Local History Group News




www.westbourne-history.org.uk .




This amazing publication is now out of print.

Westbourne Local History Group is working with the original publishers with the aim of continuing it’s availability, with additions.


The aim is to produce a CD package including a complete version of the original, in the same way that the Group has produced a scanned version of “Bourne In The Past” and it’s own “Out of Print” publications.

The package is envisaged to be in three parts. The first would be a complete and unchanged copy of the original.

Second – Group members have heard comments over the years, that the original contains errors. The opportunity is now offered to table those errors !

Third – it is now some twenty years since the publication was written. Thus – please – send in messages detailing changes.


Prime contact is Roger Wilding – roger_wilding@yahoo.com.

Or contact any Group member, very preferably with information in writing (our memories not what they were).

In order to do the best possible job, this process my take some months. Please be patient.



We are pleased to announce a public meeting on November 11th in the Meeting Place, North Street, Westbourne PO10 8SP. Doors will open at 2pm. Admission free.

It will take the form of “Meet your History Group”. We became aware in our last programme of meetings that many people wanted to give information, show objects, ask questions and find out “how too”, but the Group members were focussed on setting up, leading the meeting and clearing up afterwards. This meeting is to meet those needs.

We will have history tools on PCs, as before, and our world famous slideshow of old photos will be running. Some exhibition items – old maps etc, will be on display.

It is hoped that other meetings will be offered, possibly four in total over the winter months. These will be announced as and when details are firmed up.




We are aware that the website is experiencing technical problems. Apologies

These may take some time to fix.

The Old Photos section is particularly affected, in that larger images cannot be produced from the thumbnails.

See the Photos page for temporary options.






The History Group’s March meeting:-

“Westbourne Notables”


led by Nigel Peake will take place on March 17 at

“The Meeting Place”, North Street, Westbourne.







Due to ill heath our January and February meetings are being slipped back by a month or so, i.e. there will be no meeting in January.


Thus the meeting:-

 “WWII in Westbourne”.

will take place on February 11th at 2pm

As before there will be a mini exhibition based on our former member Tom Edwards’ collection followed by Roger Wilding telling some of Tom’s stories and an open forum for memories.


And the meeting:-

“Westbourne Notables”

led by Nigel Peake will take place in March, date t.b.c.


ADMISSION FREE to all meetings.   Both the above at

“The Meeting Place”, North Street, Westbourne.

Yet another new product from WLHG !


The Group is pleased to announce the availablity of a third CD product – “Property Sales”, being a unique collection of rare sales documents

In the early 1900s a number of major sales of land and property occurred. The majority of sale items were as a result of the Stansted estate selling off it’s ownership of vast surrounding areas, including areas of Westbourne.

Other significant items are Sales of the Cricketers Arms & surrounding items, and the Chantry, including Woodmancote Farm.

Extras include posters and information regarding many other Westbourne property sales and notes about the fascinating break-up of the (Stansted owners) Wilder family marriage which doubtless prompted the major Sale.

See the Publications page for purchasing details.


Another Meeting Update

The February meeting details are now confirmed as Friday 17 February at the Meeting Place.  Doors open 7.oo pm.


Meetings Update

 Details are firming up !


At the November 4th  Meeting (7.30 pm), Group Members will hold demonstrations of Genealogy, DNA and Surname distribution and Newspaper searching tools together with local history tools including Surveys from 1640 on, HER records, Graveyard records and the Search Engine of Chichester Records office. These will be personalised to greatest extent possible so bring along names, places, subjects of interest, etc.


On December 7th at 7.00 pm Jim Clarke will lead a presentation/open forum regarding his project of “Lost shops and businesses” of Westbourne. Input and contributions most welcome.

In January 14th at 2.00 pm, the topic will be “WWII in Westbourne”. There will be a mini exhibition based on our former member Tom Edwards’ collection followed by Roger Wilding telling some of Tom’s stories. Then – open forum for your memories.

In early February, date & venue to-be-confirmed, the topic will be “Westbourne Notables” (i.e. good or bad) led by Nigel Peake.


 ADMISSION FREE to all meetings.   All the above (so far confirmed) at “The Meeting Place”, North Street, Westbourne.




