Saturday 31 January 2015

Alma Road, Eton Wick

Primrose Villas, built 1885, with the Chapel in the left foreground.

Primrose Villas were developed by John Moore in 1885; Moore's own house is the one at the far end of the row, beyond which is farmland.

In front of the Chapel is a full-sized tricycle. This photograph was taken before any footpath was laid outside the houses.

Friday 30 January 2015

Websites that cover topics of Eton Wick village history

There are many websites that include information about the history of Eton Wick and the surrounding area. This first selection includes the sites that cover the institutions of the village

Eton Wick Village Hall

The land the village hall is built on was a gift from Edward Littleton Vaughan. Edward was a great benefactor to the village of Eton Wick and was known affectionately as 'Toddy' Vaughan. The hall was first known as 'The Institute' and was opened on January 22nd 1907, the commemorative stone in the porch having been laid by Mr Vaughan. Read more......

St John the Baptist Church

This Victorian church was consecrated in 1867 as a daughter church to the main parish church in Eton. The first stained glass window of interest, the ‘Children’s Window’ was dedicated in 1888.  This had been paid for by the Sunday School children themselves through collections made over the previous two years. Read more.......

The church of St Mary Magdalene, Boveney

The church of St Mary Magdalene, Boveney stands on a site which has been a place of worship since before the Norman conquest. Its origins are obscure but the earliest known reference to it was made in 1266, when the offerings from the church were assigned to the vicarage of Burnham. Read more......

The Methodist Chapel

Eton Wick in the 1870s was a very small country village. Its houses, less than a hundred in number, were mainly concentrated between Bell Lane and Sheepcote Road, and between the Common and Eton Wick Road. There were several farms and farm cottages, and Bell Farm had recently been bought by the Eton Sanitary Authority for use as a sewage farm for Eton. Read more......

Eton Wick Football Club

Eton Wick football club was formed in 1881 and their original playing field was on Dorney Common. Read more..........

Thursday 29 January 2015

Eton Wick School in the post-war years

Eton Wick School in the post-war years

The school diary records that the air raid shelters were removed in 1946 and school life was back to normal by 1947. As the school is of Church of England denomination an inspection by the Oxford Diocesan brought forth the following comment—

“The service was carefully and reverently conducted, but some of the older boys were inclined to loll and I should have liked to see a more alert attitude on the part of the bigger ones who should be an example to the rest. The singing was tuneful, but the general effect would be better if the boys did not stand anyhow and sing into their boots!”

January 29th. 1947 was a very cold winter and with fuel rationing still in force the classrooms remained very cold recording a temperature of 38f (3c) at the start of morning class and rising only to 41f (5c) by 4pm close of school. The daily temperature continued to fall, reaching a classroom temperature of 28f (-2c) on January 30th. The combination of heavy frost and snow made for difficult conditions and the school attendance dropped to 28 pupils on January 29th.

The thaw in the weather set in during the third week of March leading to severe flooding in Windsor, Eton and Eton Wick and forcing the village school to close from March 17th – 24th. In the following month, whilst the school was on Easter holiday, one pupil died from tetanus: it was thought to have been an infection from the flooded land.

Photo of the school - probably taken in 1950s

Three new classrooms were added in 1953 followed in 1959 by another building extension. Further building and amenities followed between 1962 and 1974 with more new classrooms and provision for science and cooking.

Whilst the building work was taking place during mid 1960’s, some children were taught in the Village Hall where school meals were also partaken.

In 1965 class 7 pupils were taught in one of the ground floor rooms in the Village Hall, because of a shortage of accommodation in the school. The children are seen here on the climbing frame at the back of the Hall.

The use of the Village Hall for schooling ceased at the beginning of the summer term in 1966. Work continued on the completion of the Assembly Hall and Old building was converted to kitchen and dining hall.

In 1962 the school’s Parent Teacher Association donated a heated swimming pool for learners.

From 1882 onwards, the Head Teacher of the village school had always been a woman until the appointment of Mr V.C. Moss in 1955, which brought change to the school staffing. The longest serving teacher in the school’s history was Miss Florence Stearn, who was also the Headmistress, and who spent 32 years at the school (1903—1935). Ida M. Rooke, who was headmistress for 14 years (1941—1955), was followed by Mr V.C. Moss, the school’s first headmaster who held the post for 21 years. Headmaster Ian Hampshire was appointed on January 1st 1977, and was later followed by a new Headteacher, Mrs Robinson. The current Headteacher is Mrs M. Houston.

For at least 20 years after the Second World War, the children of Eton Wick school walked to the Village Hall every day at dinnertime. Well-balanced dinners were delivered every day by Buckinghamshire County Council.

The photo shows Mrs Michener, school meals supervisor, with the delivery driver.

Many incidents go to make up school life, a summary of which can be gleaned from the book published to mark the School Centenary Year 1888—1988. There was some success in sport: at football under the tuition of sports master, Mr R.C .Nash, being League Champions in 1967; and in swimming, where the school won the Dolphin Swimming Trophy in 1969.

Celebrating Swimming success: Mr Nash, Sports Master, with (left to right) Shirley Ann Morrell, Debbie Neil, Linda Devonshire and Amanda Denham.

In 1967 Mr Moss lead a 4th year class trip to The Netherlands. Mrs Smith, the Class teacher also went on the trip and Mrs Pam Kreamer was a helper. 
The photograph has been shared by Sally Dodd.

