1947 - To signal the commencement of the building of the first houses, the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth at the time, Councillor R.J. Winnicott cut the first trench using a mechanical excavator on 15th September.
Also this year fifty single storey 'prefabs' were erected by the Council just north of Havant and close to the Petersfield Road. On the 14th of October, the Council approved the appointment of Mr Max Lock as the Joint Planning Consultant to develop the area.
1948 - The single-storey ‘prefabs erected last year were occupied early in the year and were much appreciated by the families whose homes in Portsmouth had been destroyed in the Blitz.
The Town Clerk of Portsmouth reported the receipt of the Minister's decision for interim development consent for the first stage development of Leigh Park. He consented to the development of the land provided that the design should constitute a neighbourhood unit in which provision should also be included for the excisting prefabricated and permanant houses on adjacent sites, and that the siting of schools and shops should be determined in accordance with the requirements of such a balanced unit. Later in the year the Council was informed that the building of the planned 100 Orlit type houses would cost £1,398/11/6d each. Approval was given for the first stage to commence.
1949 - The Town Clerk of Portsmouth reported that the Joint Transport Committee had recommended that application be made for a licence to operate buses between the City boundary and Leigh Park by an extension of the M and N service between Farlington and the Dockyard. The recommendations met with the approval of the Council and the Town Clerk was given permission to make the application on behalf of the Council.
The first families started to move in, mainly into Bramdean Drive. The rent of a three-bedroom house was assessed at £1.6s.4d per week.
On 12th July, Petersfield Rural District Council agreed to the naming of 341 roads in Leigh Park but for some reason wanted Idsworth Road renamed as Iping Avenue.
1950 - The Leigh Park Gardens were released to Portsmouth City Parks Committee, while the house, for which a considerable dilapidation claim had to be negotiated, was not released until 1956.
In February, the Leigh Park Tenants Association was formed as a result of the exploratory meeting that had been held in October 1948 which was convened by Fred Beames, Jack Minter and Jack Proctor.
1951 - It was reported in the Portsmouth Evening News that 3,500 Portsmouth folk had been provided with homes in Leigh Park in the heart of the countryside. Leigh Park was to be their 'Promised Land' which was to grow into a little township and they were to be the pioneers.
In September, West Leigh House and approximately 17 acres of land around it, was sold to the Admiralty for £10,500.
Special school buses were provided for the first time to move children around to their various schools and on the 17th November the 1st Leigh Park Guides and Brownies were founded.
1952 - Land at the junction of Bramdean Drive and Dunsbury Way was sold for £700 to the Portsmouth Roman Catholic Trustees for the purpose of erecting a Church on the site.
On October 14th, the Leigh Park Community Association was given permussion to lease certain buildings and the swimming pool at Stockheath camp for use as a Community Centre, while the Leigh Park Wolf Cubs were given permission to rent a Nissen-type hut at Stockheath Camp for their meetings.
Portsmouth City Council agreed that a few nominated members of the Havant Council would be allowed to sit in on the meetings of Portsmouth City Council and some of its committees, although they would have no voting rights.
1953 - On 10th February, a plot of land in Riders Lane was sold for £1,000 to Portsmouth Diocesan Reorganisation Committee for the purpose of erecting a Church of England place of worship. Another plot of land, this time in Botley Drive, was sold to the Leigh Park Methodist Trustees also for the purpose of erecting a place of worship. Later, on 13th October, Lake Road Baptist Church in Portsmouth bought a plot of land in Stockheath Road for a church building.
On 14th April, Riders Infants School opened.
House contracts were awarded by Portsmouth City Council to Auriol (Builders) Ltd and Howe & Bishop Ltd to build 204 houses and 104 flats in Billy Lawn Avenue.
Also in October, approval was given to Plessey & Co to lease temporary buildings at West Leigh Camp as a pilot factory pending erection of permanent premises at Leigh Park.
1954 - On 19th March, Riders Junior School opened and in the evening the Bishop of Portsmouth inducted the new Anglican Priest-in-charge of Leigh Park in Portsmouth Guildhall.
