Saturday, 4 April 2020

Village Hall Closure - Coronavirus Covid-19

Please note that with effect from 

Friday 27th March 2020 Eton Wick Village Hall 

will be closed until further notice. 

We of course apologise for any inconvenience to our hirers, but this is in accordance with Government Guidelines. 


Easter Egg Hunt on Good Friday - We were hoping to make this an outside event only this year. Due to the Coronavirus this has now been cancelled.

Unfortunately many other events listed in this newsletter have been cancelled or postponed, with particular reference to the V.E. Day Anniversary Celebrations shown on page 14 of Our Village April 2020

Margaret Everitt 
Chairman 


Monday, 30 March 2020

The Eton Wick Newsletter - August 2016 - `Our Village' Magazine


Village shops before the superstores (Part 1) 


At a recent local History Group talk we discussed trading before the coming of superstores in the late 1970's. Our knowledge depends on memory, recording and what we are told. At best sometimes questionable. 

Recorded history of Eton Wick is limited, and frequently incorporated with that of Eton. The Anglo Saxon name of 'Wyk' is suggestive of a supply area to a habitation; in this instance Eton. 'Wyk' we are told, meant the provider of necessities to that place - again Eton. This is itself a suggestion of early trading; albeit perhaps wood for fuel, barricades, buildings, and willow-withies for the fish traps, hurdles and fencing. Perhaps also fish, livestock and rye. This is my conjecture and not necessarily factual. Dr Judith Hunter's book 'The Story of a Village 1217 -1977' is the only work I know of that covers our general history. (Copies are still available from the History Group). Judith would have used some of the history written by the Rev Vicar John Shepherd eighty years earlier, titled 'Old Days of Eton Parish', although it essentially covered the College; its Chapel; the town and village churches and schools, with some thoughts on Common and Lammas. 

There is the more recent 'Photographic History of Eton Wick and Eton' (2000) and the 100th Anniversary publications of the Eton Wick School (1988), and of the Methodist Chapel (1986), both by Judith Hunter; also the book recording Eton Wick war fatalities (2000) and John Denham's collection of 'Eton Wick 1939 - 1945'. These are single subject records however, but to my knowledge are the extent of our recorded history. There are a number of personal stories, never meant for publication but an invaluable source of knowledge. I have-several of these, including the memories of a local farmer; a London evacuee's time at Eton College, and her being bombed out from her Eton home in December 1940: an eye witness account of the Dorney Common anti-aircraft guns in action; the rescuing of post war squatter families from flooded huts on Dorney Common in 1947; the arrival of a gas depot in Alma Road 1929 and the story of Harry Chantler, our popular grocer and postmaster (1929 -1973). 

The group talk on pre Superstores Eton Wick, commenced by saying that the village's first known shop was during the 1840's in one of the Harding Cottages, and owned by John Kirby. The original Harding Cottage was along Common Road, and it was probably during the early 19th Century that a terrace row of four or five more were built at the end of the long plot, and along the main road now the site of Clifton Lodge. It would not have been a shop by later standards, but almost certainly a front room adaptation, and probably sold some groceries, candles, paraffin, matches, soaps, pot menders etc. Canned foods were not an item in 1840. 

Eton Wick's population at this time was barely 400, and most of the few cottages had very large plots providing room for chickens, perhaps a pig, goat, and even a cow. Residents along Common Road with its stream and ponds even kept ducks, and still they had substantial vegetable gardens and currant bushes. This self-sufficiency was no help to Mr Kirby's venture, and in due course he packed up. There were no allotments and would not be for another fifty years well after most of those large cottage plots had been sold and built on. That first known shop was very close to 'The Grapes' public house, and its demise gave the landlord, William Simmonds, the opportunity to sell groceries from his licensed premises. In fact I was once told that the pub sold milk well into the twentieth century. 'The Grapes' was renamed 'The Pickwick' in 1984 and became a restaurant in 2003. 

Around 1870* John Kirby reappeared and again set up a shop and home, now at Ada Cottage (now 46 Eton Wick Road). This was only 50 — 60 metres west of Harding Cottages and 'The Grapes' and next to another public house 'The Three Horseshoes'. Both pubs have recently closed. John Kirby's new outlet at Ada Cottage in the early 1870's was destined to trade for over 100 years, with many owners and many uses, from grocery, post office, ironmongery, bakery, fishing tackle, fish and chips, millinery, war time tailoring, cycle parts, shoe repairs, interior decorating materials, and a printers. It retained a shop front appearance until the end of the 20th century, long after becoming solely residential again. 

By 1876 John Kirby had died and Mr Thomas Lovell had taken over. With no opposition he expanded the business with the first Eton Wick bakery, first Post Office and an extensive range of galvanised buckets, baths and tubs added to the grocery. Tom's brother Fred meanwhile traded in drapery and footwear. Opportunely this coincided with extensive house building beyond Bell Lane in the new area of Boveney Newtown (in the Burnham Parish until 1934). Lovell's stores may well have been the only shop throughout the remaining 1800's. There were of course various vendors with their horse drawn carts. This included farmers with milk and eggs, bakery carts from Eton and coal merchants. Newtown development throughout the 1880 — 1890's produced two shops but I have no year of their opening. The first I believe was at Shakespeare Place and the other at Garrod Place and both were purely grocery stores. Some years later the Co-op opened a larger store replacing the Garrod Place beginning. 

