Wednesday, 16 October 2019

The Eton Wick Newsletter - December 2014 - `Our Village' Magazine


There are so many changes in a lifetime and it would not be easy to say which change has been the biggest influence of our life. It is so easy to think of advances in technology, travel and medicine, but socially perhaps education is the strong contender. Like most of my village contempories I left school when fourteen years old, and having been given the basics; proceeded to teach ourselves with experience and pursuit of personal interests. Today the extended years of schooling; often followed by university, has resulted in so much of the communities' youth leaving the village to establish their own way of life. Does that matter? It does in as much that no local young folk take over, or help to build on our established organisations.

Against this it must be admitted that many of the village's keenest workers were not local by birth or youth. This is not just a recent phenomenon. In an earlier issue I wrote of that great village benefactor, Edward LittletonVaughan. In the early 20" Century years before WW2 he gave so generously of himself, and his money to Eton Wick. He bought two houses here, but probably never lived in either. The only dwellings built by the Council in the 1930s were the bungalows and houses we know as Vaughan Gardens; almost certainly an acknowledgement of all this Eton College classics master had meant to our village. Yet 'Toddy' as he was generally referred to, had never been a local boy. Apart from Bunce's Close, that was accorded its name; having been built on Harry Bunce's farm land of earlier years; and Bell Lane and farm that probably took its name from the Bell family who farmed the area during the 1681 and 17" Century, I can think of only two other places in Eton Wick, one a road and the other a hall, that were named after people who served the community well, yet neither had been villagers before they were adults, and almost certainly neither knew Eton Wick even existed before they were married. One was Annie Tough (nee Moore) and the other was her father John Moore; and it is from these that we get the Tough Memorial Hall and the name of Moores Lane. Who were these two people, who came to mean so much to our village and to that part of the village not even developed at that time?

We have previously read about the needs of Eton Town and College; by the mid-19" century, to improve their sewage disposal which had resulted in their purchase of the vacant Bell Farm in Eton Wick, to which they could pump the sewage. By 1870 this was in place, leaving the Authority with much farming land surplus to the sanitary requirement. The farmland had been part in old Eton Wick village and part in the Parish of Old Boveney. For the service of Eton, the sower plant was established in part of the Eton farmland boundary at Eton Wick. Previously Bell Farm had enjoyed the grazing of lammas designated ground, but now having used lammas land they owned, for the sewage plant, they were obliged to forfeit the lammas right to graze a like acreage elsewhere in the Eton Parish. 

There was still a substantial farm area, and Charles Tough of Rotherhithe, Kent was appointed manager. At about that time; 1870; several acres of the farmland across the boundary and in the Boveney Parish, was sold. Within a year or two this agricultural holding was acquired by Mr James Ayres, who seeing the shortage of building sites in Eton Wick village, parcelled-up the land, plot by plot, with provision for new roads of Alma, lnkerman and Northfield.

It was 1877 when Charles Tough arrived at Bell Farm and with him his young bride age 24 years, Annie (nee Moore). In their wake came Annie's father. John Moore, with four of his twelve offspring. Presumably all from Rotherhithe. Mrs Tough was an ardent follower of the Methodist Church, but found no such building in Eton Wick. In fact the village had only had its C of E Church, St. John the Baptist, for about 10 years (1866/7). Non-conformist services were held in a farm building by the Wesleyan Society, and later by Congregationalists c.1840s; and the C of E had held non sacramental services in the old school before their church was built. Anne probably saw this as more a challenge than a help. She became accustomed to walking to Windsor town's Methodist services on Sundays and of course walking home. A long walk in many weathers, but it was forty years before a bus service, and what we consider a shorter walk along the river banks would not perhaps have been so inviting when the towpath was just that; a muddy or dusty well-trod path for teams of large barge horses. We may think Mrs Tough would have accepted the status quo of one Sunday service in Windsor, and if more were needed, to use the C of E church. She was young, a newly wed, with a lovely old farm house to establish home for herself and Charles, but it would appear not all that Annie wanted. By the mid-1880s plots along Alma Road were being built on; some single houses; some semi-detached and others terraced.

