Wednesday, 18 September 2019

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

`Newtown' and beyond Bell Lane In previous newsletters we have seen the development of Eton Wick (in the Parish of Eton) having many building restrictions, imposed by Commons, Lammas, Farms etc., and of course the boundary West of the Parish being Bell Lane and beyond into the Parish of Burnham. This may seem inconvenient, but surely it is the attraction of our village; being surrounded by the countryside. Other local villages such as Upton, Chalvey and Cippenham have been 'swallowed up' by an ever expanding Slough. We are able to walk North, South, East or West through open country or along the river bank and usually return by a different route without fear of trespass. 

To the East is Eton Town and College and growth of the village in that direction was not possible. The town was ever short of building sites to meet its own needs. In fact in the early post Great War years (early 1920s) Eton wanted to build homes to re-accommodate its own families. They were obliged to negotiate with the Eton Wick Council (independent 1894 — 1934) to change the boundary of Town to Village from the 'Sleds' to Broken Furlong, thereby enabling Eton to develop part of their new holding; and Somerville Road with housing, was created. Apart from the boundary change, it became necessary to switch the Lammas grazing rights of Broken Furlong to a like acreage across the main road. 

Without this 'switch' it would not have been permissible to build on Lammas designated land, as a certain Mr Thomas Hughes could have testified over seventy years earlier. In 1846 he had built two houses on land he owned in the village. The land however, known as Tilstone Shot, was subject to Lammas, which prompted a sharp reaction from villagers, and a subsequent court case, held in Aylesbury, ordered the houses to be taken down. 

This exchanged Lammas area opposite Broken Furlong is of course the area that was in dispute in 2007 for the proposed can park, and possible rail halt. The houses and new road were built in early to mid-1920s and named 'Somerville' in, presumably, recognition of the Town Council Chairman, Mr Somerville, whose negotiations with the village had been so successful. It is easily seen then that Eton Wick could not readily expand to the East, and before Boveney Newtown (c. 1880s) came about any thoughts of building west of the Bell Lane boundary was restricted by the land between the lane and Dorney Common being farm land or privately owned; much of it by the Palmer family of Dorney Court. 

Apart from the main through road there were no other roads in this Burnham Parish area, except perhaps Moores Lane, a rough earth track leading to Cippenham and Slough. It could not have been Moores Lane in those early days because Mr Moore had not yet arrived from Rotherhithe. It was perhaps an unusual situation where Bell Farm was situated just inside of the Eton/Burnham boundary, enjoyed the Lammas grazing of Eton and yet had much of its farm lands over the stream and in Burnham. 

Some limited building had taken place across the border by the late 19th Century. The Shepherd's Hut public house had its first beer license in 1833 — this was probably the only dwelling along Tilstone Lane (main road). Bell Farm had built a few farm labourer cottages — some in the lane and eight more built at right angles in what later became Alma Road. They were demolished around 1970 to make way for the flats of todays' Bellsfield Court — again appropriately named. 

Not until 1870 when, following a deteriorating situation with regard to the Eton Town and College sewage that Eton Council purchased Bell Farm, planning to pump their waste the mile and half to the village farm, where in accordance with common practice at that time it would be spread over furrowed land and reputedly was very good for root and other crops. The Council were not farmers, and needed to engage a manager, and to 'shed' some of its acreage. In 1875 they sold seven acres of farm land, just across the stream and border, to Mr Bott of Common Road, Eton Wick. Unfortunately Bott had now stretched his finances to the point of having overreached himself, and within five years had sold his seven acre site to Mr James Ayres, who had an eye for business. Ayres sold off the recently acquired farm land, plot by plot. A single house here, a block or terraced now there; eventually, and within a few brief years new roads and their dwellings were covering the seven acres. Here was Alma Road, Inkerman and later Northfield Roads — not yet Eton Wick, this new development in the Burnham ward was called Boveney Newtown. Its population was a little larger than neighbouring Eton Wick, and being new was perhaps even more vibrant, but in some ways dependent. It had no school for its children, and they were meant to go to Dorney, but of course with no bus service the bleak track across Dorney Common in winters and on wet summer days made this beyond expectations. Eton Wick's small school at the top of The Walk was inadequate, so in 1886 the Crown provided land in Sheepcote for a larger school which served both communities for the next sixty or so years when post war extensions were carried out. 

An amusing (or was it) story of the interim period was related by a Mr Talbot. The influx of Newtown children into the original single room school necessitated a platform upper room for infants. Temporary and crude the floor was a plank affair and it was not uncommon for an infant needing the toilet, perhaps left it too late, and the lower, older class got a 'dripping' from above. Needing to spend a penny, or 'pennies from heaven'? Where was health and safety in the 1880s?

'Newtown' was all that was built each side of Alma Road and the development of Inkerman, Northfield Road and Bell Lane. One field opposite the Shepherd's Hut and South from Alma Road, between Bell Lane and Moores Lane was retained for grazing for about fifty years, until Vaughan Gardens were built in the late 1930s by the Council, and at the end of WW2 twelve prefabricated homes were built immediately East of Vaughan Gardens. West of Moores Lane to Dorney Common (North of Tilstone Lane) [main road] there were no houses until after WW2 when the Eton Council developed the entire area, including the roads of Colenorton Crescent, Boveney New Road and Stockdales. This area was largely covered with allotments until after WW2. Across the main road (South) much of the land was owned by Mr Palmer of Dorney and had not been built on.

