Advertising Alton and Farnham to people looking to leave London

Wednesday 3rd August 2022 6:00 am
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A 1937 photo of new houses in Lenten Street, Alton.
A 1937 photo of new houses in Lenten Street, Alton (Handout )

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This is a photograph from Neville Smith’s Southern Homes railway guide to new houses being built in Surrey and Hampshire for people looking to move out of London in the 1930s.

Strangely, the volume itself is not dated but the printer’s mark on the back cover contains ‘10537’ which I think probably indicates the year as 1937.

Farnham’s Borough features prominently with many cars parked haphazardly awaiting the return of shoppers, one of whom is lucky enough to employ a chauffeur.

Alton, too, is well represented with photographs of the Market Square and the High Street, both of which are very busy, plus a quieter view of Church Street. Season tickets from the town to London then cost just £9 9s 3d (£9.46) for three months of third-class travel.

Showing what accommodation was available in the town is the above photograph of new houses in Lenten Street. It also shows the view from Windmill Hill over what I think is the mill by Kings Pond and part of the breweries.

As well as the guide to each place, the book contains many advertisements, from estate agents through builders to utility companies all vying for the potential new residents’ trade.

As today, though, most potential purchasers would need to raise the funds through a mortgage, perhaps through the Farnham Benefit Building Society which had a long pedigree stretching back around 80 years.

It was offering mortgages at four and a half per cent for ten to 20 years but what were the ‘Home Safes’ also mentioned in their advertisement?

Based in East Street, I think it eventually became part of the Bristol & West.

CHRIS SHEPHEARD

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