We welcome you to walk down memory lane in this Bygone Aldershot section.
I lived in the centre of Aldershot in the early 1960’s, then it was a busy town and home of the British Army. It’s very much quieter now and certainly appears to have lost the pride it once had.
Aldershot once had a thriving entertainments industry especially before the 1960’s, five cinemas in total namely: Alexander, Empire, Palace, Pavillion and Ritz (more here) and two theatres, the Hippodrome near the bus station and the Theatre Royal on Gordon Road between Birchett Road and Elms Road. The only cinema remaing open these days is the Ritz now the ABC which is divided into 3 studios and a bingo hall.
As the population increased, so did the number of churches, you can read about these here. With the arrival of the Army in the 1850s, the town grew very quickly, a large number of pubs and hotels opened throughout the town, many of which have now closed. However in latter years the traditional pub has been replaced with large drinking establishments converted from other buildings. This is most evident in Victoria Road.
The architecture of the town is predominantly Victorian and Gothic in style. Most of the back streets of the town consist of Victorian terrraces. These can be seen along various streets such as Gordon Road, Elms Road, Lysons Road, Queens Road and York Road. There are to many to list. Yet within a short walk from the town centre it almost seems as if you are in the country, Ayling Lane a tree and hedgrow lined road gives this impression. Still very much the same today.
The town also had two hospitals, one in St. Georges Road Aldershot General and the Cambridge Military Hospital. Both now closed as far as I’m aware.
Unfortunately with the withdrawal and running down of the army, the town now displays an aura of decay and shabbiness, something the Aldershot Civic Society wants to change.
Among the towns employers were the Aldershot & District Traction Co. known as the “Tracco”, Gale & Poldens Printers (Galo’s) publishers of the Aldershot News newspaper and naturally the Army establishments around the town many of which had civilian employees. The two former have now gone and the sites they formerly occupied have since been redeveloped, mainly into housing. In recent years the military prescence in the town has also diminshed.
Around the 1880s it was proposed to build a Tramway from Aldershot to North Camp and Farnborough, you can read about it here
The town also has a football club which played in the English Football League from 1932 to 1992.
Content mainly written by Phil Dawkins