Keeping in touch


Part of our updated approach has been to create a new contact list so we can keep our friends briefed about our activities.

Data Protection rules have caused us to ask all wishing to join to give us express permision to hold contact details.

If you would like to be included, please mail or phone our Secretary, Nigel Peake (see Home page) who will organise the necessary.

Winter Open Meetings


It seems a long time ago that we unveiled our aim to re-shape the History Group to be more outgoing and involving.

We have been working on it and we can now announce the bones of the plan for our first set of open meetings.

Thank you for your patience.

We aim to run four meetings this winter.

Number one will be early November 2022, on the evening of 4th  in The Meeting Place, North Street at 7.30 pm. It will be a demonstration of the various tools the Group Members use to assist their researches.





Number two will be early December and Jim Clarke will lead a presentation/open forum regarding his project of “Lost shops and businesses”. Input and contributions most welcome.

Number three will be mid January 2023, probably a Saturday afternoon, around the topic of “WWII in Westbourne”. This will be a mini exhibition followed by Roger Wilding telling some of our former member Tom Edward’s stories and an open forum for your memories.

Number four will be early February, subject is to-be-confirmed.


ADMISSION FREE to all meetings.


Details of venue and timings for later events will be confirmed nearer the dates.

We hope to see you,


A Drone joined our Group !


The very dry summer caused Roger Wilding to hunt for some-one with a photo drone to fly over sites of interest to him in the hope of revealing details of old foundations and similar. He was very lucky to find that the village has a professional photographer with drones (Brian Bracher at the Thatch Cottage – www.compassphotos.co.uk) who gave a most friendly and professional service.

Thus in early September 2022 a drone flew over sites of interest to Roger with regard to his ongoing project on “Watermills of Westbourne, these being the ruins on the Ems south of Hampshire Bridge and the site of the “Lowar Mill” (sic) at the bottom of King Steet – both on private land. Also over part of the Churchyard which seems devoid of graves. The latter was of interest because Rev. Doc. J H Mee in “Bourne In The Past “ reports that in 1848 a burial had to be postponed because a substantial stonewall was found which proved extremely difficult to remove. Mee suggested that it might be remains of an early Manor House. A more recent option was came to mind when we re-discovered a newspaper report in 1933 that Roman bricks had been discovered during works to strengthen the Church tower. The Rector of the day is quoted as saying that he wondered if the wall might have been part of a Roman Temple. Our Roman enthusiast likes this idea. Any memories or thoughts most welcome.

Sadly we have to report that the aerial photos did not produce any revelations. But it was worth a try and good experience.


Parish Assembly June 18  2022


The Group will have a Stand at the Parish Assembly on June 18

Do pop by.

We have forms available for those wishing to add their details to our contact list,

so they can be informed of our future (increased) public activities.

Or just come for a History natter.

Hope to see you !



The Group has continued in much the same format since it’s inception in 1978 as a group of potential authors of booklets about Westbourne history. There have been occasional History exhibitions, all well received and latterly causing an influx of new members, but the Group struggled to find a method to use the new enthusiasm and then along came Covid.

With the core active membership down to four, it has been decided to reach out to the public and wider membership through meetings open to the public and the membership.

The core members have morphed into a more formal committee to lead the change and undertake the day-to-day administration.

Committee meetings will continue with the aim of setting a program. Current thinking is to have a mix of meetings. One time  – a presentation followed by open discussion. The next – a more open session where attendees can contribute and discuss a particular pre-notified topic.

Thinking is at an early stage. Comments welcome, particularly on timing i.e. daytime vs evening, weekday vs weekend. Contact any Committee member – see Home page for details.

The first meeting, in June we hope, looks likely to be a presentation and discussion about lost shops and businesses, lead by Jim Clarke. Keep an eye out for publicity and/or on this News page.

As part of the new direction, a more formal membership list is being created, in line with Data Protection rules. Those who “joined” pre Covid will be contacted, anyone interested can either contact our Secretary, Nigel to request inclusion or sign up at any future event.

