Lymington Memories - by W K Knight
Though I live in Cornwall I am still Lymington Born and Bred. My parents are buried in Lymington church yard in the cremation plots up towards the Tins on the left, also my god father and uncle Edward James Knight is buried there, my grand parents on my fathers side are buried in the cemetery at Highfield my grand mother was a Kemish and my mother was a Rixon and both Kemish and Rixon’s started Beaulieu Rails which you will know as East Boldre.

Do you know why the Tins got it’s name, well just in case, the fence of the path on the cricket field side had corrugated tin with the top 2” cut into spikes, hence the name the Tins, it was still like it when I was a kid.

I also went to the C of E school which is now the St Barb museum. One of the teachers was Hoare and we knew him as Honky Hoare and he also taught my father. We had sloping desks and his desk was a high one, the first thing he done when he walked into the classroom was to take his teeth out and put them on the top of the desk.

My father was born and brought up in Rose Cottage, Middle Road which Grand dad Knight Built, Dennis Knight who had the builder’s merchants is my cousin his father is Eddy Knight my god father. My mothers Parents are buried at Baddesley Church.

The Light standard outside the Royal Lymington Yacht Club was the first Gaslight in Lymington and it stood on the north side of the street just where the top entrance to the churchyard is.

In one of the books for sale at the museum there is a postcard showing the flood in Lymington and the card was from Polly Knight to her husband William Knight who was re-leading the church roof at Copythorne near Cadnam, well that is my Gran and Grand dad. Polly was her nick name and only her husband and her brothers and sisters were allowed to call Polly, she was very tall and a formidable lady.

My great Uncle Alfred Kitcher’s job was to repair the seawall around the marshes. When I was a kid the seaward side of the seawall was all marshland and seagulls nested there, each year people with the right would go to a certain marsh and pick seagull’s eggs, the following year it would be a different marsh and so on. Now Hurst spit has changed the marshes have disappeared.

At the top of the town which is now Waitrose stood the Lyric cinema and dad said when he was a kid in the foyer of the cinema was painted a big penny on the floor as that was the price to get in. My sister can name every shop that was in Lymington when we were young she can remember better than me as she is 8 yrs older.

On the quay there was a bottling plant for Mew & Langton the brewers, if you go on to the quay with the Ship inn on your right and then look to your left that is where it was, the beer came from Newport I.O.W and was brought from Yarmouth in huge barrels on a barge called the XXXX the man who worked it alone never once hit another boat, but it was said that if he was sober it would be a different matter.

My ancestors had a shop on the south side of town hill William & Hannah Knight. Her maiden name was Tricket and came from Verwood her daughter looks like she murdered her husbands as she was married 3 times and would be married again within a month of the last one dieing. The funny thing is the town Sergeant Hebberd lodged with William and Hannah his touch stick was given to the town council by my cousin Stan Knight who lives at Bowling Green and is in a display case in the council offices.

There is so much I know about ‘my’ Lymington, that is between Edward Kings time and the present day, like the garage my Uncle Len owned Croucher’s Garage and the old fire station on Southampton buildings near the entrance to the cricket field and Mew & Langton’s little yard and office on Southampton Buildings, these are things from my time and people have forgotten. Woods the coal merchant whose lorry we use to ride on. Dawson’s Garage down the town North side, they sold Austin Morris cars also petrol, the pavement there was wide so the pumps were outside the garage and when you wanted petrol they would swing out metal pipes with the nozzle on the end and people on the pavement would just walk under the pipes.

This is a picture of me sat on the grass down the banks, the person who took the picture had their back to bath road and facing the river, and behind me are the piles of soil they used to make the promenade in the picture below, I would have been about 6 in that photo, that makes the photo taken c1957 and the promenade was not built then, all it was at that time, was a bank like the sea wall which you can make out between the piles of soil.
The fishing boat in the middle right of the picture above was painted grey and belonged to George Smith who at one time owned Rope Walk Boatyard with his 2 sons Bill and Robert Smith this was prior to Peter Webster buying the yard. I done an apprenticeship at Peter Webster’s as a Shipwright and worked under Rob Smith.

George and Bill were riggers there as Peter Webster employed them when he bought the yard, the photo that you have would have been taken c1965 and behind the photographer would have been Peter Webster’s pontoon and prior to the pontoon being put there he had a Spritsail Barge called the Minadosa which ended it’s days where Lymington Yacht Haven is now. The mast and deck winch was used on the pontoon as a crane to step the masts on the new yachts we launched at the quay and towed to the pontoon.

Also what dates the photo exactly is the white building in the distance which is in fact still there and is the other side of the railway line and is a clear span prefabricated building which they did not have in the 50’s the building was erected in 1965 and was an engineering workshop.