In 1902 Pratts of Eton obtained the Eton Wick old school site at 'The Walk' junction, where
they had the village's first purpose built shop known as Clifton Stores, erected for the purpose of retailing groceries and household necessities. Perhaps not at first a great success, it was transferred to Mr Harman in 1908, who after five years sold the business to Mr Anderson. It was 1913 and a year of changes. The Post Office moved from Ada Cottage to Clifton Stores. The council attached a fire ladder and reel of hose to the outside wall of Clifton Stores; presumably for general use in case of fire, while somebody cycled or ran to Eton, mustered the voluntary brigade, who with horse drawn pumps galloped to Eton Wick. The ladder was a feature until 1987, but the hose went earlier. Also in 1913 a brick mortuary was built off Common Road: at this time river bathing and consequent drownings were not uncommon. In 1907 a third retail shop was opened and this time for Royal Enfield Cycles, repairs and hire. Villager Ted Woolhouse opened the shop in the front room of a terrace house close to Lovell's Stores (now 56 Eton Wick Road. He did not live in the house, but it was rented out separately — minus a sitting room. Ted was reputedly Eton Wick's first car owner, having a De Dion purchased in 1907. Around 1910 Bill Hearn moved into a 'semi' at Wellman Cottages, just three houses from the cycle shop (now 62 Eton Wick Road) and much later known as Thames View Stores. Bill used the sitting room to sell and repair or manufacture leather harnesses, saddlery, bags etc. Ambitiously he had printed Eton Wick view postcards. Sadly Mrs Hearn died around 1913 and with his young family he moved to Victoria Road to pursue small engineering and eventually a taxi business. 

The Wellman retail outlet became the third grocery shop along this stretch of road, being owned by Wiggins. Grahams and Barons: ending its days in the 1990's as an aquatic store. There was another shop along this road, at the end of St. Leonard's Place, by The Walk (now Taylors Court). This apparently came about at the end of the Great War, when farmer Harry Bunce helped set up the shop for a young Mrs Godwin, a recent widow of Charles Godwin, a Life Guard who was killed in France during a 1918 German air raid. Nellie Godwin married again, and as Mrs Slade left the shop and was at 'The Grapes' as publican for a while. The shop was extended, changed hands frequently, but the long serving Joan Taylor had a newsagent, tobacco and sweet shop throughout the 1930's — 1950's: There were now five shops along that road; two more in Alma Road; and, lastly another west of the Shepherds Hut, owned by George Mumford the village's first long serving butcher. It opened in the early 1920s. There were regular road vendors by the 1930s; including Mr Hendry from Windsor. who sold soaps, tubs, ironmongery etc., and my father who was Eton Wick's longest serving trades person. He started greengrocery in 1900 at age fifteen years and one way or another continued until he died in 1957. In the next issue we will see how all these businesses declined into oblivion with the post-war Council shop parade and finally the superstores. 

Submitted by Frank Bond 

The photo above shows Ada Cottage, Eton Wick Road - Lovell's shop late 1890s 

Note * The Census for 1871 John Kirby at Ada Cottages with his occupation recorded as Grocer, ages 80.



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

Monday, 23 March 2020

Photographic History - Village Characters - Alf Spayne


During the Second World War, Alf ran camps from spring to autumn at Boveney Lock. The boys mostly came from the Slough area. Alf was a keen rowing instructor and a strict disciplinarian, and by the time he had finished with them, the boys were extremely fit. He taught many hundreds to swim. In the top photograph, Alf is at the back on the right. 

The picture lower was taken in 1999 on the footpath to the river. Behind Alf is the Scout Hut (left) and the houses along Eton Wick Road, including Clifton House (centre). 



Monday, 16 March 2020

The Story of a Village - A Changing Community


In past centuries the village expanded several times, but never quite so overwhelmingly as in the post war period. In 1931 the population was just over a thousand, it had risen to 1,640 by 1951, to 2,505 ten years later and now must be nearly three thousand.

With the influx of so many people into the village its inhabitants could no longer feel that each family was related to most others in the Wick. Probably this had never been strictly true; but by marriage and by recognising second cousins and the like, most families had indeed been related. The character of the village was changing in other ways. No longer was the College the most important source of income and employment for the majority of families, and less and less did College people take an interest and control of village affairs. The old gulf between gentry, epitomised in the Wick by College masters, and villagers gradually disappeared. Today new residents may be unaware of the old ties between Eton and Eton Wick. When Mr Vaughan died in 1940 his place as unofficial squire was taken by Bob Bond. Their backgrounds were very different, but both men were intensely interested in the village. It was Bob Bond who was reappointed bailiff at the 1948 Manor Court; he was instrumental in restarting the Boy Scouts after the war, he helped organise gymkhanas, dances and the annual Scout Fete ( which took the place of the old Horticultural Show). He also became the first president of the PTA.

The horse had virtually disappeared from the agricultural scene; though not entirely for George Pagett set up as a smallholder soon after the war and continued to use horses until the 1970s. The car and the lorry replaced the horse and cart, and garages became a necessity. Mr Sibley opened his filling station in 1958 and Ellis Motors were established in Victoria Road. People travelled more and taking holidays became the normal and not the exceptional way of life. Whereas in pre-war days people walked, cycled or used the bus to go to school, work or shopping, the use of the car became more and more the accepted practice. This transport revolution has brought in its wake other changes, such as the loss of the old road which ran from Haywards Mead to Meadow Lane in Eton and which is now only a bridle path. The Windsor Bridge has been closed to vehicle traffic and bus services have been cut, accentuating the hardship of those without a car. The roads are all macadamized and edged with pavements, and there is a profusion of street furniture road signs, electric streetlamps, bus shelters, pillar boxes, telephone kiosks and seats. Most of these have been provided by the statutory authorities, but the seat by Albert Place was the gift of the Women's Institute and the one in the churchyard in memory of Bob Bond.