Probably the development of farm land for 'Newtown' prompted the Dorney owner to similarly use his land. In 1896 he had a long terraced row of sixteen houses built in what we now know as Victoria Road. Again very appropriately named because 1898 was the year of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. The houses not so appropriately named, being 'Castle View Terrace' and facing due South one would be hardly likely to see the castle in the East. Further development at this time came along the main road and at the end of 'Castle View' gardens. These, and the houses built past the entrance road to Victoria Road (now named 'Victoria' also, but originally known as Hogarth Road in acknowledgement of Mr Hogarth — area administrator to Mr Palmer) attracted business men and others from Windsor and Eton following the 1894 flooding. Victoria Road was a cul de sac for nearly sixty years when the Meux (Shepherds' Hut) field was developed for Princes Close estate in the 1950s. 

Other post WW2 developments included Queens Road and Cornwall Close (private), the East side of Tilstone Avenue and Tilstone Close (also private) and of course much in the old Eton Wick village. It takes more than housing to give a place character and perhaps in a future magazine I can speak of the people who changed the village and gradually brought the two communities together. There were farmers, and of course people like Mr Moore who had followed his newly wed daughter to Newtown; and the strength of both in imposing themselves in such a constructive way. In conclusion now though I will come back to names of roads. Alma and Inkerman are scenes of hard fighting between Britain and France against Russia in the mid-1850s; in the Crimean War, and some twenty five to thirty years before Newtown's main roads were built and presumably named. Why? It was so long after the conflict. Who chose the names? Was it James Ayres? He is listed as a local Market Gardener. Coincidence I doubt. In Alma Road is a house named Galata Cottage. 'Galata' was the height overlooking the river Alma. If you have the answer, please do join in and share it. 

Not content with sending their sewage to Eton Wick, thirteen years later and following infectious diseases in Eton, including Small Pox, they built a Cottage Isolation Hospital between Bell Farm and Saddocks Farm of Eton Wick. This went out of use in c.1930. This small hospital would never be used by residents of Eton Wick, who were obliged to go to Cippenham on account of not being within the relevant Sanitary District. 

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.

Monday, 9 September 2019

War Memorial Committee Meeting September 1919

Committee Meeting held September 9th 1919 

Mr Nutt's fee to be £25 for "Professional work, design details, and supervision during the work execution". Mr Vaughan agreed to consult with Mr Nutt as the committee considered his fee excessive.

This is an extract from Their Names Shall Be Carved in Stone  
and published here with grateful thanks to the author Frank Bond.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

World War 2 Eighty Years On - Friday, September 8th 1939

A cigarette card from the
WD & HO Wills ARP series
published in 1938. 
The next warning came at breakfast time on September 8th again no enemy action.  

An amusing account by Frank Bond gives some indication as to the uncertainty that an alert provoked.             

"On hearing the air raid alarm sounding, I hurried to the A.R.P. post at Burfoots in the Eton Wick Road.  On reporting for duty, fulfilling my task as messenger boy, I was sent on a cycle errand along Common Road.  During the early days of the war one naturally believed that the Germans were definitely coming to attack Eton Wick and undoubtedly all their beastliness including gas would rain down upon us.  Consequently, to cycle along Common Road, I was equipped with all the anti-bomb, anti-gas apparatus available. I expected to see everyone dashing for cover and was quite put out when Mrs Annie Sherman, standing at her Hope Cottage gate, called out to her two young sons, “Come quick, Look at Frank Bond all dressed up like a funny man”.  Hell, I thought, how could we hope to beat the Germans."

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

World War 2 Eighty Years On - Monday, September 4th, 1939

A meeting held at Eton Wick School with Christina Plumbridge head teacher, and the L.C.C. teachers, discussed arrangements for the schooling of the evacuated children.  After allowing time for the children to settle into their billets, the two sets of pupils attended school on a half day rota.  The arrangement commenced with village pupils attending morning class during the first week and L.C.C. pupils in the afternoons, and reversed for the following week.  After three weeks the two groups were combined for a trial full school day. This created a combined roll 151 children divided into five classes.  Congestion in the classrooms caused problems despite the teachers adapting themselves as far as humanly possible.  Enquiries were made as to whether it was feasible to use the village hall and the Scout hut situated in the Wheat Butts, but in the meantime, the school resumed the two sessions. This arrangement lasted until November when Buckinghamshire Education Committee arranged for the L.C.C. Schools to take over rooms in the Village hall at a monthly rent of three pounds.
Billeted with strangers and nowhere to call their own, evacuated mothers with small children found the quiet village life frustrating and were often seen wandering around.  It was easier for the children, who after a few weeks of settling into their new surroundings joined in many of the village activities. The Church and Chapel Sunday School classes increased in numbers, with over one hundred attending at the Chapel.
The wail of air raid sirens from Slough, Datchet and Eton were clearly heard as the first air raid alert sounded on the night of September 3rd, 1939 but proved uneventful.

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

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

World War 2 Eighty Years On - Sunday, September 3rd. 11.15 a.m.

The Prime Minister, Neville Chamberlain, broadcasting to the nation announced that Great Britain was at war with Germany.  There being no electric supply to the village, those residents having radios required a large multi-cell dry battery together with an acid accumulator to power the receivers. The acid accumulators required charging weekly and one business able to do this was that of Frank Paintin in the Eton High Street; the cost for recharging, depending on the size of the accumulator, was 3d. or 5d.  As the war progressed the main dry cell wireless batteries became more difficult to obtain. One recourse, when the battery output became weak, was to warm the battery in the kitchen oven to invigorate the cells.  National security required that any news of the war was subject to censorship by the Ministry of Information.  Government pamphlets, the cinema newsreel, national and local newspapers, were the main outlets of information which was subject to censorship. The business of village newsagent was run by Bill Sibley, from his shop  in Moores Lane. To warn people to be on their guard against loose talk and the spreading of rumours the Ministry of Home Security produced posters bearing the catch phrase       

