Summer heat re­vives po­etic mem­o­ries of lido’s early days

Daugh­ter feels proud of her mother’s hand­writ­ten po­etry

Aldershot News & Mail - - LOOKING BACK -

A HEAT­WAVE, for­tu­nately timed to co­in­cide with Alder­shot Lido open­ing daily for the summer, has brought many hur­ry­ing to the pool to take ad­van­tage of it while they can.

But while some live in the mo­ment, oth­ers are re­flect­ing on their mem­o­ries of vis­it­ing the lido in sum­mers gone by.

A poem hand­writ­ten more than 80 years ago by an Alder­shot res­i­dent’s mother is help­ing her do just this, as she hopes more mem­o­ries are made in what could be the fi­nal year of the lido in its present form.

The poem was penned in ap­prox­i­mately 1930 by Edna May An­der­son, known as Hazel, and is about her ex­pe­ri­ence of vis­it­ing the pool as a school­girl af­ter it opened that year.

Hazel lived in Wind­mill Hill as a child, when the road was called Drury Lane.

Af­ter leav­ing school she went into ser­vice as a nanny to an army cap­tain and ended up mar­ry­ing his bat­man Wilf – a sol­dier as­signed to him as a per­sonal as­sis­tant – in 1939.

They lived in Holly Road, and Wilf fought in the Sec­ond World War. They had five chil­dren.

Hazel worked in Bur­ton, in the late 1950s, and for more than 20 years in the field stores, where sup­plies for the army were re­ceived via the rail­way line, un­til she re­tired in 1978.

Wilf died in 1977 and Hazel in 2003, aged 84.

Hazel played darts in The Crick­eters ladies darts league, based at the Tong­ham pub, right up un­til the end of her life, and a tro­phy cre­ated in her name is still con­tended for ev­ery year.

Po­etry was a hobby through­out her life, and Hazel wrote sev­eral more, in­clud­ing one about her fond mem­o­ries of her home­town, en­ti­tled This Alder­shot, in 1970, and another called Good­bye Old Friend about the Field Stores where she worked.

Hazel’s daugh­ter Ann Grayson, 68, who lives in Alder­shot, said her mother’s po­etry made her feel nos­tal­gic and proud of where she lives. She said the fi­nal two lines of the lido poem were her favourites.

“I like those two lines be­cause they re­flected the joy and ex­cite­ment that the open­ing of the lido brought along with the prom­ise of many years of fun and hap­pi­ness in the fu­ture,” she said.

“When mum died we typed them all up so we could send them to fam­ily all over the world.”

Alder­shot Lido is the sub­ject of plans to re­place the out­door pool with a shal­low splash pad, or pos­si­bly add fur­ther attractions such as a minigolf course, jacuzzi or a roof.

Dur­ing a pub­lic con­sul­ta­tion the ma­jor­ity of re­spon­dents favoured ei­ther re­tain­ing the lido or build­ing the splash pad.

It was agreed by coun­cil cabi­net mem­bers in June that a busi­ness case will be worked on over the summer to de­ter­mine how much it would cost to put a num­ber of the sug­ges­tions into prac­tice and it is hoped that any re­de­vel­op­ment work could take place in time for the open­ing of the lido next year.

It means that this could be the last summer when fam­i­lies can use the out­door pool and cre­ate their own mem­o­ries that will live on through con­ver­sa­tions, pho­to­graphs and maybe even new po­etry.

Ann Gray at Alder­shot Lido in 2013. Ann’s mother Edna May An­der­son wrote a poem about the lido more than 80 years ago.

Edna May An­der­son, known as Hazel, writ­ing as a 20-year-old. The Alder­shot res­i­dent wrote a poem about the lido in 1930 af­ter it first opened.

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