Andover, Hampshire

Andover (/ˈændvər/ AN-doh-vər) is a town in the English county of Hampshire. The town is on the River Anton, a major source of the Test, 18 miles (29 km) west of the town of Basingstoke, both major rail stops. It is 15 miles (24 km) NNW of the city of Winchester, 25 miles (40 km) north of the city of Southampton and 65 miles (105 km) WSW of London.[3] Andover is twinned with the towns of Redon in France,[4] Goch in Germany, and Andover, Massachusetts in the United States.[5][6]


High Street
Location within Hampshire
Population38,290 (2011 Census)[1] (41,761 as to built-up area)[2]
OS grid referenceSU3645
Civil parish
  • Andover (Andover town council)
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Post townAndover
Postcode districtSP10, SP11
Dialling code01264
AmbulanceSouth Central
EU ParliamentSouth East England
UK Parliament


Early history

Its name is recorded in Old English in 955 as Andeferas, and is thought to be of Celtic origin: compare Welsh onn dwfr = "ash(tree) water".

Andover's first mention in history is in 950 when King Edred is recorded as having built a royal hunting lodge there. In 962 King Edgar called a meeting of the Saxon 'parliament' (the Witenagemot) at his hunting lodge near Andover.[7]

Of more importance was the baptism, in 994 of a Viking king named Olaf (allied with Danish king Sweyn Forkbeard). The identity of that man was either Olav Trygvason or Olof Skötkonung. The baptism was part of a deal with King Ethelred II of England ("The Unready") whereby he stopped ravaging England and returned home. Olav Tryggvason became king of Norway in 995 and tried to convert his country to Christianity before his death in the Battle of Svolder in 1000. Olof Skötkonung was already king of Sweden and became its first Christian king and began c. 995 to mint Sweden's first coins with the help of English expertise.

At the time of the Domesday Book (1086) Andover had 107 adult male inhabitants and probably had a total population of about 500. It was a relatively large settlement; most villages had only 100 to 150 people. Andover also had six watermills which ground grain to flour. The town's relative isolation implies a market for grain and flour.

In 1175 King Richard I sold Andover a charter granting certain townspeople rights and forming a merchant guild which took over the governmental rights, see ancient borough. The members elected two officials, bailiffs, who ran the town. In 1201 King John gave the merchants the right to collect royal taxes in Andover themselves. In 1256 Henry III gave the townspeople the right to hold a court and try criminals for offences committed in Andover. Andover also sent MPs to the parliaments of 1295 and 1302–1307. The town was ravaged by two serious fires, one in 1141 and another in 1435.

Andover remained a small market town. Processing wool appears to have been the main industry and street names in the area of the town known as "Sheep Fair" commemorate this. A weekly market, and an annual fair were held.

As well as the Church of St Mary the town had a priory and a hospital run by monks, dedicated to St John the Baptist, and also a lepers hostel to St Mary Magdalene. In 1538 during the Reformation Henry VIII closed the priory and the hospital. In 1571 a free school for the boys of Andover was established in the grounds of St Mary's Church. This in time became Andover Grammar School,[8] and in the 1970s it became John Hanson Community School. The school has occupied various sites in the town over the course of its history and is currently located in Floral Way.

In 1599 the town received a new charter from Elizabeth I. The merchants guild was made a corporation and the number of annual fairs was increased from one to three. Like other towns Andover suffered from outbreaks of plague. There were outbreaks in 1603-5, 1625–6 and 1636.

18th and 19th century

During the 18th century, being on the main ExeterSalisbury – London road, the place became a refuelling or overnight stop for stagecoaches and other passing trade. More than 30 coaches passed through the town each day. In 1789 a canal to Southampton was opened, though this was never a commercial success and closed in 1859. In 1836 the Borough established a small police force: for the most part two constables and a gaoler.[9]

Andover was linked to Basingstoke and thus to London on its new railway to Salisbury (shortly thereafter to Exeter beyond) when Andover junction station was opened on 3 July 1854. A railway from the 1860s ran to Southampton, built on the bed of the canal, for about 100 years, until 1964. The land, together with the adjacent gasworks and P.M. Coombes woodyards, was then sold to the TSB Trust Company who later built their headquarters there.

The population grew from 3,304 in 1801 to 5,501 in 1871.[10] During the 19th century the town acquired all the usual additions, a theatre in 1803, gas street lighting in 1838, a fire station and cottage hospital in 1877, a swimming pool opened in 1885 and a recreation ground opened in 1887. A water company was formed in 1875 to provide piped water to the town and a system of sewers and drains was built in 1899–1902. The public library opened in 1897. Despite this burgeoning of the amenities of the town in 1845 a notorious scandal involving the hardships endured by the inmates of the workhouse led indirectly to reform of the Poor Law Act, principally involving segregation of a now-obligatory infirmary for local people from the workhouse for the able-bodied, but also better governance. The town was one of the boroughs reformed by the Municipal Reform Act 1835.

