Monday, 20 September 2021

Tough Assignment - 1914 to 1930

The First World War took men from Eton Wick as it did from every other village and town in the country, and amongst the first four men from the Maidenhead Circuit who lost their lives was George Boulton of Eton Wick. His name was sent with others to be remembered at the Conference Memorial Service in March 1916. No doubt members of the chapel took part in the war effort, but such things do not figure in the minutes. In 1917, however, society stewards were asked to supply the names of all who had volunteered for active service so that these could be placed on a roll of honour to be hung in the vestibule of each chapel. In June 1919 the minister wrote to the men who returned welcoming them into the fellowship of the church.

Temperance was still a live issue in the Primitive Methodist Church and special temperance services were regular events. In December 1919 it was resolved that once again the circuit would do all it could to further the temperance cause. In the years 1921 and 1922 there was a national Primitive Methodist Campaign, part of a much larger national effort involving other churches and organisations and the Government. One of the important issues was the sale of alcohol to young people and from the successful Act of 1923, spearheaded by Lady Astor of Cliveden, stems our present licencing law which makes it illegal to sell alcoholic drinks to people under the age of 18.

Two years later a new Band of Hope was started in Eton Wick by Mrs Annie Chew. 


This is one of the earliest references to Mrs Chew in the surviving records of the circuit and chapel. She was born in 1886, the same year as the chapel was built, and from the age of two she lived with her aunt, Annie Tough, at Bell Farm. She left Eton Wick in 1910 soon after her marriage to Archibald Chew, but returned in the early 1920s, and both she and her husband soon began to take an active part in chapel affairs. She was a Sunday School teacher, one of several in the 1920s, for the Sunday School had grown so large that it had spread into the chapel, with the various classes for boys and girls being held in the different corners. Mrs Lane's was by the organ. Morning and afternoon Sunday School, anniversary services, examinations and the Christmas party were all part of the Sunday School calendar, but perhaps the highlight of the year was the outing to Burnham Beeches. Mr Dear's horse-drawn coal cart was scrubbed clean and forms from the chapel made seats for the youngest children. The older ones walked, helped on the way no doubt by the sweets given by Mrs Tough and the singing:

'We're going to Burnham Beeches.'

In this jet age the Beeches seem nothing very special, but then they 'seemed so far away' and the day with its picnic and races, and a chance to explore the woods a magical time. Ferns and wild flowers were gathered and the cart decorated for the homeward journey.

Although the names of the children who attended Sunday School at this period are not known, the class book for 1927 to 1933, survives. There are 18 names on the first page, all but one of them women. The chapel had its own choir with Mr Barnes a very able choir-master. Socials, concerts and many other money raising events still took place and in the words of one elderly member 'it seems we had something going every week.' For many people the chapel was their social centre.

The chapel was now some forty years old and inevitably there had been many losses of valued members over the years through change of residence or death. In 1924 Frank Paintin died, his loss to the circuit and chapel is recorded in the pastoral letter of the Rev Daniel Dunn in the circuit plan for the winter months of that year. Emma Lane, John Lane's widow, died in 1926; she had been a devoted worker for nigh on fifty years and assistant society steward since the death of her husband some thirteen years before. Kate Bryant, much remembered as a Sunday School teacher, died in 1928 and for many years after this the chapel benefitted by the gas lamps on the pulpit, given in her memory.


Charles Tough

Charles Tough was neither a member of the chapel or even an occasional worshipper there but in 1925 his loss was keenly felt in the chapel and circuit. The Rev Daniel Dunn wrote of him, 'He made little outward profession of religion, but he inspired a rare respect and affection in hundreds of people  he welcomed our Ministers and Local Preachers to the hospitality of his home. 

What will it feel like to go to Eton Wick to many of us, and not go to Bell Farm and share a homely and happy meal and chat with him, and a prayer before leaving the home'. His funeral was conducted by two men he knew for many years, the Rev Frank Tarrant, by now a Congregational Minister in Windsor, and the Rev William Folley, then a Primitive Methodist Minister in London.

Letters of sympathy were sent by the minister whenever the death of a member of one of the chapels, or their families, occasioned the need, but only once in the forty years for which the circuit minutes survive was a special resolution passed to record such a loss. This rare honour was reserved for Frances Annie Tough.

'Resolution on Mrs Tough

That we record with deep regret the passing of Mrs F A Tough of Eton Wick. We rejoice in her long association with Primitive Methodism, first in Rotherhithe, and for the last 50 years at Eton Wick, which cause owes its existence to her initiative and enterprise, and the history of which is intertwined with her own life. She served in many capacities with great acceptance - as organist, Sunday School Teacher and Superintendent, Temperance worker, President of Women's Own, Trustee - and the larger interests of the Circuit and Connexion as an acceptable and warming Preacher of the Gospel. She was a woman of strong personality, abounding vitality, radiant faith. We rejoice she was enabled to do so long a day's work for Christ and Church and Kingdom, and that she was permitted to be active to the last. She had entered into a well earned rest, and her memory will be present amongst us for many days to come. To the relatives of Mrs Tough in their great loss we would extend our heartfelt sympathy'.

The funeral service was conducted by the Rev J Tolfree Parr, ex-President of the Primitive Methodist Conference and an old friend of Mrs Tough. His tribute to her filled several column inches in the Windsor and Eton Express under the title, 'Story of a Remarkable Lady'. The chapel was filled to overflowing and when the funeral cortege made its way to the churchyard the Eton Wick Road rang with the sound of the congregation singing hymns.

Her death, at the age of 67 came suddenly on 9th June 1930, and the whole village, whether Methodist or not, soon missed her presence. There was no one in Eton Wick who did not know of her and many still remember her robust figure, always clothed in black or very dark colours, and her high hat and long swirling skirts. Ardent Christian and with a great love, not only for Christ, but for those around her, she was a very forceful character, more than a little imperious at times, and not all will have loved her or even liked working with her - but few could ignore her. With her death a chapter in the history of the chapel ends.