On several special occasions the Opening ceremonies were performed by personalities from the world of entertainment and sport. The new swimming pool was opened by Billy Wood, British Boys Diving Champion in 1962. Valerie Singleton from the BBC’s Blue Peter programme was a guest at the Middle School party in 1972, and there was a visit by the American Space Apollo Astronaut, Ed Mitchell, in 1977.

In 1993 the addition of a Foundation Unit allowed children to start school at three years old. The age for leaving the junior school for a more senior school was changed from eleven to nine years, with pupils generally going on to Windsor Middle School.

School Centenary Dinner, January 23rd 1988.
From left to right: Mr Vernon C. Moss, Headmaster,
Mr W. Cooley, Chairman of School Governors and Mrs Cooley

If you attended Eton Wick School, please use the comment box below to add your memories and any photographs of your school days.

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Memories of the Thames

Memories of the Thames, from guestbook entries.

I went with my mates over to the lock on the Thames and we opened and closed the lock gates for a thrupenny bit a time from the boaters.

Russell Haggerty,
19 September 2010

... I have never been back since but I will one day with my daughter to show her the beauty of Eton Wick and the memories I have of spending all my school holidays there... Going down to river to fish all day...

Sharon Pickles (nee Collins)
26 April 2010

Happy memories of skating on the frozen floodwater and even of walking across the frozen Thames just above Windsor Bridge in the cold winter of 1962/63. Bet that will never be possible ever again.

Stephen Moss,
25 May 2007.

Boveney 1940

Where the Thames flows wide and slow around old Boveney reach
Here as a lad I spent my lonely leisure hours.
On the towpath stood the old, tree-encircled church
Where so long ago the bargee's stopped to worship
On they're way downstream to markets in lower towns
Willows weeping green and yellow, leaned from the bank
Hiding the grey heron's favourite fishing place,
Along the bank meadowsweet and tall iris grew
Within the lane wood pigeon cooed in chestnut trees
In the rush bed sat tight the coot on hatching eggs
Water voles burrowed in fern'ed banks along the stream.
Dabchicks played bob hide and seek after fish to eat.
Circles in the stream, told where fish rose for the fly
A family of swans would paddle deep away
The cob, neck arched, wings raised, hissed his fierce defiance
Thrusting against the stream to join his nervous mate
Here I would sit to fish with hazel rod and line,
Feather float, bent pin baited with expectant bread.
Weir stream pike, patient, waited for food in the race,
In those days nothing disturbed our tranquillity
The world occupied with survival and with war.
To manhood I grew, the bugle sounded plane
The river and I would not know such peace again.

Arthur Mylam 
23 October 2008

If you have any memories of time spend on or around the Thames at Eton Wick, let us know by sending a message from the Guestbook page.

Tuesday 27 January 2015

Coronation Tea, 1953

Coronation Tea, 1953

with one unhappy partygoer!

John Bond commented: "I've just been looking at the photograph of the coronation party. It was held opposite my grandfather's green grocery yard on  Common Road. Not far from the Greyhound Pub. The lady on the far left is my mother Kathleen Bond and next to her Betty Hood nee Bond. The small fair-haired girl behind the boy with the cap is my sister Pat Bond. Directly opposite her is a small fair-haired boy with his face looking down. That is Steven Blay. 
Can anyone else identify those in the photograph?"

Clare Stevens-Gaboury added: "My mother, Maria Stevens, is the woman on the far right, looking directly into the camera. My brother, Paul Stevens, is the little boy below her, he is looking to the right of the photograph. I believe the gentleman at the back of the photo, wearing the cap, is Mr. Pass."

Sunday 25 January 2015


Wheatbutts was built by William Lydford, a butcher from Eton, between 1704, when the land was described as 'All that close of arable land called wheatbutts', and 1716, by which time the house had been built in the corner of the close and the rest converted into an orchard. Whether William Lydford ever lived there is not clear, but by 1716 he was living in Old Windsor and the property sold to the Eton Poor estate.

- from "The Story of a Village" by Judith Hunter

Russell Haggerty writes:

I lived in Wheatbutts Cottage in the early fifties. My father was in the US air force. We moved in just after David Niven moved out (so we were told).

At that time the 'cottage' had a nine acre orchard, a large garden in front and a nine room thatched cottage on the left from the front door. This was down a ways from the 'carriage house' also on the left. My father was a photographer and took many pictures of the cottage and grounds. Outside the fence in back was a bicycle path and a duck and swan pond. Beyond the pond was a small dairy farm.

This was a cherished memory for me. My bedroom looked out the front on the first floor and Windsor castle was on the horizon.

David Cawsey writes:

There are several mentions of David Niven's occupancy of Wheatbutts, and I have another story about this.

My cousin tells me that she and a friend learned that David Niven was at home at Wheatbutts and went there to ask for David Niven's autograph. The housekeeper said that Errol Flynn was with David Niven at that time and asked them to return later for the autograph, which they did. (David Niven and Errol Flynn were known to be great personal friends.)

If you have anything to add about Wheatbutts Cottage, let us know by sending a message from the Guestbook page.

Wednesday 21 January 2015

Home laundries

Home laundries provided work for married women in Eton and Eton Wick. By the end of the 19th century there were five listed in the local trade directories.

Thatch Cottage, one of the "home laundries" in Eton Wick

During the 19th century many of the village girls were in service, but it was home laundries which provided employment for some of the married women in Eton Wick. The Eton Boys' personal linen and clothes washing, together with that of many business people of Eton town, was done in small home laundries of Eton, Eton Wick and Chalvey. Even the opening of Eton College laundry in 1881 initially did not have a great effect on the home laundries.