Annie really wanted her chapel here, and without the necessary purchase money apparently appealed to Mr Ayres' generosity. Eventually Ayres reputedly said 'I'm hoping to sell two plots, and if this goes ahead he would give her a plot's. Could he have been negotiating with Annie's father. John Moore? About this time John did buy at least two substantial plots on which he had the terraced row of six dwellings known as Primrose Villas, and opposite, a shorter row of houses - Snowdrop Villas built. When the promised plot was given to Mrs Tough it was with the alleged remark For your perseverance. There was a four bedroom house built several plots east along Alma Road for a Mr Howell. He named the house 'Perseverance Place. Perhaps only coincidental, but I may be missing something here, and the obvious has escaped me.

A word here about Perseverance Place. Forty plus years later it was the home of Mr Harding and his family (1929) and the Uxbridge Gas Company Depot of which he was branch manager. In 1936 Mr Harding was asked if he could accommodate the village's district nurse whose home at the thatched bungalow in Wheatbutts orchard was no longer suitable, being without a bathroom or 'phone line. Perseverance Place was one of very few in the village which had both.

Twenty years on, and after WW2, Dr Harcourt of the Windsor surgery held three clinics a week in that house. It was demolished c1970 for part of the Bellsfield Estate. 

Annie had got her plot, but then of course needed to raise the three hundred pounds to build the chapel. The chapel site that was given to Mrs Tough had a narrow frontage and would forever give the appearance of having been squeezed between Primrose Villas and houses east.

Thanks to Annie's determination and drive, Alma Road got its Primitive Methodist Chapel in 1886. This same purpose saw her cajoling a congregation, and leading a determined drive with the village Temperance Guild. Many may well have said she epitomised all that was the chapel. She died in 1930, and within a few years an extension was added to the building and named 'The Tough Memorial Hall'. In 1932 the prefix 'Primitive' was removed, when the various Chapels became nationally united. We have seen that her father John Moore was responsible for the building of the two terraced rows in Alma Road, and for the end house of Primrose Villas abutting to the lane. (to later take his name) he had a slightly more distinctive front. This was to be his home. He had obviously been a determined and successful man in Kent, and was not hesitant to proclaim it. He wrote to the Rotherhithe press proclaiming his achievements in his new home at Boveney New Town. He was the first Highway Surveyor, School Governor and Chairman of the Boveney Council (as with Eton Wick, both had their own six person councils 1894 - 1934) the first Councillor; Guardian of the Poor and promoter of local allotments, and so it went on. He even claimed to be the first person to use a Post Office Collection Box in Boveney New Town.

By today's' thinking perhaps a little 'over the top', but it all happened over one hundred years ago - four generations - and attitudes and standards are very different. Certainly John Moore did achieve all he wanted recognition for. He was very generous within the New Boveney community and very supportive of Annie's endeavours for the chapel. At one time even purchasing a harmonium for the services. This was a very now area, and his organisational ability was undoubtedly a great asset and Inspiration to others. John Moore died in 1911; about fourteen years before his son-in-law, Charles Tough. There is no evidence of Charles ever becoming involved with his wife's abiding interest in the Methodist cause or services, but he was very supportive of all Annie did.

Most things in life have a downside if you look for it, and as a lad in the 1920s and 30s I did think the Chapel polarised the two communities to a great extent. Most of my 'contempories' living beyond Bell Lane were Chapel goers and those in Eton Wick were C of E. Each had a strong Sunday school and in consequent, Sunday school outings. I must say though that the Chapel youngsters saw the seaside for at least two summers while we at St. Johns' still had to be content with Burnham Beeches. Alright in the 20s when horse and cart was the transport, but come the coach era we yearned the longer ride. With daily bus rides to and from school, I guess today's youngsters would be attracted to nothing less than a flight or cruise. Thankfully Annie's endeavours for a Chapel are still much in evidence in today's' much changed village.

