I have been looking at your website which I find most interesting, and feel that it is the best local website in the area.
The articles about John Habin and Peter Baldwin are the most interesting. I knew Peter Baldwin as I started school with him at Chidham, but I never knew John Habin although I knew about him.
However, the main reason that I am writing to you is about Nutbourne Railway Station as I was employed there for some years and can remember the cottage being there.
The cottage was originally used to house the resident crossing keeper who would be on call at night. However as the traffic became more prolific the crossing was manned twenty-four hours a day, and so it was no longer need for it’s original purpose.
The last person to live there was a man named Challen. His real name was Walter. F. Challen but he was known as Jeff. He was a crossing keeper at one time but when he left the railway he became a self employed landscape gardener and used the large garden at the cottage to house his shrubs.
He was last noted in the electoral roll on 10th October 1964. The following year no person was mentioned as living there.
When the railway company decided to sell the cottage and land, there were only two bidder’s. Jeff, and Blockrete who had what is now Marshall’s establishment. As Jeff said to me at the time “My cheque book is not as strong as Blockrete’s” so he had to get out.
Blockrete decided to demolish the top half of the cottage probably to prevent squatters living there. A councillor by the name of Bob Holmes who lived in Vine Cottage opposite the Barleycorn said that it was an eyesore and soon after it was demolished completely. That would have been around 1965/6.
After that a lot of rubble was thrown down where the cottage had been and some time later some trees were planted and to my surprise they grew despite the unsuitable ground.
The land to the west of the cottage and garden was originally a brickfield which appears to have been opened in the late 1920’s. During the war it was closed and Blockrete purchased it just after the war and built the chimney which had their name on it. The present owners named Marshalls took over the site in the 1980’s.
Incidentally, the word “Halt” was removed from the names of the smaller stations in or around 1968. They were officially then known as stations. I do not know why.
The man in the photo of the station taken in or around 1906 was probably Luther Mitchell who appears to have been the resident there at that time.
Finally, I would like to know where I can get a good copy of the photograph of the station which appears on your website. At the exhibition which you had on 1st April I asked someone where they got the photo and they said from the county record office. However the people there do not seem to know about it. So could you tell me where it came from?
The reason that I am interested in obtaining a copy is because I am interested in local history and have quite a number of photographs of the area, and as you may know I was involved in the book titled “We Remember, Chidham, Hambrook & Nutbourne” with Olga Baldwin.