The bit that is not changing is the original purpose to record and make public Westbourne History. Jim and Roger continue to work on their respective publications – Lost shops and Businesses – Watermills. Jim in particular requests help in locating and copying relevant old photographs. Roger is also nearing completion of another CD product about major property sales in the early 1900s, in particular the break-up of the Stansted estate. Many significant buildings and farms in the area changed hands during that time.

 AND – a few more Photo images added to our collection !



Peter Wilkinson, our Chairman for many years, has decided to step back from the role.

We are honoured and delighted that he has accepted the position of President.

Thus we hope to continue to benefit from his massive knowledge and experience.

Peter was a founder member of the Group in 1978 and a senior officer at the West Sussex Records Office prior to retirement.



The History Group’s Exhibition at Emsworth Museum (above the Fire Station) will close on Sunday September 5th.   The Exhibition can be seen on Saturday 10.30am – 4.30pm and on Sunday 2.30pm – 4.30pm. Thus the weekend is a last opportunity for viewing if you have not managed it so far.


HURRAH !!!!!!  JULY 2021

Some 15 months later – the repeat of our Parish Hall History Exhibition is to take place at Emsworth Museum (above the Fire Station). Some new photos and material will be on display, in addition to the material that was well received in 2020.

The Exhibition can be seen from July 17 until 5th September on Saturdays and the August Bank Holiday Monday 10.30am – 4.30pm and on Sundays 2.30pm – 4.30pm.

Thus plenty of opportunity for a first viewing if you missed it or a leisurely second look.

As our friends the other side of the Pond say – “Enjoy”.



A new page has been added to this site.

It shows a massive piece of work done around 2000 to record the position and detail of each gravestone/tomb in the Churchyard.

The full Index of names is included and the full set of Maps showing the position of each memorial listed in the Index. Images of a selection of interesting gravestones are also shown.


We are pleased to announce the return of a mail order service for our publications.  Thankyou, Nigel Peake.

See the Publications page for details.

Both of our CDs – “Bourne in the Past” and “Out of Print Booklets” are now available for purchase at The Village Stores, via Mail Order or by Internet File Transfer.


–    for a long quiet period. We have had some technical difficulties.


A second CD !  Or it will be.

Out of Print Booklets – Scans of our four out-of-print booklets   £5.00 (when available)

Currently only available via Internet File transfer – £3.00

These four booklets have been out of print for some time. In order to make them available again the Group has scanned them and offer all four for sale as a package.

The quality is not wonderful but they are legible. As it is said “Better than nothing !”.

Full details on our Publications page


We are very sad to report the death of two of our long-standing members, Tom Edwards and Peter Barge.

Tom died in April, having been in poor health for some time. He will best be remembered for his detailed and enjoyable memories of Westbourne during WWII when he was a young teenager and a number of these formed the basis of one of our publications, “Westbourne’s War 1939-1945”. He left Westbourne at the end of that time to join the Navy and never returned to live in the village, but remained very fond of it.

Peter died in May after a relatively short period diagnosed with a heart condition. He had been involved with the Group since it’s inception but his local history interests were wide and he has been involved with (amonst others) Emsworth Museum and the Havant History Group. He acted as Secretary to the Group and controlled the sale and distribution of our publications.

Tom and Peter were knowledgeable, generous with their time and lovely people. We shall miss them badly.


A number of people asked at our Local History Day to join the Group.

After some difficulties finding a venue for a group more than double our previous size (we used to meet in Peter Barge’s front room) we managed two enjoyable meetings of the enlarged Group before lockdown intervened.

We very much look forward to continuing with our new blood when times permit.


Our repeat of the Local History Day was, of course, cancelled. The Museum has asked us to retain the material in case a space falls open when the re-open and we have done this.


The History Day went well. We had lots of visitors, lots of interest and some nice compliments, which made all the hard work worthwhile.

The news is that we have committed to do the show again at Emsworth Museum. This will be for a much longer period thus Group members may not always be available but Query Forms and Museum Stewards will be. The scale may be slightly reduced due to space constraints, but will include as much as we can possibly squeeze in.

The dates are April 4 to 23, at weekends, a Bank Holiday and St. Georges Day. Details will appear here and on the Emsworth Museum Website as confirmed.