I pray Thee, Saviour, keep

Me in Thy love,

Until death's holy sleep

Shall me remove

To that fair realm where, sin and sorrow o'er,

Thou and mine own are one far

evermore. Amen.

Charles Edward Mudie, 1818-90.

The Eton Wick History Group is most grateful for the kind permission given by the Eton Wick Methodist Chapel to republish this history, Tough Assignment on this website.

Monday, 13 September 2021

The Eton Wick Newsletter - Our Village Collection


The Eton Wick History website is a project born out of a friendship between John Denham and a former Slough Librarian, Alison Davies. In the early years of the Eton Wick History Group John used the Reference Section at Slough Library on a very regular basis for his many research projects. When Alison returned to her native Scotland she offered to set up a website as a way of staying in touch, that was in 2003. 

John Denham was a founder member of the History Group and also its Archivist. For more than 20 years he brought together a significant collection of village memories, books and research material about the village and local area. The varied content of this website reflects this archive. This website currently has 370 articles and over 150 further pages of supporting documents.

History doesn't stop and the History Group are most grateful to have the permission of the Eton Wick Village Hall management committee to hold the Our Village Collection on this website. Three times a year since 2008 the Eton Wick Newsletter has recorded the activities of the village, its recent history. You can find the Collection by clicking on this link and the August 2021 edition can be found here.



Monday, 6 September 2021

Photographic History - Village Characters - The Dace Family

 


Mrs Dace is standing on the door step at Harding Cottages. Her daughters Ethel (married Harry Cook) and Alice (married William Akers) are on either side of Nellie Powell. The cottages were demolished for the building of Clifton Lodge Home for Senior Citizens. It is believed that the railings went as scrap metal as part of the 1939/45 War Effort.

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

Note - Ethel was born in 1904 and Alice in 1906. This would suggest that the photograph was taken before WW1. Nellie Powell was born in 1901 and was living at 3, Prospect Place at the time of the 1911 Census.


Monday, 30 August 2021

Some Maps of Eton Wick

 

Part of a large scale plan of Eton Wick
that was displayed at the 1977 The Story of a Village exhibition.

 
The exhibition that was held in August 1977 to raise funds to enable Dr Judith Hunter's to publish her book, The Story of a Village - Eton Wick 1277 to 1977 had several maps on display. Some of these maps that reveal the extent of the village development over the years have remained in the History Groups collection of documents.

Monday, 23 August 2021

Tough Assignment - The Eton Wick Chapel in the Maidenhead Circuit.

The two services held each Sunday in the Eton Wick Chapel rarely figure in the records except when the change of time for the evening service was confirmed each spring and autumn. Circuit plans would have told us who was to preach there each Sunday and at the mid-week evening service (first mentioned in 1904), but unfortunately no early plans survive. We can be sure though  that most of the preachers came from outside the village, and mainly from Maidenhead where the Superintendent Minister resided.

Unlike incumbents of the Church of England, Primitive Methodist ministers rarely stay at any one place more than three years and share the conducting of services with other ministers and lay preachers. In spite of this there was no lack of fellowship nor contact between preachers and congregation. After all the preachers who came from outside the village had to make the journey on foot and often spent the whole day in the village being fed and looked after by chapel members. The five mile or more walk could seem a very long way to new preachers as Mr Lodge wrote with wry humour remembering his early days. Still feeling rather tired after walking from Maidenhead to Winkfield Row he was told by a lady there, 'You will never make a Methodist preacher; why William Evans comes six miles further than you and does not complain; a young man like you tired before you begin!'

Eton Wick did have one preacher of its own - John Lane. He was already accepted as a lay preacher by 1893 when the earliest of the surviving minute books begins. Another member of the Eton Wick Chapel had also become a preacher by this date, Frank Tarrant of Dorney. In 1893 he was away from the area working for the Evangelical Society. He came back for two weeks in the autumn of 1894 to take services at Cox Green and Eton Wick, but this was probably the last time for within a few years Frank Tarrant was to leave the Methodist Church for the Congregational. Soon afterwards he was ordained pastor of that church.

His conversion to Christianity had been one of Annie Tough's early successes and to the end of her life she was to remain proud of her protégée; she was delighted when he eventually became minister at Windsor. William Folley was also brought to Christ through the efforts of Mrs Tough though he belonged to the Maidenhead Church and not the Eton Wick Chapel; he was ordained in 1917 and soon after this he enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

Although she was busy in many roles, Mrs Tough was not yet a preacher, but in March 1901 she took the first step on the ladder by becoming an exhorter, a position that no longer exists, but which might be described as an apprentice preacher. She was on trial as an exhorter until the end of 1902 as were several others, all men, who came 'on the plan' at the same time. Annie Tough wasn't the first woman lay preacher in the Maidenhead Circuit, indeed the Maidenhead Chapel had been one of the first in the district to welcome them, but there were still very few. Francis (Frank) Paintin and S Baker from Eton Wick were also examined and accepted as exhorters in the early years of the century. Frank Paintin became a full local preacher in 1907 and, like Annie Tough, took services at Eton Wick as well as other chapels in the Circuit.

1924 Circuit Plan
Mrs tough was planned to preach at Eton Wick
in October at the Mothers Meeting.

Unlike incumbents of the Church of England, Primitive Methodist ministers rarely stay at any one place more than three years and share the conducting of services with other ministers and lay preachers. In spite of this there was no lack of fellowship nor contact between preachers and congregation. After all the preachers who came from outside the village had to make the journey on foot and often spent the whole day in the village being fed and looked after by chapel members. The five mile or more walk could seem a very long way to new preachers as Mr Lodge wrote with wry humour remembering his early days. Still feeling rather tired after walking from Maidenhead to Winkfield Row he was told by a lady there, 'You will never make a Methodist preacher; why William Evans comes six miles further than you and does not complain; a young man like you tired before you begin!'