Upon the declaration of war, national emergency powers came into effect. Having commenced on September 1st., the blackout was now strictly enforced with ARP wardens and police patrols constantly on the lookout for householders infringing the regulations by carelessly showing lights.  Suitable cheap blackout material was not easily found but one of the best sources of material was a stout re-enforced tarred brown paper, obtained by factory workers on the Trading Estate. This paper found in crates of equipment imported from the U.S. and Canada made a satisfactory blackout when covering a suitable wooden frame.  Although gas lighting, oil lamps and candles lighting the village homes during the dark evenings was not brilliant by today's standards, "Put that light out ", was the shouted warning for showing the smallest chink of light.  Patrolling Wardens and Special Constables being very quick to exert their authority on the culprits.  Lack of blackout facilities stopped all evening meetings and other activities held in the village hall during the remaining months of 1939.  Eton College also had difficulties with blackout regulations.  The numerous windows within the college buildings were always a problem to the large number of staff and students and the infringements of the regulations resulted in several fines.  A small number of householders in Eton and Eton Wick were also summoned for blackout infringements which generally brought a fine of £1 imposed by the Court. 

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

Sunday, 1 September 2019

World War 2 Eighty Years On - Friday, September 1st. 1939

German forces invade Poland. 

Eton and Eton Wick having been designated an area safe from air attack, prepared to receive their allotted number of evacuees from London. At the Southern Railway Riverside station, Windsor, Council Officers and helpers gathered to meet the trains bringing the evacuated school children and mothers with young children.  Of the eight hundred children scheduled for Eton and Eton Wick only five hundred and seventy-eight arrived. On arriving at Eton Wick the evacuees assembled at the village hall where potential foster parents were waiting. Archibald Chew, appointed Billeting Officer for Eton Wick, had recruited retired police officer Fred Warner, the village school head teacher, Christina Plumridge and Mrs Chew to assist him.  On arrival some children were distraught when they realized they were to stay with a strange family.   Because foster parents were allowed to choose to which child they took difficulties sometimes arose.  In the few instances where these situations occurred Mr and Mrs Chew took the unfortunates in until a satisfactory solution was found.   It was a time-consuming job carried out with great dedication by Councillor Chew and his helpers. 

Mr E.F.Pressey,  E.U.D.C. Surveyor, reported at the time, that most children had settled into their new homes well, but some families viewed the situation with trepidation as they remembered stories of the East End slums and wondered how they would cope.

Sylvia Collier. — 

“Mum had put our names down for evacuation and was told that we were to be ready to go if the war became more imminent.  For a fortnight we had practised getting to the school early with our belongings and forming into our respective groups.  Our school, near to Wormwood Scrubs, had forty classes so took most of the children in the area where with we lived.  On the morning of September 1st. we assembled and made our way to East Acton Station to board the train for our unknown destination.  My brother and I thought we were going for a fortnight, so unconcerned, waved goodbye to Mum as the train pulled away taking us to Wiltshire.  Our mother, with my five-year-old brother, had stayed behind to care for her elderly father but was told on the Sunday morning to be ready to go, as it was advisable to get all children out of London. Her destination was the Willows, Windsor.  Later we were able to join Mum at the Willows”.       

Those evacuees who remained without billets following assembly at the village hall were placed by Mr Chew and his Billeting Officers.  Eight-year-old Roy Langdon was billeted by Fred Warner at 'Perseverance Place' with Mr and Mrs Harding.  His school had evacuated from Hammersmith which with a school from Stepney made up the allocation to Eton Wick.'Perseverance Place' in Alma Road also housed the  Eton / Eton Wick Gas Supply Maintenance Depot.  At this period Mr Harding was the depot manager.    

Dick Harding —–

" He arrived complete with cardboard suitcase, gas mask, a tin of corned beef and a tin of Libbys milk.  The revealing thing about Roy was his East London accent.  One day during a discussion on the impending sugar ration, Roy chipped in with “My dad's got a sack of sugar, he knocked it off darn the docks.” Within a week Roy's parents were down to see him.   Air raids on London had not materialized so Roy only stayed a few weeks before being taken home by his parents”    

The different home life of the evacuee to that of the foster parent at time brought about difficult and amusing situations as Mrs Cook experienced with her two billeted girls, Iris Birch and Betty Garcia.          

"The first week one of the girls refused her Sunday dinner and when I asked what was wrong said, "I want my Sunday dinner". Questioned as to what her Sunday dinner usually comprised, the answer came, `"Tatters, Ham and Beer!''. On another occasion the girl came running into the house exclaiming "Quick missus, Go and jaw that women next door she's calling you names". What was calling turned out to be a Cuckoo bird, the call of which she had never heard before.          

Evacuated with 'The Hamlet of Ratcliffe Central School', White Horse Lane, Stepney, George White found his wartime home with Mr and Mrs Cox of Tilstone lane, Eton Wick, staying until he joined the army in 1943.  Before enlisting he had made his mark with others as a musician entertaining the troops stationed on the Dorney common camp.   A small number of pupils from the Green Coat school which had evacuated from Mile End also came to the village, but the majority were billeted in Eton. 

Girls from the Clapham County School were billeted at the home of College masters. Two sisters were taken to Savile house the home of Dr. and Mrs Ley.  The girls were made welcome by Eva Bond, one of the household maids. who befriended the two very bewildered girls.

Not all homes were suitable to take evacuees and among those that were, the Billeting Officers at times met with householder objection.  Initially there was choice as to whether or which child was taken, but eventually the Government took powers to enforce the acceptance of an evacuee if room was available in the home.  A weekly billeting allowance of ten shillings for the first child of school age and eight shillings and sixpence for each additional child with three shillings and sixpence available for laundry if a child was bed wetting was paid by the Government.  Some evacuee children were perturbed by their new surroundings finding it hard to adapt to village life and difficulties did arise at times between foster parents, evacuee and the Billeting Officer.  Often health problems, discipline within the home and the extra work involved for the housewife was the cause which put a strain on the family relationships.   Difficulties arose within one village family where the health of the wife suffered so much that it became necessary to place the two evacuees in other accommodation.  After a suitable period of time the billeting officer tried to place other children with this family. This was unacceptable to the husband whose refusal to take further evacuated children resulted in a Summons being issued to him by the Eton U.D.C. under the War Emergency Acts.  The husband’s appearance before the court resulted in a fine of eight shillings.  