Soon after the war, in line with national educational changes, Eton Wick School became a primary school, catering for both boys and girls from the ages of five to eleven; while older children were expected to attend secondary schools outside the village. However, it was still a church school, though the diocese was now responsible only for the fabric of the building and not the salaries of the teaching staff or the education of the children. To cater for the needs of the growing population the school was enlarged in 1953 and again in the sixties, but on that occasion the cost was such that a change of management became inevitable and the school was taken over by the County Council. In 1973 national policy brought about another change and the school became the combined infants and middle school with children being required to stay an extra year. But, though its title, appearance and teaching methods have changed over the years, because now almost all 'the children from Eton Wick are taught there, it has become even more the village school than in the years before the war when the older boys attended Porny School.

In spite of the addition of twelve new shops since the war there are now proportionately fewer shops per head than before the war. Several of the older shops have indeed closed and there is only one, Sibley's, in the area of New Town. The village has lost its priest-in-charge and Rev Christopher Johnson is now the only Church of England clergyman serving the parish of Eton, a sharp contrast to the situation a hundred years ago, when the parish was desperately trying to afford to employ two curates to assist the Vicar. Instead the village now has three churches, the Roman Catholic St Gilbert's having been built at the same time as Haywards Mead. The Village Hall stands close by and is still used for a baby clinic and library, but the role of the Hall has substantially diminished.  No longer is there a Village Hall Club; the Management Committee is concerned only with the maintenance of the building and the hiring of Its rooms. It has been overshadowed by its offshoot, the Football and Social Club, whose club rooms stand just behind the Hall. Some organizations still meet in the Hall, but others now use the rival establishment, and the whole of the ground floor is let to the County Council. Even the Village Fete, first organized by the Management Committee in 1962 and then the Youth Club, has now been taken over by the Football and Social Club, and since the mid-sixties it has been known as the Wicko Carnival.  The loss to the village of Wheatbutts Field when it was sold by the College brought about the end of the Scout Fete.

The list of changes seems inexhaustible, but it must suffice to mention only a few more and perhaps it is fitting that these should concentrate on the part of the parish first known as 'le Wyk'. The streams are now much shallower, the ponds filled in and the westernmost part of the common has recently been landscaped. Trees have  always been part of the village landscape, but unfortunately several beautiful elms had to be cut down in the 1950s. Hedges and trees have been grubbed up and in the last few years more elms have been lost through disease so that the area around Little Common has a rather open, desolated look.  It has been one more step in the succession of changes that has taken place since the first cluster of buildings established a wick in a clearing in the woods of Eton. Thankfully Eton Wick is still a village which will continue to evolve and, it is hoped, will remain surrounded and protected by commons and lammas lands.


This is the final part of the serialisation of The Story of a Village - Eton Wick - 1217 - 1977. The Eton Wick History Group is most grateful for the kind permission of Judith Hunter's husband to publish her book on its website.

The village and community has continued to change and evolve since Judith completed her history more than 40 years ago and some of this change is reflected in The Eton Wick Newsletter - Our Village and the Photographic History of Eton Wick and Eton.

Friday, 13 March 2020

The Unveiling of the War Memorial - 100 Years On.




At 3.45 p.m. a procession of ex-sailors and soldiers marched from the Eton Wick and Boveney Institute to the cemetery. The members of the National Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Sailors and Soldiers being under the charge of Mr S. Binfield, a late sergeant of the R.A.F….. on arrival at the cemetery the men took up positions facing the Memorial that was draped with a Union Jack. At the four corners stood a special guard comprised of Stoker R. Bond R.N., Petty Officer A. C.Percy R.N., Company Quartermaster Sergeant G. Attride, Rifle Brigade, and Sergeant H. Balm R.A.F. There followed a service and hymn singing opened by the Band of the 2nd Life Guards. the Eton College Provost, Dr. James, gave a long address and the Vicar read out the names of 33 who had given their lives and whose names were on the Memorial.

Driving rain and a strong wind did little to detract from the occasion. During the address the Provost of Eton said:

The memory of all mankind short: pass by 80 years from now - one human lifetime - and every man who fought in the Great War will have rejoined their comrades whom lie and we honour today Pass yet one other lifetime and how many living who ever set eyes on one who fought. That may be so and will be so, but what does it matter. Nothing can make undone the brave deeds that were done, nothing can wipe out the sacrifice that were offered by these men. This stone shall be a memorial to our generations outlasting, we hope many successions of human lives. Yet in is itself subject to accident, violence and decay. Again, I say what does it matter if human memory is brief and human records, even graven in stone are perishable, there is a memory that is eternal. There is one who says, “Yet they may forget, yet will I not forget”.


