High Street with Andover Guildhall at the top of the street
|Population||38,290 (2011 Census) (50,000 as to built-up area in 2020)|
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Postcode district||SP10, SP11|
Andover (// 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, and is situated alongside the major A303 trunk road at the eastern end of Salisbury Plain, 18 miles (29 km) west of the town of Basingstoke, both major rail stops. It is 14 miles (23 km) NNW of the city of Winchester, 35 miles (56 km) north of the city of Southampton and 65 miles (105 km) WSW of London. Andover is twinned with the towns of Redon in France, Goch in Germany, and Andover, Massachusetts in the United States.
Andover's 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". The 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. Of more importance was the baptism, in 994, of a Viking king named Olaf (allied with the Danish king, Sweyn Forkbeard). The identity of that man was either Olav Tryggvason or Olof Skötkonung. The baptism was part of a deal with the English king, Æthelred the Unready, whereby the Viking stopped ravaging England and returned home.
At the time of the Domesday Book (1086), Andovere 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 had six watermills which ground grain to flour. The town's relative isolation implies a market for grain and flour. In 1175 Andover bought a royal charter granting certain townspeople rights and forming a merchant guild which took over local governance (see ancient borough); guild 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 sent MPs to the parliaments of 1295 and 1302–1307. The town was ravaged by two serious fires, in 1141 and 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, 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.
During the 18th century, being on the main Exeter – Salisbury – 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.
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. In 1883, Andover was linked to Swindon and destinations further north with the Swindon, Marlborough and Andover Railway.
The population grew from 3,304 in 1801 to 5,501 in 1871. 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 1845-6 a notorious scandal brought to light evidence of beatings, sexual abuse and general mistreatment of workhouse inmates by the overseers. The enquiry and public reaction led indirectly to 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.
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. Andover Guildhall, which enjoys a prominent location in the High Street, opened in 1825.
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.
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. This site has been partially developed and is named Andover Business Park. The business park currently houses a Co-op Food Distribution centre, Rich Foods Factory, Costa Coffee Drive Thru, Pure Gym, Travelodge and the Chalkhill Blue pub.
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. In 1961 a 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.
Andover has a purpose-built arts and entertainment venue owned & managed by Test Valley Borough Council called The Lights. 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 such as Michael McIntyre.
The Town Museum (Andover Museum and Museum of the Iron Age), based in the former John Hanson Free School building, has a Museum of the Iron Age which was added in 1986 and houses the finds from excavations at nearby Danebury hillfort.
In 2021, Andover was named as the sexiest place in Britain.
Andover was the name of a constituency of the House of Commons of the Parliament of England from 1295 to 1307, and again from 1586, then of the Parliament of Great Britain from 1707 to 1800, and of the Parliament of the United Kingdom from 1801 to 1918. It was a parliamentary borough, represented by two Members of Parliament (MPs) until 1868, and by one member from 1868 to 1885. The name was then transferred to a county constituency electing one MP from 1885 until 1918.
Currently, Andover is in the constituency of North West Hampshire, which since 2015 has been represented in the House of Commons by Kit Malthouse for the Conservatives.
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 (whose area extends south to the edge of Southampton), Andover became an unparished area, secularly, for 34 years. Andover Town Council was revived in May 2010, the townsfolk electing an initial 19 members, and since 2017 has included a Town Mayor.
Almost all areas of the town are served, and there are longer distance connections to the surrounding towns and villages. The majority of the buses in the town are operated by Stagecoach South, including inter-urban services to Basingstoke and Salisbury.
The Active8 service connects the smaller town of Tidworth with Andover and Salisbury, and is operated by both Stagecoach and Salisbury Reds, a brand of Go South Coast. This service is rare in Hampshire in that the operators provide a combined timetable and accept each other's tickets.
In 2002 the town became part of the Cango community bus network.
Andover's railway station is run by South Western Railway and is close to the town's centre. Trains run to Salisbury, Yeovil Junction, Exeter St Davids, Basingstoke and London Waterloo (with a usual intermittent stop of Woking) and some stopping services to places such as Whitchurch.
In April 2017, the Department for Transport announced that train journey times between Andover and London Waterloo would be reduced by nearly 20 per cent after awarding the South Western franchise to South Western Railway; journey times to/from Waterloo have been cut by about 11 to 13 minutes since late 2018.
Andover previously had a second station, Andover Town, in the town centre on the Andover to Redbridge Line. The line and the station closed to passengers in September 1964 as part of the Beeching Axe.
The A303, a main route from London to South West England, essentially bounds the town to the south. The M4 motorway, to the north, can be reached by way of the A34 trunk road, which continues to Birmingham; or via Marlborough, Wiltshire.
In 2011, Andover had a population of 41,761
|Ethnic Groups 2011||Andover|
In 2011, 65.1% of the population of Andover identified as English only and 15.8% identified as British only.
Andover Radio is a community radio station, broadcasting on 95.9 MHz FM, which was first licensed in 2016.
The independent local radio station for the area is Greatest Hits Radio, which broadcasts national and regional music programmes. The licence was first held by Andover Sound, then replaced by The Breeze between 2012 and 2020.
The weekly newspaper for the town and the surrounding area is the Andover Advertiser, founded in 1858 and now owned by Newsquest.
In the late 1980s, Andover was one of the first towns in England to have a cable television franchise, Andover Cablevision.
Andover Vision is a partnership of Andover's residents, community groups, business and public bodies. In April 2017, a strategy document set 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 a way in which local people can play an active role in the future of their town. The five themes for the Andover Vision are:
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, Odeon cinema, Andover Business Park, the Chapel Arts Centre and events such as the Graduation ceremonies.
Watermills have formed an important part in Andover's history. The Domesday Book of 1086 recorded six mills.
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 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) during August 1990. In an average year, the hottest day will achieve a temperature of 29.0 °C (84.2 °F). In total 12.8 days 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) during December 1960. In an average year the coldest night will fall to −7.5 °C (18.5 °F). In total 46.6 nights should register an air frost.
Total rainfall averages 805 mm (31.7 in) per year, with at least 1 mm (0.039 in) falling on 124 days. All averages refer to the 1971–2000 observation period.
|Climate data for Leckford, elevation 117m, 1971–2000, extremes 1960–2007|
|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
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.