An advisory panel set up by the council to help with these difficult situations included, The Hon. Mrs Butterwick; Mrs C.H.Hartley; Messrs A.B.Chew; P. Ashby; E.F. Mills and H.Bunce.         
The precaution of evacuating some essential services from London such as food distribution establishments brought the Billingsgate Wholesale Fish Market to Datchet.

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

Wednesday, 28 August 2019

Farming practices around the village remembered

One of the few recorded memories of Eton Wick in the nineteenth century is that of a young girl over eighty years ago watching her mother making straw binders. The ends of the straw were attached to an iron hook and the straw was then plaited to make a binder long enough to tie up a sheaf of corn. Later in the day long lines of farm workers worked their way steadily across the harvest field reaping the corn with scythes, and behind them followed the
women tying up the cut corn ready for it to be made into stooks. Only the oldest inhabitants can remember such a scene, for in this century the horse-drawn reaper took the place of the scythes; but the long lines of pyramidal stooks stretching across the South Field would have been a familiar sight until the advent of the combine harvester.  To the children the harvest field meant many things, but more memorable was the frantic flight of the rabbits and hares. Many tried to hide in the standing corn, only to be forced to flee in a flurry of dust over the bare stubble when the last patch was cut.

For one or two weeks the stooks would be left to dry before being carted away, some to be threshed immediately, but most to be stored until the slack months of the winter. When the fields were clear the gleaning began. Once corn was gathered in this way to provide the families with flour, but no memory of this seems still to be with us.  Early this century, however, the stray ears of corn were gathered to feed chickens kept in cottage gardens. Though tiring and back breaking work, it was a worthwhile task for the mothers and boys of the family.

The season, however, brought more pleasurable activities to privileged boys who helped the
hayward during the summer holidays. The cattle were brought to the common each morning by their owners and then driven on to the lammas lands to graze on the pasture and   stubble.  Most of the fields of the parish would be used in their turn, including even the recreation ground but this happened on only one day as a token gesture to maintain the lammas rights. Some of the fields were the best part of a mile from the common, and there was plenty of work for the boys and the Hayward in keeping the   animals from straying on the way. Occasionally there were disputes where the cattle could go; it is still remembered how 'Grandfather' Stannett, hayward in the 1920s insisted on taking the cattle into particular fields. On one occasion the bailiff refused to hand over the keys to the Masters' Rec. so he instructed the boys to keep the cattle off the road while he broke the padlock, and then 'whistled up' the boys and drove the cattle in. The piercing sound of the whistle could often be heard during the lammasing season, for the hayward used it to remind the boys of what they should be doing during the day.

Perhaps the most vividly remembered event connected with the old ways of farming is the turning out of the horses on the common for the first time after the winter. This happened on the first day of May at six o'clock in the evening. It was a red-letter day for animals and children. The cows showed their appreciation of their freedom and the new grass by milling around, but it was the horses that reacted most. They would madly gallop up and down, round and round the common, to the accompaniment of excited shouts from the children and cries of consternation from the mothers. They were anxious lest anyone should be hurt, for no fence separated the road from the common in those days.

This is an extract from The Story of a Village: Eton Wick 1217 to 1977 by Judith Hunter.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

Family of The Late F H White

Can you help John Harrison find the decedents of Fred H White who was a Gentleman's Hairdresser in Eton High Street and a Special Constable during World War Two?

Mr Harrison can be contacted on

Friday, 16 August 2019

Eton Wick Horticultural Society 1939

Wednesday,  August 16th 1939.
A beautiful summer’s day heralded the annual Eton Wick Horticultural Society show held at the Wheat Butts by kind permission of Mr E.L. Vaughan.  This, the fifty seventh show of the society was well supported with exhibits of vegetables, flowers, poultry and rabbits. Entries were received from Dorney, Boveney and Eton Wick which did great credit to the members, not least the amazing display of 121 grasses collected by one child. Before the opening of the show, Major R.T. Dabson, Chairman of the Society, presided over the luncheon held in the marquee for the Committee and invited guests.  Replying to the Chairman's opening speech, Mr Vaughan addressing the Society, spoke of the pleasure the show gave him and expressed the hope that the Wheatbutts would never be built on. For the following forty years the Wheatbutts remained as such until sold for housing by the landlord Eton College.  Sideshows and Competitions added to the enjoyment of the day together with a very level putting green that had been made. This attracted a steady flow of players and spectators.  Field sports and dancing during the evening ended the show.

As the likelihood of war drew ever closer the requirement for war weapons increased and to meet their manufacturing targets of war weapons, engineering companies on the Trading Estate needed more labour. Offers of high rates of pay with overtime and bonus payments attracted men and women away from non-essential service jobs.  Frank Bond, having spent
Courtesy of Grace's Guide to
British Industrial Heritage.
three years learning boot and shoe repairing in Windsor, joined the Tipsy Aircraft Company on the Trading Estate. His wage as a shoe repairer was eighteen shillings a week, but his first pay packet as a war worker amounted to two pounds and fifteen shillings.  Increasing production of military equipment at High Duty Alloys engaged in forging and casting parts for Merlin aero engines, G.D. Peters of Slough producing various military equipment and Hawker Aircraft at Langley where Hurricane fighter planes were being produced required seven day round-the-clock shift working. The growing force of skilled, semi-skilled and trainee workers came from a wide area putting lodging accommodation at a premium.  Many travelled daily by rail to Slough and via the branch line to the rail platform within the Trading Estate. Wartime workers found lodgings in Eton Wick, Dorney and surrounding villages. The numerous factories on the Trading Estate employed a wartime workforce of more than 40,000, added to the civilian workforce were the specialist service personnel seconded from the navy, army and air force to factories. At the edge of the Estate Canadian troops set up a camp and repair workshops for their tanks and vehicles whilst at the farther end of the estate there was an MT Vehicle park and a Royal Ordnance camp.