At its meeting on 13th July, Portsmouth City Council granted approval for the erection of six shops in Barncroft Way to be: a Grocer, a Newsagent, a Fishmonger, a Greengrocer, a Butcher and one other. The shops were awarded to Burnett & Piper for the grocers, A.W. Searle for a hairdressing shop, St Dunstan's for the newsagent/confectioners (to be run by a blind person), H. Cubitt as the greengrocer, F.H. Cornell as the butchers and L.R. Whatley as the fish shop.
14th September saw the Leigh Park Scout Troop given permission to erect two of the old Nissen huts from the old Stockheath Camp in Ditcham Crescent for their meeting place.
1955 - A progress report to Portsmouth City Council at its January meeting stated that 3491 'housing units' consisting of both houses and flats had been completed together with five schools. The Council also gave approval for the lease of some land in Middle Park Way to Messrs K.J.J. Young & Son Ltd for a licensed premises and the Stone Square Newasagency was leased to Thomas and Cusworth Ltd.
Barncroft County Junior School was opened on 2nd September at the start of the new school term.
The Roman Catholic Bishop of Portsmouth dedicated the new Catholic Chapel in Dunsbury Way in January and the 26th August saw the first Leigh Park wedding took place in St Francis' Church in Riders Lane. It was between a seventy-year old widower of Winchester House and Harriet Minnie White, a seventy-three year old widow of Blackdown Crescent. The ceremony was conducted by the Revd. John Beaumont.
1956 - The City Countil agreed on 10th April, to demolish Barncroft Farm and replace it with five houses. The same fate befell Parkhouse Farm House, a 12-roomed house in poor condition which was also demolished.
Contracts for building houses were awarded to Faulkners for 124 houses and H.E. Collins for 212 houses and 24 garages.
In May, Trosnant Junior School opened with Mr John Hunt as the Headmaster. This opening was closely followed by Trosnant Infants, Front Lawn and Park House schools.
On 1st September, the Admiralty derequisitioned Leigh Park House and on 5th December the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth unveiled a plaque to commemorate the end of their sixteen-year occupation of the House.
1957 - One of the county's largest school, the ultra-modern 4-storey Oak Park Secondary opened on Monday, 7th January. There were places for more than 1,000- students at the school which stood just left of the industrial estate ajjoining New Lane. The headmaster was Mr L.V. Gaulter and Mrs F.L. Hodge was headmistress.
The church of St Alban's in West Leigh was consecrated by the Bishop of Portsmouth, Dr Fleming, on 7th April and the new Baptist church was also opened on 6th July.
Leigh Park library opened on Tuesday, 8th October in Stockheath Lane with Mr T. Bagulay as the chief librarian and Miss Walter, Miss Marshman and mr Salter as his assistants.
Contracts to build houses were awarded to J.C. Nichols to build 200, Howe & Bishop for 82, Faulkners for 102 all in the Parkhouse Farm area. These companies together with Auriol Builders Ltd were awarded contracts in other areas of Leigh Park.
1958 - More schools opened up this year including Front Lawn Junior School with Mr R. Lawrence as the headmaster, West Leigh Church of England School for 7 to 11 years old with Miss J. Bright as headmistress, and on 8th September, Broomfield Seconday School opened in Middle Park Way.
On 10th June, the Parks Committee recommended that tenders should be invited for the demolition of leigh Park House as there had been no successful bids for its use.
Approval was given for already planned shops to be erected in St Alban's Road, West leigh which would be leased to Mr J. Kemp for the Grocer/greengrocers, S. Cooper & Son for the butchery and J & B Cusworth for the newsagent unit.
The City Council resolved at its meeting on 1st November, that subject to the consent of the Ministry, approval be given to the sale of a site within the shopping centre in Leigh Park for Police Housing and a Police Sub-station, for £1,700, the County Council to be responsible for fencing the boundaries.
1959 - On 29th January an application was received by Portsmouth City Council from a private developer for a permanent market comprising some 13 small shopping units facing Park Parade. On 10th July the application was ratfied as no objections had been received.
