infobox UK place
country = England
official_name = Aldershot
latitude = 51.2470
longitude = -0.7598
population = 58,170cite web | url= |title=Table KS01 Usual resident population |accessdate=2008-05-11 |last= |first= |date= |work= |publisher=Office for National Statistics ]
shire_district = Rushmoor
shire_county = Hampshire
region = South East England
constituency_westminster = Aldershot
post_town = ALDERSHOT
postcode_district = GU11, GU12
postcode_area = GU
dial_code = 01252
os_grid_reference = SU865505
london_distance = convert|42.4|mi|km

Aldershot is a town in the English county of Hampshire, located on heathland about 60 km (37 miles) southwest of London. The town is administered by Rushmoor Borough Council. The town has a population of 58,170, whilst the Aldershot Urban Area (which also includes other towns, such as Camberley, Farnborough, and Farnham) has a population of 243,344, making it the thirtieth-largest urban area in the UK.

Aldershot is known for its connection with the British Army which established a permanent camp in the area for instruction in military manoeuvres in 1854. This led to rapid growth from a small village to a Victorian town. Today, Aldershot is known as the "Home of the British Army". Aldershot is twinned with Sulechów, Meudon and Oberursel.


The name may have derived from "Alder", indicating that it was a wet, boggy place. Aldershot, Alreshete, dates back to an Anglo-Saxon settlement. Aldershot was included as part of the "old Hundred of Crondall" referred to in the Domesday Book of 1086. The map of Hampshire in the 1722 edition of William Camden's "Britannia or Geographical Description of Britain and Ireland" shows a symbol for habitation in Aldershot in the Crundhal (Crondall) hundred.

In 1854, at the time of the Crimean War, the heath land around Aldershot was established as an army base with Aldershot at its centre. This led to a rapid expansion of Aldershot's population going from 875 in 1851, to an excess of 16,000 by 1861 (including about 9,000 from the military). The town continued to grow, reaching a peak in the 1950s.

Queen Victoria was a regular visitor to Aldershot and a Royal pavilion was erected for her use. For her Jubilee Review (21 June 1887), 60,000 troops lined up in the Long Valley. They stretched from the Basingstoke Canal to Caesar's Camp. Royalty and VIPs from all over Europe and the British Empire attended the event.

A substantial rebuilding of the barracks was carried out between 1961 and 1969 by Building Design Partnership. The town was designated an "Experimental Site" by the government and various new building technologies were employed with mixed success. [BDP (1963), "The Rebuilding of Aldershot", Preston: BDP.]

In 1974 Aldershot Borough and Farnborough Urban District were merged to form the Borough of Rushmoor under the provisions of the Local Government Act 1972. It is claimed that Aldershot's town centre has declined in the latter half of the 20th century.Fact|date=February 2007

The BBC reports that Aldershot is currently receiving £12bn as part of a huge regeneration project and in December 2007 it was named one of UK's most popular places to live. [ [ Aldershot to host GB Olympic team] BBC article on Aldershot]

The Aldershot Military Tattoo

The Aldershot Military Tattoo was an international annual event. Between 1922 and 1939 the great 'Aldershot Military Searchlight Tattoo' presented spectacular displays from all branches of the services. [ Hutchinson] This was the premier military Tattoo in the UK during the inter-war years - before there was an Edinburgh Tattoo the Aldershot show took the lead for sheer scale and spectacle. [ Roger Kennedy] Its post-war format, the Army Show, stopped in 1984.