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

Saturday, 10 August 2019

World War 2 Eighty Years On - Civil Defence Blackout Test.

WW2 propaganda poster courtesy of the National Education Network
Thursday, August 10th 1939.

Throughout the United Kingdom a test was carried out of the Civil Defence services and the effectiveness of the blackout.  Considering the number of windows in Eton College and the domestic lighting facilities in the village, the ARP wardens reported a very satisfactory result.

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

Wednesday, 7 August 2019

The Eton Wick Newsletter - December 2013 - `Our Village' Magazine

Have you given thought to our village magazine; to what prompted its publication, to the work involved and to the support needed to keep it going? 

The first issue was in April 2008 and has been distributed to every household in the village, from the railway viaduct to the Dorney Common Gate free of charge, three times annually since. It was the brainchild of the Village Hall Committee and prompted by an original idea in 1949. At that time the Village Hall was known as the 'Stute', being of course an abbreviation for The Eton Wick and Boveney Institute. It was just a brief few years since some state of normality had returned to the communities following an almost 6 years of war upheaval. In 1949 and again in 1951 the 'Stute' committee under its chairman, local builder Jim Ireland, produced a magazine titled 'Our Village' at 6 pence an issue.

They were produced on a duplicator and hand stapled together. The two issues, although quite 'tatty' in today's comparison, are surely now very collectable. The second issue has adverts for most of the then new council built shops to open in 1951, along the top of 'Meux the Brewers' Field, adjoining The Shepherds Hut public house. That issue also contained an article on Bell Farm, submitted by Mrs Smith, the wife of John, who was the Eton Urban Surveyor and responsible for the layout and design of the early post war council housing in the village. Mr & Mrs Smith lived in Bell Farm for several years. Here is the article: 

Bell Farm — Modern discoveries in our village — Do you know that in your own village of Eton Wick you have one of the oldest buildings in Buckinghamshire?

Built around 1360 Bell Farm still retains most of its original structure inside a comparatively modem front. The original beams and arches are still in a wonderful state of preservation. According to its history two rooms were added on the North side in 1580. Although covered by several coats of paint, gentle scraping reveals fine old oak panels mellowed by time. It is in the lower of these rooms, known as the parlour, that our most interesting 'find' has been revealed. For the past two years there have been falls of what resembled builder's rubble down the chimney, and when strong smells of something burning had been haunting the house for a month or so we decided to investigate. So one evening, having removed the furniture and rolled up the carpet we removed the broken Victorian fireplace. Result — clouds of dust, loads of bricks, birds' nests and soot. When the dust finally subsided there was a lovely Tudor arch, the original, in a miraculous state of preservation. 

So yet another example of the wonderful craftsmanship of the past has come to light and the arch forms part of our repaired fireplace. When the room is entered the light falls on the bricks which have retained their delicate colouring for the past 370 years, and are still a joy to look at in 1951. 

Article submitted by Frank Bond 

Frank Bond recalls discussing Bell Farm and the 'Parlour' room with Mrs Smith some 50 or 60 years ago, and suggests she may have been careful in her article respecting her Mother's views. Apparently Mrs Smith often felt the presence of 'another' when in the room alone. She never spoke of this to her Mother who was living at Bell Farm. 

Come one occasion when Mr and Mrs Smith were going out one evening and Mrs Smith said to her Mother "I hope you do not mind being left alone." Back came the reply "I am never alone in that room, and the presence of another who is always kind and friendly." This helped prompt the chimney disturbance, ever mindful of what they might find. 

Beverley Campion, the now resident of Bell Farm House, writes 

"I can confirm that neither of my late parents nor I have ever seen or been aware of any ghostly presence, but that the house has always had a warm friendly atmosphere, so if the spirits of previous residents are still here they have never seemed to mind sharing the house with us. There were however some nasty "spells" in the inglenook fireplace when we moved in, indicating some kind of witchcraft perhaps - which we simply burned, but as each of us suffered misfortunes in the years immediately succeeding, I would not discount the power of witchcraft.......  

Beverley also advised that according to Berkshire County Council's Head of Conservation in the early seventies, when boundary changes put Eton and Eton Wick into Berkshire, Bell Farm House is the oldest house in Berkshire. (Apparently it was the sixth oldest when in Buckinghamshire). Also. that when they bought the house in 1959, they were told that the two back rooms were added during the reign of Henry VIII (1509 - 1547), not in 1580 as Mrs Smith thought. 

The Smiths had told about the 'Parlour' fireplace and it is still possible to see the Tudor arch brickwork made up of tiny bricks, now supported by a modern brick fireplace. There is an equally interesting story about the Inglenook fireplace in what is now the sitting room. Apparently this had had a Victorian fireplace, but whilst it was being redecorated, the Smiths were banging about and realised there was a hollow sound, indicating there must be a space behind it, so they took the Victorian fireplace down and revealed the inglenook fireplace and what was left of the bread ovens. Beverley doesn't think this inglenook was originally in the house but believes she read somewhere that this was added when the house was over 100 years old, so would presume it was originally a mediaeval 'Hall House' with a smoky fire in the middle of the floor of what is now their front hall. 