13th October permission was granted for Messrs Faulkners to build 3 shops and maisonettes in Middle Park Way and 150 houses in Park House Farm Way.
In November, Leigh Park welcomed the Revd. Bill Todd as the new vicar of St Francis.
1960 - To induce people to accept accommodation at Leigh Park, Portsmouth City Council introduced extra rent concessions on all properties. The concessions proposed would be 12/6d off 2-bedroom houses and 15/- off 3- and 4-bedroom houses.
Leases were approved for three shops in Prospect Farm and three in Parkhouse Farm Way.
Portsea Island Co-operative Society opened its branch of the Funeral Directors business in Dunsbury Way.
Five accidents in six days caused the Council to act promptly to replace the road surface on the Purbrook Way roundabout and to repaint the road markings.
1961- The Council agreed to dispose of 8 acres of land at West Leigh to Colt Ventilation Ltd for the sum of £17,000 at its meeting on 14th February.
The City Council agreed to the sale of land at the junction of Woodgreen Avenue and Barncroft Way to the Salvation Army for the purposes of erecting a building.
The Portsmouth City Engineer reported to the Council that Sharps Copse School was now under construction and was scheduled to open in May 1962.
1962 - On 9th January the City Council approved the lease for Portsea Island Co-operative Society to erect shop premises in West Leigh.
101 candidates were confirmed by the Bishop of Portsmouth, the Right Revd. John Phillips on 8th April, a large marquee being erected alongside the church to house the overflow congregation.
The first filling station in Leigh Park opened in Dunsbury Way in February. The station also offered full service facilities and later sales room equipment would be incorporated.
Approval was given by the Council on 9th October for the leasing of a site in Somborne Drive to Excel Bowling Ltd for the purpose of the erection of a bowling centre.
On 2nd November, St Alban's West Leigh, became a parish in its own right with the Revd. Michael Bourne as the first Priest-in-Charge. On 25th November the foundation stone of the new St Francis Church was laid by the Archdeacon of Portsmouth, the Venerable Michael Peck.
1963 - In May, the New Community reported that the plan to build a large factory at Brockhampton that would have employed 1,000 riosing to 2,000 had been abandoned. This was a serious blow to an area short of local industry and beset by unemployment problems. Also on the 6th May the new ambuilance station, health centre and community centre costing £100,000 was officially opened.
On 13th August the Tenpin Bowling Centre opened its doors and the Colt Ventilation Factory opened in November taking on 150 emplotees from the area.
30th November saw the consecration of the new church of St Francis in Riders Lane.
On 12th December, residents joined with those of Paulsgrove and Portsmouth to march from Cosham to Portsmouth Guildhall to form the largest rent protest demonstration. It was estimated that about 5,000 people took part and the procession was led by the Leigh Park clergy. The rent mach and the deputation that followed, forced the Council to reconsider its original plans and so come up with a revised one which reduced the originally proposed rent increases.
1964 - Leigh Park United Boys' Football Club was formed unerthe the title of Leigh Park United and was run by Messrs Harding, harman and Morgan.
The first warden-controlled flats were opened which provided individual flats but a communal lounge and intercoms system for security.
The BBC broadcast the Parish Communion from st Francis' Church on 12th April and 24th October saw the dedication of the new churcvh building for the Baptist congregation.
In June, work on expanding the shopping facilities in Park Parade started with work on the Greywell shopping precinct. It was estimated to take about two years to complete.
1965 - On 9th February approval was given by the Council for the two recently completed shops in Baybridge Road at Sharps Copse to be let to Mr G. Day as a nesagent and sub-Post Office and to Mr J. leach as a chemist.
18th September saw the official openeing of the swimming pool at Barncroft Junior School.
On 9th November, tenh Council gave Leigh Construction (Havant) Ltd., the contract to build the first 181 dwellings and 132 garages in The Warren.
The Bishop of Portsmouth, Dr John Phillips laid the foundation stone of the new church of St Alban in West Leigh on 9th November.
