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Alton Group

7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
All Saints Parish Church Hall
Queens Road
Alton, Hampshire GU34 1RD
It is a tale of endeavour that begins with a chance encounter - an intriguing inscription on a tombstone. We embark on a search for the truth about Man’s early quest for immunity to infection and the strange practices used by ancient civilisations to protect against smallpox. We then meet a fascinating character, a Dorset farmer named Benjamin Jesty who brought a new idea to the fight against this disease - vaccination - 22 years before Dr Edward Jenner established the practice.
The story unfolds to describe a hunt for a portrait of historic importance that vanished 120 years ago and was thought to be lost. We learn how the speaker found this elusive oil painting half the world away and why it was brought back to England for restoration.

    Latest News

    Old Alresford village booklet now available

    Old Alresford, (VB100) is located midway between Alton and Winchester just north of New Alresford which is on the A31. Alresford Pond is a large lake created in the 12th Century at the head of the River Arle, a tributary of the River Itchen. Several water mills have existed along the river with the restored […]


    Knowle War Memorial

    Knowle Hospital was open in 1852 as the Hampshire County Lunatic Asylum. The asylum was renamed Knowle Mental Hospital in c.1923 and following the 1948 introduction of the National Health Service Act, became Knowle Hospital. At the beginning of the 20th century, Knowle Hospital was home to over 1000 patients and staff and was a self […]


    Free Data in the Members’ Area

    For some time HGS has had the intention of making some of its large collection of Family History data available to members in the Members’ Area of our website. With the development of our website we have now been able to begin this process and the first set to be introduced is of various ‘small churchyards’ […]


    RIP Private Herbert Frank French

    Herbert Frank FRENCH was born on 21st April 1884 at 11 Hyde Close in Winchester, the illegitimate son of Emily. On 18th January 1908 he married Sarah Ann (Annie) BIGNELL in Meonstoke and then settled in the village to raise their daughters Emily and Ivy. Herbert was initially in the Territorial Army then when WWI […]


    Can you help

     We have recently been passed a copy of a photograph with a request for more information, maybe the location or the purpose. A comment with the photo says that the men were in training but didn’t say what for. 


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