Dr William Curtis in 1865. It is managed by the Museum & Arts Service of Hampshire County Council and is near the Allen Gallery.-Displays:...

, and is considered to be the finest piece of Anglo Saxon
Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 craftsmanship found in Hampshire. The buckle was found in the grave of a warrior, and has a silver-gilt body, set with garnets and glass.

The River Wey has its source in the town, and the name Alton comes from an Anglo-Saxon word "aewielltun" meaning "farmstead at the source of the river".

Battle against the Danes (1001)


In 1001 Danish forces invaded England, plundering, ravaging and burning, and spreading terror and devastation. When they reached Alton, the men of Hampshire came together and fought against them. About 81 English were killed, including Ethelwerd the King's high-steward, Leofric of Whitchurch, Leofwin the King's high-steward, Wulfhere a bishop's thane, and Godwin of Worthy, Bishop Elfsy's son. Danish casualties were higher, but the Danes won the battle and fleeing Englishmen took refuge in Winchester
Winchester
Winchester is a historic cathedral city and former capital city of England. It is the county town of Hampshire, in South East England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government district, and is located at the western end of the South Downs, along the course of...

.

Domesday Book (1086)


Alton is listed as having the most valuable recorded market in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...

 under the name Aoltone in the 'Odingeton Hundred — Hantescire'.


The Treaty of Alton (1101)


The Treaty of Alton
Treaty of Alton
The Treaty of Alton was an agreement signed in 1101 between Henry I of England and his older brother Robert, Duke of Normandy in which Robert agreed to recognize Henry as king of England in exchange for a yearly stipend and other concessions...

 was an agreement signed in 1101 between William the Conqueror's
William I of England
William I , also known as William the Conqueror , was the first Norman King of England from Christmas 1066 until his death. He was also Duke of Normandy from 3 July 1035 until his death, under the name William II...

 eldest son Robert, Duke of Normandy and his brother Henry I of England
Henry I of England
Henry I was the fourth son of William I of England. He succeeded his elder brother William II as King of England in 1100 and defeated his eldest brother, Robert Curthose, to become Duke of Normandy in 1106...

. Henry had seized the throne while his elder brother was away on the first crusade
First Crusade
The First Crusade was a military expedition by Western Christianity to regain the Holy Lands taken in the Muslim conquest of the Levant, ultimately resulting in the recapture of Jerusalem...

. Robert returned to claim the throne, landing in Portsmouth
Portsmouth
Portsmouth is the second largest city in the ceremonial county of Hampshire on the south coast of England. Portsmouth is notable for being the United Kingdom's only island city; it is located mainly on Portsea Island...

. The two brothers met in Alton and agreed terms which formed the Treaty of Alton. Part of the main street through Alton is called Normandy Street, probably reflecting this event.

Markets, fairs and the Royal Charter (1307)


The first recorded market in Alton was in 1232, although the market at Neatham
Neatham
Neatham is a Roman hamlet in the civil parish of Holybourne in the East Hampshire district of Hampshire, England. Its nearest town is Alton, which lies south-west from the hamlet.- Roman period – Vindomis :...

 first recorded in the Domesday Book
Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...

 may also have been in the town. Blome wrote in 1673 of a 'market on Saturdays, which is very great for provisions, where also are sold good store of living cattle'. The Saturday market is also featured on Kitchin's map of Hampshire (1751) which marks the town as Alton Mt. Sat.

Alton Westbrook Fair


According to William Curtis’ History of Alton (1896):-
‘Edward II granted the privilege of holding a fair at Alton to Edmund of Woodstock, who then held the manor.’


This was a direct quote from the History of Hampshire by T W Shore (1892). Unfortunately, Curtis added:-
‘A D 1307.
Edward II.
Privilege of holding a fair’

in the margin. It is this which has caused later confusion with people thinking that the grant of the fair was in 1307. In fact, it seem likely that William Curtis did not know the date of the grant/charter as the Calendars of Charter Rolls were not published until 1903-1927.

1307 was, in fact, the first year of Edward II’s reign but Edmund of Woodstock was not lord of the manor then. According to the Victoria County History (written after Curtis’ book):-
‘In 1273 Edward I granted the manor [of Alton Westbrook] to his mother, Queen Eleanor, who died in 1291, when it reverted to the Crown and was granted in 1299 as dower to his second wife, Margaret of France. On the death of Queen Margaret in 1317, it again came to the Crown, and Edward II gave it in 1319 to his brother Edmund of Woodstock, Earl of Kent.’


As can see be seen, Queen Margaret held the manor until 1317 and so the fair could not have been granted to Edmund of Woodstock in 1307.

The correct date for the grant seems to be 22 November 1320 (according to the Charter Rolls, 14 Edward II, no.15). The grant was for a 9-day fair - the vigil [eve] and feast of Whitsuntide and seven days after.

Alton Eastbrook Fair


The two main manors in Alton - Alton Eastbrook and Alton Westbrook - had a fair each. That of Alton Eastbrook has no extant charter, and may never have had one. It was originally held on St Lawrence’s Day and so its origin was, presumably, the patronal festival. The religious aspect would have ceased when the country was no longer Roman Catholic. This fair seems to have been held on Crown Close (which is in the manor of Alton Eastbrook) in the early 19th century. When this land was built upon, the fair moved and was held where ever the Westbrook fair was - the Market Place, various meadows and the Butts.

The date of the Eastbrook fair was changed to Michaelmas in the mid-18th century as it came at harvest time and the farmers were not happy about that. Some accounts for this fair in the early 18th century do survive and show that there was a cheese fair as well the usual mix of travelling and local people with stalls and stands - people selling lace, gloves, books, gingerbread, bodices, sugar plums, toys [small items - not for children], soap and knives, to name but a few. By the late 19th century, this fair was said to be mainly for horses, sheep and, occasionally, hops.

Alton still has an annual fair, but it now takes the form of a fun fair
Funfair
A funfair or simply "fair" is a small to medium sized travelling show primarily composed of stalls and other amusements. Larger fairs such as the permanent fairs of cities and seaside resorts might be called a fairground, although technically this should refer to the land where a fair is...

.

