Memoirs of a Burley Mod

During the 1950's it was era of the Teddy Boys and Rock & Roll. Some of them had motor bikes such as Triumph, BSA, Royal Enfield etc. Many became Rockers.

Turning into the 1960's came the Mod era with new lightweight designed cars, pop music, and clothing fashion even for men. Plus, to have a motor scooter such as a Lambretta or Vespa. Many were dressed up with chrome accessories such as extra mirrors, spot lamps, crash bars and so on. Lambretta owners from Burley included Tim Reed, Tim Lawford, John Small, Richard Shutler and myself.

My first scooter was a Lambretta LD bought from a Miss Cookman in Pound Lane, Burley. That was written off when I crashed into a herd of cows at the top of Crow Hill which had escaped at night, from a local farm and were all over the road. The lights on the LD, were not at all good.

I then got a Li 150, series 2 and the engine gave up on that, so I part exchanged it to get a new series 3 Lambretta SX200 on Hire Purchase. See the black and white photos above.
My friends and I would go off into Ringwood to meet up at the Trappers Cafe behind the then cinema. On one occasion, over 60 scooters were counted. Usually however the numbers would vary between 25 and 40. We, the mods, would also spill off into Pillys Fish and Chip shop in the market place, as that had a cafe, or occasionally the Coffee House, with its basement.

The cinema became a discotheque. And along came the skinheads. Mods would also call into the Burley Youth Club ran in the Village Hall, and at Greyfrairs in Ringwood.

By the early 1970's, when glam rock came into being, the mods seem to disappear. Some bought motor bikes but most, then had cars. There have been a few revivals since, but nothing like the 1960's. Contrary to belief, Mods and Rockers were not always fighting each other. They were after all, simply bikers. Today you can buy a new Lambretta based upon the series 3 and from Royal Alloy. But they seem to be hard to obtain.

I bought the Piaggio B500, as seen in the coloured photographs, in 2003. It turned out to be a bad purchase, it spent of its time in my garage as it was forever going wrong. I scrapped it 2 years ago, with only 6,000 miles on the clock.

I also arranged several Ringwood, Fordingbridge and Burley mod reunions, around the time of the new millennium (2000), and to start with, they were very well attended including scooters from Southampton, Bournemouth and even Yeovil. But people eventually lost interest and I was not going fork out to keep that running. Rather like my time on the New Forest Marathon Committee, New Milton Chamber of Trade, New Milton Ratepayers, and on one occasion, a Twynham School Reunion. They were fun at the time, but there is a limit as to how of my own money I could put towards them.

Grant Family History: Man About Town

John Peter Grant of Burley, aged 19 in 1936 used to go to a number of theatre shows in London. On the left is a menu card dated 12th September 1936, and on the right is a collection of autographs he managed to collect. At the bottom, is that of Douglas Fairbanks, above that is Marlene Dietrich. Both were huge Hollywood stars at the time. Perhaps readers can throw some light on the other signatures. The top one was that of my Father.

Lord Kitchener and Burley

Is there a connection between Lord H.H. Kitchener and Burley? Yes!

Reproduced above are copies of a hand written letter from Kitchener, addressed to my Great Grandfather, dated 1888. My Great Grandfather ended up as Admiral Eustace Rooke. He took command of many ships, and I have a few of his drawings here, and indeed one or two photographs. The Rooke family tree expands across the New Forest including George Rooke Furnell, who for a while was the owner of the Burley Manor. Other Rookes (sometimes spelt without the 'e') can be found within the history of Burley. Indeed parts of
Bisterne Close, were referred to as 'the Rookes'. The Burley Manor, did way back, take in all of Bisterne Close right through to Burley Street. Further back according the Records of Burley. All of which was then known as Bisterne Close, not Burley. The village centre, came a lot later.

The Rookes were also very influential within Lymington. Col. Henry D. Rooke owned Woodside, now known as Woodside Gardens and he gifted the property and land to the people of Woodside. Further back, two Rooke sisters married two Burrard sons. Burrard Neale has the monument overlooking Lymington Quay, in his honour.

Back then the main political parties were the Tory/Conservatives and
Whigs/Liberals, long before Labour even existed. The Burrards in particular were very much involved in politics and were MPs. And they were not all Conservatives, indeed, many supported the Whigs, later known as the Liberals.

My Grandmother, Lettice Rooke/Grant bought the property here in Bisterne
Close. My sister, Jennifer was married to her first husband Clive, at Burley Church
and my only marriage to Jane, also took place there.

It does seem strange that we having been here, one way or another, for
centuries, are still treated as outsiders!

Rhythm Section Want Ad

On behalf of the Ringwood and Burley Band, I write to enquire whether there are any readers interested in joining the Brass Band, in particular cornet and B♭ Bass players. Other musicians also welcome to apply.

The Band also seek sponsors to help cover their overheads. These could be from individuals or companies. All small or larger donations,  would be much appreciated.  For example, I have agreed to sponsor the Band's newsletter. in return, my logo will be published. Individual sponsors, who would like their name shown, can request that when forwarding their support. Firms could send in their logo (not advertisements) and that may be used within promotional publicity such as event programmes, or the web-site.

Potential new players, please telephone Tony Mist on 01425 473542. Sponsorship/donations can be forwarded to the Treasurer, 8. Wanstead Close, Ringwood BH24 1SJ. Email queries to:-

Further information can be found on their website.