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Statue of the Duke of Wellington
Aldershot shown within Hampshire
|OS grid reference|
|- London||42.4 miles (68.2 km)|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||GU11 and GU12|
|Ambulance||South East Coast|
|EU Parliament||South East England|
Aldershot (//) is a town in the English county of Hampshire, located on heathland about 60 km (37 mi) southwest of London. The town is administered by Rushmoor Borough Council. The town has a population of 33,840, while the Aldershot Urban Area, a loose conurbation (which also includes other towns, such as Camberley, Farnborough, and Farnham) has a population of 243,344, making it the thirtieth-largest urban area in the UK
Aldershot is known for its connection with the British Army. This led to rapid growth from a small village to a Victorian town. Today, Aldershot is known as the "Home of the British Army". Aldershot is twinned with Sulechów in Poland, Meudon in France and Oberursel in Germany.
- 1 History
- 2 Geography
- 3 Aldershot Military Town
- 4 Landmarks
- 5 Transport and communications
- 6 Government and infrastructure
- 7 Education
- 8 Leisure and recreation
- 9 Parks and Open Spaces
- 10 Sport
- 11 Media
- 12 Politics
- 13 Notable residents
- 14 In literature
- 15 Location filming
- 16 See also
- 17 References
- 18 External links
The name may have derived from the name of "Alder" trees found in the area (Alder-holt meaning copse of Alder trees), indicating that it was a wet, boggy place. Aldershot, Alreshete, dates back to an Anglo-Saxon settlement. Aldershot was included as part of the old Hundred of Crondall referred to in the Domesday Book of 1086. The map of Hampshire in the 1722 edition of William Camden's Britannia or Geographical Description of Britain and Ireland shows a symbol for habitation in Aldershot in the Crundhal (Crondall) hundred.
Prior to 1850, Aldershott (as it was spelt then) was little known. The area was a vast stretch of common land, a lonely wasteland unsuitable for most forms of agriculture with scant population. As it existed at the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086, the extensive settlement of Crondall in the north-east corner of Hampshire was certainly Scandinavian, for among the customs of that great manor, which included Crondall, Yateley, Farnborough, and Aldershot, that of sole inheritance by the eldest daughter in default of sons prevailed, as over a large part of Cumberland, and this is a peculiarly Norse custom. It was regarded as a dangerous area (at one time it had almost as bad a reputation as Hounslow Heath), the stretch of the London to Winchester turnpike that passed through it between Bagshot and Farnham (now known as the Farnborough Road) was the scene of highway robberies. There were many tales of highwaymen holding up coaches. Dick Turpin is said to have operated in the area having his headquarters near nearby Farnborough, and there were sightings of Springheeled Jack.
In 1854, at the time of the Crimean War, the heath land around Aldershot was established as an army base with Aldershot at its centre. This led to a rapid expansion of Aldershot's population going from 875 in 1851, to in excess of 16,000 by 1861 (including about 9,000 from the military). The town continued to grow, reaching a peak in the 1950s.
Queen Victoria was a regular visitor to Aldershot and a Royal Pavilion was erected for her use. For her Jubilee Review (21 June 1887), 60,000 troops lined up in the Long Valley. They stretched from the Basingstoke Canal to Caesar's Camp. Royalty and VIPs from all over Europe and the British Empire attended the event.
A substantial rebuilding of the barracks was carried out between 1961 and 1969 by Building Design Partnership. The town was designated an "Experimental Site" by the government and various new building technologies were employed with mixed success.
In 2004 some former Gurkha soldiers were given the right to settle in the UK. As many had previously been based in and around Aldershot, the town became host to a growing Nepali population. After a 2009 campaign, the government allowed former Gurkha soldiers who had served for more than four years, and their families, to settle in the UK. Between the 2001 Census and the 2011 Census Rushmoor's Nepali population increased to approximately 6000 people, making up 6.5% of the overall population. The rise in the local Nepali population led Gerald Howarth, Member of Parliament for Aldershot, to request government assistance to expand local public services to meet the needs of the growing local population. Howarth was later criticised for suggesting Nepali migrants be dispersed across the UK.