By the end of the 19th Century there were five home laundries in Eton Wick advertising in the local trade directories. Those registered as washer women in the village included Mrs Haverley, Mrs Sarah Miles, and Mrs Lanfier of Albert Place. One washerwoman, Elizabeth Kedge, who lived in part of the Vicarage, was laundress to her Majesty, Queen Victoria. Two Eton Wick men were also registered, Mr Frederick Burfoot of Alma Road and Mr Sergeant of Albert Place.

Garden wells and water from the stream close by could well have aided the home laundry businesses in Albert Place, as piped water to the communal Pump or to individual homes did not come to the village until 1892.

People remember how, before the Second World War, the Eton Boys' laundry was brought from College to Eton Wick using the family pram with perhaps the youngest child in with the dirty daily attire and in winter, mud caked football shirts, shorts and socks. This washing did not include the famous Eton Collar worn by Juniors as it is said that they were laundered, starched and ironed by the tailors who supplied Eton College uniform items, such as Tom Brown, established in 1784.

Often the village Laundresses worked in groups to get through more washing and also ease their task. When taking a break from their labours, the senior would go to one of the village Pubs ‘Jug and Bottle’ to get a jug of beer for the other women, which perhaps helped with the task and their conversation of village affairs and scandal.

Some laundress may have had a built-in 'copper' for heating water and boiling the clothes, while others used a large cast-iron crock pot over the fire of the kitchen stove. It was all physical labour with scrubbing board and scrubbing brush and agitating the washing in the boiling water with a paddle stick. Early manual washing machines, if affordable, were just a wooden tub fitted with a manually turned paddle - and later, the addition of a twin roller mangle to squeeze the water out of the clothes.

This type of laundry aid was expensive, but sometimes cheaper copies could be made by a local jobbing carpenter and blacksmith and used on a communal basis. This could have been so in Eton Town where there was a communal wash house and drying area (it has been said that Eton householders could not hang out washing to dry if it could be viewed from the castle!).

The Eton town communal wash house and drying area was to the rear of the Crown and Cushion Public house in Eton High Street, serving the needs of more than fifty people who lived in the adjacent two rows of cottages.

Eton College, landlords of the Brocas field on the bank of the River Thames, did give permission for the Eton Laundress to spread their washing on the Brocas field grass to dry and bleach.

Soap for the village washer women was probably home-made or bought from the Eton Starch Maker (who possibly made up blocks of soap as part of his business) or from other town hardware merchants.

The early local soap was made from Lye water, by pouring rainwater through the cold ashes from a hardwood fire to which was added, in correct proportions, animal fat that had been melted down to a grease. The mixture was cast into a long receptacle of suitable proportion to set, and was then cut into mottled blue or yellow seven pound blocks and sold by the hundredweight. These blocks of soap were left to dry and then chopped into usable size. This method was overtaken by Lever Brothers in 1884 with the world's first name-branded soap, ‘Sunlight’,  made specifically for laundry work. As more efficient products became commercially available, the art of home-made soap disappeared.

Washboards and scrubbing-brushes were used for really dirty items, and at Thatch Cottage a second small copper in the yard was used to bring back the whiteness to soiled tea cloths and similar items. At this laundry, the irons were heated and kept hot on a special ‘ironing stone’ with a ridged surface, which was set by the fire.

In the home laundries, the main work of washing was usually done in the cottage scullery, where the copper produced the gallons of hot water needed. Mrs Miles converted one of the pair of cottages known as Vine Cottage into her laundry so that there was room for the various operations indoors, but at other laundries the business had to spread into sheds outside.

At Thatch Cottage there was one for mangling, another for drying and a third in which the ironing was done. Some women did one job and others another. Woollen socks and sports gear from College were washed not at the laundries but by individual women, who collected them after games and returned them clean and dry the next day!

Laundry women also washed for local gentry and business people, sometimes going to the customer's home to do the wash where, for their labour, the pay would be a few pence and a mid-day meal. But for the village washer women, the Eton College boys were their main customers. Today the new College Laundry deals with eighty thousand items of clothing a week, a far cry from the manual scrubbing days of the Eton Wick Washer Women of earlier years.

Then and Now - the Red House and the Village Hall

The Red House and the Village Hall are monuments to the village builder, Henry Burfoot.

Henry Burfoot was a Bricklayer who lived in a cottage nearby Little Common within Eton Wick. He was born in 1858, and by the early 1890s he had built himself a show house with a substantial workshop and yard in Alma Road, Eton Wick. He also built many of the houses and terrace blocks in Alma Road, Inkerman Road, Northfield Road and Moores Lane, in the part of the village known as Boveney New Town.

Henry Burfoot was more than a jobbing builder, advertising himself as a Building Contractor undertaking specialised work in the building of bakers' ovens, large hot coal fired ranges, and heating boilers.

The imposing Red House fronting the Eton Wick Road was built by Henry for his son, also named Henry, in 1904 (see picture at the top of the page).

In 1906 Burfoot and Son received the contract to build the Village Institute, now know as the Village Hall, on land gifted by Edward Littleton Vaughan. Building commenced in 1906, and the Institute was opened in 1907.

Burfoot also built the Methodist Chapel in Alma Road on land given by Mr Ayres. The Chapel opened in 1886.

Mr and Mrs Henry Burfoot Jnr. were active members of the village community. Mr Burfoot was the secretary of the Village Hall Management Committee, a member of the Parochial Church Council, and a church sidesman. Mrs Burfoot was on the committee of the Eton Wick Nursing Association, and secretary of the Infant Welfare Organisation which had started in 1915. She was a founder member of Eton Wick and Boveney Womens' Institute, and a member of the Church Ladies Working Party.

