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The Fernhurst Society

Tales from the Archives - 16

Where are our children?

What had been the long-anticipated school outing of 1903 to the sea turned to fear and worry when the group returned to Fernhurst in the evening. Two children were missing.

The day had started at 6.30 am with some 200 children, parents and teachers crowding into wagons, carts and carriages to go to Haslemere station. What a sight the procession made winding its way up Fridays Hill in glorious sunshine amidst cheers and waves! By 10am the party had arrived at Southsea, determined to enjoy all the delights the seaside could offer – paddling and boating, the bands and the peepshows, visiting the Isle of Wight, Nelson’s Victory and sampling the wares of the fruit and sweet sellers.

After seeing the pier and the castle, the day finished with a splendid tea on Southsea Common and the journey home was enlivened by an impromptu concert on the train. It was only on arrival at Haslemere that it was realised that two boys were missing and were nowhere to be found on the train. The Haslemere station master contacted Portsmouth & Southsea station and was assured that the children were there, having arrived too late to catch the train. The parents were beside themselves with anxiety and the mother and sister of one spent a sleepless night in the station waiting room. The railway authorities kindly stopped the express at Haslemere for them the following morning and the families were reunited.

If you would like to know more about this story, or research other local topics, the Archive is open on Tuesdays, 2.30-5pm in the Village Hall. Other times by arrangement.

Christine Maynard
Fernhurst Archive

One of a series of short articles bringing you some of the incidents from our rich village history. Collated by Christine Maynard, based on documents preserved at the Fernhurst Archives, these originally were published in the monthly Fernhurst News.

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