The Aldershot Military Tattoo
The Aldershot Military Tattoo was an international annual event. Between 1922 and 1939 the Aldershot Military Searchlight Tattoo held at the Rushmoor Arena presented spectacular displays from all branches of the services. This was the premier military Tattoo in the UK during the inter-war years; before there was an Edinburgh Tattoo, the Aldershot show took the lead for sheer scale and spectacle. Its post-war format, the Army Show, was an annual event until financial circumstances saw its cancellation in 2010. It was briefly revived the following year.
The first Aldershot Military Festival was held in July 2013. Events were held across the town, including photographic and art exhibitions, music concerts, sport tournaments and a film festival.
1972 Aldershot bombing
On 22 February 1972 Aldershot experienced one of the worst mainland IRA attacks. Seven people, all civilian support staff, including cooks, cleaners, and a Catholic priest, were killed in a car bomb attack on the 16th Parachute Brigade headquarters mess. This blast was later claimed by the Official IRA as revenge for the shootings in Derry that came to be known as Bloody Sunday.
Following the bombing, it was decided to erect a memorial plaque in the grounds of a prominent new building approximately one mile away in Aldershot's town centre. However, this was soon rejected, and once the building of the attack was demolished, the plaque was moved to its current position, on the actual site of the bombing. The grounds and the site of the memorial have been preserved by the Army ever since.
The nearby villages of Ash and Ash Vale are actually in Surrey, with both being part of Guildford Borough Council but they can have Aldershot as their post-town. This used to cause debates locally as some residents didn't want to put Hampshire as their address. The problem was solved when Royal Mail introduced postcodes meaning county names were no longer used in UK postal addresses.
The town is generally between 70 m and 100 m above sea level.
Aldershot Military Town
Aldershot Military Town is the area between Aldershot and North Camp near Farnborough. It is a garrison town that serves as the location for the military presence in the area. It houses Aldershot Garrison's married quarters, barracks, Army playing fields and other sporting facilities. It is mostly centered around the junction of Queen's Avenue and Alisons Road. The military town includes some local landmarks, such as the Aldershot Observatory, Aldershot Military Cemetery, the Royal Garrison Church and other churches. The town used to be the corps headquarters for the Royal Corps of Transport and the Army Catering Corps, these were merged into the Royal Logistic Corps in 1993 and the corps headquarters moved to Princess Royal Barracks, Deepcut.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert showed a keen interest in the establishment and development of Aldershot as a garrison town in the 1850s, at the time of the Crimean War. They had a wooden Royal Pavilion built which they would often stay in when attending reviews of the army. In 1860 Albert established and endowed the Prince Consort's Library, which still exists today.
Aldershot Military Town comes under its own military jurisdiction. It was home to the The Parachute Regiment from its formation in 1940 until it moved to Colchester Garrison in 2003. Many famous people have been associated with the Military Town, including Charlie Chaplin who made his first stage appearance in The Canteen theatre aged 5 in 1894, and Winston Churchill, who was based there in the 19th century during his stint in the Army.
The area also houses various military and regimental museums, including the Aldershot Military Museum, housed in a red-brick Victorian barracks. Until December 2007 the Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces Museum was in Aldershot. It has since moved to the Imperial War Museum Duxford.
An outline planning application has been agreed for the redevelopment of some of the former Military Town. The Aldershot Urban Extension will bring some 3850 new homes, two new primary schools, a children's day-care centre, additional secondary school places, community facilities, waste recycling and landscaping to an area of 150 hectares.
In 2013, the MoD announced a £100million investment to expand Aldershot Garrison and bring 750 more service personnel and their families to settle in Aldershot.
A statue of the first Duke of Wellington mounted on his horse, Copenhagen, is situated on Round Hill behind the Royal Garrison Church. The statue is 30 feet (9.1 m) high, 26 feet (7.9 m) from nose to tail, over 22 feet (6.7 m) in girth, weighs 40 tons and is intricately detailed including musculature and veins. It was designed and built by Matthew Cotes Wyatt who used recycled bronze from cannons that were captured at the Battle of Waterloo. It took thirty men over three years to finish the project.
