Thursday, 27 March 2014


Hungerford Arcade stallholder, James Hill, has worked for 19 years on a Trout Farm which he loves. The storms and flooding were of great concern to James and of course, he was very worried.  We found a poem written in 1932. Although there is no name attached to it, it does appear to have been written by a child.  
Very Lovely

Wouldn't it be lovely if the rain came down 
 Till the water was quite high over all the town?
 If the cabs and buses all were set afloat,
And we had to go to school in a little boat?

Wouldn't it be lovely if it still should pour
And we all went to live on the second floor?
If we saw the butcher sailing up the hill, 
And we took the letters in at the window sill? 

It's been raining raining, all the afternoon;
All these things might happen really very soon.
If we woke to-morrow and found they had begun,
Wouldn't it be glorious? Wouldn't it be fun?

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Adrian really looks the part!
What a wonderful day we had on Hot Forge Day at Hungerford Arcade. Although there was rain, sleet and hail, it didn't dampen the spirit of people wanting to come and see how a real blacksmith works and even having a go themselves. Hungerford Arcade Co-owner, Adrian Gilmour was in his element.  He grew up with Shire horse and can put his hand to anything.  A natural!

Dave, Sarah & Jobey
One young man, Jobey Parsons and his mother, Sarah, came all the way from Mere in Wiltshire especially to meet Dave and have a go on the forge.  At 12 years of age, Jobey said for the past 

two years, he has wanted to be a blacksmith.  To his delight, he got lots of  advice and information from Dave. You can see from the photograph below how engrossed Jobey is as he is guided through the process of making a piece of art.  He was thrilled to bits and is now more determined than ever that he will be a blacksmith. Well done Jobey...... and Adrian!

Jobey getting a lesson from Dave

Jobey with proud mum, Sarah          

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Saturday, 22 March 2014


We are very proud and excited to have Blacksmith, Dave and his Hot Forge outside Hungerford Arcade this Sunday, 23rd March.  Established in 1989 in East Sussex and relocated in 1999 to North Hampshire and now based in Andover.  Andover Forge has a modern approach to the oldest method of making things from wrought iron and mild steel.

Dave will be arriving outside the Arcade early tomorrow morning enabling him to set up his forge and get it fired up for the day.  He will be bringing along some of the fabulous items that he has made and you will also see how he makes them. This will be a great day out for everyone so come along and watch a fabulous old tradition. You can even have a go yourself!

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Friday, 21 March 2014


On Saturday afternoon around 3.00 - 3.30, an elderly lady, Betty Fuller, drove her car into the bay window of Hungerford Arcade. The noise was so loud, it sounded as if a bomb had gone off and people 500 or 600 yards away came running down the road to help.  A wall of glass shards shot through the Arcade and the staff acted promptly to make sure everyone was safe.  The emergency services were called and arrived on the scene promptly.  As a precautionary measure everyone was asked to leave the Arcade but returned a short time later when it was re-opened. 

When the car hit the Arcade, Police Community Support Officers, Adam Burson and Joanna King were first on the scene. Further Police, Ambulance and the Fire Brigade were on their way and Betty was being looked after in the car by her daughter, Arcade stallholder, Sarah Jane and Arcade staff at the scene. Thankfully, Betty only suffered some bruising and no-one else was involved. 

On a lighter note, no-one was injured and Sarah Jane joked, "the oldest ram-raider in the country has now been caught!".

The Hungerford Arcade staff acted in a very professional, caring way, ensuring Betty and all the customers were looked after in the face of what could so easily have been a tragedy.  They even had the Arcade up and running again within an hour.

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Thursday, 20 March 2014


What a wonderful couple we had visit us at Hungerford Arcade.  Alistair and Ruth Painter arrived in their very special Landrover.  Alistair had been serving his country in the Army and spent a lot of his time in a Landrover.  However, when he left the Army, he couldn't bear to leave his beloved vehicle behind and therefore purchased it from the MoD. I have never heard of anyone doing this before and think it is amazing!

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Wednesday, 12 March 2014


Pete with me and some of his pewter
We have many artistic people who come to Hungerford Arcade looking for items they can use in their particular field of Art. We were very lucky to meet Pete Moncrieff-Jury.  Pete bought a lot of pewter items and I will let him tell you, in his own words, what he does.

