Then And Now

This morning Jackie drove me down to Milford on Sea to check out The Cave. We had intended to begin the evening there with Danni. Andy, and Elizabeth, before going on to Lal Quilla in Lymington. The wine bar was not taking bookings because they had a quick turnover and expected to be very full this evening because of a fete on the green opposite. What we decided about this will be revealed later.

I walked back by my usual route. Family on beachBoys on beach The beach was filling up with young families. Boys enjoyed what all boys do, throwing stones into the advancing waves. Down to the beachFrom the cliff topBeach scene with kayaksKayakers Others descended the steps, or, like me, stood on the clifftop watching those down below, including the two kayakers whose craft and blades glistening in the occasional rays of the sun. A number of readers of have requested an up to date picture of the house. I have taken one that replicates the original shot, and another which shows a later extension. Downton Post Office 1938

For ease of reference, here is the earlier postcard image.

Old Post House

The Post Office shop window now lights our entrance hall, wide enough to double as my study, in which I am sitting now. It is obscured by the crab apple tree in the left foreground. Also hidden is the alteration to the arched front entrance now forming, in part, a second window to our sitting room. The lower half is now an internal wall. What was then a gentle country lane is now the main thoroughfare between Christchurch and Lymington. Naturally the horse and cart has been replaced by a motor car. It would have been more difficult to take this photograph without a vehicle passing through than with several. Only one was not easy. Despite being a Post Office, the building didn’t have a telegraph pole outside in the early 1930s. The first of the two 1950s bungalows can just be glimpsed through the trees

Old Post House extension

The short pavement outside extends from our house to the corner of Downton Lane. There is nothing but a deep ditch on the other side, where I took my life in my hands to take these pictures. The earlier photographer could have set up his or her tripod in the middle of the dusty track. I wasn’t about to try that.

downton-the-cross-road-c1960_d197005_indexIn those early days there was a pronounced bend almost opposite the pub. On our side of the land once existed an old cottage which would have stood in the middle of what is the now straightened road.  The building must have been demolished, with its garden now lying under the tarmac. This tiny 1960 image is the best I can obtain from Frith’s Postcards site. The cottage is in the centre of the picture. Our house, in line with The Royal Oak, is the white speck to the right of it.

First Elizabeth, then Danni and Andy arrived on time for our evening out.. We decided that we would go to The Cave and have a look at the fete. Well, The Cave was filled to bursting and spilling out on the street, with hardly a yard for cars to drive between there and the green, on which it was standing room only, and not much of that. The fete turned out to be  a deafening music festival.Ship Inn

Lymington QuayWe fled to Lymington and began with a drink at Ship Inn opposite the quay. We then dined at Lal Quilla where we enjoyed the usual excellent meals, good service, and usual beverages.

Quay Street

As the night sky darkened to a deeper blue, shop windows glowed, and the street lamps replaced the sun, we walked back down the cobbled Quay Street and returned to our respective homes. Danni and Andy make this picture.


  1. Such a lovely home and how cool that it was a post office. It is so interesting seeing these pictures together.
    Good plan, skipping out on the deafening, so called ‘fete’.

  2. I have vague memories of the bend. Even though this was meant to be the main road back in the 60s and 70s the people who worked at Wellworthy, the main employment, in Lymongton preferred going via Hordle and Silver Street because it was shorter and straighter. Known to my dad as the Wellworthy Grad Prix they hurtled past our house at 50 plus only slowing at the s bends at Gordleton Mill before accelerating up to the Wheel and beyond. Many is the time someone came it of Barrows lane by our house and was hit by a maniac. My parents must have dealt with a dozen such accidents, some awful. The letter box opposite our house was demolished at least twice. The night time accidents usually involved alcohol back then. I think Wellworthy is now a huge housing estate.

    1. Wellworthy’s is indeed a large estate, not all housing, though, I think. My mother (Margery, as Derrick would know her) used to work at Wellworthy’s as a secretary in the 50s, travelling to and from Southampton by bus (presumably with several changes of vehicle!)

      1. I remember a neighbour, Tony Martin who worked there for decades. I think he must have been involved in sales as he travelled to China a lot in the 70s.

  3. “Fled to Lymington.” ha ha ha! I would have done the same. The last photo with the flags (over Quay St?) is so lovely. I also love the capture of the waves in the very first photo.

    It is exciting to see the changes to your home over the years. Thanks for taking the effort to show us the same perspective. I am so pleased that no injuries were sustained in obtaining that shot!

  4. oh that water looks great! I’d love to kayak out there.
    and I’m so glad that you showed the historic postcard next to the modern photo. How neat to live in such an historic place!

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