On his retirement Henry Jnr. sold the business to Prowtings, who after seven years sold it to J. T. Ireland who operated the building business from the Red House.

James (Jimmy) Ireland had started his business on leaving the army after the Second World War. He employed around 60 men and apprentices, and built extensively in Eton Wick and Dorney. The Eton Wick developments include the houses in Tilston Avenue and Queens Road.

Jimmy Ireland was a great supporter and benefactor to the village Scouts, the Youth Club and other organisations within the village. In 1947 he became an Eton Urban District Councillor and served as Chairman of the Housing committee. Following on his involvement in public service he was elected to the Buckingham County Council, serving as chairman of several committees and Vice Chairman of the County Council. Appointed as a magistrate in 1957 and made Deputy Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire in 1975, Jimmy was honoured with the CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 1982.

Upon Jimmy Ireland's retirement the building business J. T. Ireland ceased. A change of ownership brought changes to the Red House when in the late 1990s its size was doubled to incorporate two shops or offices (see picture at top of page).

Tuesday 20 January 2015

Farming around Eton Wick - Bob Tarrant's memories

Robert Valentine Tarrant, known as Bob Tarrant, was born at Crown Farm, Eton Wick, on 18 August 1911. His niece Monica has recorded some of his memories of farming life in and around the village.
Tarrant family photo

Bob Tarrant was the youngest child of George and Lillian Tarrant (nee Hobbs) and he had two older brother - George born 1908, and Reginald born 1910. Bob Tarrant went to Eton Wick infant school where he remained until 1918; he then went to Eton Porney school and left in 1926. He used to go out on the milk cart to help deliver milk before going to school which started at 9.00 a.m.

The family moved from Crown Farm in March 1922 to Manor farm. Between the two farms there were 30 milking cows, and ten shire horses, five of which were bred on the farm - they were Nelson, Anne, Captain, Babs, Rodney, Tulip, Dumpling, Violet, Prince and Bob.

Tarrant Family members in the garden of Saddocks Farm house, around 1900.
In those days the winters were very severe with hard frosts, snow and floods. It was often said that the winter of 1894 had been very bad. The Eton Wick Road was often impassable from either snowdrifts or flooding and the road across the Slads was like a weir at times. There was a row of iron posts across the area at that time, although most of them have disappeared. Iron platforms were put over the posts and planks laid on top of them. The top holes had handrails attached and it was a very scary experience to walk across. The last time this bridge was erected was in 1947. Before then it was quite a frequent occurrence for it to flood. When the floods were bad the only way to deliver the milk and other goods to Eton College and Eton High Street was by boat. Sometimes the boat would only just go under the railway arches.

In 1947 the winter was very severe and the river Thames rose very quickly and everyone was taken by surprise. Crown farm was badly affected with water reaching up the fourth stair in the house. Many pigs were drowned and some of the cows were seen floating off down the Thames.

Crown farm, Saddocks Farm and Manor farm were all worked by Bob Tarrant’s grandfather, James Tarrant. James Tarrant started at Crown Farm around 1870, Saddocks Farm in 1894 and Manor Farm in 1902.

There were several smaller farms in the area: Messrs. Nottage and Ashman at Dairy farm (later H Morris), Jack Langridge at Thatch Cottage and H Bunce at Common Farm, HJK Martin then W Bootey at Jersey farm, and A Borrett at Alderney Farm - this farm was named after the breed of cows he kept. Henry Powell fell on hard times and worked for Bob Tarrant’s father George Tarrant. He upheld the Lammas Rights and every year he would take a farm horse around to various areas, staying at each location for about half an hour to keep the rights open.
Crown Farm house

Crown Farm House
There was also an isolation hospital in Eton Wick that could be approached from Bell farm near Saddocks farm, it was mainly used for scarlet fever patients.

Common and Lammas
The land around Eton and Eton Wick was all Lammas grounds, common fields and commons. Householders or cottages with rights were allowed to turn out no more than two head of cattle.

The Rules for the Great and Little Commons
No cattle shall be turned out upon the two commons before 6 o'clock on the evening of May 1st or after August 1st.

Lammas Grounds and Common Fields
The same rules but between August 1st and October 31st each year.

N.B. Bob Tarrant married May Peck. The Peck family had a farm called Marsh Lane Dairies, Marsh Lane near Dorney Reach. This farm was run May’s parents George and Nellie Peck then passed to May’s brother Jack Peck.

This article is from the script of a talk presented at a history group meeting by Monica Peck daughter of Jack Peck. 27/6/2008

Monday 19 January 2015

Local War Memorials websites

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission

The CWGC commemorate the 1,700,000 men and women of the Commonwealth forces who died in the two world wars. Our cemeteries, burial plots and memorials are a lasting tribute to those who died in some 154 countries across the world. Our Register records details of Commonwealth war dead so that graves or names on memorials can be located.

Eton and Eton Wick war memorials

Eton is on the north bank of the Thames directly opposite Windsor. It was formerly part of Buckinghamshire and transferred to Berkshire in 1997. It includes Eton Wick.

Buckinghamshire war memorials

Even though Buckinghamshire is a relatively small county, recording the details of the thousands of Buckinghamshire men who lost their lives in the First World War is an intense undertaking for our small team. But we are enthusiastic and determined to make a worthwhile contribution. You will appreciate that even though the project is almost complete there are still a few gaps in the records and it is hoped that these gaps will be filled as the project progresses.

West Berkshire war memorials

On this site you will find photographs of War Memorials in the local authority area of West Berkshire - and the wording inscribed upon them.  Every legible name has been transcribed so you can search for any person of interest without knowing which memorial commemorates him/her.

