Aldershot sits on a forgotten tongue of Hampshire. Above it is the unlovely corridor of light industry that leads to Farnborough, Frimley and Camberley. To the east of Aldershot is Guildford and to the south-west is Farnham, both prosperous Surrey market towns. Inexplicably, cars and lorries roar through Aldershot day and night, but where they come from and whither they go are both mysteries.
Before the British Army set up camp in Aldershot after the Crimean War, the area was forgotten common land. In the previous century, highwaymen operated here. Dick Turpin himself was based up the road in Farnborough. Highway robbery is a curiously apt occupation for the area. Canadian troops rioted here for two days in 1945. Inmates burned down the military prison in 1946.
The centre of town is mostly boarded up and awaiting ‘development’. Another of the many mysteries of Aldershot is that is has a Conservative MP: the villas of the well-to-do middle classes surround the blighted ghetto of the centre like a fat oyster around a black pearl
The town is built on a plain, and there are no high rise buildings. This means that the sky is big. When seagulls call overhead, Aldershot almost feels like a rundown seaside town.
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