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History of Lotts Print E-mail

Entering the village from Denmead or Fareham the first landmark is Lotts Stores at the junction of West Street and Cams Lane. See map. It has a most interesting past.


For around a hundred and fifty years there was a forge at the foot of Cams Hill before the internal combustion engine displaced the horse by the motor vehicle. The earliest known blacksmith was Henry (Harry) Hammond (1775 - 1856) who worked the forge at the end of the 18th century. He was succeeded by his eldest son born in 1803, also called Harry. This Harry had no children so, when he retired about 1872, the business passed to his nephew George Abraham Lott (1842 - 1917). George Lott lived in Flint Cottage just up Cams Lane with his wife and three children.


Harry Lott, George's eldest child and only son, who was born in 1872 was sent by his father, not to the National School in the village as one might expect of a blacksmith, but to Mr Best's School for the Sons of Gentlemen in the High Street. Amongst the range of subjects taught at this school was draughtsmanship which Harry Lott learned to a high standard and he produced the some splendid examples of the draughtsman's art. He drew the map of Palestine with exquisite skill whilst only 11 and his Lord's Prayer penned in 1884 at the age of 12 is a masterly example of the art of lettering.


Sadly the screen resolution does not do credit to the superb penmanship

Harry Lott's ideas of a career in draughtsmanship were dashed when his father made it plain that Harry, then aged about 14, would follow in his footsteps as a blacksmith and take over the family business in due course, which he did on his father's retirement in 1906. In the same year Harry married Mary Westbrook. About two years after their marriage, Harry and Mary moved into Forge Cottage. Their daughter Ena still lives in Forge Cottage. Harry Lott was a well-known figure in the village until his death in 1954. If one looks carefully at the above photograph one can just see Harry outside his forge in 1905 with his nephew Ronald Andrews who lived at Hoe Cross Farm with his parents.

This second picture shows Harry shoeing a horse from Chidden Farm in 1906 with Mr Christmas from Glidden. The cartwheels were made by Mr Hudson across the road at Snowdrop Cottage and sent to the forge to have their iron bands fitted. In about 1910 a new forge was built round the corner fronting onto West Street and the old forge gradually fell into disuse and was demolished. The second forge was converted in the early 1950s into a house now known as Anvil Cottage.



After the Great War, horse power was giving way to the internal combustion engine and so, not one to be left behind in business, Harry Lott embarked on an additional venture as a cycle and motor engineer and garage proprietor. This trade was carried on in premises alongside the family house. This photograph shows Harry Lott outside his garage in about 1930. It is interesting to see the number of bicycles outside the garage, a scene which is repeated today but for other reasons.

 A bill-head of the time describes the extent of the enterprise. Harry's first car was a Ford but quite soon he sold it and bought a Daimler which was more suited to the hire trade. His principal journeys were to Waterlooville to connect with the tramway to Portsmouth and to Droxford railway station. The garage did not survive World War II.

There was intense competition amongst the shops in the village and when the three established grocers started selling pots and pans, Harry Lott responded by selling groceries. In 1954 on Harry's death, his daughter Ena took over the shop and managed the business with the assistance of her husband Bert Brown until she retired in 1980. Since then the shop has been leased.




The present day

In November 1989 Val Hosier and Carol Payne took over the lease of the shop. They quickly set about developing the trade built up originally by Ena Brown and her husband. At Easter 1990 they opened the Tea Room, in what used to be part of the garage, serving morning coffee, light meals and afternoon teas. It soon became a well-known stop for cyclists, word having spread along the cycling grapevine that here was an excellent stopping place. Lotts is now mentioned in a couple of cyclists' guide books. So one often sees several cycles parked outside just as there might have been outside the garage.

The current lease holder is Martin and Debbie Clark, who have been with us for 6 years.

The shop sells a very wide variety of goods including groceries, cleaning gear, fruit and vegetables, chocolates and sweets, ices, soft drinks, bread and homemade cakes, petfood, greeting cards, stamps, ironmongery, electric lamps, torches and batteries, decorating and gardening requisites, flowers and plants in season, christmas trees and decorations, logs, bagged coal and bottled gas, agent for dry-cleaning and shoe repairs. In recent months newspapers and magazines have been added following the closure of the Hambledon Post Office. The shop can now provide phone topups and has credit card facilities The list is not quite endless but if you are in urgent need of something in the home, such as an ironing board cover, you will probably find it at Lott's without going further afield. A great saving of time and petrol.

Lotts Stores is a typical village shop which deserves success in these days of huge supermarkets and shopping malls. Lotts plays a full part in village life including acting as a sales point for tickets to the Arts Society drama productions and a local noticeboard.

The shop is open from 8:00am to 6:00pm Tuesday to Saturday and from 9.00am to 5.00pm on Sunday. The Tea Room is open on the days listed from 8.30am to 5.pm, 9:30am to 4.30pm on Sunday. Tel: 023 92 632 452

The editorial team acknowledge with gratitude the sources from which much of this material and the historical photographs have been drawn:

Hambledon by John Goldsmith 1994 ISBN 0 85033 921 9
Published by Phillimore & Co. Ltd.
Available from Lotts Stores, price ?15, and other local booksellers.

Hambledon and Denmead - Photographic History of Village Life to 1950 by Terry Norman 1976
Published by Norman, Maber & Associates.
and all contributers to those publications. Particular thanks go to Mrs Ena Brown and Mrs Val Hosier.

The current owners Martin and Debbie Clark.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 03 April 2011 )