Roll of Honour website.

Throughout Berkshire there are various memorials and rolls of honour dedicated to those men and women who fell in various wars. These memorials and rolls cover many centuries in some cases, mostly though it is World War One and Two. During any conflict there are certain acts of bravery or defiance that are noticeable above others. For these acts citations and medals have been awarded.

Berkshire war memorials

These web pages are designed to provide an inventory of War Memorials in Berkshire  It is organised first by district and then by parish/town. Other settlements and hamlets will be dealt with under their Civil Parish name or district name if unparished.

The history of Eton Wick School: 1939 - 1945

Eton Wick School 1939 - 1945

Initially the Eton Wick School and the evacuated London County Council (L.C.C.) children shared Eton Wick’s School premises, which resulted in overcrowding of available classrooms. A trial of sharing the day with Eton Wick children attending morning class and the L.C.C. attending afternoon class was put in place as a short term measure. This curtailment of education was found unsatisfactory and use of the Village Hall by the L.C.C. was the solution for return to all-day schooling. The Village Hall ceased to be used for schooling in July 1943.

April 14th 1941
Fortunately the local schools were on holiday as bombs and incendiaries fell in the district. Two incendiary bombs fell on Eton Wick school, one falling on the roof whilst the other fell through into the infants room where a cupboard was set on fire, doing slight damage.

“A number of incendiaries had dropped across the allotments below the school in Sheepcote Road. Searchlights were sweeping the sky in search of the enemy planes whose dull drone seemed to be continual. I rushed about the allotments piling soil on the burning bombs. Within minutes the flames would burn through the soil and the operation was repeated.

"It was on this night my father became Eton Wick's only air raid casualty. The school like most public buildings had a wall of sand bags about six feet high along the old buildings main wall. My father, an Air Raid Warden, was on duty near the school and could see the incendiaries burning inside the building. Realising that the blaze had to be tackled immediately he climbed onto the protective wall of sandbags and using one of the bags broke the window to gain entry. He then climbed through to extinguish the fires. On getting through the broken glass he cut his hand.

"After the fire was extinguished it was pointed out to him that all his effort to effect the entry was really unnecessary as the school door was always left unlocked for just such an emergency." (Frank Bond’s memories)

May 8/9th 1945 - Victory in Europe. The School closed for the two day National Holiday.

The history of Eton Wick School: the school log 1899 - 1939

Key events from the school log 1899 - 1939

A photograph of Eton Wick School taken between 1903 and 1906. At this time the older boys attended Eton Porny School. Very few in the photograph have been identified but the teacher is believed to be Miss Stern, the Head teacher

An insight into the early days can be gleaned from the school log:

September 1899 Falling attendance due to the Lord John Sanger’s circus being in Windsor
12 January 1894  The recent snow had gone but the gravel roads were impassable
28 November 1894 The school had to be closed from the middle of November - serious floods had rendered the school unfit for use and the roads had become impassable.
20 November 1899  Visit of the German Emperor to Windsor: the school was given a half day holiday.

4 February 1901  Queen Victoria’s burial at Frogmore was made public and so a half day holiday was given.
 1 June 1901  A half day holiday was given as Peace was declared (following the Boer War). 
30 September 1903  School was taken over by Buckinghamshire County Council. 
20 October 1905  The H.M. School Inspectors report that the school room is not fit to receive 85 children in one crowd.
2 April 1914 H.M. Inspector found that the air in the Infants room had become "vitiated" (of impaired quality).
5 September 1914  The school's long desks were replaced by the Education Committee with fifteen dual desks.
11 March 1920  Armistice Day was observed with 2 minutes silence. Sir Douglas Haig’s message was read, followed by the singing of ‘O God Our Help in Ages Past’.
3 September 1939  War declared against Germany (World War II).
September 1939  Evacuees arrived from London

The history of Eton Wick School: the beginnings

The children cross the Eton Wick road on their way
back to school after dinner at the village hall.
The lollipop man is Mr Cox. 

The beginnings

In 1831 the Reverend Henry John Chitty Harper came from Oxford to be a private tutor at Eton College. He was an enthusiastic man of strong character who did not like to be idle. It was through his energy and enthusiasm to get things improved for the poor that the first schoolroom was built in Eton Wick in 1840 at a cost of £259, the ground being generously granted by Mr William Goddard at a nominal annual rent of 10 shillings. The building served not only as the schoolroom but also as a place to hold a service for the benefit of the villagers. It should be remembered the total village population at that time was less than 400.

This elementary school was built on part of the Greyhound Public House plot which then extended from Common Road to the Eton Wick Road. The school came under the auspices of the Church of England and took boys and girls from the age of four. Later as the village population almost doubled, the school had to be enlarged. With more mothers working as laundresses and servants with in the College and the trades people in Eton, children as young as two years were accepted to school which then required a balcony built to accommodate them.

A Church Diocesan report of 1879 stated that the school was satisfactory in every respect. The boys left at the age of six to go to Eton Porny School, whilst the girls stayed until they were 10 years. However, by 1886 development of the new community on land next to the village boundary (which became known as Boveney New Town) brought more overcrowding to the school and two year old children were no longer accepted at the school. In the October of 1887 the School Inspector said the crowded conditions were ‘unwholesome’, adding that improved accommodation would be a condition for receiving any future grants.