Foundation of Eggar's School (1640)


Eggar's School was founded in 1640 by John Eggar of Moungomeries as the Free Grammar School. It later became known as Eggar's Grammar School. It occupied a site in Anstey Road until it moved to a new site in Holybourne
Holybourne
Holybourne is a village in the East Hampshire district of Hampshire, England. It is 1.3 miles northeast of Alton, just off the A31 road.The nearest railway station is 1.3 miles southwest of the village, at Alton....

 in 1969.

The Battle of Alton (1643)


A battle was fought in Alton during the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

. A small Royalist
Cavalier
Cavalier was the name used by Parliamentarians for a Royalist supporter of King Charles I and son Charles II during the English Civil War, the Interregnum, and the Restoration...

 force was quartered in the town when on 13 December 1643 they were surprised by a Parliamentary
Parliament of England
The Parliament of England was the legislature of the Kingdom of England. In 1066, William of Normandy introduced a feudal system, by which he sought the advice of a council of tenants-in-chief and ecclesiastics before making laws...

 army of around 5,000 men. The Royalist cavalry
Cavalry
Cavalry or horsemen were soldiers or warriors who fought mounted on horseback. Cavalry were historically the third oldest and the most mobile of the combat arms...

 fled, leaving Sir Richard Bolle (or Boles) and his infantry
Infantry
Infantrymen are soldiers who are specifically trained for the role of fighting on foot to engage the enemy face to face and have historically borne the brunt of the casualties of combat in wars. As the oldest branch of combat arms, they are the backbone of armies...

 to fight. Outnumbered, the Royalists were forced into the Church of St Lawrence
Church of St Lawrence, Alton
The Church of St Lawrence, Alton is an Anglican parish church in Alton, Hampshire, England. A Grade 1 listed building, it is notable for the range of its architecture and for being the site of the concluding action of the Battle of Alton during the English Civil War.-History:The Church of St...

, where Bolle was killed along with many of his men. Over 700 Royalist soldiers were captured and bullet holes from the battle are still visible in the church today.

The plague (1665)


In 1665, Alton suffered an outbreak of bubonic plague
Bubonic plague
Plague is a deadly infectious disease that is caused by the enterobacteria Yersinia pestis, named after the French-Swiss bacteriologist Alexandre Yersin. Primarily carried by rodents and spread to humans via fleas, the disease is notorious throughout history, due to the unrivaled scale of death...

, but soon recovered.

Fanny Adams (1867)


The Victorian era
Victorian era
The Victorian era of British history was the period of Queen Victoria's reign from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. It was a long period of peace, prosperity, refined sensibilities and national self-confidence...

 also left its mark on Saturday, 24 August 1867, when an eight-year old girl, Fanny Adams
Fanny Adams
Fanny Adams was a young English girl murdered by solicitor's clerk Frederick Baker in Alton, Hampshire. The expression "sweet Fanny Adams" refers to her and has come, through British naval slang, to mean "nothing at all".-Murder:On 24 August 1867 at about 1.30 pm, Fanny's mother, Harriet Adams,...

, was murdered. Her assailant, Frederick Baker, a local solicitor's clerk, was one of the last criminals to be executed in Winchester and one of the original public notices advertising his forthcoming execution hangs in the Crown Public House. Fanny Adams' grave can still be seen in Alton cemetery. The brutal murder, so the story goes, coincided with the introduction of tinned meat in the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

, and the sailors who did not like the new food said the tins contained the remains of "Sweet Fanny Adams" or "Sweet F A", hence the expression which for over a century has meant "sweet nothing".

Recent developments


Here are a few events in the past two hundred years:
  • 1813 — new Town Hall was built
  • 1844 — Alton gained a gas supply
  • 1852 — rail connection to London
    London
    London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

  • 1856 — the Curtis Museum was founded
  • 1862 — sewage works
    Sewage treatment
    Sewage treatment, or domestic wastewater treatment, is the process of removing contaminants from wastewater and household sewage, both runoff and domestic. It includes physical, chemical, and biological processes to remove physical, chemical and biological contaminants...

     was built
  • 1865 — rail connection to Winchester
    Winchester
    Winchester is a historic cathedral city and former capital city of England. It is the county town of Hampshire, in South East England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government district, and is located at the western end of the South Downs, along the course of...

  • 1876 — waterworks
    Water supply
    Water supply is the provision of water by public utilities, commercial organisations, community endeavours or by individuals, usually via a system of pumps and pipes...

     was built
  • 1874 — All Saints Church was consecrated
  • 1880 — the Assembly Rooms
    Assembly rooms
    In Great Britain and Ireland, especially in the 18th and 19th centuries, assembly rooms were gathering places for members of the higher social classes open to members of both sexes. At that time most entertaining was done at home and there were few public places of entertainment open to both sexes...

     were built
  • 1901 — Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway
    Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway
    The Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway was a railway in Hampshire, UK, opened on Saturday, 1 June 1901, with no formal ceremony.It was the first railway to be enabled by an Order of the Light Railway Commission under the Light Railways Act of 1896...

     opened
  • 1908 — Lord Mayor Treloar Hospital was built
  • 1927 — Alton gained electricity
  • 1938 — Alton Convent School opened
  • 1966 — St Mary's Roman Catholic Church was built
  • 1968 — Alton by-pass was built
  • 1972 — Alton Sports Centre opened
  • 1974 — Alton Health Centre opened
  • 1975 — Alton Community Centre
    Community centre
    Community centres or community centers or jumping recreation centers are public locations where members of a community tend to gather for group activities, social support, public information, and other purposes. They may sometimes be open for the whole community or for a specialised group within...

     opened
  • 1978 — Alton College
    Alton College
    Alton College is a sixth form college located in Alton, Hampshire, England. As well as being a sixth form, the college provides an adult education service to the local population as well as catering for students with disabilities from nearby Treloar College...

     opened
  • 1978 — Alton Magistrates Court opened
  • 1985 — Preserved portion of the former railway line to Winchester (Mid-Hants Railway) reopened to Alton.
  • 1992 — Alton gains its own local radio station, Wey Valley Radio (later Delta Radio and now Kestrel FM)
  • 2005 — Alton Maltings Centre, a renovated malthouse
    Malthouse
    A malt house, or maltings, is a building where cereal grain is converted into malt by soaking it in water, allowing it to sprout and then drying it to stop further growth. The malt is used in brewing beer, whisky and in certain foods. The traditional malt house was largely phased out during the...

