Monday, 14 December 2015

The Road Names

Even before development Fairmile had it's own network of roads for daily delivery's and movements round the hospital. Once the site developed they utilised the old roads and built the new ones. The roads and blocks of flat's needed names so in this blog I'm going to endeavour let you know the story behind the road name.
Map cropped from the CCDT website

This is the site of Fairmile as it is now, the shaded out area is the main building around which is the road network serviced.  The other shaded parts were the farm and gatehouse. The old roads were upgraded and used for the present roads and some new ones added.
 The building was split in two as far as patents were concerned so if you draw a line down the middle of the map the right hand side was Male and the Left Female. They were only known by their numbers.
I remember as a child my parents talking about the wards they worked on be it Female Ones or Male Eight. I knew this when I started recording the site the wards were referred to by their numbers and was presently surprised to find that the wards still had the numbers on under the hardboard covering which had been fitted on the doors  in the 1960's (Dad did the same at home). In 1959 the numbers changed to names and were named after villages & Towns which is how the names come about you see on the main building. With the exception of Ridgeway, Ipsden & Goring all the wards are named after Berkshire Villages though now after the boundary change in the 1970's many are Oxfordshire

We start at the place people first see. This was the old administration block I was surprised to find it was called Hermitage Court which was a male ward that is right on the other side of the block and called Ridgeway

The old entrance to the administration block and records office is now Hermitage

The blocks of flats in the main building are now named after the wards that were nearby, the entrance to the female airing courts  can be seen to the right of the building

Faringdon ward was the female ward  that used to be in that part of the building


Blewbury is where the ward it is called used to be

along with Frilsham, the small door you see to the right was an access door to the services in the base of the  tower

Ridgeway (the old Hermatage ward) is the odd one out. It's named after the long distance path that passes by the Fair Mile up on the downs nearby which is what the Hospital was named after, so now you know where the hospital got it's name

I will go on with the road names and start with Schuster Close

 This was the first of the development to be built and finished

Its was Named after this place

The George Shuster Ward which was built in the 1950's and named after Sir George Schuster

Heading down ferry lane you come to the old service road for Fairmile.  This view shows you looking towards Ferry lane from near the Kitchen entrance. This was one of  the next area to be worked

Where they removed the old social club and built new housing, the road became  Newlands Close. A little further along to the left is Villa Close this was one of the last areas built in this part of the development. The one thing they have in common is

Both are names for the same ward that was off to the side of the cricket pitch

Named for the architect who was behind the building of Fairmile

Named after William (Bill) Southby who was Clark off works for Fairmile


Named after Joan Woodward

She used to live with Albie Ruttle who's name you see here, the both worked in the Laundry which ironical used to be around this area and I note the roads are not far apart so even now they are still together

Albie & Joan

Rotherfield road takes it's name from the old building which used to be the isolation ward

This used to be the old farm entrance and the court is
named after Mary Ratcliffe who came as head nurse and finished as housekeeper which was equivalent to matron

 I should Mention Thames View. The small development  at the end of Rotherfield Way this was built on the edge of the old Rotherfield ward on the ground that was fenced off, could not say it's used though  there were what looked like chicken house on it. The development is nearest the Thames (about half a mile away) but I doubt you can see the Thames from them, I found it had on the roof of the main building, still they will have a view of the allotments when they are finished.

I've left this one till last one reason is there was no one at Fairmile with that name. It should read NICHOLLS Close but the South Oxfordshire District Council miss spelt it when the sent out the list Cholsey Parish Council who either never saw or noticed the mistake. End outcome is the people living there were not keen on changing everything because of the mistake (who can blame them) though I doubt the council would have worried about changing it if it was named after a famous person and they miss spelt it.
 So just to give some background to the name from what I can tell there were four Nicholls who worked at Fairmile. Moses Nicholls who as Clerk & Steward in the early 1900's Avery Nicholls who was Steward in around the 1930's and Dick & Mary Nicholls who worked there from around 1942 to 1978. There was a fifth for a short time. Dick had a sister called Lue who married Alfred Kennedy. Personally I like to think the close is named after Dick & Mary. I might add the close is where Dick used to work Rotherfield Ward.

Dick & Mary

Hope this gives you some insight into the story behind the name of the roads and flats. All Black & White photos come from the Forgotten Faces Collection and are copyright 
This blog may well be updated when I find out new information.


  1. bill and mary were nurses I recall when 1 worked there from 75 79 bob cherry

  2. They sure built them to last in the old days