1972 Aldershot Bombing

On 22 February 1972 Aldershot experienced one of the worst mainland IRA attacks. Seven people, all civilian support staff, including cooks, cleaners, and a Catholic priest, were killed in a car bomb attack on the 16th Parachute Brigade headquarters mess at Aldershot. This blast was later claimed by the Official IRA as revenge for the shootings in Derry that came to be known as Bloody Sunday. [ [ On this day in history] BBC article on Aldershot bombing] A memorial has since been built on the site of the attacks. Until then the Army Town (as the area was then known) had been open-plan, but the attack led to immediate action to secure military property by erection of high fences topped with barbed wire, and other security measures including armed patrols. In the last thirty years since the attack, most regiments, notably the parachute Brigades have left Aldershot, either amalgamating with other regiments or having relocated elsewhere. The demise of the once proud military town has created an opportunity for local gov and planners to redevelop Aldershots urban extension 'AUE' and sell off the area for homes. []


Aldershot observatory

The observatory is a circular red-brick building with a domed roof and it stands on Queens Avenue. Inside is a telescope, 8-inch refractor, mounted on a German-type equatorial mount with a clockwork drive. The telescope and observatory building were a gift from aviation pioneer Patrick Young Alexander to the British Army, a fact which is recorded by a plaque near the observatory door. It reads: "Presented to the Aldershot Army Corps by Patrick Y Alexander Esq 1906".

Wellington Statue

A statue of the first Duke of Wellington mounted on his horse, Copenhagen, is situated on Round Hill behind the Royal Garrison Church. The statue is convert|30|ft|m high, convert|26|ft|m from nose to tail, over convert|22|ft|m in girth, weighs 40 tons and is intricately detailed including musculature and veins. It was designed and built by Matthew Cotes Wyatt who used recycled bronze from cannons that were captured at the Battle of Waterloo. It took thirty men over three years to finish the project.

Originally, in 1846, the statue was erected at Hyde Park Corner, London on the Wellington Arch. However, Decimus Burton, architect of the arch, had tried to veto this plan for his preferred "figure in a four horse chariot". Many agreed with Decimus Burton that the statue looked ridiculous since it was out of proportion. It was nicknamed "The Archduke" and was a popular topic in the satirical magazine "Punch".

Queen Victoria claimed that the statue ruined the view of the skyline from Buckingham Palace, and she privately proposed that the statue be moved. The Duke, who had only sat for the sculptor on two or three occasions, suddenly became very attached to the statue and would not consider its removal from its arch.

In 1883, due to a road widening project, the arch was moved a short distance and now looks down Constitution Hill. The Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII ) wrote to the Prime Minister, Gladstone, "As regards the old colossal statue of the Duke. I would suggest that it should not be broken up but removed to Aldershot where it will be highly valued by the Army". Fact|date=February 2007

In 1885, the Prince of Wales handed over the monument to Lieutenant General Anderson, the commander of the Aldershot garrison."

Transport and communications

The railway station and bus station are both situated off Station Road. The former offers services to London Waterloo (2tph), Alton (2tph), Guildford (2tph) and Ascot (2tph).

hopping in Aldershot

Aldershot was the principal retail centre in the Blackwater Valley, however, other centres have grown to compete for customers. Union Street and Wellington Street were pedestrianised in the 1970s when the Wellington Centre, a covered shopping centre, was built. In the 1990s, an extension of the Wellington Centre, "The Galleries", provided extra shops, although nearly all are now closed. Fact|date=February 2007 Local traders have claimed that this centre and its associated development are threatening the remaining independent shops operating in Aldershot. Fact|date=February 2007 A local councillor has claimed "we have too many empty shops in the town", and it is a frequent complaint of local residents that the town has declined since the 1960s.Fact|date=February 2007 In 2003, a health check of the town centre was published, the report concluded that "Aldershot is experiencing promising signs of revitalisation, particularly in the shopping core" [cite web|url= |title=Town Centre Health Checks Cttee report PLN01/63 |accessdate=2006-09-04 |year=2003 |format=pdf |publisher=Rushmoor Borough Council ] Although, in 2005, Rushmoor Borough Council documented the percentage of vacancies at 10%, 8% and 7% respectively for Union Street, the Wellington Centre and Wellington street. [cite web|url= |title=Technical Appendix: Percentage of Vacancies and Planning Applications affecting the town centre. |accessdate=2006-09-04 |year=2005 |publisher=Rushmoor Borough Council ]


