preserving the past for the future
The Red House
The Red House was a large property built at the end of the 19th century, on the west side of Lower Road where it meets with Hadrians Close.
The first known resident was Mrs Bray in 1899. Canon Watts and his sisters lived in the property in the early 20th century.
In 1936, Robert Foster-Moore, a distinguished consultant eye surgeon, purchased the property. Together with a string of awards and prizes, he was the author of a book in 1922 on Medical Ophthalmology, which was a classic in its time. He let the property to an eye-surgeon colleague from Harley Street in London, but when Foster-Moore retired he moved into the house and spent much of his free time fishing for brown trout on the nearby River Nadder.
The big front door, seen above on the house on the right, faced into what is now Hadrians Close. The side facing Lower Road was close to the pavement and had a misted oval on the glass window which had a cruciform on it. Village children were told that someone had been killed and, while dying, struggled to the window, breathed on it and made a cross with their finger. Nobody stood very long to look at it and soon ran off in dread!
Builder Charlie Wilkins and his wife Joyce purchased the property in 1964. They lived there while Charlie built the properties in Hadrians Close and moved into two of the houses while he completed the development. During this period, he rented out rooms in the Red House. Charlie had the property demolished in the late 1980s to make way for the terraced properties at 10-13 Hadrians Close.
1 Hadrians Close
Stanley Gibbs and his wife Lavina were the first occupants in 1970. Stanley was the principal of the art college in New Street, Salisbury, before he retired, and he and his wife moved to Lower Bemerton having downsized from a property in Harnwood Road in Harnham. Lavina died in the 1980s and Stan survived her and was still here in 2000.
2 Hadrians Close
The first resident was Hilda Thayer, an Army nurse. Hilda was followed by Robert Rushton in 1974, and in 1983 Adolph and Mrs Kathleen Vrana lived here.
Adolph was born in Bohemia, later Czechoslovakia, and qualified as a fighter pilot. He was serving as a test pilot when the Germans took over in March 1939. He escaped to Poland, made his way to France and joined the Foreign Legion. Following the French collapse, he made his way to England and joined the RAF's 312 Czechoslovakia Squadron to fly Hurricanes and fought in the Battle of Britain. Having learned that his parents had survived imprisonment in a concentration camp, Adolph left the RAF at the end of the War and returned to Czechoslovakia. There, he re-joined the Czech Air Force and became Commanding Officer of the Research and Testing Institute. When the communists took over in 1948, Adolph escaped again to the UK and re-joined the RAF and served as a flight lieutenant radar controller, finally retiring in 1961.
3 Hadrians Close
Gordon and Joan Waters occupied the property in 1969 and were still here in the 1980s.
4 Hadrians Close
Edward Boulter lived here in 1979 and was still resident in the 1990s.
5 Hadrians Close
Mark and Muriel Jorgensen were the first to occupy this apartment in 1969 and were still here in 1979. After Mark died in 1982 Muriel moved to 104 Lower Road. Daphne Warwick, who was widowed, lived here in 1999. The apartment has since been occupied by a number of short-term tenants.
6 Hadrians Close
Known originally as Mallards, after the ducks that frequent the River Nadder at the foot of the garden, the first occupants of the house were Air Commodore David and Mrs Molly Lane. David joined the RAF as a technical apprentice in 1923 and on graduation was awarded a cadetship to the RAF College. At Cranwell, he excelled and became a Cadet Corporal.
Qualifying initially as a pilot flying Bristol fighters in India, he subsequently transferred to the RAF's embryonic Technical Branch. He was made a CBE in 1946 in recognition of the work he did in Germany after the war as part of the occupying forces David commanded RAF Stradishall in Suffolk and ended his RAF career as the Commandant of the RAF Staff College at Andover. After leaving the Service he worked for ICI before he and Molly finally retired to Hadrians Close.
7 Hadrians Close
Dr Ned and Mrs Audrey Simpson were the first residents in 1969. Ned, like his father and grandfather before him, was a GP in Salisbury and in those days, unlike now, your own doctor would do house calls, during the night if necessary. One Lower Road couple relate how their young son was ill and Ned turned up on the doorstep in his pyjamas and dressing gown, with his medical bag in hand. Ned was an old-fashioned no-nonsense doctor who was nevertheless much respected. Ned’s wife Audrey died in the 1980s and Ned remarried, this time to Joan. Ned could often be seen each evening after dinner standing on his terrace overlooking the River Nadder with a glass of his favourite whisky in hand, puffing on his cigarettes – presumably taking one drug to counter the effects of another?
8 Hadrians Close
The first occupant of the house was its builder Charlie Wilkins. After constructing the property, while he lived in nearby Red House, Charlie moved here with his wife Joyce, for a time while the remainder of Hadrians Close was developed. Charlie and Joyce moved again to another property he had built to release funds to continue his development.
8 Hadrians Close was then named 'Tally Ho!'. The expression was commonly used during the Second World War by fighter pilots to indicate that an enemy aircraft had been sighted. The name was given to the house by Air Vice-Marshal Ross Harding who lived here with his wife, Joy. Ross and Joy grew up in Salisbury. Ross was Head Boy at Bishop Wordsworth School, where he gained his colours in rugby, while Joy attended South Wilts School for Girls. Ross went on to Oxford, where he gained an MA. In the RAF, he flew spitfire aircraft during the war and later commanded No 152 Squadron in Bombay.
Spitfire Mk XIV
He went on to command the Flying Training School at RAF Valley and was appointed Air Attaché in Moscow. He spent his final tour as a senior director at the Royal College of Defence Studies. On retiring from the RAF, he and Joy spent time in Oman, where Ross was head of an aircraft servicing company, before coming back to Salisbury to retire. Ross then returned to Bishop Wordsworth School, where he was a governor for ten years, nine of which he spent as Chairman of the governing body. In recognition of his contribution to the work of Bishops, the school's Harding Library was named in his honour.
9 Hadrians Close
Tucked behind Hadrians Close and Lower Road, the area in 1838 was described as “a paddock adjoining the Parsonage house and grounds.” The first property to be built on the site was a bungalow built in the 1980s. Charlie Wilkins built the property while he lived next door and moved into the bungalow while he continued to build further properties in Hadrians Close. Charlie named the bungalow Silver Birch, having planted a silver birch tree at the end of the drive leading up to the property from Hadrians Close. Later, when Wilkins moved on, the new owners redeveloped the property to provide a second floor and renamed the property River House. They also closed off a second entrance to the property from Lower Road to create only one entrance and exit from Hadrians Close.
10 Hadrians Close
This cottage is called Hopkins and takes its name from two sources: the 19th century poet Gerald Hopkins and Hopkin Morgan, the grandfather of the current occupant. Gerard Manley Hopkins was among the leading Victorian poets, while Hopkin Morgan was a highly-regarded, four-times Mayor of Neath between 1894 and 1921.
11 Hadrians Close
Residents who lived here included Joan Webb in 1989 and Alexander McCutcheon in 1999.
12 Hadrians Close
George and Dorothy Shingler were the first occupants in 1989. Dorothy was still here in 1999, George having died some years earlier. Mrs Dickenson, whose mother ran the Post Office and shop in Lower Road for many years, was here between 2000 and 2011. Subsequent occupants of the house were short-term tenants.
13 Hadrians Close
This property was occupied by Frank Harris in 1989, Richard Thorne in 1999 and several short-term occupants since.