SATURDAY 18 JANUARY 2020, 11.00 – 16.00.

The Westbourne Local History Group presents a working exhibition of its interests in uncovering and recording the history of Westbourne, featuring

“Old Maps, New Names – The route to Emsworth and Westbourne via Cinsworth and Eastbourne”.

“The Lost Shops and Businesses of Westbourne”.

“The Watermills of Westbourne”.

Help chronicle the Watermills that existed in Westbourne, and help record the existence and demise of other businesses of Westbourne through old photographs and other media. Bring anything that you wish to be identified, and contribute your knowledge about the extensive collections on view. 

Free Entry, Publication Sales, Light refreshments, Free (limited) parking


We have just completed a major upgrade of the PHOTOS section and there are many new photos to view, comment on and add information about.  Please have a look.

There are gaps and weaknesses in the collection.  Please let us copy any old photos that you have so we can improve the collection further.

NEWS FLASH –     Wednesday 16 Jan 2019

(CATCH-UP) –    If you missed it – the article is available on Facebook:-


The Group will feature tonight on local TV Station “That’s Solent” – Freeview Channel 7.

Filming took place today prior to the normal Group meeting and highlights our latest project “Lost Shops and Businesses”.

The clip will be part of the News program which commences at 6.00pm and repeats throughout the night


A little time ago the Group took over responsibility for the Westbourne Past Photo Gallery section of this website.

Our first task was to add a descriptive label to each photo. This is done.

And we have added a few.

Now, Dear Readers, it is over to you. Please have a look at the page. You will see that we ask for comments, particularly where we have no knowledge to hand.

There are clear areas where we have gaps. The Chantry, the Rectory, the houses in Rectory Close before the new estate come to mind. And we are very short of pictures of shops and businesses that no longer exist.

Our next aim is to structure the photos so that we have them gathered into sections. A little more learning how is needed !

Photos >


Jim Clarke is making good progress in tracking down details of the many shops and businesses that have disappeared from Westbourne over the last 80 years or so for our next publication.

However what has proved very illusive is getting original photographs of these. 

Jim begs everyone to allow him to see/copy any relevant old photos.


Jim Clarke, Wentworth House, North Street, Westbourne, PO10 8SP Tel. 01243 373788

Email jim@clarkeuk.net

Another New Recruit

The Group is delighted to have a further new recruit. Clive Pugh has joined and is most welcome. Many people may know Clive already as an active member of Emsworth museum and an expert on maps of the area.

New Publication

The most important reference work for any would-be Westbourne historian is a book published in 1913 by Rev. J. H. Mee entitled “Bourne in the Past”.

It has been out of print for many decades and available copies are extremely rare.

The Group has scanned the entire book with its associated maps and copies are now available for purchase on a CD for viewing on a computer screen.

One warning – the pdf file containing the book is some 400 MB in size thus ancient or very simple computers may struggle.

A New Recruit

The group has a new recruit, Jim Clarke, and he has  taken on the task of producing a book, project name, “Westbourne’s Lost Shops & Businesses”.  The idea is to show the history of the many businesses and shops that Westbourne used to have, now largely converted into dwellings, as well as the history of current shops whose usage has often changed over the years.  More news as it emerges. 

Jim would welcome contact with information and sight of old photographs.

“The Watermills of Westbourne”

Roger Wilding has been working on a project “The Watermills of Westbourne” for some time.  He admits to making slow progress as other interesting smaller projects (like updating this part of the village website) keep arising and distracting him.  Anyone with documents, photos or any other information regarding waterways, mills and the like in the immediate Westbourne vicinity is most welcome to make contact.  In particular Roger and the Group would love to see a full copy of a small booklet:- “Valley of the Ems”

HELP – find a copy of the “Valley of the Ems”

Please seach your bookcases for a copy of the booklet “Valley of the Ems”  1863 by C J  Longcroft   of Havant.

Part of the booklet has been published more recently, but it is just a part of a  printer’s draft with many hand amendments.  Even the eminent Rev. Dr. Mee did not own a copy  – on page 12 of “Bourne in the Past” he thanks Mr John Cuttle for sight of his copy.