Eton Wick and its development: Going West
Boveney Newtown 1870 —1945
We have previously seen how Eton Wick grew — at first with the farms taking the less floodable land to the north and later in the 18th and 19th centuries homes being established along the south side of Common Road where tenants had the advantage of the stream for water and ponds for their ducks. They could only build between Sheepcote and Bell Lane — approximately 250 metres — because Crown. Common and Lammas lands stretched to the east and south, while west of Bell Lane was in the different parish of Burnham.
In the mid 19th Century the long gardens of the Common Road homes were sold for the development of houses along Eton Wick Roads' northside. The Walk was developed in early 20th Century, as was The Institute (now The Village Hall). Known as the 'Stute' it was the only building south of Eton Wick Road until after 1950, when Haywards Mead and St. Gilberts R. C Church were built on former allotments. West of Bell Lane the main road was known as Tilston Lane and until the 1880's there were only two tracks off Tilston Lane, being Bell Lane and what later became Moores Lane. The few buildings consisted of The Shepherd's Hut public house and a couple of Bell Farm labourer's cottages off Bell Lane.
In 1870 Eton, faced with a sewage problem, purchased Bell Farm from William Goddard and established a sewage farm as part of the farm land within the Eton Wick boundary. Many acres of Bell Farm were in fact outside the boundary and in the parish of Burnham, and was excess of their needs for the sewage and a dairy farm. The excess was most of the land between Bell Lane and present day Moores Lane. Retaining one full length field along Tilston Lane (main road) and opposite The Shepherd's Hut, the Council then sold the remainder to Arthur Bott of Common Road. Unfortunately Bott was now overstretched financially so he sold the land to James Ayres in 1880. James Ayres was listed as a market Gardener and not quite perhaps the image of the shrewd business man he proved to be. Meanwhile the Council engaged Charles Tough as farm manager. His young bride (Annie) nee Moore, together with her newly domiciled father, John Moore, were to play a lasting role in the future village affairs. Pardon the pun, but more about the Moores' at a future time.
James Ayres acquisition resulted in the laying out of Alma and Inkerman roads, followed by that of Northfield. Plot by plot he sold off the land, some for terraced homes, others for semi and detached houses, until within two decades a new community had sprung up covering his purchased enterprise. Not Eton Wick, this community, built in Burnham Parish. was named Boveney Newtown, for obvious reasons. In 1894 it had its own council as in fact did Eton Wick, both independent of each other and of Eton. This lasted for 40 years.
Just as Bell Lane had for so long been Eton Wick's barrier to building, now Moores Lane proved to be Boveney Newtown's barrier until after World War 2. This haste to build from 1880 triggered off other developments along the south side of the main road to Roundmoor ditch (Dorney Common Gate) and also the beginning of Victoria Road, at that time a Cul de sac, with its long. new terraced row. This area was known as `Klondyke: and was part of the Tilston Fields, largely owned by the Palmer family of Dorney. In fact the terraced row and some of those main road houses were built for the land owner who duly sold them. By the early 20th Century the land south of Victoria Road became holdings for two or three families. The holdings reached down to the Boveney Ditch and were quite extensive. In the centre was Mr Hill, who established a small engineering and repair works which by 1920's was sold to William Hearn for his motor taxi business which operated in Eton. Hence the present day engineering works, which came before most of the houses around it.
To the west of Victoria Road came the Nuth family. George was a well known village character with his animals, large mobile home, swing boats and coconut shy hire. These sites were to be used for Queens Road and Cornwall Close respectively, about 60 years later.
Leeson Gardens were built in the early 1930's: the west side of Tilston Avenue in the later 1930's. Vaughan Gardens were built in the late 1930's in the centre of that long field opposite The Shepherd's Hut that Bell Farm had retained in 1880 when they sold the large site. Although Eton Wick and Newtown, with Klondyke, were united in 1934 the old rights of Lammas and Commons still excluded those living along or west of Bell Lane.
The only WW2 development was the building of twelve prefabricated bungalows c.1944-5 east of Vaughan Gardens — now the site of Bell Lane shops.
Post WW2 developments both by Council or private were largely north and west of the main road and Moores Lane. We will cover those and other post war developments in a later issue.
This article by Frank Bond was published in the December 2008 issue of Our Village.
Note – The engineering works mentioned was replaced by houses in 2014. http://publicaccess.rbwm.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=N2OUOJNI0NO00
The complete Our Village Collection can be found here. The Eton Wick History Group republish Our Village with the kind permission of publishers, the Eton Wick Village Hall Committee.