Before the Second World War, Petersfield was a small Hampshire market town of around four thousand inhabitants serving its predominantly agricultural community. During the 1950s and '60s, however, its population began to expand quite rapidly, major architectural changes took place with the demolition and reconstruction of some of the dilapidated buildings in its High Street, its social composition and economic life became less rural and more commercially orientated, and the once family-owned private businesses gave way to larger-scale and nationally recognisable retail outlets. Despite these radical physical changes and the doubling of its population by the mid-1970s, Petersfield managed to retain most of its old charm and traditions: a good few of its oldest houses dating back to the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries still remain, and it can boast of some sensitive new building development alongside the old.
David Jeffery's new book traces this transformation of the postwar years with reference to the political decisions taken over thirty years, and, using an analysis of the commercial developments and, above all, the reminiscences of contemporary inhabitants, illustrates the rich and varied history of the town since the war. This book, with its detailed research into contemporary press and private accounts, and wide variety of illustrations, will capture the imagination of anyone who knows the town today, both residents and visitors alike.