Squirrels recently got into the roof of the Tudor bedroom and chewed holes in the fibre board ceiling. Contractors removing these chewed panels revealed magnificent beams, which also showed that the roof has been heightened at some time. The lower beams had small nail holes in them, indicating that laths had been nailed to these, so there must always have been a lath and plaster ceiling in that bedroom, whereas all the other bedrooms have exposed beams which go right up into the roof as there is no loft. This must mean that the beams in this room have never been exposed. Now that she has seen them Beverley wishes she could afford to have the fibre board removed and expose these magnificent beams. 

Our thanks to Beverley Campion for these added anecdotes.

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.

Wednesday, 31 July 2019

Long Close House

No photographs of this old farm house in its original timber clad state have come to hand. The house is located some half a mile beyond Little Common Farm House, at the north east end of the Common, and borders on Manor Farm and North Field. By the mid-20th century it was no longer a farm, and the house was modernised and brick clad. Before the 1914/18 war until some time after, the Quarterman family ran it as a pig farm. In the mid-1930s the Tutt family used it as a home and smallholding. After the 1939/45 war, it became the home of Bridget Rogers, who ran her Long Close Riding Stables from there. Bridget was also associated with Windsor's Theatre Royal as a stage director. 

Long Close's connection with the stage/film industry has continued up to the present time as the home and vehicle museum of Tony and Paul Oliver. Vehicles are hired out to cinema and television film makers. Among many items that have appeared on screen are Lt. Gruber's 'little tank' and Rene's ice cream van (TV series ''allo, 'allo'), Roger Rabbit's auto, and military vehicles in the film 'Evita'. The museum is occasionally open to the public and attracts visitors from far and wide.

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

Monday, 22 July 2019

War Memorial Committee Meeting July 1919

Committee Meeting held July 22nd 1919 

Sargeant's estimate (Nutt's design) £173.18.4d: accepted. Agreed that work be put in hand at once, also that the architect be asked for a copy of the specifications and invited to submit his fee which shall include work supervision.

This is an extract from Their Names Shall Be Carved in Stone  
and published here with grateful thanks to the author Frank Bond.

Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Eton Wick: A Changing Village Before 1934

This part of the village has almost always been mainly residential, but elsewhere there 
Clifton House
were new shops and businesses being set up. One of the first additions in the twentieth century was probably the shop at Clifton House, now the post office. It has the distinction of being the first purpose-built shop in the village, and the cause of much open-eyed wonder to at least one small boy, who about 1902 watched they high sky-light going into place, and large marble slabs for counters being carried in. Before this he had only seen marble as tomb stones! The shop was 'built as a wedding present to young Mr Pratt from his father of Pratt & Sons, family grocers of Eton High Street. Unfortunately romance and business did not mix: tradition has it that the young couple were too kind-hearted so that within a few years the shop had to be sold. The next shopkeepers after this were the Harman's, after them Anderson, then Wiggington; until in 1931 the shop became Chantler's and remained so for the next forty years.

About 1907 Edward Woolhouse set up in business at 58 Eton Wick Road as a cyclemaker and repairer, though there was far more to his business than that. He hired out cycles, particularly to Eton College boys for this was the era of the bicycle. He also made and mended perambulators and many other household items. There is no doubt of his importance in Eton Wick nor his prestige when he became one of the first villagers to own a car, a De Dion. For many years the present Baron's Stores (no 62 Eton Wick Road) was occupied by William Hearn, boot and shoe repairer, saddler and even umbrella maker. Thomas Henry of Inkerman Road, on the other hand was a bespoke shoemaker. Like several other shoemakers in the village, though their names were not recorded in the trade directories, Mr Henry worked for Ganes of Eton and his customers were mainly from the College. About this period in the years before the First World War, Thomas Bond was first advertised as greengrocer of Alma Road; Albert Bond was following the same trade from his home at Ye Olde Cottage. Bert had begun his interest in business long before - while he was still at school - by selling fish to the workmen building the new lock at Boveney. When he left school he took to selling fruit and vegetables from a donkey and cart, promoting himself to a horse and cart as soon as he was able, and selling fish and rabbits as well. He was a familiar figure in the village for well over half a century, and his cart, piled high with clean and polished produce, annually took part in the Windsor Hospital Parade. North of New Town the land not built upon was a market garden known as Home Close and owned by Harry Prior. Albert Borret was a cowkeeper though he lived at Vine Cottage in the Eton Wick Road until he moved to Eton Cottage. Like the farmers he sold milk from a churn, measuring out the quantities into the customers' own jugs.

The Fly-paper Man
The long established shops continued through this forty year period, though the shopkeepers and the types of goods they sold changed. At one time there was a fish and chip shop, a fishmonger's, a confectioner's and Uneedus the draper's. All of these were advertised in the directories; but there were several small businesses that were not. Tinker' Palmer mended pots and pans, and boots and shoes at his home in Prospect Place. Mr Bolton attempted to establish a butcher's shop in Alma Road, but it was not a success. Meat could be bought from one of the grocer's shops when a carcass had been bought from Windsor market, or from one of the travelling horse-drawn shops that came into the village each week. Hendley's high-box type van was a familiar sight each Thursday until the Second World War. It carried all manner of household goods, pots, pans, baskets, tin baths, oil for lamps which were hung outside and inside of the van and piled high on top as it was so laden. Mappin's from Slough delivered cakes; the muffin man and the winkle man came in their seasons and in the summer the fly-paper man, complete with his top hat adorned with a sticky paper ribbon decorated with dead flies. How far he travelled is not known, but his song is remembered in Slough, Chalvey and Windsor: - 'Flies! Flies! Catch 'em alive! His appearance fascinated one small boy in Slough who captured his likeness on a page in his school history book.