Eton Wick did have one preacher of its own - John Lane. He was already accepted as a lay preacher by 1893 when the earliest of the surviving minute books begins. Another member of the Eton Wick Chapel had also become a preacher by this date, Frank Tarrant of Dorney. In 1893 he was away from the area working for the Evangelical Society. He came back for two weeks in the autumn of 1894 to take services at Cox Green and Eton Wick, but this was probably the last time for within a few years Frank Tarrant was to leave the Methodist Church for the Congregational. Soon afterwards he was ordained pastor of that church.

His conversion to Christianity had been one of Annie Tough's early successes and to the end of her life she was to remain proud of her prodigy; she was delighted when he eventually became minister at Windsor. William Folley was also brought to Christ through the efforts of Mrs Tough though he belonged to the Maidenhead Church and not the Eton Wick Chapel; he was ordained in 1917 and soon after this he enlisted in the Royal Army Medical Corps.

Although she was busy in many roles, Mrs Tough was not yet a preacher, but in March 1901 she took the first step on the ladder by becoming an exhorter, a position that no longer exists, but which might be described as an apprentice preacher. She was on trial as an exhorter until the end of 1902 as were several others, all men, who came 'on the plan' at the same time. Annie Tough wasn't the first woman lay preacher in the Maidenhead Circuit, indeed the Maidenhead Chapel had been one of the first in the district to welcome them, but there were still very few. Francis (Frank) Paintin and S Baker from Eton Wick were also examined and accepted as exhorters in the early years of the century. Frank Paintin became a full local preacher in 1907 and, like Annie Tough, took services at Eton Wick as well as other chapels in the Circuit.

Windsor and Eton Branch of the Women's Total Abstinence Union
tea party at Bell Farm 1904.

Mrs Tough also had her own way of conducting the campaign against the evils of drunkenness, a real problem in England before the First World War. She personally sought out those who found solace - and too much pleasure - in drink, and 'set herself prayerfully and earnestly to rescue them. In this she achieved remarkable success. She won many trophies, and was thrilled with joy at the transformation wrought in the homes and lives of her coverts'. Her biography in 'Christian Messenger' tells the story of one convert.

'There came to reside in the village an elderly man, named William Broad, of fine presence. He was addicted to intemperance, and the soul of many a convivial party on account of his sparkling repartee and mirth-provoking disposition. Our sister invited him, by note, to the chapel. He came a few times. To him it was a novelty to hear a woman pray, and it was afterwards known that he gave a boy a penny to tell him when our sister engaged in prayer, that he might listen outside to her supplications. Despite his bad habits, the Spirit of God laid hand on his heart. At his request Mrs Tough visited him and showed him the way to salvation and led him into the rest of faith. He was then sixty years of age. He at once became a total abstainer and non smoker, and opened his house for a weekly prayer meeting.

His boon companions soon understood the change was not only wonderful but real. True, his Christian life was uphill work owing to his deeply rooted habits and former associations, but he held on his way. Severe affliction attended his later days, and then the call came quite suddenly, and this brand plucked from the burning was safe at last'.

For the three years before his death, however, he allowed class meetings to be held in his house, and the cheerful room, blazing fire in winter and his own blunt and often witty speech helped to draw others to these prayer meetings who might not ever have set foot in the chapel.

In 1911 John Moore, Mrs Tough's father, died. He had been a tremendous support to her, moving to Eton Wick soon after her marriage. He was one of the chapel trustees and a benefactor in many ways, small and large. He was undoubtedly one of those men who liked to get involved and help run things - maybe it was from him that Annie took some of her inspiration - and he had time and sufficient money to do both. It was he that obtained the licence in 1895 so that marriages could take place at the chapel; his youngest daughter, Lilian, was the first bride ever to be married there. Two years later in 1913 John Lane also died. We know little of his strengths and influence, but he like Mrs Tough was a Primitive Methodist of long standing, an active member within the circuit as well as the chapel. He also was a trustee. The loss of the two men inevitably brought changes, which were no doubt increased by the advent of the First World War.

In June 1914 the circuit minutes report that a chapel committee is to be appointed to work with Mrs Tough, consisting of Mrs Lane, Mr Robinson and Frank Paintin.

How long the committee lasted isn't made clear, but it does seem that more and more the chapel revolved round Mrs Tough and more and more of her life was devoted to the chapel. As well as being trustee, society steward and organist, she now became the Sunday School Superintendent in place of John Lane. She had long been concerned with the Womens Meetings or Sisterhood as they were later known, and it is quite likely that she began these even before the chapel was built. She was the leader for many decades. The ladies met on a mid-week afternoon in the tiny schoolroom, bringing with them their sewing or knitting. The meeting opened with a hymn and then, while the ten or so members got on with their individual work, Mrs Tough read the week's instalment from a chosen Christian book. There were no speakers as today, but there was time before the end of the meeting for a cup of tea and a prayer.

There was much more to these meetings, however, than is implied in the above description, for it was through them and Annie's ability to understand other women's problems and to extend to them 'sympathy, tact, kindness and unbounded charity' that - in the words of the Rev Tolfree Parr - she 'won the hearts of the women and led many to Christ.' Was it this work that brought about the 'many recent conversions and the outpourings of grace' at Eton Wick which were reported in the circuit minutes of 1912. At no other time and for no other chapel in the circuit was there occasion to record such success. 

The Eton Wick History Group is most grateful for the kind permission given by the Eton Wick Methodist Chapel to republish this history, Tough Assignment on this website.

Monday, 16 August 2021

World War 2 Eighty Years On - August 1941 - An Outbreak of Polio

An outbreak of Infantile Paralysis (Polio) in the district during August affected over eighty people in the Slough area with one case in Eton Wick. This outbreak prevented the village school from re-opening on the first day of the winter term.

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

Note from Steven Denham - website manager.