    , opens.

Economy



Brewing
Brewing
Brewing is the production of beer through steeping a starch source in water and then fermenting with yeast. Brewing has taken place since around the 6th millennium BCE, and archeological evidence suggests that this technique was used in ancient Egypt...

 used to be one of Alton's main industries. Hops
Hops
Hops are the female flower clusters , of a hop species, Humulus lupulus. They are used primarily as a flavoring and stability agent in beer, to which they impart a bitter, tangy flavor, though hops are also used for various purposes in other beverages and herbal medicine...

 and barley
Barley
Barley is a major cereal grain, a member of the grass family. It serves as a major animal fodder, as a base malt for beer and certain distilled beverages, and as a component of various health foods...

 were grown in the surrounding area (indeed, Fanny Adams's butchered remains were found in a hop field) and the barley would have been malted in the town. The maltings still stand in Lower Turk Street, although it is no longer used for that purpose. They belonged to Halls Brewery from 1841 and were still producing malt in 1949.

The Pearce family in Alton owned and operated the Timber and Saw Mills from the 1890s to 1939, employing over 100 people and producing all the wooden tools used for the brewing industry in the town

There have been a number of breweries in Alton since 1763. Today, Coors Brewing Company
Coors Brewing Company
The Coors Brewing Company is a regional division of the world's fifth-largest brewing company, the Canadian Molson Coors Brewing Company and is the third-largest brewer in the United States...

 (among the top ten largest brewers in the world) has a brewery in Alton which produces Carling
Carling
Carling brands are currently owned by the Molson Coors Brewing Company. In South Africa it is distributed by SABMiller.Carling Black Label is the name of a brand of Canadian lager in Australia, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom and South Africa...

, Grolsch and Worthington
Worthington Draught bitter
-History:The Worthington Brewery was founded in 1761 by William Worthington, although William had brewed his first ale in 1744. WH Worthington pioneered brewing science in 1866 by employing a chemist, Horace Tabberer, who lead the world in separation and cultivation of pure yeast strains. In 1880...

.

Alton was also famous in the 18th century for the manufacture of paper and of dress materials including ribbed drugget
Drugget
Druggett or drugget is "a coarse woollen fabric felted or woven, self-coloured or printed one side". Jonathan Swift refers to being "in druggets drest, of thirteen pence a yard"....

s, shallons, silk
Silk
Silk is a natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be woven into textiles. The best-known type of silk is obtained from the cocoons of the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori reared in captivity...

s and serge
Serge
Serge is a type of twill fabric that has diagonal lines or ridges on both sides, made with a two-up, two-down weave. The worsted variety is used in making military uniforms, suits, great coats and trench coats. Its counterpart, silk serge, is used for linings. French serge is a softer, finer variety...

s, bombazine
Bombazine
Bombazine, or bombasine, is a fabric originally made of silk or silk and wool, and now also made of cotton and wool or of wool alone. Quality bombazine is made with a silk warp and a worsted weft. It is twilled or corded and used for dress-material...

 and figured barragon
Barragon
Not to be confused with BaragonBarragon is a light corded cotton for summer wear. It was particularly popular in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries....

s.

Alton today has thriving businesses in the retail and service sectors in the centre of the town, and over a hundred businesses in the four industrial areas of Mill Lane, Newman Lane, Caker Stream and Omega Park, ranging from light industrial to computer software production.
GE Energy, TNT N.V.
TNT N.V.
TNT N.V., more commonly known as TNT, is an international express and mail delivery services company with headquarters in Hoofddorp, Netherlands. In the Netherlands, TNT operates the national postal service under the name TNT Post. The group also offers postal services in eight other European...

 and Poseidon Diving Systems all have businesses in Alton's Industrial Site, Mill Lane.

One of Alton's largest commercial employers is the financial services sector. Lumbry Park, which used to be known as Lumbry Farm, is on the B3006 Alton to Selborne road, and is occupied by Inter Group Insurance Services (IGIS), a subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland
The Royal Bank of Scotland Group is a British banking and insurance holding company in which the UK Government holds an 84% stake. This stake is held and managed through UK Financial Investments Limited, whose voting rights are limited to 75% in order for the bank to retain its listing on the...

. Inter Group employs over 170 people on this site, and specialises in travel insurance
Travel insurance
Travel insurance is insurance that is intended to cover medical expenses, financial default of travel suppliers, and other losses incurred while traveling, either within one's own country, or internationally...

. The company has operated in Alton since 1999. It was acquired by Churchill Insurance in 2001, becoming part of RBS Insurance division in 2003 as part of an RBS takeover. However, on 11 November 2008, Inter Group announced its proposal to close its office in Alton in August 2009 due to "changes in the travel insurance market", leading to the loss of 104 full-time staff and around 16 part-timers. The head of Inter Group, Bob Andrews, said that the decision to close the Alton site had been forced by “a fundamental shift in the third-party travel insurance market in the last few years" and that "Major clients of Inter Group have recently taken their travel insurance business back in-house and sadly we have no alternative but to make this announcement today". He said, "We have explored every possible avenue before proposing this unfortunate action."

Alton was also home to the travel company TravelBag, the travel company owned by ebookers
Ebookers
Ebookers.com is an online travel company based out of the UK and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Travelport, the former travel arm of Cendant which was bought in October 2006 by an affiliate of Blackstone Partners. Travelport split out itself into three companies...

, who still have a shop in the town as well as The Adventure Company.

Today, Alton's town boasts a range of big-name brands including: WH Smith, Dorothy Perkins
Dorothy Perkins
Dorothy Perkins, whose trading name was inspired by a rambler rose of the same name, is a large British women's clothing retailer, active mostly in the United Kingdom.- History :...

, New Look and Clarks
C&J Clark
C. and J. Clark International Ltd, trading as Clarks, is a British, international shoe manufacturer and retailer based in Street, Somerset, England...