After 1895 the launderies were rarely advertised either, though until the end of the 1920s they continued to play an important part in the working life of the village. Before the First World War there were at least five launderies operating. These were cottage launderies employing at the most about eight women as at Mrs Langridge's of Thatch Cottage. Even so not all the workers came from the village. At least a few lived in Dorney. Gradually much of the work done by these launderies was taken over by the College Laundry until there were only those of Mrs Cox and Mrs Miles left. All seem to have ceased by 1930. Many women, however, still took in washing, specialising in the items of clothing that were better hand washed such as jerseys and woollen socks.

In the village two other businesses still in existence, made their beginnings in the first decade of this century. From his home in Inkerman Road Albert Sibley, a shoemaker by trade, began his newspaper agency. It was a part time family affair, the sons collecting the local newspapers from the printer's in Windsor, and carrying them home in a home-made box on wheels. They would then distribute them if it were not too late at night. It became a full-time business when Bill Sibley set up at the corner of Alma Road in the 1940s. Rolley Bond was a smallholder, but he supplemented his income by running a cab service from his home at Palmer Place. He took College boys to the station, sick people to hospital, and regularly each holiday Miss Stearn, the village schoolmistress, to the station. Even before he left school Bob Bond, with his brothers, was helping his father with the horse and trap. Through the 1920s the business expanded to cover road haulage, becoming motorised at the end of the decade; the first advertisement is in the 1931 directory: - R. Bond & Sons, motor haulage and cartage, contractor, sand and ballast merchant. The firm was to flourish in the council building boom of the post war years, and Bob was to become one of the important members of the community. About 1935 he bought Dairy Farm and renovated the old farmhouse, and when Bell Farm no longer served as sewage farm he took over much of the land.

Other names are to be read in the directories of the 1930s - Jack Newall had taken over from Arthur Gregory as blacksmith, Miles & Sons were carpenters and undertakers in The Walk, and Scotty Hood was a coal merchant with premises in Sheepcote Road until the terrible night when his stables caught fire. There was now a chimney sweep, William Neal, and Mr Mumford had opened his butcher's shop at 31 Eton Wick Road (now Kelly's). The 1931 directory listed seven farmers and dairymen in Eton Wick; three of them were Tarrents - Alfred, George and Arthur, tenants of Little Common, Manor and Crown, and Saddocks Farms.

Perseverance House in Alma Road was the depot of the Uxbridge Gas Company. Gas had come to the village lust before the First World War; oil lamps were exchanged for gas mantles in the main rooms, and open fires and cottage ranges could be replaced by gas cookers - though this happened only very slowly. Two - or was it three - gas lamps lit the Eton Wick Road through the village. Electricity did not arrive in the village until the end of the 1930s; like gas, water and main drainage, it was brought into Eton Wick long after it was installed in Eton. Even so not all the houses were converted, several still had only gas in the 1950s, and at least one cottage in Albert Place was still without electricity when it was demolished in 1969. The only artificial light in the bedrooms was candlelight. Piped water did not come to the Boveney part of the village until the late 1920s, and only then after a campaign because the water had become contaminated.

About this time the first bus service reached Eton Wick. That was the Blue Bus which at first was no more than a converted Model H Ford van, seating six passengers and entered by steps at the back. A few years later there was competition from the yellow and brown Marguerite buses to take people to Windsor. This was the era of small bus companies and one man operations with much com-petition between rivals. The Blue Bus van was replaced by a proper bus and for several years in the late twenties and thirties Eton Wick had two bus services . Fares were only 1d and 1½d and the conductor-cum-driver would obligingly set down passengers anywhere along the Eton Wick Road. The Marguerite ceased operating before the end of the thirties, but the Blue Bus driven by Mr Cole continued well into the 1960s when his personal service was replaced by that offered by the national bus companies.
Edward Littleton Vaughan
These forty years while Eton Wick was a separate parish saw many innovations, but perhaps the most lasting has been the Village Hall. It was built by Burfoot and Son in 1906, but the land was the gift of Edward Littleton Vaughan. Known at first as the Eton Wick and Boveney Institute it was opened a year later on 22nd January 'under auspicious circumstances' according to the parish magazine. The opening ceremony was brief but impressive. The large room up-stairs was filled long before the appointed hour with parishioners and visitors'. The Institute, however, was more than just a building, it was a club replacing the old Working Men's Club which had been meeting at Wheatbutts. The new Institute, so it was explained in the speeches and reports of 1907, had been founded 'primarily for men and boys to promote fellowship and to provide whole-some recreation among these. The billiard room, a reading room and a large room suitable for concerts, the boys' room and a bar selling light refreshments and non-alcoholic drinks, all contributed to give the right atmosphere for a successful beginning to the Institute. Before the year was out, however, one note at least of dissension was being heard in the village - the women and girls were expressing their indignation and disappointment at being excluded. By December this had been altered, and the parish magazine was 'pleased to announce the formation of a Women's and Girls' Club, who thanks to the kindness of Mr Vaughan (were) now able to share in the recreation of the Institute'. Girls over thirteen years of age were eligible to become members at the cost of a 1d per week or a 1s per quarter. As well as the weekly social club there were a library, sewing class, fancy work class, gymnastics, dancing and table games.