This is just one paragraph from Round and About Eton Wick that I wish to add to. In 1956 I, along with my brothers, Prince Charles and Princess Anne were among a cohort of around 200,000 early recipients of the Salk Polio vaccine

Does any one who lived in Eton Wick in 1956 remember being given the Salk Polio vaccine?

The NHS at 70 page on the practice of health wales website states:

 


Polio: This incurable and deadly disease has also been eradicated from much of the world, including the UK. 

Polio is caused by a virus that destroys nerve cells. It was a disease that used to threaten millions of people worldwide. At its peak, more than 1,000 children across the world were paralysed by polio every single day. 

Those who contracted Polio were not only paralysed in their arms or legs, but also their breathing muscles, which put them at risk of suffocation. 

The only way to keep children with polio-induced respiratory problems alive was to put them in a giant metal machine, called an "iron lung", to help them breathe. Hospital wards with children in iron lungs were common just 50 years ago. You may remember such machines yourself. If not, chances are you will have relatives who do. 

Routine vaccination against polio with an inactivated virus began in 1956 and was later replaced in 1962 by the live attenuated oral polio vaccination, which was delivered on a sugar cube. 

Following the introduction of the vaccination, cases of polio fell dramatically with the last outbreak in the late 1970s and the last British case of polio infection in 1984. 




Monday, 9 August 2021

Photographic History - Village Characters - The Sons of Albert and Florance Bond

The sons of Albert and Florance Bond taken in 1935. 

Albert started up the village greengrocery business with a donkey (and later a horse) and cart when he was about 14 years old in 1899. The family came to Eton Wick from Hazelmere, Bucks. Albert's brother Tom Bond also ran a Fruit and Vegetable growers and wholesale business in the Wick. They were also cousins of Roland Bond (Contractors). 

The brothers are , from left to right at the back: Frank and Albert Jnr., and the front Edward and Ernest (twins) and Alfred. There were also three older sisters, Edith ( married name Stacey), Eva and Nora (married name Bell). 

Albert (junior) continued the mobile side of the business and Frank joined the firm when they acquired the first of the village council-built shops in 1951. They subsequently added shops in Langley, Holyport and Eton. 

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

Monday, 2 August 2021

Eton Wick History Group The Autumn 2021 Programme

Having had to postpone so many of the talks we had scheduled for 2020, due to the Covid Pandemic Restrictions, we are now delighted to announce that we will recommence engaging speakers from September; commencing on Wednesday, 8th September, with the welcome return of Josh Lovell with his talk on the Castle's Waterloo Chamber with special reference to the portraits which hang on its walls. In October and December we will be entertained by speakers who were postponed from last year. 

Dates and details are below: 

8th September 'Thomas Lawrence and the Waterloo Chamber with Mr Josh Lovell 

27th October 'Willie and Ettie :The Souls of Taplow Court' with Mr Nigel Smales 

8th December 'A Window on Windsor's Medieval Past' with Dr David Lewis 

Meetings are held at 7.30 pm in Eton Wick & Boveney Village Hall. The Entrance Fee is £2 which will include light refreshments if Covid Regulations permit. All are welcome. 

Visit our website: www.etonwickhistory.co.uk which has more than 350 articles which tell the story of the village from the Neolithic period to today. 

Perhaps, at this re-awakening of the History Group (and as it approaches its 30th anniversary year), it is appropriate to offer a reminder of how the group came to be formed: the late Frank Bond, former greengrocer and long-time resident of Eton Wick, was always the first to admit that things did not turn out as planned: the group was formed almost thirty years ago after Frank's enthusiasm for the community's past was fired by three factors: first, was his own natural curiosity; equally important was Frank's friendship with a local engineer, the late John Denham, who shared Frank's passion for the past; crucial, too, was the encouragement of a professional historian, the late Dr. Judith Hunter MBE who had written a history of the village.

By the beginning of the 1990s, Frank was newly retired and keen to bring together a small group of enthusiasts who were interested in recording aspects of past village life. The first meeting was held in the Village Hall on a wet November night in 1991. Frank recalled: "We expected to attract six or eight people." In fact, some 46 people turned up and "They didn't want to do research: they wanted to listen to speakers. 

Consequently, since the following year, 1992, the group has held over 200 meetings. Average attendance used to be around 50 but the number tends to fluctuate depending on the evening's topic — some loyal attendees come in from outside the village. In accordance with the wishes of the original committee, there are no rules, no regulations and there is no formal list of members; a small attendance fee (and often a raffle) helps to cover costs. The talks are wide ranging and not just about what happened in and around the village. 

The group has compiled albums of photographs which are occasionally displayed during certain events in the Village Hall; and at the turn of the Millennium the group packed the Village Hall with a very popular three-day exhibition of photographs and memorabilia celebrating the life and times of the village in years gone by; it has undertaken projects like the refurbishment of the Folly Bridge cattle pound, the purchase and installation of the commemorative plaque at the Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee Oak tree, and the acquisition of an Oak, through the late Duke of Edinburgh, to celebrate Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee; and the group collaborated in the design and descriptive data contained in the 'Walk and Cycle around historical Eton Wick' map and leaflet. 

When asked why the group had proved so popular, Frank Bond had replied: 

"The group allows the village to get together with a common interest in the community." 

Teresa Stanton 

Hon. Secretary Eton Wick History Group 


This article was first published in the August 2021 edition of the Eton Wick Newsletter - Our Village. It is reproduced here with the kind permission of the Eton Wick Hall Management Committee.


Monday, 26 July 2021

From the Parish Magazine - Eton Wick History Group Meeting - The Original Christopher Inn

A report on the December 1997 meeting held at the Village Hall.

The 1998 programme of talks was issued at the Group's meeting on the 10th December, promising yet another year of interesting topics; the Committee never seems to run short of subjects, despite the fact that this meeting marked the end of the 7th year of the Eton Wick History Group. The 1998 programme appears separately in this magazine. Mary Gyngell has had her hip operation and is home - we wish her well. (Needless to say, she made the cakes again!). Congratulations to Vi Millis and her husband who celebrate their 60th Wedding Anniversary and Vi's 90th Birthday last month. A man in Canada had sent Frank Bond an 1897 map of Boveney New Town and one of Windsor and a £1 note! 