The little school room had served the village for some forty years but in 1886, after much discussion of several schemes, the decision was made to have a new school building. The estimated cost was £1000 to £1,100. This was a large sum which could only be raised by voluntary contributions or by the School Board. If the School Board raised the money it would be additional to the rates and a liability on all ratepayers. At the parish meeting it was agreed that the money would be raised by voluntary subscription. The site for the new school was to be a piece of Crown land given by Queen Victoria through her commissioners of the Treasury.

The new school was sited in ‘Sheepcote’ road, which in earlier times had been a farm track, and as the name implies had perhaps been an enclosed sheltered area for sheep and lambs.
This school building was of adequate size until after the Second World War, when housing development in the village during the 1950 and 60’s brought new families and the demand for school admittance increased. 

Eton Wick Scouts

The Eton Wick Scout Troop was first formed in the early days of the Boy Scout movement before World War I by Mr E. L. Vaughan, a master at Eton College. The photo shows the troop at camp at Osmington Mills near Weymouth, August 1914, with their Scoutmaster E. L. Vaughan.

1914 Scout camp

From left to right: Bill Woolhouse, George Percy, Bill Bond, Scoutmaster E.L.Vaughan, C. Jacobs, Ernie Wetherhead, Ern Thomas, C.Balm, and George Newall.

The camp was held at the outbreak of World War I; George Percy was destined to be killed serving on the Western Front, while Bill Woolhouse became a prisoner of war. He suffered severe facial wounds, which were tended by his captors.

The troop having been disbanded during the war, a new Troop was formed in October 1926. Mr Sharp was appointed Scout Master with Mr Wetherhead as Assistant Scoutmaster, and Mr E. L. Vaughan became Chairman of the group. To set the group off, Eton College Scout Troop offered secondhand uniforms at 2/6d each, the colours being green and white. Weekly subscriptions were 1d a week, and the troop met in the Eton Wick School Room.

In February 1927 Mr Evans, Vicar of Eton, took over as Chairman with Mr Vaughan becoming Vice-chairman. The group flourished with twenty Scouts attending their first camp at Lulworth Cove, Dorset at a cost of fifteen shillings a head.

February 1928 brought changes in the leadership with Mr Weatherhead becoming the Scoutmaster, assisted by Mr Judd who later became Scoutmaster of the Eton Troop.

Good Scouting achievement won badges and awards, and one particular feat won special recognition. William Hodge, a nine year-old Wolf Cub of the 1st. Eton Group, was awarded the Scout Gilt cross and Certificate by the Chief Scout, Robert Baden Powell, in April 1929. William and his friend, six year-old Alan Kingston had been playing on the ice, when it gave way under their weight and Alan fell through. William and another boy tried to pull Alan out but the ice gave way under their combined weight and they also went under. William continued his efforts alone after the other eight year-old boy left the scene. Eventually William succeeded in pulling his friend out of the freezing mire, no doubt averting a fatality.

 Alan Kingston and William Hodge

Certificate awarded to William Hodge by the Chief Scout, Robert Baden Powell, to accompany his Gilt Cross. The certificate reads: This certificate is granted to Wolf Cub William Hodge of the 1st Eton Group as evidence that I have awarded him the Gilt Cross in recognition of the pluck & promptitude he displayed in the rescue of a boy who had fallen through the ice, at South Meadow, Eton, on March 1st, 1929.

The Eton Wick troop continued to gathered numbers and in January 1930 a Scout Cub Pack was set up under the leadership of Miss Clatworthy. Another welcome phase was the completion of the new Scout Hut during 1930. The hut was located in Wheatbutts field, the site being leased from Mr Vaughan, the owner of Wheatbutts.

                                            Robert Baden Powell

The first Scout Hut in Wheatbutts

Building of this Scout hut had started in 1927: Ernest Coke, who joined the Scouts in 1927, helped his father with the building work. This Scout hut was destroyed by fire in 1963.

The Girl Guide Company was formed in the 1920’s and met at the Village hall. The photograph is of the Eton Wick and Boveney Guide Company outside the hall (known in earlier time as the Institute) in the 1930s.

Girl Guides, Eton Wick

A diary of events for the Troop covering the 1930’s is not available but it is remembered that there were changes in the leadership, with Mr Williams, Mr Short, Mr Ernie Coke and Mr Maoelin becoming leaders. The last two were Rover Scouts; Ernie Coke later became Eton Wick Troop Scout Master. Another local troop change during the 1930’s was the troop scarf which went from green and white to black and white.

Eton Wick and Boveney Scouts 1933.
At the back: Stan Bond and George Bright. 
Fourth row from the front: unidentified, Jack Ling, Ern Lovell, Bob Cook, Bryant. 
Third row: Stan Bright, Ern Lynch, Basil Bavin, Ken Weller, Bob Huse, unidentified, Jim Stannett, Gordon Paintin, George Newell, Francis Holcombe. 
Second Row: Frank Bond, Fred Sibley, Cyril Short, Ernie Coke, unidentified, Miss Clatworthy (Akela) Peter Cooley, Harold Woodley. 
Front: Arthur Hood, Sid Gomm, Dick Harding, Ken Lovell, Doug Slade, Ed Bond, Fred Harris, Ern Bond, Alf Turner, Walter Pates, Albe Bond, Jim Newell and Maurice Young.

This particular Scout Troop was formed in 1926. In WW2, Stan Bond was killed in the Desert campaign and Walter Pates (an air gunner) over France.

There is no record showing how active the Scouts and Guides were in the village during the Second World War. A local newspaper report on paper and metal salvage within the village says that the Guides went about the task with so much enthusiasm that "if it was not screwed down on the cart it went", while the boys showed little interest in salvage!

