Fleet

Fleet

[fleet]
Fleet, Thomas, 1685-1758, American colonial printer, b. Shropshire, England. He arrived in Boston c.1712, a refugee because of his opposition to the High Church, and became a prominent printer and publisher in the colony. From 1731 until his death he published a weekly paper first called Weekly Rehearsal and changed in 1735 to the Boston Evening Post.
Fleet is a town in the county of Hampshire, UK, located 37 miles (60 km) southwest of London. It is part of Hart District. The 2007 population forecast for Fleet was 31,687.

History

Fleet is unusual for a town of its size in that it is not on a major trunk road. This is because it developed after the construction of the London and South Western Railway, which opened in 1840. Many people came down from London to skate on Fleet Pond during the winter, and the town grew as a market town. There are thus few very old buildings in Fleet, with much of the modern town formed around Victorian buildings. As in many parts of Britain, there was a building boom in the period between the First World War and Second World War. Fleet also contains structures built in the 1960s such as the parade of shops on the left of the picture below.

Fleet has expanded in the past few decades with new residential areas being built at Ancells Farm, Zebon Copse (in neighbouring Church Crookham) and Elvetham Heath. Due for completion in 2008, Elvetham Heath is one of the UK's largest new housing developments, and will add some 5,000 inhabitants to Fleet's population, bringing its total population up to around 36,000, a 20% increase in less than a decade. Two earlier developments in Fleet involved the opening of a new shopping centre, the Hart Shopping Centre, which was opened officially by HRH The Duchess Of York in 1991. On the same day, she attended the opening of the Hart Leisure Centre on Hitches Lane (towards Church Crookham). The shopping centre was itself developed further in 2001-2.

Although Fleet has traditionally been a dormitory town housing commuters to London, it now has several business parks, mainly occupied by Information Technology companies.

A plan to add a new multiplex cinema was abandoned, a gym was built on the proposed site instead.

The body of murdered teenager Amanda Dowler was found in woodland near the town on 19 September 2002. She had last been seen alive near her home in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, on 21 March 2002.

Geography

Areas and suburbs of the town are Pondtail, Ancells Park and Elvetham Heath. The villages of Crookham and Church Crookham have also grown to be contiguous with the town. Immediately surrounding towns and villages include Winchfield, Dogmersfield, Crondall, Ewshot, and Hartley Wintney.

The Fleet Pond nature reserve is a notable beauty spot on the northern edge of the town. The 'pond' itself is in fact the largest freshwater lake in Hampshire. In times past, the lake has frozen over permitting skating. Fleet can be reached from London and Southampton via the M3 motorway, the nearest junction being 4A. Fleet services on the M3 lies at the edge of the town. Its main road, Fleet Road, runs through the town centre from south-west to north-east. Fleet station is on the London Waterloo station to Southampton main line. The train service is run by South West Trains (formerly Network South East). Journey time to Waterloo is about 50 minutes. Express trains do the journey in under 40 minutes. There are small airports nearby at Blackbushe Airport and Farnborough Airfield. The Basingstoke Canal connects Fleet to Basingstoke and, in the other direction, London via the River Wey navigation.

Politics and administration

Fleet is administered by Hart District Council and Hampshire County Council. The parliamentary constituency is Hampshire North-East and the current (2006) Member of Parliament is James Norwich Arbuthnot who is a member of the Conservative Party.

Education

The town has a number of schools including:

Culture

The biggest events in the town's calendar are the summer Carnival, the switching on of the Christmas lights as December approaches and the Fleet Half Marathon commonly used in preparation for the London marathon.

Personalities

The art critic and man of letters, John Russell, was born in Fleet in 1919 .

References

See also

External links

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