Submitted by Frank Bond 

This article was originally published in the Eton Wick Newsletter - Our Village as is republished with the kind permission of the Eton Wick Village Hall Committee. Click here to go to the Collection page.

The Thames Highway volume 1 by Fred Thacker
The Thames Highway - Locks and Weirs by Fred Thacker website

Wednesday, 2 October 2019

The Duke of Edinburgh visit to Eton Wick - 1952

Pathe News film of Prince Philip in Eton Wick

The Duke of Edinburgh opens the Stockdales Road Recreation Ground, October 14th 1952. The Duke, escorted by Jim Ireland, local builder and Chairman of the Eton Urban District Council, unveils the Plaque commemorating the opening. The much older existing recreation ground (by Eton Wick Village Hall) and the Eton Town Recreation Ground were established using money paid by the Great Western Railway in the 1890s as compensation for the railway viaduct constructed on Lammas ground in 1849. 

The newly built Stockdales Road flats overlook the dais as Council Chairman Jim Ireland makes his speech welcoming the Duke of Edinburgh. On the left-hand end of the dais is Councillor Bert Wolfe, Mrs Ireland, Clerk to the Eton Council George Lewis (white shirt and tie) and Mayor Jennings of Slough. Mr McKinnon, Bursar of Eton College stands behind the Duke, and the Deputy Chief Constable is on the Duke's left.

This article was first published in A Pictorial History of Eton Wick & Eton.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

World War 2 Eighty Years On - The 1939 Register for Eton Wick

With in a month of the Declaration of War by Neville Chamberlain in 1939 a record of every household in the UK was taken. The Register was taken on 29 September 1939 and the information was used to produce identity cards and, once rationing was introduced in January 1940, to issue ration books. Information in the Register was also used to administer conscription and the direction of labour, and to monitor and control the movement of the population caused by military mobilisation and mass evacuation. The Register was designed to capture the details of every member of the civilian population – military personnel were not recorded. It contains details of around 40 million people, recorded in more than 65,000 volumes (transcript books). 
A house in Prospect Place

The enumerator for Eton Wick recorded the names and details of 1,294 people in 313 households. Emma Woolhouse was the oldest person living in the village, she was 94 years old. Emma's first two homes in the village after marrying Thomas Woolhouse was at 8 and 2 Prospect Place. The 1939 Register records that the 10 houses that made up Prospect Place were empty.

The youngest child on the Register was Joan Tarrant who was 1 month old.

It should be noted that the 1939 Register recorded Eton Wick and Boveney New Town as one community following the Local Government Act of 1933 that brought to an end the separate councils for the two neighbouring communities and created Eton Urban District Council.

The Register includes the extra war time duties that residents had volunteered for. There are a number of closed records in the 1939 Register that has been released by the National Records Office. Local research has been able to add a further 13 names to the information available in the Register. 

You can view a transcription of the 1939 Register for Eton Wick by clicking on this link. or pasting this URL in to your internet browser: 