, and independent shops including greengrocers, butchers and charity shops. The supermarkets that serve the town are Sainsburys, Iceland
Iceland
Iceland , described as the Republic of Iceland, is a Nordic and European island country in the North Atlantic Ocean, on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Iceland also refers to the main island of the country, which contains almost all the population and almost all the land area. The country has a population...

 and Marks and Spencers, and there are planning applications for Tesco
Tesco
Tesco plc is a global grocery and general merchandise retailer headquartered in Cheshunt, United Kingdom. It is the third-largest retailer in the world measured by revenues and the second-largest measured by profits...

, Waitrose
Waitrose
Waitrose Limited is an upmarket chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom and is the food division of the British retailer and worker co-operative the John Lewis Partnership. Its head office is in Bracknell, Berkshire, England...

 and Morrisons
Morrisons
Wm Morrison Supermarkets plc is the fourth largest chain of supermarkets in the United Kingdom, headquartered in Bradford, West Yorkshire, England. The company is usually referred to and is branded as Morrisons formerly Morrison's, and it is part of the FTSE 100 Index of companies...

 in the pipeline. The application that Tesco made to build a store on the outskirts of the town was rejected by the North Planning Committee on 21 January 2010.

Famous people

  • William de Alton (c. 1330–1400), Dominican
    Dominican Order
    The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

     Friar
    Friar
    A friar is a member of one of the mendicant orders.-Friars and monks:...

    , writer and theological philosopher during King Edward II's reign, became famous for asserting that the Virgin Mary was polluted with original sin
    Original sin
    Original sin is, according to a Christian theological doctrine, humanity's state of sin resulting from the Fall of Man. This condition has been characterized in many ways, ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred...


  • Edmund Spenser
    Edmund Spenser
    Edmund Spenser was an English poet best known for The Faerie Queene, an epic poem and fantastical allegory celebrating the Tudor dynasty and Elizabeth I. He is recognised as one of the premier craftsmen of Modern English verse in its infancy, and one of the greatest poets in the English...

     (1552–1599), the Elizabethan poet and contemporary of William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon"...

    , lived in a well-preserved Tudor
    Tudor style architecture
    The Tudor architectural style is the final development of medieval architecture during the Tudor period and even beyond, for conservative college patrons...

     cottage at 1 Amery Street in about 1590. A plaque on the house states that he "lived some time in these parts".
  • John Pitts, biographical author, was born in Alton in 1560
  • John Murray
    John Murray (minister)
    John Murray though sometimes recalled as founder of the Universalist denomination in the United States, might more fairly be described as a pioneer minister and an inspirational figure, as his theological legacy to the later Universalist denomination was minimal.-Early life:He was born in Alton,...

     (1741–1815), born in Alton, a pioneering minister of the Universalist
    Universalism
    Universalism in its primary meaning refers to religious, theological, and philosophical concepts with universal application or applicability...

     church in the United States
    United States
    The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

    .
  • William Curtis
    William Curtis
    William Curtis was an English botanist and entomologist, who was born at Alton, Hampshire.Curtis began as an apothecary, before turning his attention to botany and other natural history. The publications he prepared effectively reached a wider audience than early works on the subject had intended...

     (1746–1799), botanist, was born in Alton and served his apprenticeship as an apothecary
    Apothecary
    Apothecary is a historical name for a medical professional who formulates and dispenses materia medica to physicians, surgeons and patients — a role now served by a pharmacist and some caregivers....

     before devoting the rest of his life to the study of British plants.
  • Jane Austen
    Jane Austen
    Jane Austen was an English novelist whose works of romantic fiction, set among the landed gentry, earned her a place as one of the most widely read writers in English literature, her realism and biting social commentary cementing her historical importance among scholars and critics.Austen lived...

     (1775–1817), Georgian novelist, lived in Chawton
    Chawton
    Chawton is a village and civil parish in the East Hampshire district of Hampshire, England. It is 1.6 miles southwest of Alton, just south of the A31 which runs between Farnham and Winchester. The village is famous as the home of Jane Austen for the last eight years of her life...

     just outside Alton from 1809 until her death, and wrote or revised six novels there.
  • Cardinal Newman (1801–1890), English Catholic, lived in Alton from 1816 to 1819.
  • Bernard Montgomery (1887–1976), British Field Marshal
    Field Marshal
    Field Marshal is a military rank. Traditionally, it is the highest military rank in an army.-Etymology:The origin of the rank of field marshal dates to the early Middle Ages, originally meaning the keeper of the king's horses , from the time of the early Frankish kings.-Usage and hierarchical...

    , World War II
    World War II
    World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

     commander. 'Monty' led Allied forces at the Battle of El Alamein
    Second Battle of El Alamein
    The Second Battle of El Alamein marked a major turning point in the Western Desert Campaign of the Second World War. The battle took place over 20 days from 23 October – 11 November 1942. The First Battle of El Alamein had stalled the Axis advance. Thereafter, Lieutenant-General Bernard Montgomery...

     and was commander of all Allied ground forces during Operation Overlord
    Operation Overlord
    Operation Overlord was the code name for the Battle of Normandy, the operation that launched the invasion of German-occupied western Europe during World War II by Allied forces. The operation commenced on 6 June 1944 with the Normandy landings...

     until after the Battle of Normandy. Lived in Bentley near Alton in his retirement and died there in 1976 aged 88. He was interred in the nearby Holy Cross Churchyard, Binsted.
  • Iona and Peter Opie: Iona Opie (born 1923) and Peter Opie (1918–1982), folklorists and anthologists famed for their research into children's literature, and street and playground games. Their collection of children's literature has been donated to the Bodleian Library
    Bodleian Library
    The Bodleian Library , the main research library of the University of Oxford, is one of the oldest libraries in Europe, and in Britain is second in size only to the British Library...

     in Oxford.
  • James William 'Jimmy' Dickinson
    Jimmy Dickinson
    James William 'Jimmy' Dickinson was an English football player.Dickinson holds the record for number of league appearances for Portsmouth...