Originally, in 1846, the statue was erected at Hyde Park Corner, London on the Wellington Arch. However, Decimus Burton, architect of the arch, had tried to veto this plan for his preferred "figure in a four horse chariot". Many agreed with Decimus Burton that the statue looked ridiculous since it was out of proportion. It was nicknamed "The Archduke" and was a popular topic in the satirical magazine Punch.
Queen Victoria claimed that the statue ruined the view of the skyline from Buckingham Palace, and she privately proposed that the statue be moved. The Duke, who had only sat for the sculptor on two or three occasions, suddenly became very attached to the statue and would not consider its removal from its arch.
In 1883, due to a road widening project, the arch was moved a short distance and now looks down Constitution Hill. The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII ) wrote to the Prime Minister, Gladstone, "As regards the old colossal statue of the Duke. I would suggest that it should not be broken up but removed to Aldershot where it will be highly valued by the Army".
In 1885, the Prince of Wales handed over the monument to Lieutenant General Anderson, the commander of the Aldershot garrison.
The observatory is a circular red-brick building with a domed roof and it stands on Queen's Avenue. Inside is a telescope, 8-inch refractor, mounted on a German-type equatorial mount with a clockwork drive. The telescope and observatory building were a gift from aviation pioneer Patrick Young Alexander to the British Army, a fact which is recorded by a plaque near the observatory door. It reads: "Presented to the Aldershot Army Corps by Patrick Y Alexander Esq 1906".
Transport and communications
The town is close to several major motorways including the M3, A3 and M25, which provide connections to London and the South Coast.
Farnborough Airport - Europe's leading business airport - is 5 miles, London Heathrow is 29 miles, and London Gatwick is 43 miles away.
Aldershot bus station is the terminus for many bus services in the Aldershot Urban Area, it also services buses from further afield.
The majority of the bus services from Aldershot are provided by Stagecoach in Hants & Surrey, with one being provided by Fleet Buzz and a National Express coach between London and Portsmouth twice a day.
Government and infrastructure
There are various schools in Aldershot. These will be joined by two new primary schools being built as part of the Aldershot Urban extension development of 3850 houses. This development will also be served by a further 675 secondary school places being created at the Connaught and Wavell schools.
A mix of infants and juniors, including Park Primary School and St Michael's (C of E). The infant schools are Talavera, Wellington Primary, and Bell Vue Infant School. Junior schools include: Newport County, Talavera, Beaumont County and St Joseph's Primary (Catholic). Aldershot has only one secondary school, The Connaught School (formerly Heron Wood School) though Ash Manor School, Farnham Heath End School, All Hallows Catholic School and The Wavell School are all local. There are also two public schools, Salesian College and Farnborough Hill School in nearby Farnborough.
Leisure and recreation
Music and dance
The Palace (previously The Palace Cinema,The Rhythm Station, Cheeks, Vox), influenced the rapid growth of the hardcore scene from 1992 to 1995. Weekly events included Fusion (Hectic Records), Tazmania, Slammin' Vinyl and Future World. The club also groomed local talents such as DJ Sharkey, DJ Mystery, DJ Sy, DJ Unknown, Vinylgroover, DJ NS, Hixxy, MC Freestyle, MC Young, MC Smiley and of course the Spyder MC. The location of Aldershot between Southampton and London meant the club became a mecca for Hardcore and it was regularly sold out during this time. At the height of the club's popularity, a teenager's death from a suspected overdose of Ecstasy was the catalyst that saw dance music leaving the club and had a negative impact on the hardcore dance scene in the Aldershot area.
The Beatles in Aldershot
Sam Leach, their then agent, and wanting to become their manager, attempted to introduce The Beatles to London agents by promoting shows at The Palais Ballroom, Queens Road, in Aldershot (now Angelas School of Dance), on 9 December 1961. The show was not advertised properly and, as a result, only 18 people attended. The local newspaper, The Aldershot News, failed to publish Sam Leach's advertisement for the show. However, the band and friends had their own fun after the show, including a mock funeral for Paul McCartney. Weeks after this Brian Epstein became the group's manager.