Given Name Surname Extra duties
William Akers Auxiliary Fireman Eton UDC
George Ball Special Constable
Henry Barton Auxiliary Fireman
George Batt Police Messenger
Harry Batt Special Constable
John Bell Special Constable
John Bidmead Auxiliary Fireman
Charles Bond Ambulance Driver
Frank  Bond ARP messenger
Albert Bond ARP Warden
Eddie Bond Police Messenger
Ernie Bond Police Messenger
John Bow Ambulance Services First Aid Service Merthyr 
Laura Bow British Red Cross Nursing Services Merthyr 
William Brown ARP
David  Bryant Police Messenger
Edwin  Buckland Special Policeman
Harry  Burfoot Rescue and Demolition
Alice Burfoot Womens Volunteer Service
Harold Carpenter Auxiliary Fire Service Eton UDC
Henry Carpenter Auxiliary Fireman, Pump operator
Arthur Chamberlain ARP Air Raid Warden
Millicent A  Chantler Red Cross Nurse
Henry Chantler Air Raid Warden Eton UDC
Sylvia Chew ARP Ambulance Driver
Joyce Chew ARP Ambulance Driver
Archibald Chew ARP Joint Committee Evacuees
Miriam Chew Red Cross Civil Nursing Reserve
Annie Chew Womens Volunteer Service
Arthur Codd ARP Eton UDC
William Collyer ARP Windsor Castle
Harriett Cook Air Raid Warden Eton UDC
Albert Cooley ARP Road Repair Squad
Peter Cooley St John's Ambulance Nobel's Slough DIY Military Hospital
Ernest Drake ARP Senior Warden
Walter  Elkins ARP Warden
George Eyles ARP Warden (W. Thrupp Chief warden)
Douglas Eyles Police Messenger
Harry Friend Special Constable
Bob Friend Special Policeman
Mary Graham ARP First Aid
William Graham ARP Warden
Arthur Gregory ARP Warden Eton
Arthur Grubb ARP Emergency motor driver 
Lavina Hammerton Red Cross Nurse
Robert Heath ARP Services Somerset CC
George Hedges ARP Stretcher Bearer
Albert Hood Ambulance Driver
Lilian Husted Red Cross Nurse Enrolled for training
George Jacobs Demolition Squad(?)
Marion Johnson Air Raid Warden
Henry Johnson Auxiliary Fireman
George Kelley Special Constable
Peter Kemp Sgt. RAF VR no. 74097
Arthur Lane Special Constable
Norman Lane Special Policeman
Jane Mc Millan Red Cross Nurse
Frederick Mead Air Raid Warden
George Mills Retained Fireman Eton RDC
Richard Mitchener Auxiliary Fireman Reading
Thomas Morrell Rescue and Demolition Slough Borough Council
Albert Morrell Special Constable
Reverend Morris ARP Warden
Maurice North Auxiliary Fireman
John Oxlade ARP Rescue and Demolition
James Pass ARP Decontamination
Albert Prior Rescue and Demolition Eton UDC
John Prosser Special Constable
Ernie Prosser Special Policeman
Robert Pulvertaft Emergency Medical Service
Caroline Schafran Helper under evacuation
William Swain Auxiliary Fireman
Reginald Talbot Auxiliary Fireman Eton UDC
George Tarrant Special Constable
Ernie Thomas Special Policeman
Florence Thurston British Red Cross Nursing Auxiliary
Robert Weatherall Air Raid Warden Part time Eton Urban and South Bucks Councils
Ken  Weller ARP Messenger
Hubert Wells Eton Fire Brigade
Edward Wilkinson ARP Warden
Harry Wilson ARP messenger
William Woolhouse ARP
Ernest Woolhouse ARP Demolition Eton Wick

This article includes information from The 1939 Register, Frank Bond's articles in Our Village and Round and About Eton Wick: 1939 - 1945. 

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

World War 2 Eighty Years On - Petrol Rationing Introduced

Petrol rationing introduced for civilian use, with the basic ration being dependent upon the Horse Power of the vehicle.   Accompanying this was an order fixing the maximum speed limit at 30 m.p.h. during blackout hours.   The amount of fuel allocated to the local Blue Bus Company operating the Dorney - Eton Wick - Windsor service necessitated revision of their timetable leading to a less frequent service.  Wartime restrictions allowing no service after 9 pm.  

As more evacuees and war workers came to the village the service became inadequate for their needs and representations were made by the Eton U.D.C. on behalf of the village residents and Mr.Cole, the proprietor, to the Ministry of Fuel for an increased ration but no increase was given and the service stopped at 9 pm for most of the war years.

This is an extract from Round and About Eton Wick: 1939 - 1945. The book was researched, written and published in 2001 by John Denham.