1966 - Two contracts for 110 dewllin gs and 86 garages and 171 dwellings and 154 garages at The Warren were awarded by the Council to Portsmouth & Gosport Builders Guild on 13th September.
In May, Father Patrick Murphy-O'Connor became the Priest-in-charge of the Roman Catholic Church and on the 16th July, the Bishop oif Portsmouth, Dr John Phillips was back in West Leigh to consecrate the new church of St Alban.
The first few houses to be finished in The Warren area, were handed over to Portsmouth Corporation in October and the rest were planned to follow at intervals until, by about 1969, the whole development was scheduled for completion.
1967 - In January, the rent issue which had been rumbling on, was raised in Parliament. A deputation from the Tenants Association went to visit the Minister of Housing which was led by the Revd. Bill Todd, the vicar of St Francis Church, Councillor George Bell, chairman of the Tenants Association and Councillor Arthur Slight.
The first baby born in The Warren was baptised in St Francis Church on 30th July and was named Sharon Joy Burdfield. The family lived in Rushmere Walk.
1968 - On January 19th, the Revd Norman Woods was inducted as the priest-in-charge of St Albans Church and on Jun 18th the Lord Bishop of Portsmouth decreed that the new church of st Clare would be built in The Warren. To more appointments were those of the Revd W. Rosie as the Baptist Minister on September 7th and Mrs Lynemham took up the post of Warden of the Community Centre in January.
Sunday, July 14th saw serious flooding in the estate and investigations that were carried out to find the cause of the problem showed that the foul water system was carrying twice the volume that it was originally calculated to take. Flooding took place over a wide area and many properties had about one foot of water on their ground floor. The worst area was at the junction of Purbrook Way and Riders Lane.
1969 - The big event of the year was Leigh Park Gardens reaching the headlines of the national press. This lasted for the whole month and also included six councillors going to prison. The interesting thing, history wise, was that the councillors were arrested and jailed under an Act of Parliament of 1361 and they were released by another Act, this time of 1299!
1970 - The Point Seven Youth Club opened with Derek Maguire as manager. The first person to be welcomed through the door was fourteen-year-old Stephen Austin.
May 10th saw the laying of the Foundation stone for St Clare's Church in The Warren by the Revd. Bill Todd and on October 24th, the Lord Bishop of Portsmouth came to dedicate it. St Francis Church featured in its own right on December 20th, when the BBC came and broadcast the People's Service on Radio 2.
September saw a welcome at The Warren when Mr and Mrs Moore moved in to run the fish and chip shop under the name of Campions. Mr and Mrs Whatley weren't far behind when they arrived to open a launderette and in October George Warren opened up a greengrocers shop with the addition of frozen foodstuffs.
1971 - The first wedding took place in the newly opened St Clare's Church on 27th February and was between Alan Cook and Susan Beaman.
In March, all the clergy of Leigh Park joined together to write to the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, on behalf of the residents of the estate, to demonstrate their concern about proposed further rent rises of 15%. In it they outlined their concerns and ended by saying that they felt strongly about the likely consequences that they would like to go to the Guildhall to discuss the matter.
Following the death of Councillor Storey, a ceremony was held in July at which City Councillors and members of his family were present. The walled garden just to the north of Middle Park Way was dedicated to his memory.
The remains of a grave dating back almost 2,000 years was found on 6th July on the Petersfield Road. The remains - the base of a pot and a section of human jaw bone - date back to the Romano-British period, to a time when the area was under extensive rural cultivation by the Roman settlers.
1972 - Portsmouth City Council's Parks Department played an important role in Enron Mental development. There was an increase in demand for both plants and trees and Leigh Park Gardens was chosen as a centre for Horticultural development.
The Revd. Bill Todd said goodbye on Easter Sunday after twelve years in Leigh Park to become Rector of St Alban's Church in Hatfield. Another clergy move saw the Revd. Douglas Westington appointed to become the minister of the Methodist Church replacing the Revd. Jack Puntis who had moved to pastures new.
