As many readers are aware, the arrival of the London and South Western Railway and the building of a station about a mile north east of Milton village created the new town of New Milton. Initially, when first built in 1886, it was simply a railway station in the middle of the countryside as seen here in this artist’s impression taken from the 1894 sale of land catalogue.
We know that soon after the railway station was built, other buildings appeared nearby including the Milton Hotel.
The line of shops known as Broadway Parade contained the first sub post office in the area which, under the tenure of Emma Newhook, used the name New Milton Sub Post Office to avoid confusion and misdirected mail going to the Milton Post Office beside the Wheatsheaf Public House in Milton village. In 1896, this name was adopted by the London and South Western railway company for their new station.
2019 has seen much progress behind the scenes of the No.1 New Milton project which will see the empty Station Masters house at New Milton Railway turned into a heritage centre for the benefit of the local community. As it was the very first building in the new town, the project has been named No.1 New Milton. This centre will collect, preserve, catalogue, and exhibit the history of Milton Parish from very early times through to the present day.
The idea for this project was first conceived by Councillor Keith Craze who leads the project. He set about negotiating with South Western Railway who own the building, then sought approval and partial funding from New Milton Town Council. Milton Heritage Society is in partnership with the Town Council and will operate the Heritage Centre on a day to day basis after opening. Grants to the project have been made available from a number of sources including South Western Railway and local redevelopment funds. 2019 saw New Forest District Council give planning permission for Change of Use to the building from residential to heritage site
They also approved the garden to be stripped back and turned into a dementia and disability friendly garden. A gateway to New Milton, being the first thing people see when they get off the train. It should be noted that some of the trees at the bridge end of the garden are protected and will continue to be preserved and cared for.
There is a great deal of work to be done inside the house to prepare for opening. Mark Jeffries, the Estates & Facilities Manager for New Milton Town Council, will be overseeing the restoration work.
This will include re-plumbing, rewiring, removal of asbestos, sealing of lead paint and complete redecoration throughout. The roof needs to be made sound and water damage repaired. In addition, display cabinets need to be purchased and exhibition material sourced and prepared for display.
The exhibitions will consist of maps, images and artefacts showing our very early history through to the arrival of the railway in 1886. Another section will exhibit the history of our parish from the arrival of the railway through to the end of World War One. Another presentation will explain our history in the 1920s and 1930s. The next will tell the story of what happened to our community in World War 2. The final exhibition will present the post 1945 history. It is hoped to include excerpts from oral history recordings where visitors can hear local residents telling of their involvement in our town’s history. One of the upstairs rooms will be converted into a study centre where local people and school groups will be able to visit and access maps, documents, photographs and books relating to our history.
A number of local companies and individual Miltonians have very kindly agreed to sponsor the heritage project or assist it in other ways. Many people have volunteered to help work on the restoration and to run the heritage centre after opening. The team behind No.1 New Milton are very grateful to them.
It is hoped to open No.1 New Milton to the public in late spring or early summer 2020 and intended opening hours are 11.00 am to 3.00pm Wednesday to Sunday.
Are you able to make a donation towards this project? Would you be able to sponsor a room? Do you have maps, photographs or material that the project team could borrow or copy and display in the heritage centre? Do you have time to offer as a volunteer? The project is in great need of volunteers to help open and run the heritage centre.
If you are interested and would like to find out more information about volunteering opportunities, or if you can help in any other way towards this heritage project, please contact Nick Saunders, Chairman of the Milton Heritage Society, via firstname.lastname@example.org or 01425 618549.