There are various schools in Aldershot. A mix of infants and juniors, Park Primary School. The infant schools are Talavera and West End County. [ [ Aldershot infant schools] ] Junior schools include: Newport County, St Michael's (C of E), Talavera, Beaumont County and St Joseph's Primary (Catholic). [ [ Junior schools] ] Aldershot has only one secondary school, The Connaught School [ [ Secondary Schools] ]

Leisure and recreation

Theatre and the Arts

Princes Hall. This is Aldershot's main theatre and concert hall, located on Princes Way. [ [ Princes Hall] official web site] The Princes Hall plays host to over 80 professional shows per year as well as a 3 week pantomime. Built in the 1970s and remodelled during 1982 the current seating capacity is 600.

[ The West End Centre] is Aldershot's arts centre which is located on Queens Road. The centre offers a wide programme of events including music (from acoustic folk to thrash metal), comedy, theatre, workshops, classes and exhibitions.

Music and Dance

HardcoreVox (previously The Rhythm Station, Cheeks),Fact|date=September 2007 influenced the rapid growth of the hardcore scene from 1992 to 1995. Weekly events included Fusion (Hectic Records), Tazmania, Slammin' Vinyl and Future World. The club also groomed local talents such as Sharky, DJ Mystery, DJ Unknown, Vinyl Groover, DJ NS, Hixxy, MC Freestyle, MC Young, MC Smiley. The location of Aldershot between Southampton and London meant the club became a mecca for Hardcore and it was regularly sold out during this time. At the height of the clubs popularity a teenagers death from a suspected overdose of Ecstasy [ [ "Ecstasy may have caused teenager's nightclub death"] , Independent, The (London), January 29, 1996] was the catalyst that saw dance music leaving the club and had a negative impact on the hardcore dance scene in the Aldershot area.Angela's school of dancing is also in aldershot near the town centre and provides dicso Latin American street rock and roll as well as cheerleading.

Acoustic music is a regular feature at [ The West End Centre] and has in recent years included such artists as Glenn Tilbrook, Chris Difford, John Renbourn, Jacqui McShee, Martin Simpson, Lindisfarne, Hans Theesink, Andy Irvine and Donal Lunny,Moscow Flyer


Aldershot plays host to many sports facilities such as Aldershot Tennis Centre, Aldershot Bowling, Aldershot Pools and Lido, Aldershot Garrison Sports Centre and Alpine Snow Sports (Dry Ski Centre). Formerly the town also hosted short circuit motor racing including speedway and Stock car racing. Greyhound Racing formerly took place at Aldershot Stadium, and Point to point racing at Tweseldown.

SwimmingOpened in 1930, "'Aldershot Lido" is a traditional outdoor leisure pool that contains one and a half million gallons of water situated on a 10 acre site. The original land was a lake that had become overgrown with weeds. It was bought by the Borough Council in 1920 for £21,000 and was the focus of the council's improvement projects for the town. The pool has extensive areas of shallow water for children to play including a large fountain at the centre. It also has a diving area and water slides. There is an adjoining 25 m indoor pool that allows all year round swimming. In 1948 the pool hosted the modern pentathlon for the London Olympics.

Aldershot Town Football ClubThe local professional football team is Aldershot Town who compete in the Football League. Before 1992 the local club was Aldershot, which folded on 25 March 1992, when members of the Football League Fourth Division. The current club was formed shortly afterwards and achieved five promotions in its first 16 seasons. The name of Aldershot was returned to the Football League when Town won promotion from the Blue Square Premier League on 15 April 2008. [cite news | url=| title=Rise of the Phoenix | publisher=BBC Sport | accessdate=2008-04-15 |]

Cricket [ Aldershot Cricket Club] is also based in the town. The club shares with the Aldershot hockey club and the [ Blackwater valley runners] running and jogging club.