Tony Cullum then entertained the Group with a talk on the original 'Christopher" Inn, which was situated opposite College Chapel in Eton. Mr. Cullum used the opportunity to take us on a journey through history, commencing with the Inn at Bethlehem at which there was no room and easing us through time, touching on maps of the 6,000 miles of excellent Roman roads in Britain, Hadrians Wall and the other wall from the Clyde to the Forth. 

Soon we had left Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula and Claudius behind and were into stage-wagons, drawn by six or eight horses; and then the spring suspension stage coach, high-perch phaetons, cabriolets and landaus - a trip from London to Bath would probably have been a three to four day journey - hence the need for coaching inns like the "Christopher". 

 And, did you know the difference between a tollgate and a turnpike gate? (A turnpike gate is sturdier and had spikes on the top!). 

There was talk of Thomas Telford and also of john Macadam - who found that the secret of a good, lasting road was to dig down to a depth of 12" , fill with granite chippings and leave it to the horses" hooves to grind it down into a solid base. And there were plenty of horses hooves pounding away, with over 1,000 vehicles leaving London every day in the early 1800s.

 Stagecoaches would leave Windsor at 7 a.m., 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and, in good conditions, would take about 4 hours to get to London. There is mention of 'The Christopher' in 1511, when it was a shown as a large complex of buildings with land leased with it "contained within 1 acre and occupied by Ruth Cox". The Inn has held various landlords including in 1636 Francis Dickin, from 1753 to 1775 a George King and, when the Inn finally closed, the landlord was a Jack Knight. 

For some time it was the only ale house in Eton which could offer bedrooms. In September 1803 a Baldwin's Bridge Trust dinner was held there at a cost of £5.6s.6d. plus 10/- for extras.

In 1665 College boys were forbidden to go there, but it later became very popular with them and they would claim that they had to go there to meet friends coming from London, or to collect parcels from the mail. Eton's 'Pop' boys used to enjoy the food and ale there, particularly a drink (a bit like punch) called 'Bishop' at 12 shillings per barrel. 

Under the then Head Master, Dr. Hawtrey, the College obtained possession of the site in 1842 and it was used first as a French Pupil Room and then as a boarding house. Jack Knight, the former landlord, moved into 131 High Street and set up shop selling drinks to the boys; in 1871 his lease and goodwill were taken over by a Mrs. Emily Brown and in 1872 it was moved o the present Rowlands/Tap. The present 'Christopher' was opened in 1846 at 110 High Street and owes its existence to the closure of the old 'Christopher' - now called Hodgson House. 

Extract from John Denham's index of Eton Traders

For the remainder of the evening, the Group repaired to the Small Meeting Room to enjoy a splendid buffet meal and Christmas punch. 

The next meeting took place on 21st lanuary when the topic was the 'HISTORY OF SALTERS STEAMERS' and the speaker, Keith French. 

During the 1990's the Parish Magazine of Eton, Eton Wick and Boveney reported on the meetings of the Eton Wick History Group. A member of the audience took shorthand notes in the darkened hall. This article was published in the first edition of 1998.



Monday, 19 July 2021

Tough Assignment - Services, Revival Meetings and Anniversaries

There were regular mentions of anniversary services at all the chapels; those at Eton Wick being held usually early in October. Camp meetings were held most summers. These were outdoor meetings with plenty of singing to attract more than the faithful. In the early years of this century they were held in a marquee in Wheatbutts Field by permission of Toddy Vaughan, the Eton College master who lived at Wheatbutts. Chairs and forms from the chapel were carried the short distance to the field. Some chapels had their own Mission Bands and here in Eton Wick they broadcast news of the service by walking round the village singing hymns accompanied on the tiny harmonium. At the service itself the Mission Band led the singing and the responses. In 1894 the young people of Eton Wick were urged to 'form themselves into a working band .... to augment the Mission Band'. That year the Camp Meeting was held on 22nd July and Brothers John Lane, Ives, Bulford and Carter conducted the service. Only John Lane came from Eton Wick, the others were lay preachers from elsewhere in the circuit. No doubt they were accompanied by other members of their own chapels, just as the people of Eton Wick would have joined in the camp meetings at Maidenhead, Cookham Dean and Marlow. They were joyous occasions and the long walk on a summer’s day was part of the fun. Most people's horizons were much more restricted than today and a visit to Marlow was a real excursion. There was another aspect to these days, however, remembered with less affection, and that was the teasing given to at least one young boy by his school mates.

The circuit minute books also mention watchnight services, revival meetings and lovefeasts. The watchnight service is first recorded at Eton Wick in 1893 and would have been held on New Year's Eve as they were in the early years of this century. They were well supported, perhaps because of the social which preceded the service! In 1900 the circuit committee decided that revival meetings should be held in each chapel and a public lovefeast (a meal showing brotherly love) at Maidenhead.

The minutes also regularly report of School Anniversary services to be planned at each chapel, but there were other special services and meetings that did not merit inclusion in the minutes. Testimony meetings are well remembered events from the early decades of this century. Held after the Sunday evening service they were an occasion for publicly counting one's blessings, a time for sharing joys and telling others 'what the Lord had done for me since the last meeting'. To a few this may have been a great opportunity for saying their piece, but most of the congregation was not naturally so forthcoming. By encouragement and direct prompting, however, Mrs Tough made very sure that many contributed to the success of the evening, and most of them went home feeling all the better for having done so - in spite of 'their palpitations'. Methodists of those decades believed in public avowal of faith and the simple words, 'My boy' said by Mrs Tough was sufficient to persuade one young man to confess his belief to the rest of the congregation. The Rev William Folley had a different method, his way was to pace up and down the aisle, challenging the congregation in their beliefs with the words 'Either you go out of this door accepting or rejecting the Lord'.