     (25 April 1925 – 8 November 1982 in Alton), an English football player. Dickinson holds the record number of league appearances for Portsmouth F.C. (764). Only Swindon Town's John Trollope (770) has made more appearances for a single club. His performances earned him a call-up to the England national football team. He won 48 caps for England, making him Portsmouth's most capped English player. During his record 845 club appearances for Pompey and his 48 England caps he was never once booked or sent off, earning him the nickname Gentleman Jim. There is a pub in Alton named after him called The Gentleman Jim.
  • Les Humphreys (1940–2007), musician. Founder of the Les Humphreys Singers with whom he had several top hits in Europe, principally Germany in the 1970s.
  • Ian Bone
    Ian Bone
    Ian Bone , is a prominent British anarchist and an active publisher of anarchist newspapers and tabloids, such as Class War and The Bristolian...

     (born 1947), anarchist, studied at Eggar's school in Alton.
  • Philip Stephen Andrews (born 1951), musician and composer of 'The Hills Of May' and choral and orchestral works, was educated and still lives in Alton. His music is performed throughout the UK.
  • Graham Wilson (Author, Mentor, and Chaplain) (born 1958) studied at Eggar's Grammar School, from 1970 to 1976. Wilson, who worked briefly at the Harp Lager Brewery and Leisure Centre, is the author of several management text books, one of which "Problem Solving and Decision Making", is dedicated to his former Biology Teacher at Eggars, Dr Marion Phillips.
  • Anthony Page (born 1961), former professional footballer. Signed by Crystal Palace for one season in the mid to late 1970s.
  • Alison Goldfrapp
    Alison Goldfrapp
    Alison Elizabeth Margaret Goldfrapp is an English singer-songwriter and record producer, best known as the lead singer of the electronic music duo Goldfrapp. Goldfrapp has a soprano vocal range.-Early life:...

     (born 1966), singer of Goldfrapp
    Goldfrapp
    Goldfrapp are an English electronic music duo, formed in 1999 in London, England, that consists of Alison Goldfrapp and Will Gregory ....

    .
  • Yvette Cooper
    Yvette Cooper
    Yvette Cooper is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford since 2010, having previously been MP for Pontefract and Castleford since 1997. She served in the Cabinet between 2008 and 2010. She is the Shadow Home Secretary...

     (born 1969), Member of Parliament and Chief Secretary to the Treasury, was educated at Eggar's School
    Eggar's School
    Eggar's School is a community, comprehensive school in the town of Alton, Hampshire, England for boys and girls and has Science College status.-Admissions:The other secondary school in Alton is Amery Hill School...

     and Alton College
    Alton College
    Alton College is a sixth form college located in Alton, Hampshire, England. As well as being a sixth form, the college provides an adult education service to the local population as well as catering for students with disabilities from nearby Treloar College...

    .
  • Catherine McCormack
    Catherine McCormack
    Catherine McCormack is an English actress, known for her stage acting as well as her screen performances in films such as Braveheart, Spy Game and Dangerous Beauty.- Early life :...

     (born 1972), actress. Her first notable role was as the character Murron in the multiple Academy Award-winning movie Braveheart, which also starred and was directed by Mel Gibson.
  • Emily Monk, co–author of Don't Tell Mum: Hair-raising Messages Home from Gap-year Travellers.
  • Timothy Li Director of Ivy Tutors.
  • Alan Titchmarsh
    Alan Titchmarsh
    Alan Fred Titchmarsh, MBE DL is an English gardener, broadcaster and novelist. After working as a professional gardener and a garden journalist, he established himself as a media personality through appearances on gardening programmes...

     and Hugh Dennis
    Hugh Dennis
    Peter Hugh Dennis is an English actor, comedian, writer, impressionist and voice-over artist, best known for his work with comedy partner Steve Punt. He is also known for his position as a permanent panelist on the TV comedy show Mock The Week...

     both live in the local area.
  • Scott Harrison
    Scott Harrison
    Scott Harrison is a former world boxing featherweight champion and the first Scottish boxer to regain the World Boxing Organisation championship. His career has been dogged by controversy out of the ring and problems with alcohol have caused him to fall foul of the law on numerous...

     highly accomplished socialite now of Headley Down.

Education


Alton is home to Treloar's, an independent educational establishment founded in 1907 by Sir William Purdie Treloar, Lord Mayor of London
Lord Mayor of London
The Right Honourable Lord Mayor of London is the legal title for the Mayor of the City of London Corporation. The Lord Mayor of London is to be distinguished from the Mayor of London; the former is an officer only of the City of London, while the Mayor of London is the Mayor of Greater London and...

, to provide education for young people with physical disabilities http://www.treloar.org.uk/. Treloar's now runs Treloar College, a college of further education
Further education
Further education is a term mainly used in connection with education in the United Kingdom and Ireland. It is post-compulsory education , that is distinct from the education offered in universities...

 in Holybourne
Holybourne
Holybourne is a village in the East Hampshire district of Hampshire, England. It is 1.3 miles northeast of Alton, just off the A31 road.The nearest railway station is 1.3 miles southwest of the village, at Alton....

, and Treloar School in Upper Froyle about three miles (5 km) away. Treloar's provides specialist facilities, therapy and medical care to enable pupils to achieve their academic potential and develop their confidence and independence. Former pupils include comedian and actor Spike Breakwell
Spike Breakwell
Spike Breakwell is a British comedian.When Breakwell was four months old he became disabled through taking oral polio vaccine which caused a two-week coma...

, actress Julie Fernandez
Julie Fernandez
Julie Fernandez is a British actress, best known as Brenda, her award-winning role on the BBC comedy The Office. She is also a model....

, mouth and foot painting artist Tom Yendell, and actress and aspiring playwright Robyn Hunt.

The State secondary schools
Secondary education
Secondary education is the stage of education following primary education. Secondary education includes the final stage of compulsory education and in many countries it is entirely compulsory. The next stage of education is usually college or university...

 in Alton are Eggar's School http://www.eggars.hants.sch.uk/ (formerly the Grammar School
Grammar school
A grammar school is one of several different types of school in the history of education in the United Kingdom and some other English-speaking countries, originally a school teaching classical languages but more recently an academically-oriented secondary school.The original purpose of mediaeval...

), and Amery Hill School
Amery Hill School
Amery Hill School is an 11-16 comprehensive secondary school set on a hill above the market town of Alton in Hampshire, England. Its Headteacher is Stephen Crabtree...

http://www.ameryhill.ik.org.

