Church Crookham Allotments, Church Crookham, Hampshire
This site was perhaps the most interesting site I came across and photographed during my short trip to Hampshire to photograph several PoW camps and to take part in an organised photoshoot held at RAF Odiham where I had previously spent three years when I was in the Royal Air Force. This site has been identified as Haig Lines; thus I presume it was named for the WWI Field Marshal Douglas Haig. Given that sites are NOT normally named after living people it would put the date of the site as a military installation as after January 1922.
With the end of the cold war and military drawdown this site was sold for redevelopment to a house building company. In order to get planning permission for houses a part of the site had to be developed for community use and as such a part of this site has become a modern allotment site equipped with a central hut or building. The rest of the site is a housing estate.
When I arrived on the site as I say in March 2019 some houses had been finished and sold, others were being finished and yet other properties were still being built. Interestingly a number of original military features have been retained, namely:
- Concrete path / roadway
- Concrete roadblock
- 25m firing range
- Air Raid Shelter.
Additional items of interest on the site where a few bits of public art work in the form of wooden statues and fencing around the allotments and parts of the building site where they are still building. Evidence of the PoW Camp as such is gone but the site has been preserved.
However, what makes the place so interesting is the Allotments:
- They have been fenced in – just like a PoW Camp
- There is a toilet and feeding hut and offices – just like PoW Camp.
- There are people working on the land to grow food – just like PoW Camp.
- There are numbered regular plots – just like the PoW Camp Huts.
- There are locked and guarded gates – just like a PoW Camp.
- The plots contain raised beds that resemble beds and huts from a PoW Camp.
- There are model “Owls” watching the site.
As I say the camp is gone but it only takes a few minutes looking at the allotments and in fact the fencing on the building site to see and feel echo’ of the past of the site as a PoW Camp.
Camera Images of the site of former PoW Camp 633 Haig Lines