In 1846, the town came to public attention after an enquiry exposed the conditions in its workhouse. The Andover workhouse scandal brought to light evidence of beatings, sexual abuse and general mistreatment of workhouse inmates by the overseers.

The woollen industry had declined but new industries took its place. Taskers Waterloo Ironworks opened at Anna Valley in 1809 and flourished. Many examples of the machinery produced by Taskers can be seen at the Milestones Museum in Basingstoke.

Modern history


The town's largest employer is the Ministry of Defence. RAF Andover was opened on Andover Airfield, to the south of the town, during the First World War and became the site of the RAF Staff College.

In 1926, the Andover War Memorial Hospital was opened by Field Marshall Allanby. The hospital currently provides inpatient rehabilitation, day hospital services, a minor injury unit and an outpatient unit, and is operated by Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with some services being provided by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.[11]

In 1932 Andover gained a new industry when the printers for Kelly's Directory moved to the town. Slowly the town grew from about 11,000 and by 1960 had a population of about 17,000, because already some Londoners were being housed in the first of the council houses/flats being constructed.

During the Second World War the RAF Staff College was the headquarters of RAF Maintenance Command, and gained a unique place in British history, as the first British military helicopter unit, the Helicopter Training School, was formed in January 1945 at RAF Andover. The airfield is no longer in use although the RAF retains a link to the area through the presence of 1213 (Andover) Squadron, Air Training Corps. When the RAF left the site became the Headquarters of the Quartermaster General and later Logistics Executive.

In 2001, the Defence Logistics Organisation (DLO) was formed and Andover became one of its major sites. Since 2012, the site has been the home of Army Headquarters. The Armed Forces Chaplaincy Centre is based locally at Amport House, as is the Army Air Corps Centre and the Museum of Army Flying at Middle Wallop.

Major industries include Twinings the tea and coffee firm, Ducal Pine Furniture (until they closed in 2003), Thomson International Publishers, who produce the Pitkin Guides to be found in many churches and other notable buildings, financial institutions such as Simplyhealth and Lloyds Banking Group, and the Stannah Group, whose HQ is also in the town. Among the proposals in the council's Borough Local Plan 2006 are plans to develop the former site of RAF Andover to Class B1, B2 and B8 uses.[12] This site has been partially developed and is named Andover Business Park. The business park currently houses a Co-Op Food Distribution centre, as well as a Travelodge and the Chalkhill Blue pub


Andover has a purpose-built arts and entertainment venue owned & managed by Test Valley Borough Council called The Lights.[13] This hosts professional artists throughout the year.

The venue has a 249 fully raked auditorium, a business suite, a dance studio and a craft studio. The Lights has attracted international artists including Michael McIntyre.[14]


Andover is in the constituency of North West Hampshire, and was represented in the House of Commons from 1997 until May 2015 by Conservative Sir George Young. Andover is currently represented by Conservative Kit Malthouse.

In the 1950s the Borough Council was approached by the Greater London Council to become an overspill town, to build houses and take people and industry relocated from the overcrowded capital. Some contend that had the old Borough Council still been in charge this would never have been agreed. But it was, and in 1961 the plan was drawn up to expand to a population of some 47,000 by 1982, with 9,000 new homes to be built.

The first new council houses were ready by 1954 and by 1981 the population had risen to 51,000. A bypass, industrial estates and a new shopping centre in the town centre, called the Chantry Centre, were all built and the town's character changed completely. The new council houses proved to be very badly built. It seemed that the local council would have to foot the enormous bill for reconstruction, but after starting legal action against the Greater London Council a settlement was achieved, in which the GLC paid a large sum of money to the local council, which started a programme of refurbishment that finished in 1995.

When the Borough Council and Andover Rural District Council were abolished in the local government reorganisation of 1974, and replaced by Test Valley Borough Council (which included the land down to the edge of Southampton in the south) Andover became an unparished area, secularly, for 34 years. Andover Town Council revived in May 2010, the townsfolk electing an initial 19 members, and since 2017 has included a Town Mayor.[15]

About 1 hour 5 minutes from London by train, Andover's centre is convenient to those in the London commuter belt working short-to-average shifts, and high property prices commanded in outlying villages reflect the way in which they serve as easily commutable for senior executives with similar shifts, many of whom retire to the area also.

The Town Museum (Andover Museum and Museum of the Iron Age), based in the old John Hanson Free School building (before becoming a grammar school), has a Museum of the Iron Age which was added in 1986 which houses the finds from excavations at nearby Danebury Hill Fort.



