Gudge Heath Lane

Brook Farm AvenueThe old entrance to Brook Farm (2018, tap to enlarge)

A road which doesn't really live up to the rural connotations it gives, "Gudgeheath Lane" as it was originally known (oh the power of a space) was once a trackway up to the Highlands. It deviated from Titchfield Road just before its turnpike and then took an easy course up the hill, which can still be seen today.

Its existence may well be to provide an uncomfortable but free road towards Southampton - a route which went on to be preserved in bus routes to this day.

At the corner of the Tichfield Road junction was The Buccaneer public house (built in the 1920s as The Berkeley Hotel), which went on to become a chain restaurant. Opposite were a couple of named houses, including Cornerways, which were demolished in 2010 to become Craigbank Court. The junction here was signalised in the 1990s.

Save some space for the houses. Puxol Farm became Brook Farm which became the street Brook Farm Avenue in the 1950s as housing along the road became more dense. It did have a tunnel under the railway to the other side which was blocked up when the station expanded.

Blackbrook Farm lasted much longer, but was surrounded by houses as the first part of Blackbrook Farm Road opened in the 1940s and the rest of it 10 years later. The Gudgeheath Brickworks, at the end of Blackbrook Road, closed down at the end of the 20th Century and made way for several cottages.

Gudge Heath Lane bridgeGudge Heath Lane railway bridge by Sunlight Gardens (2018, tap to enlarge)

Oak Road held the Co-op Dairy, delivering milk to the area, as well as Heatley and Evans builders' merchants and Kingfisher frozen foods. At the junction of Oak Road and Gudge Heath Lane stood Vic Haley's corner shop.

By now the road was almost fully developed, leaving only 'pack 'em in' changes such as Harlequin Grove in 1990.

The Southern Mainline was piped through under the humped bridge at the start of the century. In 1934 the Co-op Laundry and oil fuel depot was built, becoming Sunlight and, in 2007, demolished to make way for Sunlight Gardens. Selling of the old railway embankment used by the Deviation Line created room for Craven Court in the 1990s. The boundary between these houses and those actually on Gudge Heath Lane itself isn't straight at all, a reminder that it was once cleared for a railway line.

The circle in the middle of Hammond Road was popular with children setting bonfires in the 1960s. At the top of the road we have a few 1930s cottages on the east side in the space of a tree coppice. As before, the rest of it appears to have been filled in the 1940s, taking us up to what is now the Highland Shops.

The Hill Park Gospel Hall moved up from number 217 to 219, now the Co-Op.