I am a professional woodturner based in Wiltshire, a member of the Registry of Professional Turners, the Association of Wood Turners of Great Britain and the Calne Artists. I have also got a Certificate of Education qualifying me to teach.
I first learned to turn many years ago at school but didn't take it up again until eight years ago and fell in love with it all over again. For several years I turned purely as a hobby then I began selling a few pieces and so when I was made redundant in 2008 I began doing it as a semi professional. I have now graduated to the point where turning and turning related activities provide my sole source of income 
Wood turning is, in my opinion both a crafting skill and an art form and I endeavor to reflect this in my work. I often use unusual woods, where safe, to make items that are practical and useful and, where possible, work with the wood to allow its natural beauty to speak for itself.

Wherever possible I use woods that are either native to the UK or are grown and felled here. I have a number of different sources which range from a furniture factory to the hedgerows around us and so many of my pieces may be of woods that are not always commercially available.

I have recently begun incorporating other materials into my work and collaborating with a jeweller has opened up a number of potentially interesting avenues of work and creation. Watch this space.

Mahogany Platter with Pewter Boss
Burr Walnut Pear and Candlesticks

Pete has just sent me this stunning piece using some
of the pewter he bought from
Hungerford Arcade

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Monday, 10 March 2014


At Hungerford Arcade we have something for everyone, including animals.  A lovely lady came into the Arcade and spotted an old long, tin bath.  She moved out of London and bought a three acre smallholding near Hungerford and moved in a few weeks ago.  She now has pigs and geese for company. The bath is going to be buried in the ground up the rim, then filled with water.  "The bath will be perfect for my geese to play and have fun in!".  Sounds perfect to me.  

Sadly, our lovely lady was very shy so I had to stand in for her and have my photograph taken posing with said bath!

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Tuesday, 4 March 2014


We are very fortunate here at Hungerford Arcade by not only having very dear friends such as Stuart and Caron Miller-Osborne, but by having Stuart as the talented author of our stories, one of which we have here.  Stuart has written this wonderful story which really gripped me as I am sure, it will you too.
Flora Thompson - The Dartmouth Years

Flora Thompson
Many of you reading this will have visited Dartmouth in South Devon. My wife and I have been visiting this beautiful town for over thirty years. Dartmouth is lucky in its geography in that because of its location it has not really suffered the impact of mass tourism that nearby Torbay has. In the course of my researches, I found out why Dartmouth is the only town in England to have a railway station built but never to have seen a train. It appears that Brunel wanted to run the railway down from Totnes along the Dart and onwards via a tunnel along the Slapton Line towards Kingsbridge and onwards towards Plymouth. Thankfully, due to the lack of capital and awkward land owners, this never happened and the railway only reached Kingswear on the opposite bank. Indeed, I am led to believe that the idea of a bridge was considered but the depth of the river ruled this out and Dartmouth was never connected.

Recently I visited Dartmouth to winter for a while. All was familiar as usual however, I did notice that the town was selling its connections with Agatha Christie even more than normal. The pleasure boats were boasting of trips up the Dart past her house (now owned by the National Trust and well worth a visit) and indeed, Agatha cruises were also being advertised. The Harbour Bookshop (opened by Christopher Robin Milne the son of A.A . Milne in the 1950s) had a nice selection of Agatha literature. This was very acceptable but I thought what of Flora Thompson who lived in Dartmouth between 1928 and 1940? Indeed her ashes are buried in Longcross Cemetery at the top of the town. Agatha, although a resident in Dartmouth, is buried in Cholsey near Wallingford in the church you can see from the railway.

Although her books are available there was none of the hard sell that Agatha enjoys in the area. Indeed when I was visiting Longcross nobody knew where her grave was which was a little surprising as the BBC have just begun to show Lark Rise To Candleford which I hope will raise the authors profile.

In this short piece, I intend to give a brief history of Flora’s time in Dartmouth and also, if you are in the area, directions to her house in the town and should you wish to pay your respects, the location of Longcross Cemetery.

We find Flora in 1927 living in Hampshire with John Thompson whom she married in 1903. They have three children Winifred, Basil and Peter. Flora is just over fifty and has been writing for various journals such as The Ladies Companion and the Catholic Fireside. The work is well received (although her poetry collection Bog Myrtle and Peat is less successful). 
She had also written a guidebook to Liphook in Hampshire a year or so previously. John now works for The Post Office as Flora had done. 

In 1939 Flora is working on Over To Candleford which in time, is the second part of the trilogy. However, war clouds are growing as Europe prepares to tear itself apart. Dartmouth, because of The Royal Naval College and the shipyards, becomes a target for Nazi bombers. Indeed, a number of people lost their lives in strikes against Dartmouth and nearby Beesands to name but two. There was an even greater loss of life in the Slapton Sands tragedy later in the war.

In view of the threat, John and Flora move to nearby Brixham and a residence less vulnerable. We do not leave Flora here as although she was no longer resident in Dartmouth, she was destined to return under different circumstances a few years later. In 1941 she completes Over To Candleford .