Service and service pattern

Andover's railway station is run by South Western Railway in the town's centre. From here, trains run to Salisbury, Yeovil Junction, Exeter St Davids, Basingstoke and London Waterloo (with a usual intermittent stop of Woking) and some stopping services as Whitchurch and smaller nearby places.

2010s rail timetabling improvements

In April 2017, The Department for Transport announced that train times between Andover and London Waterloo will be reduced by nearly 20 per cent after awarding the South Western franchise to South Western Railway; journey times to/from London Waterloo cut by about 11 to 13 minutes since late 2018.[16]


The A303 essentially bounds the town to the south, the main London to WSW direction road.

Particularly for good links to Reading and Swindon respectively, roads link to the M4 motorway, to the north, the shorter one by way of the A34 trunk road to Birmingham and beyond, the other via Marlborough, Wiltshire. In 2002 the town became part of the Cango bus network.[17]


In 2011, Andover had a population of 41,761[18]

Ethnic Groups 2011Andover[18]
White British91.1

In 2011, 65.1% of the population of Andover identified as English only and 15.8% identified as British only.[19]

Media and communication

In the late 1980s, Andover was one of the first towns in England to have a cable television franchise, Andover Cablevision. The pavements throughout the town were dug up to lay the cables and for a time the service was very successful. Andover Cablevision even ran its own local TV channel, 'Town TV', featuring items of local interest.

In May 2008, a new radio station was launched in the town called Andover Sound. It broadcasts across North West Hampshire on 106.4FM and online at from studios based in East Street in the town. The radio station has picked up a number of awards since launching including a New York Festivals Radio Award, the Radio Academy South Station of the Year award and the Arqiva Commercial Station of the Year award.[20] In April 2010 the radio station was nominated for two Sony Radio Academy Awards for Station of the Year (300,000) and News Journalist of the Year and came away from the ceremony with a silver in the journalist category. The radio stations name was changed to The Breeze in 2012 when a new company took over.[21]

In April 2018, the town heard broadcasts of a new radio station for the first time. 95.9FM Andover Radio is a community radio station, licensed by Ofcom.

Andover Vision

Andover Vision is a partnership of Andover's residents, community groups, business and public bodies. In April 2017, a new strategy was launched that sets out the ambitions for the town and its future over the next 20 years. The strategy was shaped by local people through extensive consultation and brought together by the Vision partnership. The ambitions will influence how Andover manages the changing environment for the benefit of the whole community as well as providing an active way in which local people can play an active role in the future of their town. The five themes for the Andover Vision are:

  • Being part of a connected community
  • Having a great green environment
  • Being part of a thriving town centre
  • Supporting business, jobs and skills in the town
  • Access to great health

Each of the ambitions has a set of 'big ideas'. The big ideas describe what the partnership will work on together for the town and inform the projects that the partnership will take forward through its action plan. The document will also be used as a basis to attract new funding and new opportunities to the town and a guide for partners for their future policies and strategies relating to Andover.

The Vision supports a number of projects in the town, including The Town Mills Riverside Park and organised events such as the Christmas lights switch on, Four Fun Fridays in the summer and the Artisan Markets.

The previous 20-year Andover Vision Strategy launched in 2005, delivered projects including The Lights Theatre, cinema, Andover Business Park, the Chapel Arts Centre and events such as the Graduation ceremonies.

Mills and milling

Watermills have formed an important part in Andover's history. The Domesday Book of 1086 provides the earliest record of watermills in Andover, which identifies six mills.[7]

Rooksbury Mill is one of the few surviving mill buildings in Andover. The existence of Rooksbury Mill is first recorded by name in the 17th century. Functioning as a flour mill, it has passed through a succession of owners. Milling ceased in the early 20th century, after which the mill building went through a series of uses including being used as a small theatre. Test Valley Borough Council sold the building in 2002, shortly after it had been devastated following an arson attack. The new owners, Anthony and Sarah de Sigley, restored the building in 2003, rebuilding much of the original structure.

A large flour mill, McDougalls, is situated close to the railway station.


Andover, in common with much of the UK, experiences a maritime climate type, reflected in its limited temperature range and lack of rainy/dry seasons, although rainfall does tend to peak in winter and reach a minimum in summer. The nearest met office weather station to Andover is Leckford, about 5 miles (8 km) south of the town centre.

The absolute maximum temperature recorded was 34.7 °C (94.5 °F)[22] during August 1990. In an average year the hottest day will achieve a temperature of 29.0 °C (84.2 °F).[23] In total 12.8 days[23] should have a maximum temperature of 25.1 °C (77.2 °F) or above.

The absolute minimum temperature recorded was −15.6 °C (3.9 °F)[24] during December 1960. In an average year the coldest night will fall to −7.5 °C (18.5 °F).[25] In total 46.6 nights[26] should register an air frost.