East Face

Henry Ashman  1993  21/08/1915  Gallipoli
Cyril Ashman  746  26/10/1917  Passchendaele
George Baldwin  16671  24/04/1918  Amiens 
George Bolton  7993  24/09/1915  Loos
Alfred Brown  11811  31/07/1917  Ypres
Ernest Brown  T/202287  24/10/1917  Passchendaele
Angus Bruce  19160   27/03/1918  Arras
Thomas Bryant  9813  11/11/1914  Ypres
Fredrick Buckland  G/3615  17/12/1914  illness
Arthur Bunce  39794  17/07/1917  Ypres
Albert Caesar  12472  01/09/1914  Villers


North Face


Frank Church  3760  19/07/1916  Somme
John Clark  630936  23/04/1917  Roeux
Fred Colbourn  185017  31/10/1918  illness
Horace Dobson  32908  15/07/1918  illness
Charles Godwin  2556  08/06/1918  Arras
Charles Hammerton  5335  09/10/1916  Somme
Henry Hill  K/18991  03/09/1917  Chatham air raid
Robert Hobrough  40782  30/09/1917  Passchendaele
Arthur Iremonger  7937  25/12/1915  Loos
Ernest Jordan  33180  20/08/1916  Iraq
Charles Miles  K/25314  09/07/1917  HMS Vanguard
Harry Quarterman  7570  30/10/1918  Asfold POW camp


West Face


Henry Moss  M2/097873  21/10/1918  Roisel
James Newell  1232  11/04/1917  Arras
Joseph Newell  9534  24/05/1917  Turkey POW Camp
Walter Payne  12050  12/03/1916  Ploegsteert Woods
George Percy  34891  15/04/1918  Outtersteene Ridge
Herbert Pithers  24307  28/02/1917  Ancre
Arthur Richardson  10060  02/05/1915  Gallipoli
Joseph Springford  94017  15/02/1918  Passchendaele
Isaac Springford  197731  02/07/1918  Orpington
Albert Stallwood  4176  24/10/1918  Wassigny
Peter Knight  30958  26/10/1915  Aegean Sea


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

Wednesday, 11 March 2020

World War 2 Eighty Years On - March 1940


March 1940

The construction of a new sewer system by Lemon and Blizzard started in 1938 had made good progress with Bell Lane complete and Tilstone Lane almost finished. The contractors confidently informed the Eton U.D.C. that after the testing of the system homes could be connected. Unfortunately for the contractors the arrival of summer thunder storms found serious leaks in the pipe work and the council had to apply pressure to the contractors to rectify the faults. Complaints were also received from village residents about the state of repair in which Bell Lane had been left. Replying to the criticism the contractor claimed difficulties with the weather and the shortage of supplies due to war priorities had delayed the re-instatement of the road.

Re-arrangement of the A.R.P. within the village made the wardens post at the Post Office redundant enabling the protection works to be removed much to the relief of Mr and Mrs Chantler. The wardens post at Burfoots remained until other arrangements were made. To test the efficiency of various ARP organizations based around Slough a large scale practice was held. As the ambulances, fire pumps, rescue units, police, St. Johns and the Red Cross personnel with other essential services gathered on Agars Plough, Eton four hundred Eton College boys prepared to act as casualties. Emergency incidents were staged with the college boys giving a realistic touch to a most successful exercise.

Thursday March 11th


Meat rationing began. The ration was assessed not by weight but price, with a weekly ration for adults of 1/10d per week and for children 11d. Later into the war the adult ration was reduced to six ounces per week for any cut of meat. Rationing encouraged a black market which gave rise to a little wheeling and dealing for various commodities.  Favouring customers with a little extra than the official ration allowed could lead to prosecution of the shop keeper. Through village gossip it became known to the Ministry of Food Inspectors that George Mumford, the village butcher, had occasionally let customers purchase more meat than their entitlement. With indications of prosecution and thoughts of imprisonment, George made arrangements for a manager to run his business. No prosecution followed, but George was not let off the butchers hook as the following relates. At the end of the war a coach party from the village, including George, went to the Victoria Palace, London, to see the show starring the Crazy Gang.  Before the opening of the show one wag from the village party went back stage and tipped off the two comedians, Bud Flanagan and Chesney Allen, about the affair.  Later during the performance Bud Flanagan said to Chesney Allen "Ches, Do you know where I can get a little extra meat under the counter?" "Yes Bud, a little village near Windsor called Eton Wick. "The Butcher there will see you alright". Poor George had to take the ribbing as the story got round. 

(Meat rationing together with some other food commodities continued until July 1954.)

Easter Sunday 24th March

Apprehension of what may lie ahead and the desire to pray for peace brought increased attendance at Sunday church services during the war years. To mark certain wartime events special church services were held attended by the military and council dignitaries. A large congregation at the traditional Easter service taken by the Reverent David Wingate in St. John's church, Eton Wick, heard the Eton church choir, conducted by the organist Kenneth Weller, give a recital of ‘Passion music for Easter’.  He was assisted by ladies from Eton Wick and Boveney in a reverent rendering of the Messiah and exerts from John Stanier's "Crucifixion". Duets were also sung by the brothers, Albert and Harry Prior.

The Easter Monday five - a - side annual football competition open to boys under fifteen years, is for the Juvenile Challenge Cup presented by Boveney, Eton Wick and Dorney Discharged Soldiers and Sailors in 1921. Two competitions only (1940 & 41) took place during the war years which were played on the recreation ground. The entry for 1940 being fifty five boys. Eight eliminating games were played in the morning followed by the semi-final and final in the afternoon. The final, between the team of R. Wilson (Capt);    J. Butt; G. Budd; P. Mitchener and H.A. Prior who pitted their skills against R. Lunnun (Capt); E. Steptoe; K. Sibley; F. Wells and H. Lawrence brought a win to R. Wilsons team with a final result of 3- 2 goals. All the games were refereed by Mr W. F. Pardoe. Mrs Pardoe had the honour of presenting the cups and medals to the Winners and Runners Up. The competitors ended the exciting day on a high note as 432 cakes, 45 lb. of toffee and a box of oranges was shared out amongst them'.  

