The history of Enmore Green and the memories of current and former residents will the focus of an event this Saturday, 11th August.
Maps, photos, church and school records and newspaper articles will be on display inside St John’s Church between 10am and 5pm. And at 2pm, Gold Hill Museum volunteer Chris Stupples will share his extensive research into each of the men recorded on Enmore Green’s war memorial.
Elizabeth Preston has helped to arrange this celebration to mark the 175th anniversary of the church, although some people might be surprised to learn that the building is not older, because of its Norman appearance. “It is built in that style. As far as we can tell there was no foundation beforehand,” explained Elizabeth.
Elizabeth has experience in family records research and, as a long-standing resident of Enmore Green, she has been keen to help uncover its past. “I’ve been here for about seventeen years. There are still a few people living here who were born here. I thought that we should save memories. We must hear what it was like. They remember events like winning the Watney’s Darts Cup at the Fountain Inn.” That win resulted in a big celebration and Elizabeth thinks that it was in the 1970s.
So are there any periods where the records appear to go blank or there is not very much information? Elizabeth says that the latter half of the 20th century is difficult to research. “We recently had the 1939 register which I transcribed but after then you are reliant on newspapers. The information doesn’t seem to be quite so accessible, especially from your armchair,” Elizabeth laughed.
On Saturday, Elizabeth will display photographs of the Queen’s coronation celebrations. She’s expecting those pictures to generate a great deal of interest. “It was in the old school that we had. It closed in 1987. They are all crammed in to the photograph. Another photograph, which I am particularly fond of, is of a marriage in 1913 between Sidney Hawkins and Mabel Gray. It’s a lovely photograph and I have managed to piece some of the details together. I put a copy of their marriage entry in the register,” Elizabeth explained.
Elizabeth also wants to portray the industry that once employed locals and her research has uncovered some new material documenting Enmore Green’s brickmaking heritage. “We didn’t manage to find out about the brickmaking at Long Cross, last time we had an event. There were one or two brickyards. We have a nice map, which shows where they were. Somebody has written two articles for the Archaeological Society and it talks quite a lot about the brickyards of Motcombe and then later Gillingham,” said Elizabeth.
“Brenda Innes wrote an interesting article about the Grosvenors and Shaftesbury for one of the Dorset magazines a few years ago and she mentioned the Long Cross brickyard. There is a building in Bell Street which has a design in the wall made from the Long Cross bricks. They have blue ends. I didn’t fully understand why,” she said.
One of Enmore Green’s streets used to reflect this industry. “Church Hill used to be called Brick Hill. We are really keen to find out something about these brick kilns, because there is somebody locally who remembers playing in the kiln,” she added.
If you have any information, you are encouraged to bring it along on Saturday or get in touch with Elizabeth before her next Enmore Green memory event. “We do have tea and memory afternoons. I have tried to let many people who used to live here know about them, so they can come for tea and to talk about their memories. I have found it very enjoyable,” Elizabeth said.
If you’re unsure where St John’s Church is, the postcode for your satnav is SP7 8QR. If you have difficulty finding the church on Saturday or you want to pass on information to Elizabeth you can contact her on her mobile at 07875 745908.