It seems that the Scout Troop ceased sometime during the war years as from the diary we learn that a group meeting was held on March 1st 1946 to discuss reforming the 1st. Eton Wick and Boveney Scout Group. A new committee was formed and the Reverend Hare appointed Chairman. Mr Stevens became the Cub Master and Miss Morris became Guide Leader.

In 1949 Ernest Coke became Scoutmaster and reformed the Scout Troop with his leadership. Also at this time, Mr Peter Morris took over as Cub Master.

Ernie Coke enrolled as a Boy Scout in the Eton Wick Troop on April 9th 1927.

Ernie Coke

He became Scout Master of the Troop in 1949. After he retired, his son John Coke took the post of Troop Scout Master in the late 1960’s.

The 1950s

To raise funds for new equipment the troop turned to collecting waste paper and holding fetes, and in 1952 were able to purchase new Troop and Cub flags, tents and other equipment. The new flags were dedicated by the Reverend Hare at St John the Baptist church, Eton Wick.

Flag parade outside church

The first Scout Fete held in 1952 in the Wheatbutts. The fete was opened by Geraldene McKeown. Also in the photograph below are Bob Bond and Ernest Coke (Scout Master).

Fete opening party

During 1952 John and Margaret Fennel became Cub Masters of the Eton Wick Cubs. The photograph below shows Margaret Fennel (Eton Wick Cub Akela) and Ernest Coke viewing the gold Medal of Merit for outstanding service to Scouting which was presented to John Fennel, Area District Commissioner in November 1964.

John Fennel and his gold medal of merit

Ernie Coke (left), Group Scout Master, congratulates his son John on winning his Queen's Scout badge. 
Stan Humphries, Eton Wick Scout leader looks on. 
John later succeeded Stan as Troop leader for the Eton Wick Troop.

From left to right: David Springford, Peter Lines and Tony Cutts 
receive their Queens Scout Badges in 1955/6.

Eton Wick and Boveney Scout Camp Scout Rally, Beaconsfield, 1954.
Some of the boys are holding tin mugs, which are about to be filled from the pitcher. Among those present (left to right) were Mike thorn, Alec Benham, Chris Smith (at back), David Springford, unidentified, (?) Pitchard, Rob (?) Hood, (?) Emery, Terry Harman, Tom Foster and Tony Clibbon. Kneeling on the right is Ern Coke the Scout Leader.

The 1960’s were eventful years for the Eton Wick Scouts and Guides, and the Cub and Brownie packs. In January 1960 the Eton Wick Wolf Cub Pack entertained ten American boys from the 178 High Wycombe pack at the Wheatbutts Scout hut. The Windsor and Eton Express reported that the guests were welcomed with a “Grand Howl” and entertained with a sausage and mash supper, games, and a camp fire sing-song.

Eton Wick Scout Group Gang Show April 1960

After raising money in a ‘Long Slog’ by Scouts, Guides, and parents, the new Scout hut was opened in December 1960 by Air Commodore E.L. Brodie, County Commissioner (Scouts) for Buckinghamshire. During the opening ceremony the Air Commodore unveiled a portrait of Baden Powell which had been given by Colonel Butcher, the Chief Scout Commissioner for Australia. Also during the ceremony Margaret Fennel was presented with a medal of merit for outstanding service to the movement, recognizing her many years' service as Cub Master, Guide Captain and Ranger Skipper.

Entertaining the American visitors

Margaret Fennel receiving her medal for outstanding service.

The Scouts' and Guides' fundraising activities included the annual Scout Fete at the Wheatbutts, camp fire evenings, Gang shows, Bob-a-Job weeks, and the collection of waste paper. The money raised was used to organize Christmas parties for Eton Wick pensioners, to send Scouts to the World Jamborees, and finance the annual Scout and Guide camp.

Margaret Fennel leads the Cubs' campfire sing-song 
(see Martin Deebank's message below)

Local Scouts of the Buckinghamshire Contingent to the 13th World Scout Jamboree in Japan being seen off by Mrs Wilson, Chairman of Eton Town Council at Slough Station (1971).
2nd left, Stan Mills, (Eton Wick) group leader; centre, Steven Denham (Eton Wick).

The 13th World Jamboree scout camp was struck by a hurricane

Flooding at the 13th World Scout Jamboree, following a hurricane. Many scouts had to be evacuated to schools and public buildings by the Japanese Home Defence Force and the American Army.
Scouts digging drainage ditches

The British contingent dug drainage ditches in their camp.

The Buckinghamshire Scouts contingent performed a sword dance at the Jamboree, taught by the Datchet Morris men over several weeks before the Scouts left for Japan. The final act of the dance involved interlocking the individual swords for one member to hold aloft a star made by the interlocking swords.

The picture shows Steven Denham, foreground, and the completed sword star (inset).

Eton Wick School children performing at the Scout Fete July 1973. which was opened by Miss Beryl Reid. Other attractions were the Village Shinty competition finals, Can-Can dancers, Trick motorcyclist and various competitions.

In July 1997 a disastrous fire, thought to have been started by vandals, destroyed the Scout Hut. Many trophies and much equipment was lost. Although the building was replaced, money for new equipment had to be found.

Many fundraising events were held by parents and well-wishers, including a Valentine Dance, car boot sales, and a firework night. £6000 was raised for replacement gear, but much memorabilia was lost for ever. The new Scout hut was opened by former England Rugby Captain, Will Carling, in 1998.
The new Scout Hut 

Cubs football team c.1968/69

This picture was provided by Martin Deebank, who wrote:

"The photo is of the Cubs team around 1968/9, after playing in an end of season cup competition on the day of my birthday party. If I remember rightly, we had hardly won a game all season, then we played this cup competition (possibly at Richings Park - it was somewhere near the Crooked Billet roundabout at Iver Heath). We expected to get knocked out in the first round, but we managed to get to the final (so making me late for my party).