There is also an independent Catholic day school, Alton Convent School
Alton Convent School
Alton Convent School is an independent Catholic day school on the outskirts of Alton, Hampshire. It has approximately 450 pupils of all faiths...

, which educates boys from 3 to 11 and girls from 3 to 18 .

Sixth-form
Sixth form
In the education systems of England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, and of Commonwealth West Indian countries such as Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Belize, Jamaica and Malta, the sixth form is the final two years of secondary education, where students, usually sixteen to eighteen years of age,...

 education is provided by Alton College
Alton College
Alton College is a sixth form college located in Alton, Hampshire, England. As well as being a sixth form, the college provides an adult education service to the local population as well as catering for students with disabilities from nearby Treloar College...

, which has gained outstanding inspection reports from Ofsted
Ofsted
The Office for Standards in Education, Children's Services and Skills is the non-ministerial government department of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools In England ....

.http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/filedownloading/?id=893411&type=1&refer=0 Former students of Alton College include Yvette Cooper
Yvette Cooper
Yvette Cooper is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford since 2010, having previously been MP for Pontefract and Castleford since 1997. She served in the Cabinet between 2008 and 2010. She is the Shadow Home Secretary...

 (Member of Parliament) and Alison Goldfrapp
Alison Goldfrapp
Alison Elizabeth Margaret Goldfrapp is an English singer-songwriter and record producer, best known as the lead singer of the electronic music duo Goldfrapp. Goldfrapp has a soprano vocal range.-Early life:...

 (musician).

Alton lies approximately mid-way between the University of Winchester
University of Winchester
The University of Winchester is a British public university primarily based in Winchester, Hampshire, England. Winchester is a historic cathedral city and the ancient capital of Wessex and the Kingdom of England.-History:...

 and the University of Surrey
University of Surrey
The University of Surrey is a university located within the county town of Guildford, Surrey in the South East of England. It received its charter on 9 September 1966, and was previously situated near Battersea Park in south-west London. The institution was known as Battersea College of Technology...

 at Guildford
Guildford
Guildford is the county town of Surrey. England, as well as the seat for the borough of Guildford and the administrative headquarters of the South East England region...

.

The arts in Alton


Alton WordFest is a celebration of the spoken and written word held in late September or early October each year. The festival includes writing competitions for children and adults, a children's spelling bee
Spelling bee
A spelling bee is a competition where contestants, usually children, are asked to spell English words. The concept is thought to have originated in the United States....

, a literary lunch, book launches, talks by authors and workshops. Since 2010, Alton WordFest has hosted The Pint Pot of Fire a story-telling competition among champions representing writers' circles, public speaking groups and oral-tradition story-telling clubs from around the area. The Pint Pot of Fire has run annually since 2005 and was formerly held in Guildford
Guildford
Guildford is the county town of Surrey. England, as well as the seat for the borough of Guildford and the administrative headquarters of the South East England region...

 (2005) and Farnham
Farnham
Farnham is a town in Surrey, England, within the Borough of Waverley. The town is situated some 42 miles southwest of London in the extreme west of Surrey, adjacent to the border with Hampshire...

 (2006–2009).

The Allen Gallery is Alton's art gallery. It houses a large, permanent ceramics collection as well as temporary exhibitions.

Alton Fringe Theatre was formed in 1988, regularly performing at Alton Maltings and other venues in the region.

Holybourne Theatre is on the site of a former Nissen hut
Nissen hut
A Nissen hut is a prefabricated steel structure made from a half-cylindrical skin of corrugated steel, a variant of which was used extensively during World War II.-Description:...

 that was converted into a theatre by German prisoners-of-war during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. Plays have been performed there since 1950, but the official opening was not until 1971.

Alton Morris was formed in 1979, and have been Morris Dancing
Morris dance
Morris dance is a form of English folk dance usually accompanied by music. It is based on rhythmic stepping and the execution of choreographed figures by a group of dancers. Implements such as sticks, swords, handkerchiefs and bells may also be wielded by the dancers...

 both in the UK and abroad. They often perform at Alton street events. Minden Rose Garland dance team are a Ladies` Morris Dance side formed a little later, in 1982. They perform displays of garland, stick and hankie dances.

Local choirs include Alton Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society, established in 1921, who perform two musical shows and one play each year in a wide variety of musical and dramatic styles. Alton Community Choir sings unaccompanied Hampshire folk songs as well as some African, gospel
Gospel music
Gospel music is music that is written to express either personal, spiritual or a communal belief regarding Christian life, as well as to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music....

, blues
Blues
Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads...

 and calypso music
Calypso music
Calypso is a style of Afro-Caribbean music that originated in Trinidad and Tobago from African and European roots. The roots of the genre lay in the arrival of enslaved Africans, who, not being allowed to speak with each other, communicated through song...

.

Alton Natives is a regular poetry and music open mic held in various public houses in the town.

Since January 1948, Holybourne Dramatic Club has put on performances of plays and pantomimes in Holybourne Theatre.

Recreational and leisure facilities



Alton has the following facilities:
  • The Palace Cinema is in Normandy Street and has shown films seven days a week since 1932. The Alton Independent Cinema Project was formed in May 2011 to help secure the future of independent cinema in the town.
  • Alton Maltings Centre was built in around 1850 and was used as a maltings until about 1970. It was renovated in 2004-5 and is now used by Harvest Church and is available for hire for events such as conferences, receptions, business meetings, etc
  • Alton Library was rebuilt in 2005, designed by Hampshire County Council Architects
    Hampshire County Architects
    Hampshire County Architects are the award-winning in-house architects studio of Hampshire County Council, England. They have a particular reputation for good school design...

    . The new library consists of a lending library, reference library, computer facilities and a cafe.
  • Alton Sports Centre is open to the public and includes a swimming pool, gym, indoor and outdoor courts, etc
  • The Curtis Museum
    Curtis Museum
    The Curtis Museum in Alton, is a local history museum in Hampshire, England.The museum was founded by Dr William Curtis in 1865. It is managed by the Museum & Arts Service of Hampshire County Council and is near the Allen Gallery.-Displays:...

     was founded in 1856 by Dr William Curtis
    William Curtis
    William Curtis was an English botanist and entomologist, who was born at Alton, Hampshire.Curtis began as an apothecary, before turning his attention to botany and other natural history. The publications he prepared effectively reached a wider audience than early works on the subject had intended...

     and houses one of the finest local history collections in Hampshire
  • The Town Gardens contains a bandstand
    Bandstand
    A bandstand is a circular or semicircular structure set in a park, garden, pier, or indoor space, designed to accommodate musical bands performing concerts...