Rugby Union [ Aldershot & Fleet RUFC]
Formerly known as Fleet RUFC, the club started in 1991 as a pub side. The club was renamed Aldershot and Fleet RUFC (A&F) after move in 2003 from Southwoods to their current home Aldershot Park.
With an ever expanding juniors section, Aldershot & Fleet were successful in winning the Coveted RFU “Seal of Approval” Club of the Year 2008 for the southern region.
The Men’s 1st team plays in [ Hampshire Division 2] with the Men’s 2nd team playing in Hampshire Merit Division 2. Training sessions for the men takes place every Tuesday and Thursday evening form 7pm at Aldershot Park.
The [ juniors section] of Aldershot and Fleet range from Under 6’s to Under 16’s. Training and home matches for the juniors are played at Aldershot Park on Sunday mornings during school terms from 10:00 to 11:30.

Greyhound racing took place regularly at Aldershot Stadium (actually just across the Surrey county boundary in Tongham) during the 1950s. Information about greyhound racing at this venue is sketchy.

Stock Car Racing, together with other short-circuit formulae (including Superstox, Hot Rods, Bangers and Midgets) was held regularly (every Thursday evening, every Boxing Day afternoon and some Saturdays) at Aldershot Stadium (actually just across the Surrey county boundary in Tongham) from the 1950s until the final meeting on 21 November 1992. Immediately after this date the site was cleared for construction of the A331 Blackwater Valley Road, which forms a by-pass for Aldershot and Farnborough. The racing took place initially on a loose shale track inside the greyhound track; after Motorcycle speedway racing at the venue ceased the shale track was replaced with a hard tarmaced surface. Now, short-circuit motor sport takes place in Aldershot again, at the Aldershot Raceway, Pegasus Village, Rushmoor Arena. The racing here is promoted once again by [ Spedeworth International]

Speedway racing has been staged in Aldershot. Circa 1929, a track operated at a stadium in Boxalls Lane. The records of action at this venue are very sketchy. Speedway returned to Aldershot in 1950 at the local greyhound stadium. The Shots featured in the lower echelons of the sport up to 1960.

Point to point racing takes place at the [ Tweseldown Racecourse] just outside the town.

Olympics. Part of the 2012 Olympics will be held in Aldershot. It was announced on Tuesday 15 January 2008 that the Aldershot Military Town had been chosen as the official training camp for the British Olympic team ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

American Football. Aldershot is the Home of the Farnham Knights who play in the BAFL Premier Division, the top flight of American Football in Great Britain.


The local press are the "Aldershot Mail", the "Aldershot News", the "Aldershot Courier", and the "Surrey-Hants Star". [ "Surrey-Hants Star"] official web site] Aldershot is the home of Ashgate Publishing Ltd., a prominent publishing house for books on musicology.


Aldershot is divided into the following wards: [Map for the [ wards of Aldershot] ] [Aldershot wards with resepct to the [ local election of May 2006] ]

* Rowhill: southwest of the town
* Wellington: west, north and centre of the town
* Manor Park: south of the town
* Heron Wood: southeast of the town
* North Town: northeast of the town.

The town is represented in parliament through the Aldershot constituency. The current MP is Gerald Howarth (Conservative), with a majority of 5,334 (May 2005). Of the 41 councillors on Rushmoor Borough Council, 15 represent the five wards that comprise Aldershot. Of these councillors, eight are Conservative, five represent Labour, one represents the Liberal Democrats and there is one Independent.


The nearby villages of Ash and Ash Vale are actually in Surrey, with both being part of Guildford Borough Council but they can have Aldershot as their post-town. This used to cause debates locally as some residents didn't want to put Hampshire as their address. The problem was solved when Royal Mail introduced postcodes meaning county names were no longer used in UK postal addresses.

The town is generally between 70 m and 100 m above sea level.

