The building in the centre of the picture, located at the most northerly end of the High Street, but with small double-fronted ground floor and open first floor windows has an interesting history.

Andover suffered a devastating fire in 1435 which destroyed the whole of the small town. All the wooden houses were burnt and all that survived were the church and the priory which were built of stone. The earliest existing building from the reconstruction period is the Angel Inn of 1445. Others are 11-15 Chantry Street, known as Wealdon–type, with a jettied (protruding first floor) front, and the restored house, recently a hairdresser’s, in Newbury Street.

However, the building here, not so obviously of ancient pedigree, is as old as those mentioned above. It belonged to Winchester College and was leased out to a well-to-do Andoverian, who would then sub-let to a tenant. The date of construction is thought to be between 1480-1520 and its original timber frame is visible from the churchyard behind, though the present brick façade is 19th century.

During the 18th Century, a fire engine shed was built at the rear, to house the manually operated fire pump and this remained the location of the town’s ‘fire engine’ until the fire station in East Street was built in 1877, itself superseded by the present one in London Street.

About 1840, the building became the Silent Man beer-house, and it was certainly leased from Winchester College by John Poore, the Andover brewer, by 1848. His then tenant was a Chelsea pensioner named Isaac Jones but by 1861 was succeeded by painter, plumber and beer retailer Charles Viney, followed by his son Fred around 1900. The curious name of the place reflects the discovery of a secret passageway from the back into the churchyard, uncovered during building work, perhaps when the fire engine shed was first constructed. Andover has a long history of non-conformity and the reputed means of escape for meeting-house congregations is part of local folklore.

Poore’s brewery closed in 1920 and so did the beer-house but this was when brewery owner Philip Henry Poore took the opportunity to buy the building from Winchester College, as well as others he had leased. He had two daughters, then in their thirties, one unmarried and one widowed, so his purchases were a means of generating a future income through renting them out. After 1920 the former Silent Man became a watchmaker and jeweller’s shop run by Alfred Loveridge, and later his widow. (the parents of future mayor and outfitter Martin Loveridge). In the 1960s and ’70s it was The Little Gallery antiques shop that seemed, to a youngster, to be a rather sparsely stocked and forbidding establishment, run by Mr Hayward Young. Thereafter the building was fully renovated and turned into a restaurant. As such, it has known a number of different owners, until the present day