Blackwater, Hampshire

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Coordinates: 51°19′41″N 0°46′19″W / 51.328°N 0.772°W / 51.328; -0.772

Blackwater
Blackwater is located in Hampshire
Blackwater
Blackwater
 Blackwater shown within Hampshire
OS grid reference SU855595
Civil parish Blackwater and Hawley
District Hart
Shire county Hampshire
Region South East
Country England
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Post town CAMBERLEY
Postcode district GU17
Dialling code 01252
01276
Police Hampshire
Fire Hampshire
Ambulance South East Coast
EU Parliament South East England
UK Parliament Aldershot
List of places
UK
England
Hampshire

Blackwater is a small town in the north-east section of the English county of Hampshire, in the Hart District.

Location[edit]

It is situated on the borders of both Berkshire and Surrey about 6.5 km (4.0 mi) north of Farnborough, 3 km (1.9 mi) west of Camberley and 25 km (16 mi) east of Basingstoke on the A30 road. Blackwater is situated 50 km (31 mi) southwest of London. An old marker stone signpost near the Agincourt club on the A30, in western Camberley marks 30 miles, and the centre of Blackwater is less than one mile from that point.

This relative proximity to the capital (the nearest point in Hampshire, and closer than much of Berkshire) has made the town popular with commuters. Blackwater is part of the Blackwater Valley conurbation which includes the towns of Farnborough, Aldershot, Camberley, Sandhurst, Yateley, Frimley and Farnham. The River Blackwater flows through the length of this urban area. The town lies at the point where the A30 trunk road from London to Land's End crosses the River Blackwater. It is served by Blackwater railway station which is on the main line almost precisely mid-way between Reading and Guildford.

History[edit]

The first recorded mention of Blackwater was in 1281, when it was known as Bredeford. It grew around the Brydrs Ford crossing across the River Blackwater.[1]

Anomalies[edit]

Due to its postal location, it is commonly perceived that the town lies in Surrey, as a western suburb of neighbouring Camberley (and is Blackwater's 'post town'). It is in fact just within Hampshire, the boundary being marked by a road bridge crossing both the River Blackwater and a main rail line (near Blackwater rail station), and the Hampshire county sign. The town is somewhat unusual in that it is covered by two separate STD dialling codes, the 01252 (Farnborough area) and 01276 (Camberley area) prefixes.

Furthermore, televisions on the north side of the town (around the Frogmore and Darby Green districts) are set-up to receive the Meridian broadcasting signal (for central-southern England) whilst the south side of the town, plus the adjacent sub-village of Hawley, receives an ITV London signal (covering southeastern England and London, and thus do not receive local news).

Character[edit]

Blackwater has occasionally received a bad press for the appearance of its built environment, especially given that it is a 'gateway' town into Hampshire on a main national route (the A30) and is deemed[by whom?] not to give a good first impression of the county. The 'high street' area (the A30) is a dual-carriageway lined by a 1960s shopping parade and a large brick Aldi supermarket, which some[who?] have described as ugly. A new Lidl supermarket was built opposite Aldi in 2003, cementing residents'[who?] fears that the town was only attracting 'cheap and cheerful' (or even 'downmarket') retail outlets[citation needed]. However, given the fact that major shopping complexes such as The Meadows (less than 1 km away in Sandhurst) and The Main Square (in Camberley) are in very close proximity to the town, this is perhaps not surprising[to whom?].

Plans in 2012 to build a new Tesco Express supermarket have drawn criticism from local residents and the town's councillor for potentially causing increases in traffic, noise and light pollution and for being a rushed decision[2]

Rush-hour traffic is also a considerable problem[citation needed] as the town is situated on a major traffic junction. It is just 1.5 km north of the M3 motorway (at junction 4) with the A30, which is effectively the town's 'high street'.

Suburbs[edit]

There are two suburban villages to the north, Frogmore and Darby Green, which are considered by Hart District council to be districts of Blackwater.[3] Frogmore has its own modern village hall, village green, church, pub and a small shopping parade. Darby Green has a shopping parade (including a Tesco Express), a pub and a small youth centre. There is also a modern medical surgery between the two villages on Frogmore Road.

The village of Hawley, which has its own village hall, primary school, church, private leisure centre, cricket ground and equestrian centre, lies less than 0.6 miles (1 km) to the south on the road towards Farnborough.

Economy[edit]

Entrance to Java House, Sun Microsystems

Sun Microsystems were a major employer in the Blackwater Valley and their UK headquarters were in Blackwater at Guillemont Park, at the M3 motorway junction on the site of the former Guillemont Barracks.[4] Following Oracle's acquisition of Sun in 2009, employees were relocated to Oracle's UK headquarters in the Thames Valley Park.[5]

Popular culture[edit]

The Reuben single Moving to Blackwater refers to Blackwater. Reuben are from nearby Camberley.
A major portion of Wilkie Collins's 1859 novel The Woman in White is set at the house of the character Sir Percivel Glyde, Blackwater Park, in Blackwater, Hampshire.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Area History - Blackwater and Hawley Town Council". Blackwater and Hawley Town Council. Retrieved 11 August 2012. 
  2. ^ "Opponents to quiz council over Tesco approval-Get Hamphire". 9 July 2012. 
  3. ^ BLACKWATER SETTLEMENT AREA. Hart District Council. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "Local Development Framework - Employment Needs Assessment" (PDF). Hart District Council. July 2006. pp. 4–25. Retrieved 2008-07-16. 
  5. ^ "Former Sun Microsystems HQ Sold". DB Real Estate. 17 January 2011. Retrieved 10 August 2012. 

External links[edit]