The annual calendar also included a considerable number of other enjoyable activities, but fundamentally a means - of raising money for circuit and chapel funds. Building debts had to be paid and also the many smaller bills that were incurred in the everyday running of societies and maintaining the chapels. Financial help was also given to aged local preachers in need and other Methodist charities. For many years contributing to these funds in money and time was one of the responsibilities one had to accept on becoming a Primitive Methodist.

Circuit minutes January 1894: (Resolved) 'That Mrs Tough and Mrs Lane endeavour to obtain the loan of Dorney schools for a concert and to make all needful arrangements'.

June 1894: (Resolved) 'That the Young Mens class at Maidenhead give an entertainment at Eton Wick when convenient in aid of Circuit Funds'.

September 1895: (Resolved) 'That we sanction a river excursion to be managed by the Society at Eton Wick in aid of Circuit Funds and that we recommend each society in the circuit to do all it can to make the effort a success'.

March 1903: (Resolved) 'That sanction be given to the Eton Wick Society to have a special effort on Good Friday for the reduction of the Chapel debt'.

March 1913: (Resolved) 'That the Eton Wick Society be asked to give a tea and the Maidenhead Choir and Glee Party be asked to give a musical evening at Eton Wick.'.


The Eton Wick History Group is most grateful for the kind permission given by the Eton Wick Methodist Chapel to republish this history, Tough Assignment on this website.

Monday, 12 July 2021

World War 2 Eighty Years On - July 1941 - Heat Wave, Jam and Labour Shortage

The hot summer days of June and July became a heat wave, ending with two great thunderstorms in mid-July. Three men were killed at Taplow and a schoolgirl evacuee cycling in the Datchet road also died. Over three inches of rain fell in the three days causing local flooding. 

The maintenance of roads, drains, ditches and other public works which were the responsibility of the council had become difficult as their employees were called up for military service. 

Complaints arose regarding the decline in local public services such as to why there was no longer an afternoon delivery of letters to Eton Wick. Enquiries from the council to the Windsor Postmaster brought the familiar reply that the shortage of labour and war restrictions made it difficult to maintain services.

Food rationing encouraged the adoption of various programmes for the growing and preserving of food. One successful activity, the National Fruit Preserving Scheme, was operated by the National Federation of Womens Institutes. But Eton Wick W.I. voted not to join the scheme. 

Enquiries in Council as to the W.I. rejection, Councillor Mr Chew explained that the only suitable premises had been taken for other purposes, referring to the use of the village hall by the evacuated L.C.C. School. 

It was pointed out to the Council Chairman that there was not a great deal of fruit grown by individual families in the village who were quite capable of dealing with their own fruit. Mr Walley, the Chief Food Officer, thought that if the village was not operating through the W.I. then a Sub Committee should be formed to deal with the matter. A Ladies Committee was therefore formed with Mrs Chantler, Mrs Attlee, Mrs Roe, and Mrs Chew to advise on the possible implementation of the scheme.

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


Note. It must have been useful to have Mrs Chantler on the Ladies Committee as she would have been able to provide a grocer's view of rationing and supply issues. An interesting insight into the life of a wartime grocers can be found in The View From the Corner Shop published by Simon & Schuster

Wednesday, 7 July 2021

STANLEY BOND - Royal Engineers

Stanley Walter Bond (Lance Corporal No. 1910662) - 138 Mechanical Equipment Company - Royal Engineers

Stan was born on June 26th 1917 and had six brothers and four sisters. His father, known as Roll, had moved to Eton Wick as a young single man in the late 1880s, together with an older married brother from their parents' home at the Queen's Head, Hazlemere, High Wycombe. Roll met and married Charlotte (Lottie) Deverill of Chalvey and, like his brother Thomas, raised a sizeable family spread over many years. The family home was at No. 1, Palmer Place and the road along the side of No. 1, leading to Common Road, was always referred to as Bonds' Lane. It came as a local surprise in the mid 1930s when the Eton Urban Council erected a name plate as Browns' Lane. It is now all part of Common Road.

The father, Roll, earned his living as a refuse collector, as a cabbie (horse) and a jobbing carter. Stan went to the Eton Wick Infant School until he was nearly seven and then attended Eton Porny between April 1st 1924 and July 29th 1931, when he left school to work in the expanding family business. His brothers were older than himself and, by the early 1930s, were road haulage contracting with horses and tip carts. They secured a large contract connected with the expansion of Cippenham and soon replaced the horses with lorries. The large family had known days when the next meal had to be earned but now the situation was much improved.

Unlike the short Bond stature, the offspring were of Lottie's build, big and robust. Roland (Junior), William, Robert, Cyril and lastly Charlie, had all married in the 1930s and early 1940s and left home. Their parents moved into a new detached home in the Boveney end of the village, and named it “Rollot". Stan courted and married Brenda Elsia Allen of Dorney and made a home at Taplow. His sister Florence had married Norman Lane of Eton Wick. Norman was to play a significant role in the future post war expansion of the family business.

The war clouds broke in September 1939 and different priorities affected business, and more importantly the work force. Many men voluntarily joined the forces rather than wait uncertainly for conscription into a unit not of their choice. Roland had served in the Royal Navy throughout the Great War at a time when his brothers were not old enough. In a very short while Bill, Cyril and Stan were in army uniforms. All had chosen to serve with the Royal Engineers. It was probably in early 1941, while Stan and Cyril were working in the same unit, when Stan expressed boredom and his decision to volunteer for a posting nearer "the action". This was a fairly common wish among young men throughout the services. It is not known whether he was already in North Africa, but certainly by the summer of 1941 he was serving in the Levant.