With no blackout arrangements available and used by the L.C.C. School during the day the village hall was not available for recreational purposes. Obtaining material from Bruce and Lumb of Slough the village hall working party made the requisite curtains, but these when finished were inadequate for the purpose due to the poor quality of the material, therefore no dances or other evening activities took place during the winter months. This curtailment on the use of the hall, also the decline in club registers as members volunteered or were conscripted to the forces or other war work reduced the hall finances. The flower show committee had every confidence and they continued making arrangements for the 58th Horticultural Show on August Bank Holiday held at the Wheatbutts. The possibility of air activity over the area was to be no deterrent to Major Dabson, committee chairman with committee members Mr Kemp and Mr Laverty,    
       
The first six months of hostilities, labelled the "Phoney War", had brought no air attacks on London thus encouraging a number of evacuees to return home. Great efforts were made by the civil authorities to deter their return to London but many parents thought it safe to have their children home. A small number returned home from Eton and Eton Wick.


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

Monday, 2 March 2020

War Memorial Committee Meetings March 1920

Committee Meeting held March 2nd 1920 

Mr Vaughan reported that the Provost of Eton would unveil the Memorial at 4 p.m. March 13th. Mr Nutt agreed to accept a reduced fee. Colonel Sheepshanks and Captain Houton (College Officers) hoped to attend the ceremony. A letter was read from the 2nd Life Guards regarding, their band attending. Mr Percy to consult with the Vicar regarding the programme, and Major Hall re the band. Agreed that Servicemen and discharged sailors and soldiers should assemble at the Institute at 3.30.  Secretary to have bills printer and sent out.


Committee Meeting held March 5th 1920

Proof of programme submitted. Due to shortage of funds the Committee agreed the expense of programmes could not be justified. All agreed to pay two shillings each. Mr Vaughan agreed to arrange for transport of the Life Guards Band. Hymn 166 to be substituted for Hymn 608.


Committee Meeting held March 10th 1920

Mr Vaughan confirmed having arranged for the College motor to transport the Life Guards. Decided to print 250 programmes at a cost of £2.4s.0d. The Committee paid 2/- each and the Vicar the balance. Mr Vaughan to ask the Provost to wear his Official Robes. Both Councils to be sent invites to the ceremony. Mr Ashman and Mr Barrett offered to attend at the gate. Mr Barrett kindly donated a wreath. The Vicar to arrange for teas in the the school room for the Band. 


Committee Meeting held March 23rd 1920

Discussion for the need of more money. An expected short fall of £16 or more when accounts are in hand. The names of Peter Knight and Harry Quarterman should perhaps have been on the memorial. The matter was deferred pending enquiries regarding H.Q. Secretary to write letter of thanks the Life Guards.


This is an extract from Their Names Shall Be Carved in Stone  

and published here with grateful thanks to the author Frank Bond.

Monday, 24 February 2020

World War 2 Eighty Years On - February 1940


    

          
It was with great sadness that the village learned of the death of Mr E.L. Vaughan on 8th February 1940. He had been a great benefactor with his gift of the land on which stands the Village Hall. Over the years he had given his support to many village activities. Highly prized by the recipients were the illustrated copy of the New Testament he presented to each confirmation candidate after the ceremony. To his memory a plaque, erected by the Village Hall Committee, was unveiled on March 2nd. 1942. The unveiling by Mr Hope-Jones attracted a large gathering to whom Mrs Vaughan expressed her thanks for their words of appreciation of her husband.  

The plaque and photograph to Mr Vaughan is located in the village hall. 


February 25th.      
            
To maximize the use of daylight hours, clocks were advanced one hour of GMT for the duration of the war and two hours ahead during the summer months. This re-adjustment of daylight hours allowed farmers to harvest late into the evening, whilst during winter months school children returned home from school in daylight.

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

Monday, 17 February 2020

The Eton Wick Newsletter - April 2016 - `Our Village' Magazine


Past and present changes

Often it is said that nothing changes in our village. Not an accurate remark though, as changes are inevitable; be they socially, materially, or even the boundaries. At least three times in my lifetime our boundaries have changed, and so has our local authorities, and even the counties. For forty years before 1934 the two areas now comprising Eton Wick each had its own five person parish council. In 1934 both became part of the Eton Urban District Council until forty years later in 1974 all became part of the Royal Borough Authority. At this stage we were assured that in no way would we be worse off, but to use an old saying 'you can tell that to the marines'. 

In remembering the three authorities, I preferred the Eton Urban District Council. The two earlier parish councils had very small rate income which was very limiting and did not extend to rubbish collection, street lighting etc. There were two street lamps along the village between the Church and Institute (now the Village Hall) and this was increased to today's twelve. There are in fact over sixty in old Eton Wick today between Church and Hall, but this includes Hayward Mead, Wheatbutts, Common Road and Sheepcote. Probably for centuries the Thames had been the boundary of Berks and Bucks, but in 1974 even this was changed. I always thought that mid river was the boundary until I read a Thames book stating the boundary was the downstream left bank (north). The author then said that the Eton College swimming place of 'Athens' was originally an island mound surrounded by the Thames waters and was effectively a little piece of Bucks in Berks. A humorous observation that we may extend to Cuckoo Weir (mapped as Great and Inner Wards) and we know as Clewer Point. 

