WAY back in the 1930s, the printing firm of Mr S R Verstage at Odiham produced a regular local magazine called Daily Doings in Basingstoke.

Consisting of 16 pages and about four by six inches in size, it was a useful item to have, as it had a variety of information about Basingstoke including rail times, cinema programmes and a general shopping guide.

Among the advertisements were goods sold by businesses which continued through the Second World War and into the early 1960s.

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Basingstoke Gazette: “Come on in!” is the statement on this advert when the Wheatsheaf re-opened in the 1930s. It is

Such businesses included Kenneth Reed, the chemist in New Street, Southwell’s, the bakers in Church Street, and Webber’s Garage in London Street.

Kenneth Reed sold a wide range of goods on the corner of New Street and Flaxfield Road, including Gold Medal Barley Malt, with the finest cod liver oil, toffee flavoured. A one pound jar cost one shilling (now 5p).

At Southwell’s bakery you could buy 'Golden Rings', the doughnuts with the irresistible flavour made “before your eyes”. One hundred flavours were available with a different one made each week. 

At Webber’s Garage (now in New Road) you could see a wide variety of used cars, including a 1936 Morris Twelve De Luxe Saloon at the price of £120, while a 1932 Rover Ten four-door saloon was for sale at £50.

Another business advertised in the magazine was Mr R Howe’s family butcher at 45 Church Street. He sold English rabbits from 10d each (now 4p) and loin pork chops at half a pound (now 6p).

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Basingstoke Gazette: Southwell’s bakery in Church Street prior to its closure in the late 1950s

Mr J W Lester, who had a general store in Winchester Road (near the Brinkletts car park), had a half-page spread stating “halve your coal bill this winter by using CCC diamond briquettes”, 25 for two shillings (now 10p).

Clark’s, the piano house in London Street (next to May Place), advertised the mini-piano at the special price of £24 – “The new musical instrument as played by Charlie Kunz in BBC’s Dance Music”.

Another chemist, Jukes of upper Wote Street, advertised its fine spring tonic of iodised sarsaparilla mixture at 1/6 and 2/6, to keep “your blood in a healthy condition”.

In the mid-1930s, Ronald Freeman Ltd, estate agents at 2 Queen’s Parade, New Street, were selling new houses that were being built in Eastrop Lane.

Consisting of three bedrooms, two recreation rooms, a kitchen, bathroom and toilet, a garden and all the modern labour-saving devices, they were for sale at £640 freehold.

The Daily Doings was distributed to a population of some 14,000 in the town and, being small, it could be put in one’s pocket or in a handbag.

The four cinemas in Basingstoke – the Plaza, Waldorf, Savoy and Grand – all took advantage of its potential, and the local newspaper, the Hants and Berks Gazette, became worried that it was taking some trade away.

But the magazine did not mention any news, and it was discontinued after a few years.

The only items that could be classified as “news” were the occasional “comments”, one of which could very well have been written today.

The editorial remark concerned the parking of cars on both sides of the town centre roads and blocking access for lorries delivering goods to the shops.

“Why cannot cars park on the lefthand side of the road on even-dated days of the week, and on the right on odd-dated days.”

The solution came in the form of a car park in Winchester Road and no parking down one side of the roads on any day!

Many thanks to Squirrels, in Joice’s Yard, for some of the information in this feature.

This article was written by Robert Brown, and published in the Gazette on May 2, 2003.