The Eton Wick cubs are in the front row; left to right as you look: Paul Miller (?), Rod Pethybridge, Steve Hynam (his parent's went on to run the Pineaple pub at Dorney), Andrew Everitt, Bruce Gould, James Moss, Roger Paintin, Martin Deebank, Paul Connor (later to die as a teenager in a horrific motor-bike accident outside the Grapes pub), don't know (?), don't know (?), Martin Rowlands. Our manager Terry (?) Reeves is the chap on the right behind the players."

Martin's mother Ellen used to run the 2nd Eton Wick Brownies as Brown Owl, and he writes:

"In the loft I've still got a scrapbook that the Brownies did for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations of the Guiding movement. Names of the Brownies who helped to compile the scrapbook are inside the front cover. They are as follows: Gnomes - Irene Brudenall, Diane Jarratt, Kay Symons & Cheryl Norbury; Elves - Lisa Hunt, Heather Caley, Fiona Hunt & Jane Greenwood; Imps - Pauline Sharp & Elizabeth Reilly; Sprites - Nancy Attride, Christine Marik & Jennifer Hughes.

Also, I think that my mum has sneaked into one of the photographs on your site. Under "Eton Wick Scouts" it looks like her 5 from the right (with the white hair) in the picture of Margaret Fennel leading the Cub's campfire sing-song."

Would you like to share your memories of your time as a Scout, Guide, Cub or Brownie with the Eton Wick or Eton Troop? Maybe you were involved in their competitions, or in committee work?

If you have any stories we could publish on the website, please get in touch by sending an email to If you have any photographs, even better!
This article focuses on the Scouts and Cubs, but it would be good to hear from former Guides and Brownies too.

There are other memories of Eton Wick Scouts in the article "A Sixties Childhood in Eton Wick" by Steven Denham.

The Recreation Ground and the GWR

Eton Wick Recreation Ground looking east towards Windsor Castle

The beginnings: the coming of the Great Western Railway

The construction of the Great Western Railway main line to Bristol was originally intended pass through Windsor, Reading and Oxford. The University of Oxford objected, considering that such an innovation was a danger to life and limb; likewise objections were raised by Windsor Castle and Eton College authorities resulting in the railway being diverted and constructed at a more respectful distance from these places.

Within a short time plans were also put forward for a branch line from Slough to Windsor, but again objections were put forward by Eton College and some leading citizens of Eton which delayed the line for fourteen years

The inhabitants of Eton were summoned to a meeting on October 2, 1846, to consider the railway company's proposal. The calling of the meeting was signed by the town’s most influential people, with the Provost of Eton heading the list. Opposition to the proposal was voted out and the project was carried through. Certain obligations were imposed on the railway authorities, one being to place a watchman on the line to keep Eton boys from endangering their lives or the lives of passengers. This task continued late into the 19th century.

Another imposed condition was the payment of compensation by the Great Western Railway Company to the parish, for the extinguishment of commonable and Lammas rights. In the year 1852 the Railway company paid £246 5s.Id. (£246.51p). compensation money. Also in the year 1871 the Eton Local Board of Health paid £105 compensation money on land released for the open bed sewage farm.

The compensation money was invested in 2 3/4% Consolidated Stock in the names of three trustees, John Atkins, Thomas Hester and Edwin Aborn who invested it for many years. Questions were asked at the annual Vestry meeting by Eton public as to what use was to be made of it. Several proposals were made, but no satisfactory decision was reached for many years.

Slough to Windsor railway viaduct

The Slough-Windsor railway viaduct, from the Eton Wick side. The railway to Windsor was completed in 1849. Initially it was carried on a wooden viaduct across the Slads , the wooden structure being replaced in the 1860s by brick arches.

Purchase of land

On the 10th October 1895, the Board of Agriculture called a meeting of persons interested in the compensation money to consider the application. The meeting was held in the parish room, Eton, and the majority decided that the money should be used to provide recreation grounds for Eton and Eton Wick.

By this time the amount invested had accumulated to £964. 9. 8d. and there was cash in hand amounting to £18. 15.0. The meeting resolved that the money should be applied as follows:

Land to be acquired for Eton Wick Recreation Ground

The balance to be used to purchase land in Eton to be used
as a recreation ground for Eton, and to be vested in the Eton Urban District Council, under the provisions relating to Recreation Grounds of the Enclosure Acts 1845 to 1878.

This was agreed to: £650 was allotted to Eton and £300 to Eton Wick. (Included in this expenditure was Board of Agriculture expenses 321. 14.0)

The field for Eton recreation ground was a ‘Close of Freehold’ land called Ten Acres but actually containing 8 acres 1 rood and 21 perches, "situate in a place called Water Slade in the parish of Eton being part arable and part meadow".

The field was purchased by the three Trustees from Mr. James Darville of Windsor. It was legally designated to be used for ever more as a recreation ground for Eton, to be held and managed by the Eton Urban District Council and its successors.

This recreation ground was ready for use by the residents of Eton by 1896, but nine years were to pass before a suitable piece of ground was found in Eton Wick and the agreement of the Crown and the Lord of the Manor was obtained.

The Deeds for the Eton Wick Recreation Field, located at the east end of the 'South Field' within the village, were signed in 1904. After levelling and making good, the Eton Wick Football Club played there, having previously used Dorney Common since 1881. During World War II the recreation ground was ploughed for food production.