The Beatles in Aldershot

Sam Leach, their then agent, and wanting to become their manager, attempted to introduce The Beatles to London agents by promoting shows at The Palais Ballroom, on the corner of Perowne Street and Queens Road, in Aldershot, on December 9th 1961. The show was not advertised properly and, as a result, only 18 people attended. The local newspaper, "The Aldershot News", failed to publish Sam Leach's advertisement for the show. However, the band and friends had their own fun after the show, including a mock funeral for Paul McCartney. The failure at Aldershot became part of Beatles folklore. [] [] Weeks after this Brian Epstein became the group's manager.

Famous people from Aldershot

:See List of famous people from Aldershot

In literature

Rudyard Kipling referenced Aldershot in his poem "Gunga Din".

:::cquote|You may talk o’ gin and beerWhen you’re quartered safe out ’ere,

An’ you’re sent to penny-fights an’ Aldershot it;

But when it comes to slaughter

You will do your work on water,

An’ you’ll lick the bloomin’ boots of ’im that’s got it.

Sir John Betjeman also mentions Aldershot in the poem "A Subaltern's Love Song" []

:::cquote|Miss J. Hunter Dunn, Miss J. Hunter Dunn,

Furnish'd and burnish'd by Aldershot sun,

What strenuous singles we played after tea,

We in the tournament - you against me!

Love-thirty, love-forty, oh! weakness of joy,

The speed of a swallow, the grace of a boy,

With carefullest carelessness, how gaily you won,

I am weak from your loveliness, Joan Hunter Dunn.

Aldershot appears as Quartershot in Thomas Hardy's novels.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle set the short story The Adventure of the Crooked Man in "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"in Aldershot. Holmes suspects a deformed beggar knows what caused Colonel James Barclay's sudden death during an argument with his wife.

Aldershot Military Town

Aldershot Military Town is the area between Aldershot and the "North Camp" area of Farnborough which is the location for all the military buildings, including married quarters, barracks, army playing fields and other sporting facilities, etc., mostly centred around Queen's Avenue. The military town includes the Aldershot Observatory and the Aldershot Military Cemetery, the "Royal Garrison Church" and other garrison churches, as well as barracks for The Royal Military Police. The town used to be the corps headquarters for the Royal Corps of Transport and the Army Catering Corps, these were merged into the Royal Logistic Corps in 1993 and moved to Deepcut, however units of these corps remain in Aldershot.

A statue of the first Duke of Wellington mounted on his horse, Copenhagen, is situated on Round Hill behind the Royal Garrison Church.

Queen Victoria and Prince Albert showed a keen interest in the establishment and development of Aldershot as a garrison town in the 1850s, at the time of the Crimean War, having a wooden "Royal Pavilion" built there which they would often stay in when attending reviews of the army. In 1860 Albert established and endowed "The Prince Consort's Library" there, which still exists today.

Aldershot Military Town is separate to the town of Aldershot and comes under its own military jurisdiction. It was the homebase for The Parachute Regiment from its formation in 1940 until it moved to Colchester Garrison in 2003. Many famous people have been associated with the Military Town, including Charlie Chaplin who made his first stage appearance in "The Canteen" theatre aged 5 in 1894, Winston Churchill, who was based here in the 19th century, and just about every famous soldier of the 19th and 20th centuries.

The area also houses various military and regimental museums, including the "Aldershot Military Museum", housed in a red-brick Victorian barracks, [] and "The Parachute Regiment and Airborne Forces Museum". []

ee also

*List of Army Barracks around Aldershot
*What Happens in Aldershot Stays in Aldershot


External links

* [ Rushmoor Borough Council, covers Aldershot]
* [ The Aldershot Civic Society]
* [ Pre-WW2 letters from Aldershot detailing a new recruits life]
* [ Aldershot Military Museum]
* [ Aldershot, a pictorial review]
* [ History of Aldershot's Theatres and Music Halls]
* [ Historic Farnborough - the boundaries between Farnborough and Aldershot have changed over the years with the old barracks bordering both towns]

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