Now of course all is in Berks. Water courses were good boundaries which defied encroachment. To our north the Chalvey Brook marks the Eton/Chalvey boundary, and to our west is Round moor Ditch and the Boveney Ditch which also are boundary lines with Dorney and Boveney. Unlike the early 1920s the east boundary was at Folly Bridge (sleds) then soon after the Great War of 1914-1918 Eton needed to find land for more homes; The Eton Wick Parish Council agreed to moving the boundary west to Broken Furlong; which allowed the town to develop the housing and road of 'Somerville' within their new Eton boundary. Today the boarder is further west, by the Relief Road (now called Royal Windsor Way). This is not so relevant though, as now we are of one authority. A more recent change is nearby at Sandles; the old College sanatorium. When the Relief Road was built close to the sanatorium, it was probably deemed no longer suitable; and Eton's Church of St. John the Evangelist was seriously converted with an upper floor; smaller church, and the College Sanatorium and town surgery taking up the ground floor. The extensive grounds of 'Sandles' included the fine house of Rose Cottage and a large yew tree, both of which have sadly been removed. Huffing and Puffing can never put trees back, and all too often we are told they were diseased. Maybe! Hopefully the seven apartments and five houses being created on the site will compensate for the changes. 

Until the mid-1900s there were four shops; the post office and two public houses along the village road between Sheepcote and the Institute (today's Village Hall). Now all have gone. The pubs were; the oldest, 'The Three Horseshoes', and the smallest 'The Grapes' (The Pickwick from 1984) and latterly a Chinese Restaurant. The pubs were two of four that had plied a living for over 140 years in the village, and at a time when Eton Wick was very much smaller in population. Of course we now have The Football and Social Club, and retail shops selling beers, and villagers now have cars and are able to socialise elsewhere. By the time this article is printed I expect the two redundant pubs to be fully converted into private dwellings, as of course are the numerous shops mentioned. 

In the 19th Century there were two cottage laundries in this same stretch of road. One was at the 'Old Parsonage'; before it was the Parsonage and it is claimed it laundered for the Castle Royalty, and the other was just east of the 'Three Horseshoes', at Vine Cottage. There were at least three other cottage laundries in the village and apart from that which laundered for Queen Victoria, the others served Eton College. There were similar laundries at Eton and Chalvey, until in 1881 the College established its own laundry at Willowbrook (off Slough Road). Even so, much later I well remember seeing rows of college clothing billowing on village clotheslines. Probably the house sports-wear or woollies. It was not unusual to see the large prams of the time being pushed to and fro the college to collect or return the washing. Things have changed. 

Before the first rail viaduct (wood) of late 1840s there was probably no structure between the Folly Bridge Cattle Pound and the 'Shepherds Hut' (first opened ten years earlier) - a distance of over one mile; on the south side of the road, and on the north side, at that time between Folly Bridge and Sheepcote; then only a farm cart track. With no street lamps and no houses the Eton Wick Road must have been an uninviting long eerie walk in mid-winter. 

Not until 1811 was there a known village group. There was no church, school or hall, and that first recorded group was a Friendly Society which met at the 'Three Horseshoes' pub. I have a listing of about sixty groups and clubs existing in Eton Wick since then. War brought about most changes; with some groups not surviving and others, like Phoenix, rising from the ashes. Before the 1939 -1945 war the village had courts and the Tilstone Tennis Club, and before the Great War of 1914 - 1918, a Harriers Club and an enthusiastic Gym group for young men. Neither survived the upheaval of war. Against this though, there was a need for football club kit after WW2, resulting in 'The Unity Players' 1948 -1951, and later The 'Shoestrings' concert group being formed to raise funds. Sunday Schools, Church Choir, Women's Institute, Whist Drives, Rummage Sales, Men's Snooker Club have all long since gone, while others have changed beyond comparison. 

Throughout the 1950s and 60s the Youth Club was restricted to boys and girls over fourteen and under 21 years. Since then the age has been lowered frequently, until today it is eight to twelve years for juniors and twelve to sixteen for seniors. Most of these age groups would barely be considered as youths, and naturally activities and functions must be very different. 

Time has seen the demise of traditional traders, including the village baker, butcher, greengrocer, and wet fish and game merchant. We have had them all since WW2 but all have gone, largely due to the 'out of village' superstores since 1980. In Eton Wick we have also had a laundrette; Doctor Surgery; Hardware Stores; Motor Parts and Bookies all since the 1950s; yet for a variety of reasons all have gone. The laundrette came at a time when small domestic washing machines were barely available - if at all - and after ten years, when the laundrette machines needed replacing, the dwindling demand did not Justify the expense of replacement. The surgery probably did not get the support it needed. We may all believe there is a village need, but given the opportunity, must of us are reluctant to leave what we have been accustomed to. 

It is a fact that we do not see many houses being built. Eton Wick is in the midst of green belt, Lammas or Commons lands which restricts the builders. Let us hope it keeps that way. Certainly any declassifications would bring prompt and drastic changes. Recently we had a local questionnaire on developments in our community, and I believe there is a strong likelihood of covetous eyes on the land around us. Time will tell. Personally I see nothing wrong with affordable homes on the land opposite Clifton Lodge, but hopefully not beyond Sheepcote. This area I believe is greenbelt. 

Submitted by Frank Bond 




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

Saturday, 8 February 2020

War Memorial Committee Meeting February 1920

Committee Meeting held February 10th 1920

Mr Vaughan not yet seen Mr Nutt re fee. Mr Nutt and W Sargeant to meet the Committee at the Church 13th February regarding site. Mr Vaughan to ask the Provost of Eton if he would unveil the Memorial on or about the 13th or 20th March 1920 and to ask a College Officer to attend. Mr Percy to make enquiries respecting the Comrades Band.It was agreed to notify the next of kin of the fallen, and to invite them to attend the unveiling, The list of names of the fallen checked through and corrected as necessary. 