1973 - Portsmouth City Council placed emphasis on trtee preservation and a nursery for their cultivation was established on the estate.
The game of 'Chicken Running' by children claimed a victim in October when a child was killed while playing the dangerous game. The game consisted of youngsters racing each other on bicycles without lights, the wtrong way round the roundabout at the jiunction of Purbrook Way and Middle Park Way causing any cars to break sharply ot swerve out of the way. Unfortunatel on this occvasion, a ten-year-old boy skidded and collided with a car as it was swerving out of his way, and he was killed instantly.
1974 - In May, the Planning Services Committee of Portsmouth City Council were informed that the Hampshire River Authority had embarked on an improvement scheme of widening and deepening the channel of the Hermitage Stream.
1975 - The Department of Leisure Services of Portsmouth City Council opened the southern part of Leigh Park Gardens with a display of a collection of rare breeds of domestic animals.
In February, Southdown Motor Services provided a bus service to Warren Park for the first time with service 330 which ran on an hourly basis at 49 minutes past the hour.
A 17.5% rent increase was approved by the City Council at its meeting on the 7th April, no increase having been made in the previous year.
The first Leigh Park Carnival was held on July on Bartons Field, of the Petersfield Road complete with competitions, sideahows, stalls, raffles and a giant Funfair all preceded by the Carnival Grand Procession.
Parish Communion was televised by the BBC from St Francis Church on July 20th.
1976 - The Council was informed at its meeting on May 4th that the Council of Rare Birds Survival Trust had approved Leigh Park Gardens being rated as a Rare Breeds Survival Centre, and that they would be presenting the Council in due course with a plaque to this effect.
1977 - On November 27th Portsmouth City Council recommended that the following dedicated woodlands would come under the control of the Leisure Services Committee: Queens Enclosure, Beech Wood, Bevilles Park, Bushy Lease, The Warren, Battins Copse, Wakefords Copse and Cabbage Field Row.
Portsmouth City Council also leased 31 acres of land at Bartons Green to Havant Borough Council for recreational purposes.
1978 - A meeting was held between Portsmouth City Council and Havant Borough Council which was specifically designed to foster a more amicable co-existence between the two Councils, and it was agreed that Havant Borough Council would make no further claims on Portsmouth housing in the borough and that Portsmouth City Council would build no more houses save for those elderly persons in the Havant Borough Council area.
1979 - At the joint meting of Portsmouth City Council and Havant Borough Council, the problem of parking on grass verges combined with the speed of traffic in particular along Middle Park Way and Purbrook Way was discussed. It was decided to put the problem to the Planning and Resources Committee to discuss with all interested parties and make urgent recommendations to the earliest full meeting of the Council.
The report from the above was presented to the full Council in November and they had decided not to build more garages as they wouild have to be built some distance from where the cars were being parked and it was thought that they would be underused. It was therefore decided that it would be better to provide hard standing places at intervals where most parking on verges was occurring. It was also agreed to send notices to car owners that they were breaking a by-law by parking on the verges.
1980 - In March, the Portsmouth City Council Transport Department announced that they would be providing a Shoppers Bus Service from Leigh Park to Portsmouth for a six-month trial period. It would be numbered 52 and would be operated on a limited stop basis, running on Saturdays only from 1830 to 1800.
1981 - The City Council at its meeting on 6th January, agreed that a planting programme of trees and shrubs at Leigh Park Gardens be approved, 50% of the cost being borne by the Countryside Commission.
Approval was also given at the meeting for the refurbishment of the Regency Farmhouse at Leigh Park Gardens for approximately £40,000 of which £3,500 has already been donated by Hampshire County Council.
On 5th May, the Hampshire Schools Athletic Association applied to the City Council for permission to stage the 1982 Home Countries Athletic Championships in the Sir George Staunton Estate on 3rd April. The Council granted permission.
1982 - The Home Counties Boys and Girls Country Athletic Championships took part as agreed on 3rd April. The event attracted sixteen teams - two boys and two girls from England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales in the age range of 12 to 17 years.
The next four years will be added when the next edition of Park Life is published.