Wavell had limited resources under his command which consisted of the 7th Australian Division, the 5th Indian Infantry Brigade, part of the 1st Cavalry Division, six Battalions of the Free French forces, and a company of tanks, together with 70 aircraft. Opposing them were Vichy French forces (35,000 men), 18 Battalions, 90 tanks and 90 aircraft. The initial advance was held up 10 miles from Damascus, but by June 21st 1941 fresh reinforcements were becoming effective and on this day the Indian troops captured Damascus. On July 12th Vichy forces surrendered in Syria.

Unfortunately Stan was killed five days earlier, on July 7th 1941. His death was not directly caused by enemy action. At the time he was with comrades riding on the rear of a tank transporter. The side of the vehicle left the track, and the men were thrown off with the transporter rolling onto them. Stan is buried in the Damascus Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in Syria. His grave is number 44 in Row L. He was 24 years old and left a childless widow. The Damascus War Cemetery contains 1,173 Commonwealth graves. Stanley is commemorated on the Eton Wick Memorial in the churchyard and on the tablet attached to the Village Hall.


The first cross above marks the grave of Corporals Bond and Smart and the second of Stanley Bond alone. It is believed that the double grave was the roadside grave dug by their comrades. Later they were buried separately in Damascus and the second cross was a temporary measure pending an official post war C.W.G.C. headstone.

Stanley Bond's page on Commonwealth War Graves Commission Website

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

Further information: The 1939 Register records that Stanley Bond was a excavator driver (Heavy work) before he joined up. His widow, Brenda married Frederick Usher, a Canadian serviceman in 1943 and moved to Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada after the war had ended.

Frank Bond, author of Their Names Shall Be Carved In Stone was one of Stanley Bond’s second cousins.

Monday, 28 June 2021

Photographic History - Village Characters - Neighbours at Albert Place c1940.

 

Dick Hood in uniform, his mother, neighbours Mrs Ethel Cook, her daughter Eileen and husband Harry. The young girl with Eileen is believed to be a London Evacuee living with the Cooks. Harry Cook was a ploughman. Dick Hood was one of twelve Eton Wick/Boveney WWII fatalities

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

Monday, 21 June 2021

From the Parish Magazine - Eton Wick History Group Meeting - Celebrating the coming of the railway

The History Group met on the 10th, November to celebrate two anniversaries; one, was to recognise the 8th anniversary of the group's first meeting in November 1991. When the newly formed Eton Wick History Group met for that first time it was expected that about eight people might attend, in fact 46 people were at that inaugural meeting. Seven or eight meetings have been held every year since and the topics have rarely ranged further afield than Cliveden.

The other anniversary, the subject of the evening's talk and display of memorabilia, was the 150th anniversary of the railways coming to Windsor. Dr. Judith Hunter had kindly volunteered to tell the tale of the railways' coming, and to her own research had been added material provided by Renee and Tom Thompson of Tilstone Close. The fine display of railway memorabilia was provided by John Coke of the Slough and Windsor RailwaySociety.

Dr. Hunter began by showing a map of the Slough area dated c1830 when Slough was just a little village with two to three hundred people, Windsor had just half-a-dozen streets, and Eton (apart from the College) was barely more than the High Street. The main methods of transport were by horse, stagecoach or private carriage. But in 1830 the railway era had begun and merchants in Bristol and London were interested in having a railway connect the two cities. 

There were lots of proposals put forward from 1830 to 1835 until eventually the route for the line was agreed upon; going through Slough, Maidenhead, Didcot and on to Bristol - not yet, of course, branching to Windsor - but including Isambard Kingdom Brunel's nationally important 'Sounding Arch' at Maidenhead. Later he was to design the single-span (approximately 200 ft.) iron bridge over the Thames at Eton, linking the viaducts on the Slough to Windsor line. 

Work on construction of the main line began in 1835 and by 1838 it had got as far as Slough, but there was no station at Slough. The reason for this was that Eton College had objected most strongly to proposed routing of a railway close to the College; the Headmaster, Dr. Hawtrey, had talked about the difficulties for masters in preventing the boys taking the train to London (for vice!); it was also suggested the lively Eton boys might drop stones and bricks from the bridges onto the railway carriages. There was long and vociferous opposition and in 1835 the Lords' Committee added clauses to the Great Western Railway Act to prevent any station being opened within 3 miles of Eton College. (There was also some opposition from The Crown, but it was impossible to get a railway into Windsor without going over Crown land somewhere). 

A station was constructed at Langley, where there was a church, an inn and alms-houses, but it remained closed (for 8 years)' and trains stopped at Slough: where there were no platforms, where there was nowhere to buy tickets (so they were sold in The Crown Inn on Crown Corner; later the 'North Star' was built - nearer to the railway halt - and tickets were sold there). 

Members of the Royal Family would board the train at Slough for Paddington; and despite their own objections, Eton College hired a whole train to take boys to Queen Victoria's Coronation. By 1840, College objections had been withdrawn and Slough Station was built (with both the 'Up' and 'Down' platforms on the Slough side). The 'Royal Hotel' was built close by and had its own Royal Waiting Room. 

Cooke-Wheatstone Telegraph 
image courtesy of the Science Museum

Within 18 years of the railway coming to Slough it had grown into a market town - but still only half the size of today's Eton Wick. In 1842, the first terminus for the electric magnetic telegraph service from Slough to London was in-stalled, in a cottage on a small hill by Slough Station. In 1845 the telegraph was used in the capture of a murderer, JohnTawell, who had poisoned his former mistress in Slough, then boarded a tram for London. His description was telegraphed ahead; he was followed from Paddington to his lodgings and was arrested tried and hanged. 

Meanwhile members of Windsor Council were pressing for trains into Windsor, Henry Darville for GWR and James Bedborough for the Southern Railway. Apart from assuming that a railway terminus in Windsor would boost trade, it should also resolve the problem of full carts having to be half-emptied before horses could draw them up Thames Street hill - goods could come in by train instead. The Crown withdrew its opposition to railways crossing its land, after negotiating compensation; and two Railway Acts were passed, both in 1848 - first the Great Western Railway (opened 8 October 1849) and then the South Western Railway (which initially, from December 1849, had to stop at Black Potts and only came on into Windsor in 1851, to the Riverside Station with its 14 sets of doors which gave the Cavalry easy access and ensured the Queen's carriage was always stopped close to an exit. 