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

Monday, 3 February 2020

Crown Farm




Crown Farm is situated some 400 m east of St John the Baptist Church, and lies between the Eton Wick Road and the Great Common, with access to both. The house is believed to be early 17th century, with various alterations later in the same century. The west elevation is possibly timber framed and rough cast covered. The farm has been in the hands of several generations of the Tarrant family. It is still owned by Olive and Jamie (widow and son of Reginald H Tarrant). Surviving family members have seen Deeds for Crown Farm dated 1837 signed by a Robert Tarrant. A hand-written family record still exists in the hands of distant cousins in Utah, USA, referring to `grandfather Philip Tarrant', born on the farm on Eton Wick Common in 1805' (although not necessarily Crown Farm). The upper photograph of the Farm House, from the family collection was professionally taken. The three young girls may well be Charlotte, Minnie and Rosie, daughters of James and Julia (great grandparents of the current Jamie) which would date the photo to the late 19th century. The lower photograph, taken about the 1960s, shows cows exiting the farm to the common. 


To the east of Crown Farm there were originally other old farm dwellings. Among these were Common Farm House (the farm run by Mr Bunce) and Jersey Farm (run by Mr Bill Booty up to the 1950s). The modern residential estate of Bunces Close is situated in this area. 

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


Monday, 27 January 2020

The Story of a Village - World War Two and After

With the war came other changes and new kinds of hardship - air raids, the blackout, rationing, gas masks and men away fighting. Women were drafted into factory work and homes and family life adjusted as evacuees from London were made welcome. The Village Hall was used as a school room for the evacuated children and equipped for use as a First Aid Post and Rest Centre. The Minute Books of the Institute tell of whist drives and dances organised as part of the war effort, especially during ‘Wings for Victory Week’ in 1942 and 'Salute the Soldier' Week the following year. Occasionally the Hall was used for billeting soldiers and, as in every other town and village, uniforms became part of the pattern of life. A gun site was established on Dorney Common close to Eton Wick and the noise shattered many a night's sleep. Eton Wick was lucky, however; a few bombs did fall on the village, but did very little damage, and the explosion which set a field alight seemed quite spectacular at the time. Men on active service were not so lucky; twelve lost their lives as the War Memorial at the church bears witness.

The story of Eton Wick during the war is not much different from that of any English village, but the 1940s mark a watershed in the history of Eton Wick. Change has always been taking place, albeit at times almost imperceptibly; but at this time the changes were to be great and far-reaching. Within a decade of the end of the war the long straggling rural village with its close-knit community had disappeared; its place taken by a larger dormitory village, top heavy with council houses.

The first new houses built were twelve 'prefabs' on part of Bell's Field. They were meant to be temporary, but instead provided good if not beautiful homes for more than twenty years. They were built towards the end of the war, and the first post war houses completed the development of the Bell's Field Site; the pale pink colour of the bricks is a constant reminder of the shortage of good facing-bricks at this time. A year or so later Tilston Field (north of the Eton Wick Road) was bought from Eton College for the first housing estate in the village itself. Great care was taken over the design of the housing and roads; trees, shrub borders and a small recreation ground were included to improve the amenities of the estate. Five fine police houses were built fronting the main road, and the Council were proud enough of the scheme to enter the completed half of the estate for the Ministry of Health Housing Medal in 1951. In the following year Prince Philip officially opened the estate at a small informal ceremony. Meux's Field was also bought by the Council and here were laid out Princes Close and a shopping parade, making altogether over two hundred houses and seven shops.

The main road from Moores Lane to Dorney Common was considerably widened and a shrub border planted in front of the estate and, as if to mark the change in appearance, its name was changed from Tilston Lane to Eton Wick Road. There was a zest for rebuilding and not only in bricks and mortar. Many of the clubs which had sunk into the doldrums during the war were revived and new ones founded. The first of these was probably the Youth Club which was started in 1946, followed by the Over Sixties Club in 1947 and a few years later the Parent Teacher Association, the Unity Players and the Young Wives. The Village Hall was still the centre of much of the social life of the Wick and great efforts were made to put it on a sound footing after the war. In 1950 it was redecorated by voluntary help, electricity was installed and in the following year it was enlarged by the addition of a covered forecourt. Two issues of a magazine called ' Our Village ' were published by the Institute as it was still sometimes called, and for several years from 1950 a Village Hall Week was held in the early part of the year. Village football became so popular that a Minors' Club was formed. When this proved very successful a second team of young men too old to stay in the minors' team had to be started. Eventually the club was renamed the Eton Wick Athletic Club and there was even more cause for 'Up the Wick' to be heard each Saturday.

The village was still growing; in the mid- and late 1950s private housing completed the redevelopment of the Wick west of Bell Lane with the laying out of Cornwall Close, Queens Road, Tilstone Close and the northern extension of Bell Lane. There was very little other building land available; the confirmation of the rules and regulations of the commons and lammas lands at the Manor Court held in College Hall at Eton in 1948 made it impossible to use these lands. Instead a compromise was agreed; lammas rights were not extinguished but transferred from land needed for redevelopment to parts of Bell Farm, which had been freed from rights when it became a sewage farm. In this way part of South Field was used to build Hayward's Mead estate early in the 1960s, and part of Sheepcote Field for the flats next to the school some years later. These were both council schemes, but the latter was part of a redevelopment plan for the village which included the demolition of the 'prefabs' and neighbouring houses in Alma Road and replacing them by Bell's Field Court and a row of shops. Castle View Terrace in Sheepcote Road and some of the Clifton Cottages were also pulled down to make way for the dark bricks of the private 'Georgian' style houses, while Sheepcote Road itself was given a new curving line. A few years earlier the Victorian houses of Albert Place and Victoria Terrace had been demolished and new houses and flats built in their place. A few houses have been built behind Bell Farm and the old people's flats of Clifton Lodge now star on the site of Hardings Cottages. Finally - and surely it must be finally for there is now almost no land left that can be built upon without infringing the common rights - Bunces Close has been built on land freed from lammas rights when South View was planned soon after the First World War. 