     (built in 1935 for the Silver Jubilee
    Silver Jubilee
    A Silver Jubilee is a celebration held to mark a 25th anniversary. The anniversary celebrations can be of a wedding anniversary, ruling anniversary or anything that has completed a 25 year mark...

     of King George V
    George V of the United Kingdom
    George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

    ), a children's playground, flower beds, trees and shrubs (4.5 acres (18,210.9 m²))
  • Anstey Park, a large open space with playing fields and a small children's playground (32 acres (129,499.5 m²)); the park is home to the town's rugby club.http://www.alton-rfc.com/
  • King's Pond, with parking, a surfaced path all round, ducks and swans (11 acres (44,515.5 m²))
  • The Butts, 2 acres (8,093.7 m²) of common land now used for visiting circuses and fairs, and used in medieval and Tudor times for the weekly archery practice which all men were legally required to do (see archery butts
    Archery butts
    An archery butts is an archery practice field, with mounds of earth used for the targets. The name originally referred to the targets themselves, but over time came to mean the platforms that held the targets as well. For instance Othello, V,ii,267 mentions "Here is my journey's end, here is my...

    )
  • Flood meadows, about 15 acres (60,702.9 m²), lie close to the source of the River Wey through which rivulets weave and public footpaths give access through the diverse plant and animal life
  • A Tourist Information Centre is in Cross and Pillory Lane (near Market Square in the centre of the town)

Places of worship


  • All Saints Anglican
    Anglicanism
    Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

     Church, Queens Road
  • Alton Abbey (1895) in nearby Beech is a Benedictine monastery in the Church of England
    Church of England
    The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England and the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. The church considers itself within the tradition of Western Christianity and dates its formal establishment principally to the mission to England by St...

    http://www.starcourse.org/abbey/http://www.altonabbey.org.uk/ebp/alton.nsf
  • Alton Baptist Church, Mount Pleasant Road, GU34 4NP is part of Three Counties Baptist Church
  • Alton Methodist
    Methodism
    Methodism is a movement of Protestant Christianity represented by a number of denominations and organizations, claiming a total of approximately seventy million adherents worldwide. The movement traces its roots to John Wesley's evangelistic revival movement within Anglicanism. His younger brother...

     Church, Drayman’s Way http://www.faralt.org/
  • Alton United Reformed Church, Normandy Street (No longer exists the building is now a block of houses.)
  • The Church of the Good Shepherd, Four Marks (Church of England) http://churchofthegoodshepherd.org.uk
  • Church of St Lawrence
    Church of St Lawrence, Alton
    The Church of St Lawrence, Alton is an Anglican parish church in Alton, Hampshire, England. A Grade 1 listed building, it is notable for the range of its architecture and for being the site of the concluding action of the Battle of Alton during the English Civil War.-History:The Church of St...

    , Anglican
    Anglicanism
    Anglicanism is a tradition within Christianity comprising churches with historical connections to the Church of England or similar beliefs, worship and church structures. The word Anglican originates in ecclesia anglicana, a medieval Latin phrase dating to at least 1246 that means the English...

     (1070), Church Street http://www.stlawrencealton.org/
  • Brethren
    Plymouth Brethren
    The Plymouth Brethren is a conservative, Evangelical Christian movement, whose history can be traced to Dublin, Ireland, in the late 1820s. Although the group is notable for not taking any official "church name" to itself, and not having an official clergy or liturgy, the title "The Brethren," is...

    's Meeting Room, Vicarage Hill (Closed)
  • Friends' Meeting House (Quaker
    Religious Society of Friends
    The Religious Society of Friends, or Friends Church, is a Christian movement which stresses the doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. Members are known as Friends, or popularly as Quakers. It is made of independent organisations, which have split from one another due to doctrinal differences...

    ) (1672)
  • Harvest Church, Alton Maltings Centre, Maltings Close http://harvest-church.org.uk
  • Jubilee Church, Four Marks and Medstead http://www.jubileechurchfm.org/
  • Kingdom Hall, Holybourne (Jehovah's Witnesses
    Jehovah's Witnesses
    Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

    )
  • St Andrew's Parish Church, Medstead http://www.standrews.hampshire.org.uk/

  • St Mary Catholic
    Roman Catholic Church
    The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

     Church, Normandy Street
  • The Butts Church, 56 Spenser Close http://www.hants.org.uk/thebuttschurch/index.php meets at the Butts School, Bolle Road.
  • The Salvation Army
    Salvation Army
    The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian church known for its thrift stores and charity work. It is an international movement that currently works in over a hundred countries....

    , Amery Street
  • Three Counties Baptist Church, Mount Pleasant Road (See Alton Baptist Church entry above.)
  • Alton is also the nearest town to the Jalsa Salana
    Jalsa Salana
    Jalsa Salana is a formal gathering of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community initiated by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the community who also claimed to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi of the latter days. Usually, the gathering spans over three days, commencing on Fridays when the Friday Sermon ends...

     religious event held annually by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
    Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
    The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the larger of two communities that arose from the Ahmadiyya movement founded in 1889 in India by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian . The original movement split into two factions soon after the death of the founder...


Rail connections


Alton station
Alton railway station
Alton railway station is a railway station in the town of Alton, in the English county of Hampshire. The station is the terminus for two railway lines; the Alton Line which runs to Brookwood and onto London Waterloo and the Mid Hants Watercress Railway, which runs to Alresford. The latter once ran...

 is located on the National Rail
National Rail
National Rail is a title used by the Association of Train Operating Companies as a generic term to define the passenger rail services operated in Great Britain...

 network at the end of the Alton Line
Alton Line
The Alton Line is a railway line operated by South West Trains. Today Alton station is the terminus of a main line branch, although it was at one time the junction for three lines. The branch leaves the South Western Main Line at Pirbright Junction near Brookwood...

 with a regular service to London Waterloo. Journey time is usually just over an hour, stopping at Bentley
Bentley, Hampshire
Bentley is a village and civil parish in the East Hampshire district of Hampshire, England. The parish has an acreage of . The village is located just off the A31 road between Farnham in Surrey and Alton, being about five miles west of Farnham and six miles east of Alton...