Mr Vaughan became president of the institute and remained keenly interested in all its 
The Village Hall - 1907
activities; it was not in his character to be merely a figurehead. In 1934 he conveyed the Hall to Trustees for the use of the inhabitants of Eton Wick and Boveney. The first three trustees were all from the College and even today the Bursar by virtue of his office is always a trustee. The day to day running, however, has always been in the hands of a Village Hall Committee and various subcommittees. Over the years the range of activities and rules of the Institute have changed, and even its name as well, to the less formal 'Village Hall and Vaughan Club' , and the Boys' and Girls' Clubs have at times had no leader and had to be closed. Yet throughout the period the Hall seems to have been the social centre of the village. Dances, whist drives, concerts and debates were held there, many of them organised by the Institutes' own clubs and committees. Billiards, table tennis, darts and table games were available to its members; a billiard championship was organised in the 1930s ; Mr Vaughan presented a cup. Toddy' Vaughan, as he was affectionately known was associated with the Wick for over half a century - as president of the Village Hall, as chairman of the Parish Council and as father figure and benefactor. He took a personal interest in many of the sorrows and joys of the village, and many people still remember the help he gave them and the fun they had at his hay teas and cherry parties. It was he who bought Wheatbutts and restored it in the 1920s and who allowed Wheatbutts Field to be used each year for the Horticultural Show. He died in 1940 and the village did honour to his memory with a plaque in the Village Hall. After Mrs Vaughan's death in 1951 a stained glass window was placed in the church; it was her bequest in memory of her late husband

At last Eton Wick had become a real village and not merely a hamlet of Eton. Although it still had many connections with the town and College it had its own church and priest, a chapel, school, village hall, its own nurse and policeman, its own clubs and social life and most of the shops and services for everyday living. It seems a strange paradox then, that at this time when Eton Wick could offer its residents so much more than in any earlier period, that it should be reunited with Eton. In 1934, however, the life of the Eton Wick and Boveney Parish Councils came to an end, and all parts of the village were taken in to the Eton Urban District, while the remainder of Boveney was merged with Dorney Parish. Today Eton Wick is still part of Eton Town Council within the much larger Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

This is an extract from The Story of a Village: Eton Wick 1217 to 1977 by Judith Hunter.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Word War 2 Eighty Years On - Summer 1939

During the summer months of 1939 there was much to be done on the Home Front.  Men and Women  who volunteered to serve as wardens, firemen, rescue, ambulance and first aid personnel had to give of their available time for lectures and practical training Instruction. This training was generally taken after a day’s work or at the weekend. Wardens and firemen were then called upon to instruct citizens in the correct way to use stirrup pumps, how to deal with incendiary bombs, the use of the gas mask and how to take shelter safely in the event of an air raid. Air Raid Wardens were also  responsible for the fitting of gas masks and enforcing the blackout.  Parades and reviews of the military services and civil defence organizations were held during the war years. During July 1939  Harry Chantler in his capacity as ARP Warden represented Eton at the national review of ARP personnel held in Hyde Park, London where the salute was taken by Queen Elizabeth.

Although negotiations had been taking place for a considerable time regarding the installation of an electricity supply to the village, no agreement had been reached before the outbreak of hostilities, therefore no air raid siren was installed in the village.   Eton Wick relied on the sirens located at Eton, Slough and Datchet to give warning of enemy aircraft in the vicinity. Safeguards put in place to combat dislocation resulting from air raids included the establishment of emergency food supplies.  Large and small stores of dry goods were set up by the  Ministry of Food during 1940/41 at sites considered safe from bombing.  A small quantity of essential foodstuffs was deposited in Eton Wick village hall  also an emergency meat supply was lodged with the village butcher, George Mumford.  Local memories indicate that a refrigerator was installed, probably gas operated, but hearsay has it that a  temporary  electric power line  was rigged from a near point;  if this was so, the nearest supply would have been from  Cippenham or Dorney.

Civilian Gas Mask - image courtesy of Object Lessons website. 
Before an issue of gas masks could begin, the separate component parts supplied  in bulk to the local ARP units required assembly.  For the Eton district this involved the assembly of more than three thousand units,  the work being carried out during one evening by Eton College staff and helpers.  Initially there was a shortage but before September,  ARP Wardens had fitted each resident of Eton and Eton Wick with their mask complete with its cardboard carrying case.  During the summer of 1940 smoke filters were fitted to the masks. This may have been a selective procedure to combat the effects of the smoke screen lamps installed during 1940 to protect the Slough trading estate.  Damage to one’s gas mask incurred the following charges,  complete mask adult 2/6d, face piece 1/6d, container 1/0d and the cardboard box 2d.  To ensure residents knew how to use their gas masks, Wardens visited homes to checked that the fit was correct. This  sometimes presented difficulties and Warden Harry Chantler remembered the tantrums of children who would not co-operate, whilst others found the smell of the rubber face piece nauseous.  Also to be fitted were the special designed gas mask for babies and invalids.   One case  requiring patience and tact involved a resident who mentally could not  come to terms with wearing a gas mask.  After several visits and attempts at persuasion that always met with point blank refusal even to try on the gas mask, Harry with his cool and Christian approach to such matters, decided that, rather than upset the person, it would be better to leave the situation and nip around quickly if a gas attack was likely and then see what could be done!!.

The Eton U.D.C., being responsible for the provision of private and public air raid shelters. asked for tenders from local ironmongers and engineering firms. The Council Surveyor recommended a 'Fortress' type shelter from Metal Agencies of Slough at a quoted price of £4-10 shillings with the suggestion that tenants of council properties erect their own shelters.  It was pointed out that many people in Eton living in Brocas Street, Kings Stable and other streets in that area had no space for a shelter, suggesting that permission be sought from Eton College to erect shelters on the Brocas but this scheme for various reasons was thought not to be practicable and did not proceed. Shelters had been completed at the College Arms and the archway to the Eton College boathouses with other sites already selected including the tunnels under Barnes Pool and the railway arches. The provision of air raid shelters became the subject of heated debate in the Eton Council Chamber during the following year (1940). Assurance from the Surveyor and Council Chairman that Eton was deemed a safe area, therefore having no priority for shelters, did nothing to allay the fears of the residents.

The approaching war was not the sole interest in the village. Ten new dwellings, the first council development in Eton Wick, had been erected on Bells field and were ready for letting. The new houses were of one bedroom, three bedroom and four bedroom type with corresponding rents of three shillings and sixpence, eight shillings, and ten shillings and sixpence per week.  These dwellings were named after the village benefactor ‘Toddy’ Vaughan,  and called ‘Vaughan Gardens’.

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