Aldershot has a seven-screen Cineworld cinema as part of the Westgate Leisure Park, which includes 8 family restaurants.
Aldershot was the principal retail centre in the Blackwater Valley, however, other centres have grown to compete for customers. Union Street and Wellington Street were pedestrianised in the 1970s when the Wellington Centre, a covered shopping centre, was built. In the 1990s, an extension of the Wellington Centre, The Galleries, provided extra shops, although nearly all are now closed. In 2003, a health check of the town centre was published, the report concluded that "Aldershot is experiencing promising signs of revitalisation, particularly in the shopping core" Although, in 2005, Rushmoor Borough Council documented the percentage of vacancies at 10%, 8% and 7% respectively for Union Street, the Wellington Centre and Wellington street.
Parks and Open Spaces
Aldershot has many parks, playgrounds and open spaces for sport, play and leisure. The legacy of the Army has meant that the land for leisure use, as well as protected areas for flora and fauna, has been preserved over many years.
Aldershot plays host to many sports facilities such as the Rushmoor Gymnastics Academy, Aldershot Tennis Centre, Aldershot Bowling, Aldershot Pools and Lido, Aldershot Garrison Sports Centre, Connaught Leisure Centre and Alpine Snow Sports (Dry Ski Centre). Formerly the town also hosted short circuit motor racing including speedway and Stock car racing. Greyhound Racing formerly took place at Aldershot Stadium, and Point to point racing at Tweseldown. Famous running club AFD has produced top runners.
Opened in 1930, Aldershot Lido is a traditional outdoor leisure pool that contains 1.5 million gallons of water situated on a 10-acre (40,000 m2) site. The original land was a lake that had become overgrown with weeds. It was bought by the Borough Council in 1920 for £21,000 and was the focus of the council's improvement projects for the town. The Lido became an Olympic venue in 1948 when it was the site of the swimming event in the Modern Pentathlon of that year's London Olympic Games. The pool has extensive areas of shallow water for children to play including a large fountain at the centre. It also has a diving area and water slides. There is an adjoining 25 m indoor pool that allows all year round swimming.
The local professional football team is Aldershot Town who compete in the Football Conference. Before 1992 the local club was Aldershot, which folded on 25 March 1992, while playing in the Football League Fourth Division. The current club was formed shortly afterwards and achieved five promotions in its first 16 seasons to return to the Football League in 2008. The previous Aldershot club's biggest success arguably came in 1987, just five years before closure, when they became the first team to win the Football League Fourth Division promotion play-offs, at the expense of a far bigger club - Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Since 1927, the main football ground in the town, and home of both teams, is the Recreation Ground, also known as The Rec. It has a capacity for 7,100, of which 2,000 can be seated.
A number of successful current and former footballers are from the Aldershot area, including Johnny Berry, who was born in the town in 1926. He played for Birmingham City and Manchester United before his playing career was ended by injuries sustained in the Munich air disaster on 6 February 1958. He had won three league title medals with Manchester United. He later returned to Aldershot to run a sports shop with his brother Peter. He continued to live locally until he died in September 1994, at the age of 68.
Other footballers born in Aldershot include Craig Maskell (a striker for clubs including Southampton, Swindon Town and Reading) during the 1980s and 1990s, and Bruce Rioch. Rioch played for clubs including Luton Town, Aston Villa and Derby County before managing clubs including Middlesbrough and Arsenal, but played for the Scotland team during the 1970s due to his ancestry.
Aldershot Cricket Club is also based in the town. The club shares facilities with Aldershot & Farnham Hockey Club and the Blackwater Valley Runners running and jogging club.
Formerly known as Fleet RUFC, the club started in 1991 as a pub side. The club was renamed Aldershot and Fleet RUFC (A&F) after move in 2003 from Farnborough to their current home Aldershot Park. With an ever expanding juniors section, Aldershot & Fleet were successful in winning the Coveted RFU "Seal of Approval" Club of the Year 2008 for the southern region.
Greyhound racing took place regularly at Aldershot Stadium in Tongham during the 1950s.