The GWR's original viaduct was constructed of timber and was replaced by the present brick-built structure between 1861 and 1863, and its Windsor Station was very modest; the present excessively large and 'Royal' station was built in 1897. In 1929 another station was opened, in Chalvey, but it only operated for 13 months before closure. The branch line into Windsor had crossed Lammas Land and the parish were compensated, but no-one knew what to do with the compensation until, in 1894, Eton Urban District Council and Eton Wick Parish Council agreed that it should be used for the Recreation Grounds we enjoy today.

During the 1990's the Parish Magazine of Eton, Eton Wick and Boveney reported on the meetings of the Eton Wick History Group. A member of the audience took shorthand notes in the darkened hall. This article was published in the December 1999 edition.

Monday, 14 June 2021

Tough Assignment - The New Chapel Described

The new chapel was a very modest building, though as large as it could be, given the narrowness of the plot of land on which it was built. The chapel is quite a plain building, dignified rather than imposing, blending in with the terrace houses in the rest of the road, though in 1886 many of the houses were not yet built. It was a rather smaller building than the present one, for beyond the chapel itself there was no hall, only the tiny schoolroom and inside there was, of course, no partition, nor were there proper pews, only forms, and a central pulpit. On the wall behind was emblazoned the message, 'We preach Christ crucified'. A slow combustion stove warmed the congregation in winter and oil lamps shed their warm glow in pools of light.  


A chapel, however, is more than a building, it is also the society of its members. In the early years membership was small and if the seat rents are any indication of numbers, it was well under twenty. Between nine and twenty people paid the shilling (5p) seat rent each quarter during the last decade of the 19th century, and although the numbers rose and fell the century ended with only 9 people paying. These were Mrs Tough, five members of the Moore family, Mr and Mrs Lane and Mr Cook (Harry Cook's father). 

Printer's bills were frequent items of expenditure and on one or two occasions these were specified for 'tickets'. These were class tickets, issued quarterly, then as today, to each professed member of the Methodist church after they had rededicated themselves to God. They were quite strict about such things as one elderly member remembers for Mrs Tough 'bred it into us'.  

A modern Class Ticket  

From 1893 the circuit minutes supplement the chapel records, revealing the close relationship of the Eton Wick Chapel - the youngest at that time in the circuit -with the other member chapels at Queens Street, Maidenhead, Marlow, Cox Green and Cookham Dean. Eton Wick took its turn as venue for the Quarterly Circuit Meetings and there are the occasional mentions of Mrs Tough and other ladies providing teas. On at least one occasion John Lane acted as secretary to the Quarterly Meeting and for many years he was the circuit delegate to the District Meetings. This says much for his standing in the circuit, but the brief mentions in the minutes reveal that he paid his own expenses, and thanks for his generosity is recorded on each occasion: 

1896 'That the best thanks of the meeting be given to Brother John Lane for his services as delegate to the District Meeting, also for a donation to the Circuit Fund, being his travelling expenses'

The observation of Mr Lodge (who chaired the first meeting in the chapel) that 'Methodism in those days meant devotion and sacrifice of both time and money' seems very apt for the 7s (35p) incurred on this occasion represented a considerable portion of his weekly wage, and in other years the journey cost him as much as a £1. 

The Eton Wick History Group is most grateful for the kind permission given by the Eton Wick Methodist Chapel to republish this history, Tough Assignment on this website.


Monday, 7 June 2021

World War 2 Eighty Years On - June 1941 - Clothes Rationing Starts

Sunday June 1st. 1941

Rationing introduced for clothes and household linens with a yearly allowance of 66 coupons for each person. Garments carried different coupon values, such as, sixteen coupons for an adult raincoat, four coupons for a woman’s petticoat, seven for a dress and two for a pair of stockings. In subsequent years the coupon allowance was decreased by 1945 to 36 coupons. Following the defeat of Germany, the allowed allocation was increased to 48 but for a longer period than one year. 

The need to conserve clothing coupons prompted the Eton Wick and Boveney Womens Institute to hold a competition for a renovated hat. Miss Pettle, having judged the results, then gave a talk on how clothes could be altered to a new look or fashion for oneself or a member of the family. Two debates, relevant to the time, were held at this meeting, one was on the communal feeding arrangements and the other on the use of cosmetics; both were lively with Mrs Jacobs and Mrs McMillan speaking for communal feeding whilst Miss Badder and Mrs Borret spoke against - the voting was against by a large majority. The debate on the use of cosmetics was light-hearted with Mrs Ball and Mrs Friend speaking for and against but this vote was not clear as some members voted for, and yet never used cosmetics themselves.

(Eton Wick W.I.)

Rationing of materials for civilian use affected many traditional customs, such as the supply of cloth for school uniforms and to overcome the shortage of the distinctive Eton College attire, a clothing pool was formed by Eton Tailors to supply second-hand school uniform including top hats still worn by the college boys in 1941.

Sunday June 22nd

German forces invaded Russia which lessened the possibility of major air attacks on Britain. Losses in men and equipment in Crete and North Africa brought an urgent need for more combat troops and equipment. To release men from civilian occupations Government Ministries undertook a recruitment campaign to get more women into factories, the railways and other public services. Later conscription would be introduced for unmarried women.

The situation made an increasing demand for munitions from the factories. To meet the demand many people worked sixty or more hours a week. Those workers living in Eton Wick, who had volunteered for Civil Defence, found it inconvenient to travel to Slough for training where it was claimed there was better facilities and equipment. A request to Eton U.D.C. by the village defence volunteers and those at Eton asked if training could be arranged locally. 

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