However, a short time later tragedy strikes when her youngest son Peter is killed when his ship The Jedmoor is torpedoed. Later that year, she contracted pneumonia and is confined to bed for some while. When she recovers, she commences Candleford Green which is seen as the final part of the trilogy. In 1943 it is published and is very well received. Flora’s health at the time is sadly declining.

The following year the Oxford University Press decide to publish Flora’s three books as a trilogy and it is called Lark Rise to Candleford . Its advance run of 5000 copies is sold out in advance. The book is a huge success. During 1945 she starts Still Glides the Stream (a title taken from the Wordsworth poem River Dudden). She is suffering now from angina, although during the later months of 1946 she is correcting the proofs of Still Glides the Stream.

In the early months of 1947 her health improves to such an extent that John (now retired) decides to go away for the day on business. Whilst he is away Flora has another angina attack. He returned to find her in bed. She has a further heart attack later in the evening and passes away peacefully on the 21st May 1947.

After a service at St Barnabas’ Church, she is cremated and returned to Dartmouth. Her ashes are interred at the Longcross Cemetery with her gravestone in the shape of an open book, which she shares with Peter. It is a simple affair with the following inscription.

"To The Dear Memory Of Flora Thompson May 21st 1947". On the left hand page and on the right hand page, "And Of Her Beloved Younger Son Peter Redmond Thompson Lost At Sea Sept 16th 1941".

The memorial is very moving in its utter simplicity and in my view reflects the very unassuming woman. Her beloved husband John joined her in the July of the following year, although I cannot see a trace of his grave at Longcross. Also in 1948 Still Glides The Stream was published with Flora never seeing it in print.

The first thing that anyone who knows Dartmouth sees are the hills, they fan off in all directions. If you are going to follow the Flora trail then be prepared (or prepare your motor car for some stiff gradients). Firstly, to her Dartmouth house. It is reasonably easy to find and indeed it can be spotted from the river. If you head in the direction of Dartmouth Castle (well signposted) you will rise very quickly above the town (with superb views of Kingswear to your left). Above Town can be spotted as a very steep lane on your right a short while before you reach Warfleet where the Dartmouth Pottery was once located. Keep your eyes peeled as it is easy to miss. You can drive up the lane which must be one in three or if you are fit, it is a challenging walk. Flora’s house is a short while past a rather nice Modernist residence and happily, it is marked with a plaque for ease of identification. Flora must have trod these steep lanes and paths many times over the twelve years she lived there. Although, now owned by outsiders, (as a lot of houses are in Dartmouth) you can still feel her presence.

She also, after she settled in and let Dartmouth into her blood, began to take walks to Dartmouth Castle and the very original St Petrox Church (rebuilt 1641). There is a splendid tea room near the castle with fine views out to sea. Also, if you have any energy left after visiting her house, there is a rather pleasant cove (Castle Cove) below the castle which is reached by a very steep set of steps. Further up through the woods, you can trace Flora’s walks towards Sugary Cove and beyond.

Longcross Cemetery is quite easily found. If you head off in the direction of Totnes, it is about a mile or so out of the lower town. The cemetery is situated on the left, shortly before the Leisure Centre. If you take the main road nearly opposite The Upper Ferry, this is the most direct route.

If you want to follow Agatha, then you only have to look at the many posters on the embankment for information or visit The Harbour Bookshop (easily found in the centre of Dartmouth).

But if you want to follow Flora, then you will have to delve a little deeper, as I did, to bring to life her Dartmouth years.
Stuart Miller-Osborne 

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Sunday, 2 March 2014



New to Hungerford Arcade is Western Front Militaria (unit 4a), owned by Karl who specialises in anything to do with the Great War, especially field finds from infamous battle sites such as the Somme and Passchendaele. With a wealth of experience and knowledge, WFM's Karl is back in the mud again for a week from the 28th February, recovering artefacts for his new unit and doing new research for a book. Everything from pieces of shrapnel to huge artillery shells and relic gun remains will be dug up along with spent rounds, some of which are destined for a museum.  Some will go to schools for use as teaching aids and for their WW1 projects but most of it will go into Hungerford Arcade and will be available from the 10th March depending on how easy they are to clean up! Pictures shown are from last years massive dig.

Follow the week long excavation on Karl's Trench Rat Rummage blog at by day photos and information

A morning's finds. Redan Ridge on the Somme.

This was No Mans Land near Beaucourt on the Somme

Iron Harvest near Delville Wood on the Somme. Unexploded British 18 Pounder shells.

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