Stock Car Racing
Together with other short-circuit formulae (including Superstox, Hot Rods, Bangers and Midgets) was held regularly (every Thursday evening, every Boxing Day afternoon and some Saturdays) at Aldershot Stadium from the 1950s until the final meeting on 21 November 1992. Immediately after this date the site was cleared for construction of the A331 Blackwater Valley Road, which forms a by-pass for Aldershot and Farnborough. The racing took place initially on a loose shale track inside the greyhound track; after Motorcycle speedway racing at the venue ceased the shale track was replaced with a hard tarmaced surface. Now, short-circuit motor sport takes place in Aldershot again, at the Aldershot Raceway, Pegasus Village, Rushmoor Arena Founded and named by local man and ex short circuit racing driver Malcolm Roberts, his wife Gwen and their children in memory of and following the death of their eldest son, also Malcolm, a short circuit motor racing enthusiaist. The site is now operated by Spedeworth, whilst the Roberts family relocated to a new circuit in Aldermaston, West Berks, still employing their original operating name of Fleet Motor Club.
Circa 1929, a track operated at a stadium in Boxalls Lane. Speedway returned to Aldershot in 1950 at the local greyhound stadium. The Shots featured in the lower echelons of the sport up to 1960.
Aldershot hosted three of the five events in the modern pentathlon at the 1948 London Olympics. The swimming was held in Aldershot Lido, Maida Gymnasium hosted the fencing, and the cross-country equestrian event was held at Tweseldown. All of the Olympic equestrian events, excluding the Prix des Nations, were also held at Aldershot. It was announced on 15 January 2008 that the Aldershot Military Town had been chosen as the official training camp for the British Olympic team ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games in London, though a short while after it was announced that Team GB would be training abroad.
The local press are the Aldershot News & Mail, a broadsheet, and the Surrey-Hants Star Courier, a free tabloid. The local BBC TV news is BBC South Today. Aldershot is covered on BBC radio by BBC Surrey (which covers Surrey & North-East Hampshire on 104.6FM). The Independent Local Radio stations are 96.4 Eagle Radio, broadcasting contemporary music, and Eagle Extra, which broadcasts pop classics.
- Rowhill: southwest of the town
- Wellington: west, north and centre of the town
- Manor Park: south of the town
- Aldershot Park: southeast of the town
- North Town: northeast of the town.
Wellington Ward is quite unique, as it combines the most compact urban parts of the town (the town centre and Cargate Hill) with a very large acreage of unpopulated woodlands, forests and heathland.
The town is represented in parliament through the Aldershot constituency. The current MP is Gerald Howarth (Conservative), with a majority in May 2010 of 5,586 (12.3%). Of the 42 councillors on Rushmoor Borough Council, 15 represent the five wards that comprise Aldershot. Of these councillors elected since the last local elections in May 2011, nine are Conservative and six represent Labour.
|“||You may talk o’ gin and beer
When you’re quartered safe out ’ere,
An’ you’re sent to penny-fights an’ Aldershot it;
But when it comes to slaughter
You will do your work on water,
An’ you’ll lick the bloomin’ boots of ’im that's got it.
|“||Miss J. Hunter Dunn, Miss J. Hunter Dunn,
Furnish'd and burnish'd by Aldershot sun,
What strenuous singles we played after tea,
We in the tournament - you against me!
Love-thirty, love-forty, oh! weakness of joy,
The speed of a swallow, the grace of a boy,
With carefullest carelessness, how gaily you won,
I am weak from your loveliness, Joan Hunter Dunn.
Aldershot appears as Quartershot in Thomas Hardy's novels.
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle set the short story The Adventure of the Crooked Man in The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes in Aldershot. Holmes suspects a deformed beggar knows what caused Colonel James Barclay's sudden death during an argument with his wife.
P. G. Wodehouse set several episodes of his early school stories in Aldershot, at a convocation of British public school athletes. He refers to the Queen's Avenue gymnasium as the site of the boxing matches there. He mentions this convocation in The Gold Bat, The White Feather, and The Pothunters.
