Nowadays we take for granted that we can drive along Broadwater Road and turn into the adjacent car parks, but both the road and the car parks are less than 50 years old.

Until 1875 the Fishlake stream, (or Holbrook) that runs on the Bell Street side of the bus station marked the boundary of the Borough of Romsey, so the bus station was built outside the former borough boundary. The land adjoining the stream was agricultural and owned with the first house in The Hundred, now Boots the Chemist.

In 1841 both house and grounds were owned by the 75 year old grocer, Abraham Naish. He called the land ‘The Garden’ but older records show it as ‘Periton’ meaning pear orchard. The house was known as ‘Bridge House’

By 1900 Alfred Elcombe and family owned the property. He was a nurseryman and seed merchant and used the land as a nursery garden. He also rented Lansdowne Gardens for his business.

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When Elcombe’s closed, Timothy Whites took over the premises. The land behind remained a jumble of outbuildings and allotment-type plots. When Boots and Timothy White’s merged in the 1980s, Bridge House was refurbished and became known as Boots. Boots premises in the Market Place was disposed of.

In the 1960s, Romsey Borough Council replaced most of the houses in Banning Street several blocks of flats, in the area known as ‘the rear of the Hundred’ with access from Banning Street. When Broadwater Road was cut through in the 1970s, much of Banning Street was eliminated.

To the north of the new road a bus station and car park were created. To enable pedestrians to have easy access to the bus station, the stream adjacent to Bridge House was covered over to make a walk through.

However, for 18 months, the buses continued to park in the Market Place because they said the parking charges in the bus station were too high, but eventually that dispute was resolved, and they moved to the new bus station.

A few years later the space allocated to buses was reduced and a short term car park was created. Public conveniences and office accommodation for the bus companies were provided, and later an office for a taxi firm was provided. Covered stands and seats were made available for waiting passengers. More recently an electronic display showing what buses are due has been added.

The area is owned and managed by Test Valley Borough Council and it is a far cry from its days as a pear orchard.