Total rainfall averages 805 mm[27] per year, with at least 1 mm falling on 124 days.[28] All averages refer to the 1971–2000 observation period.

Climate data for Leckford, elevation 117m, 1971–2000, extremes 1960–2007
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 13.5
Average high °C (°F) 7.0
Average low °C (°F) 1.2
Record low °C (°F) −13.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 88.07
Source: KNMI[29]


The town is served by state, independent and special schools. Secondary education is provided by three state schools. John Hanson Community School, formerly Andover Grammar School, which dates back to the 16th century and is the oldest school in the town, Harrow Way Community School and Winton Community Academy. Rookwood School, an independent day and boarding school, caters for pupils aged 3 to 16. Another local independent school is Farleigh School, a Catholic prep school. There is one sixth form provision, Andover College, formerly known as Cricklade College.

Notable people


  • In Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot mystery The A.B.C. Murders, Andover is the site of the first murder.
  • In Episode 6 of Series 40 of Have I Got News for You, team captain Paul Merton mentions "pig stretching in Andover" as an obscure cultural activity, despite the tradition's non-existence.
  • In various episodes of Bluestone 42 it is mentioned that Corporal Lynda Bird and Captain Nick Medhurst slept together whilst training in Andover.
  • A classic riddle is where to deliver an envelope with the words WOOD JOHN HANTS listed on it ("John Underwood, Andover, Hants").
  • In Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's "The White Company", Andover is mentioned as sending levies of troops to France.

See also


  1. "Custom report - Nomis - Official Labour Market Statistics".
  2. "Custom report - Nomis - Official Labour Market Statistics".
  3. Ordnance Survey (2004). OS Explorer Map 131 – Romsey, Andover & Test Valley. ISBN 0-319-23600-5.
  4. "British towns twinned with French towns". Archant Community Media Ltd. Archived from the original on 5 July 2013. Retrieved 11 July 2013.
  5. "Andover Town Twinning". Andover Town Twinning Association. Archived from the original on 13 November 2010. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
  6. "Andover, Hampshire, England twinning". Andover MA Town Council. Archived from the original on 5 May 2011. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
  7. Tim Lambert. "A Brief History of Andover, Hampshire". Retrieved 7 March 2010.
  8. "Andover" in The New Encyclopædia Britannica. Chicago: Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 15th edn., 1992, Vol. 1, p. 387.
  9. Crime and Policing in the Andover area 1836–1842. Clifford Williams (2006) in Lookback at Andover Vol 2 No 7 ISSN 0960-5738)
  10. William White (1878) History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Hampshire p113
  11. "Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Timeline" (PDF). Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.
  12. Andover Business Park section of Borough Local Plan 2006
  13. "The Lights, Andover, Test Valley Borough Council". Test Valley Borough Council.
  14. "Michael McIntyre To Appear At The Lights In Andover". Love Andover.
  15. "Andover Town Council".
  16. "Journey Times To Be Slashed To The Capital". Andover Advertiser. Retrieved 31 December 2017.
  17. Cango service just the ticket Southern Daily Echo 6 February 2003
  18. UK Census (2011). "Local Area Report – Andover Built-up area (35001292)". Nomis. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 22 June 2019.
  19. "Custom report - Nomis - Official Labour Market Statistics".
  20. " - is for sale (Andoversound)".
  21. "Andover Sound Sony Success". Andover Sound. 11 May 2010. Archived from the original on 4 October 2010. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
  22. "1990 maximum". Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  23. "1971-00 Days >25c". Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  24. "1960 minimum". Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  25. "1971-00 average coldest night". Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  26. "1971-00 average frosts". Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  27. "1971-00 Rainfall". Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  28. "1971-00 Raindays". Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  29. "Climate Normals 1971–2000". KNMI. Retrieved 3 March 2011.
  30. Gary Chalk & Duncan Holley (1987). Saints – A complete record. Breedon Books. ISBN 0-907969-22-4.
  31. " – Player Report – William Rawlings". Retrieved 28 December 2007.
  32. "Passed/failed: An education in the life of Sam Baker, editor of 'Cosmopolitan' magazine". The Independent. 18 May 2006. Retrieved 19 April 2011.
  33. "Strictly Stars at School". 2011. Archived from the original on 19 May 2014. Retrieved 19 May 2014.
  34. "Roger Panes - Confirmed Murder/Suicide - - PBCC". Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  35. "Look Around, the newsletter of the Andover History and Archaeology Society". 2014. Retrieved 4 January 2017.
  36. Robinson, James (13 February 2017). "Andover Lions club secretary Chris Paris admits club may not return next season after dramatic exit from Hampshire Premier League". Andover Advertiser. Retrieved 7 September 2017.
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