The barrack scenes in the 1968 film The Charge of the Light Brigade starring David Hemmings and Trevor Howard were filmed at the old West Cavalry Barracks (now largely demolished). The gates of the West Cavalry Barracks also stood in as the prison gates for the 1960 film Two-Way Stretch starring Peter Sellers, Wilfrid Hyde-White and Lionel Jeffries.
Due to its architecture, Bruneval Barracks in Montgomery Lines was chosen as the location for snowy scenes in Kazan, Russia at the end of the 2009 James Bond film Quantum of Solace. Parts of Aldershot's military training area were also used for the opening sequence in the 2002 James Bond film Die Another Day.
- "The Population of Aldershot and Farnborough". Rushmoor Borough Council. Retrieved 2008-12-07.
- "Great Britain and Northern Ireland". City Population. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
- "Development of 'the camp at Aldershott'". Archived from the original on 7 November 2009. Retrieved 12-03-2009.
- "Ville de Meudon - Villes jumelles". Ville de Meudon. Archived from the original on 2013-05-07. Retrieved 2013-07-29.
- Origin Of The Anglo-Saxon Race: A Study of the Settlement of England and the ... - Thomas William Shore - Google Books. Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-05-29.
- Fraser's Magazine for Town and Country - Google Books. Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-05-29.
- Cole, 1980. p. 1.
- BDP (1963), The Rebuilding of Aldershot, Preston: BDP.
- "Gurkhas win right to settle in UK". BBC News. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- Daily Mail Reporter (11 February 2011). "Gurkha heroes are 'overwhelming' our town, say Aldershot councillors and MP". Daily Mail. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- "Gerald Howarth's Nepalese immigration letter in full". Get Hampshire. 14 February 2011. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- Ian Drury (19 September 2011). "'Treat the Gurkhas like asylum seekers': Outrage as minister says they should be dispersed around the country". Daily Mail. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
- Roger Kennedy
- Get Hampshire report about 2010 army show cancellation
- Pete Bryant (12 July 2013). "First military festival goes off with a bang". Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- On this day in history BBC article on Aldershot bombing
- "Aldershot Barracks: IRA bombing 40th anniversary marked". BBC. 22 February 2012. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- Chaplin, Charlie My Autobiography Published by Simon & Schuster (1964)
-  Robinson, David Chaplin: The Mirror of Opinion Martin Secker & Warburg Limited, London (1983) ISBN 0-436-42053-8 Google Books
-  Beaumont Riding School and Beaumont Riding Stables on the Rushmoor Borough Council website
- "Aldershot Military Museum. Hampshire Days Out". .hants.gov.uk. 2013-04-29. Retrieved 2013-05-29.
- [dead link]
- "Aldershot receives £100m as part of Germany troop withdrawal". BBC News. 6 March 2013. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- 031 London - Portsmouth timetable.
- "Additional information." Air Accidents Investigation Branch. Retrieved on 2 May 2010.
- Aldershot infant schools
- Junior schools
- Secondary Schools
- "Ecstasy may have caused teenager's nightclub death". Independent, The (London). January 29, 1996. Retrieved 15 August 2013.
- "Residents' concern over empty Galleries centre". 2008.
- "Town Centre Health Checks Cttee report PLN01/63" (PDF). Rushmoor Borough Council. 2003. Retrieved 2006-09-04.
- "Technical Appendix: Percentage of Vacancies and Planning Applications affecting the town centre.". Rushmoor Borough Council. 2005. Retrieved 2006-09-04.
- "Rise of the Phoenix". BBC Sport. 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2008-04-15.
- 1948 Summer Olympics official report. pp. 44–47.
- Aldershot to host GB Olympic team BBC article on Aldershot
- Map for the wards of Aldershot
- Aldershot wards with respect to the local election of May 2006
- "The Wondering Minstrels: A Subaltern's Love Song - John Betjeman". Cs.rice.edu. 2001-04-24. Retrieved 2013-05-29.
- David Watkin Cinematographer website
- Barracks and Airport provide location for Bond film
- Rushmoor Borough Council
- The Aldershot Tattoo
- The Aldershot Civic Society
- Aldershot Military Museum
- Aldershot Library Military Collection
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