I returned to Andover in August 2010 and was as excited as the day we left in November 1956 when my family decided we were going to Australia. 54 years is a long time and I think that my wife was surprised at how much I remembered because I was only 12 when we left.
If you know "Black Swan Yard" there is a small shop there with a window and a small door, it is not being used now but when I was there I helped my dad paint it. He set up a Watch and Clock repair business there.
His name was Fred and Mum's name was Florence (Flo) and together they also ran "Tony's Cafe" in 2 West Street opposite the old Rex Cinema. Next to us was the old Lovells' Dairy and further up West Street towards the Guild Hall was Tommy Wickenden's the Jewellers' shop on the corner. Sadly these shops have made way for the Super Centre that you have there today.
Mr Martin Loveridge was I believe a Lord Mayor of Andover at some point and he also ran the Rex Cinema.
We visited St. Mary's Church which I used to go to with my brother and Arthur the verger entertained us with some great stories.
Mum's sister Phyllis and her husband Lionel Goodfellow ran the "White Hart Hotel" for a number of years. I wanted to stay there but unfortunately it was full. The Town Mill together with Swans etc brought a flood of memories of playing there. I would love to see that Mill Wheel restored to its former working glory, it would be a great attraction for the town.
My mum's parents were the Vitales and they lived in Weyhill Road, her brother John died in service during the war but I do not know under what circumstances he died. His name does not appear on the Cenotaph with the other brave men and I will be looking into how he died to see if this was an oversight.
I would love to hear if any one remembers the old Tony's Cafe and particularly if they remember my parents. This would be a long shot considering the time elapsed, 54 years. There may be someone who remembers my mum who went to Andover Grammar and I believe was the first Italian girl to matriculate there.
Thank you Andover for making the four days we stayed their the best days of my trip and the most emotional.
John and Marion Abbess.
A memory shared byon Sep 10th, 2010.
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