, Farnham
Farnham
Farnham is a town in Surrey, England, within the Borough of Waverley. The town is situated some 42 miles southwest of London in the extreme west of Surrey, adjacent to the border with Hampshire...

, Aldershot
Aldershot
Aldershot is a town in the English county of Hampshire, located on heathland about southwest of London. The town is administered by Rushmoor Borough Council...

, Ash Vale
Ash Vale railway station
Ash Vale is a railway station serving the village of Ash Vale in Surrey, England. It is situated at the junction of the London to Alton line and the line from Ascot to Guildford. The station and all trains serving it are operated by South West Trains....

, Brookwood
Brookwood, Surrey
Brookwood is a village in Surrey, located about 5 km west of Woking, in a semi-rural location. It lies on the western border of the Woking Borough ....

, Woking
Woking
Woking is a large town and civil parish that shares its name with the surrounding local government district, located in the west of Surrey, UK. It is part of the Greater London Urban Area and the London commuter belt, with frequent trains and a journey time of 24 minutes to Waterloo station....

, Surbiton
Surbiton
Surbiton, a suburban area of London in the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, is situated next to the River Thames, with a mixture of Art-Deco courts, more recent residential blocks and grand, spacious 19th century townhouses blending into a sea of semi-detached 20th century housing estates...

 and London Waterloo.


Alton railway station also serves as a terminus for the Mid Hants Railway commonly called 'The Watercress Line', a restored steam railway running between Alton and New Alresford
New Alresford
New Alresford or simply Alresford is a small town and civil parish in the City of Winchester district of Hampshire, England. It is situated some 12 km north-east of the city of Winchester and 20 km south-west of the town of Alton...

, so called because it used to be used to transport fresh watercress
Watercress
Watercresses are fast-growing, aquatic or semi-aquatic, perennial plants native from Europe to central Asia, and one of the oldest known leaf vegetables consumed by human beings...

 to London.

The origins of the Watercress Line date back to 1861, the year in which Parliament
Parliament of the United Kingdom
The Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is the supreme legislative body in the United Kingdom, British Crown dependencies and British overseas territories, located in London...

 granted consent for what was then known as the 'Alton, Alresford and Winchester Railway'. Four years later the Mid Hants Railway opened, and the train service continued until the line was closed in 1973. Then in 1977 the line was partially re-opened, in 1983 it was extended further, and in 1985 it was re-opened as far as Alton to connect with the mainline London service.

Alton used to be a fairly important railway junction. As well as the Mid-Hants Railway, from 1903 to 1955 the Meon Valley Railway
Meon Valley Railway
The Meon Valley Railway was a cross-country railway in Hampshire, England that ran for between Alton and Fareham, closely following the course of the River Meon. At its northern end, it joined with the Mid-Hants Railway to Winchester, the Alton Line to Brookwood and the Basingstoke and Alton...

 ran from Alton down the Meon Valley
River Meon
The River Meon is a river that flows through an area of Hampshire in southern England known as the Meon Valley, it flows generally southwards from the South Downs to the Solent. For most of its route it is a chalk stream, with a length of 21 miles .The River Meon rises approximately...

 to join the Eastleigh to Fareham line
Eastleigh to Fareham Line
The Eastleigh-Fareham Line is the railway line from Eastleigh to Fareham in the United Kingdom. At Eastleigh, trains join the South Western Main Line for onward travel to Basingstoke, Reading or to London Waterloo. At Fareham trains join the West Coastway line for onward travel to Portsmouth or...

 at Fareham
Fareham
The market town of Fareham lies in the south east of Hampshire, England, between the cities of Southampton and Portsmouth, roughly in the centre of the South Hampshire conurbation.It gives its name to the borough comprising the town and the surrounding area...

. There was also a (now closed) line, the Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway
Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway
The Basingstoke and Alton Light Railway was a railway in Hampshire, UK, opened on Saturday, 1 June 1901, with no formal ceremony.It was the first railway to be enabled by an Order of the Light Railway Commission under the Light Railways Act of 1896...

, north to Basingstoke
Basingstoke
Basingstoke is a town in northeast Hampshire, in south central England. It lies across a valley at the source of the River Loddon. It is southwest of London, northeast of Southampton, southwest of Reading and northeast of the county town, Winchester. In 2008 it had an estimated population of...

.

Geography


Nearby Brockham Hill, situated 5.5 km (3.5 mi) northeast of Alton, rises to 225 m (738 ft) above sea level.

The nearby village of Bentworth
Bentworth
Bentworth is a village and large civil parish in the East Hampshire district of Hampshire, England. It lies approximately west of the town of Alton and about 8 miles south of Basingstoke, just off the A339 road. The parish covers an area of , of which about are woodland...

 is the highest village in Hampshire.

Climate


Along with the rest of South East England
South East England
South East England is one of the nine official regions of England, designated in 1994 and adopted for statistical purposes in 1999. It consists of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex...

, Alton has a temperate climate which is generally warmer than the rest of the country. The annual mean temperature is approximately 9 °C (48.2 °F) and shows a seasonal and a diurnal
Diurnal motion
Diurnal motion is an astronomical term referring to the apparent daily motion of stars around the Earth, or more precisely around the two celestial poles. It is caused by the Earth's rotation on its axis, so every star apparently moves on a circle, that is called the diurnal circle. The time for...

 variation, but due to the effect of the sea the range is less than in most other parts of the UK. January is the coldest month with mean minimum temperatures between 0.5 °C (32.9 °F) and 2 °C (35.6 °F). June and July are the warmest months in the area with average daily maximum around 25.5 °C (77.9 °F). Alton is the highest town in Hampshire
Hampshire
Hampshire is a county on the southern coast of England in the United Kingdom. The county town of Hampshire is Winchester, a historic cathedral city that was once the capital of England. Hampshire is notable for housing the original birthplaces of the Royal Navy, British Army, and Royal Air Force...

 which receives colder than average weather and is usually seriously affected in the snow.

Nearest places



External links