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

Monday, 20 January 2020

World War 2 Eighty Years On - January 1940


Bitterly cold weather during the last days of December continued into the New Year. It was the coldest winter since 1894/95, with a recorded eleven degrees of frost in the Windsor area and snow, freezing rain and ice brought transport to a standstill. The intense cold and freezing conditions brought suffering to the wild life with swans becoming trapped in the ice as the River Thames froze over in many places. Reports of the frozen river brought day trippers from London in their hundreds for the pleasure of skating on the broad expanse of ice. These icy conditions were a joy to the skaters, but for many in Eton Wick it was distress and hardship. Householders had problems with frozen water pipes whilst farmers encountered difficulties tending their livestock. There was clamp down on the reporting of these bleak conditions for fear it may be of use to the German military. January had mainly mild weather but a snowstorm during the last week once more brought havoc.
Poster courtesy of The Imperial War Museum.

By Royal Proclamation men aged twenty to twenty seven years were required to register for military service, those of 26 years registering on April 27th. This rapid expansion of the Armed Forces demanded even more output of munitions and equipment from the factories. To meet the ever increasing production requirement local engineering companies had to expand. Advertisements were placed in the local papers over a wide area for workers in non-essential jobs to go into the factories with the offer of training and good rates of pay. Many of those working in shops and offices were attracted by the prospect of higher earnings. To replace the lost staff, shop keepers and other service industry employers also advertised in the Windsor Express and Slough Observer for school leavers and for women who were willing to work part-time.


Monday January 8th.

Ration Book courtesy of the Imperial war Museum.
The early introduction of food rationing to avoid the chaotic food distribution that occurred in the 1914 -18 war allowed a ration of 4oz of bacon or ham, 4oz of butter and 12oz of sugar for each person per week. Ration books, which had been distributed in November of 1939, were brought into use with maximum food prices being set by the Ministry of Food. Grocers were required to furnish weekly returns of sales and stock of rationed foods. The system ensured a regular supply of rationed goods. Other supplies to the grocer also depended upon his number of registered customers to ensure a fair distribution. Some commodities came pre-packed in set amounts, such as sugar distributed in 1 and 2 lb. bags. Mr Chantler recalled the need to open a pre-packed bag for a single 12ozs ration was inconvenient and was not readily acceptable by some customers whom often tried to purchase the 2lb bag. At first coupons were cut out from the ration book but later the appropriate sections were just marked off on the book with indelible pencil or similar. 


From September 1939 to the end of January 1940 there were accidents and casualties due to the blackout. To improve road safety during the hours of darkness the speed limit for all motor vehicles was reduced to twenty miles per hour. 

Cyclist also had problems, whereas no rear lights had been necessary on bicycles before the war, it now became law to show a rear light. Batteries were soon in short supply and the supply of Lucas and Miller cycle dynamos became non-existent as the producing factories turned over to war production. Factories engaged on important war work were permitted to issue dockets monthly to those employees who required cycle lamp batteries. This system gave priority to those essential war workers to purchase batteries from those selected shops receiving supplies. Cyclists also turned to oil and gas (calcium

With the introduction of cloth rationing and the difficulty of obtaining haberdashery supplies, the village shop "U-Need-Us", owned by Margery Morris and Mabel Woodhouse, decided to close. The vacant premises were then taken by a Jewish family named Gurdock from London. It is believed that Mr Gurnock was a tailor. Evidently he was a man who liked his food and found the meat ration very meagre. Because of this he developed a liking for river fish. His enquiry to the local lads of “You bring me fish, I give you shilling", had the lads hooked. With the river fish there for the taking they thought they were onto easy money, but there is some local doubt as to whether they always got their shilling.
                               
The first War Budget introduced by Sir John Simon, Chancellor of the Exchequer on 27th September 1939 had raised Income Tax from 5/6d to 7/6d(37p) in the £1, Excise duty was increased by 1d a pint on Beer, Spirits from 11/6d to between 12/6d and 13/9d a bottle, 1d. on twenty cigarettes and 1d. per pound on sugar. Of the four Eton Wick pubs only Mrs Amy Gladys Buck, landlord of the Three Horse Shoes, held a spirit licence. The Greyhound in The Walk, landlord William Newall; The Shepherds Hut, (W. Colburn); The Grapes, (W. Whittington); were licensed retailers only of beer and cider.

Government allowed expenditure for the local war services was controlled by the Eton U.D.C. with a nominal budgeted figure of £100 per week for the Fire Brigade, Auxiliary Fire Service, Rescue and Demolition, First Aid, Evacuation, Fuel and Food Control.  Wartime conditions made true expenditure difficult as the government paid 65% of the Fire Brigade expense and all expenditure for the Auxiliary Fire Service. Rescue and Demolition service expenses were paid by the County Council and the remaining services financed by the government. Although designated as being a fairly safe area it was still necessary to expand and equip the Eton Fire Service to deal with possible air raids. 


The New Year (1940) opened with the Church Sunday school party, arranged by the Reverend Wingate. Ninety excited children were entertained in the village hall and with help from parents and friends, the children enjoyed a special tea. Various party games, followed by a fancy dress competition, made the party a great success. On leaving to go home each child received an orange, sweets and a bun. By the mid-summer of 1940 oranges would be a memory until the end of the war.

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