Wednesday 31 January 2018

1914 to 1920 : Relevant Facts and Local Newspaper Reports

1914 to 1920: Relevant facts and local newspaper reports, a set of notes compiled by Frank Bond for a History Group Talk.

The small regular army with which Britain entered the 1914 war was backed by a large contingent of reservist recalled to the colours who made up 60% of the Expeditionary Force that went to France. This army was quite inadequate and appeals for volunteers by Lord Kitchener brought in another 2,250,000 volunteers.

This number was reinforced by the introduction of the conscription act in 1916 which by 1918 had brought the Army ration strength in 1914 of 164,000 to 5,363,352.
The Royal Flying Corps which in 1918 became the Royal Air Force (RAF) had a strength at the end of the war of 30,127 Officers and 263,410 other ranks.

The animal ration strength rose from 27,500 in 1914 to 895,770 in 1918.
Army/RFC fuel consumption per month in 1914 was 250,000 gallons rising to 10,500,000 gallons per month in 1918.

The railways, taken over in 1914 were the first limitations put on private companies who had to administer the government orders placed upon them. The demand for munitions forced more governmental control in the management of the economy resulting in an increased number of civil servants and government departments. County Agricultural Committees were formed in 1915 but were not very effective. Daylight Saving Time was introduced in May 1916 and met with protest from Farmers and Industrial workers.

By 1917, due to the sinking’s by German U Boats, there was only about three weeks supply of food in the country. The formation of the Women’s Land Army took place to help overcome the agriculture labour shortage. A limited system of food rationing was also introduced. Two-thirds of the industrial workforce was also subject to government regulation. License hours were introduced to curb drunkenness among munition workers and the government took over some pubs installing managers.

Initially, there was a certain amount of euphoria amongst people for the war with hotels and restaurants thronged for feasting and every girl seemed to have her man in khaki ... Many soldiers had gone to war eagerly in 1914 to the sound of cheering crowds but the reality of trench warfare soon dispelled all hints of romance.

For most of the war, there was stalemate since neither side had the necessary force to break through the opposing defences. This resulted in the eventual construction of approximately 6000 miles of trenches. The trench system enclosed a world of barbed wire and mud of which Passchendaele is best remembered where there were 144,00 casualties in 1917.

It is said that death was a matter of luck, but this was not the only sacrifice as gassed, injured and shell shock men staggered back from the war to a life that would never be the same again. Of the 8,000,000 men said to have been mobilized some 2,000,000 were wounded and by the year of 1922 approximately 900,000 war pensions were being paid.

Civilian voluntary organizations contributed to the war effort by supplying 1,742,947 mufflers, 1,574,155 pairs of mittens, 6,145,673 hospital bags, 12,258,536 bandages, 16,000,000 books, 232,599,191 cigarettes.

1917 to 1919.
The combatants were now suffering from war weariness and the revolution in Russia ended in victory for the Bolsheviks. Britain was also thinking in terms of reconstruction of a changed society. Lloyd George, the Prime Minister, said at the time "The Nation was in a molten state."


March 21st. Ludendorff opened German offensive that they called Michael to split the allied front with 192 Divisions against the Allied 173. Haig had 180,000 fewer men than in 1917 and nearly half a million men would be required to fill the wastage. The British government started on a call-up of recruits by age groups, cancelled exceptions and combed out the munition workers.
The German first attacks shattered the 5th army and in April they attacked in the Ypres area. The two great battles by 120 German divisions cost the British 300,000 casualties. These German offences broke the deadlock of trench warfare that had existed since the end of 1914.
In spite of these victories, the Germans were convinced by mid-August that to fight on was impossible. On September 29th the 4th army broke through the Hindenburg line and on the 5th October the German government asked President Wilson to arrange an armistice.

9th November
The Kaiser abdicated.

November 11th. The Armistice was signed and came in to force at 11 am on the day.

When the war ceased 8,000,000 men and 1,500,000 women were serving in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Munitions. The government had spent £6 billion, sold all overseas securities and lent £1,500 million to our allies.

Shipping losses were over six million tons and the food situation had been saved by increasing pre-war harvest by a third.

From 1914 until 1918 cost of living had risen by 125%.

February 1915 to November 1918 there were 115,000 British Officer casualties and the Empire had lost about 1,000,000 men.



February 2nd.
G. Banham (husband of Mrs Banham) of 4 Shakespeare Place, Eton Wick, Private in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers, dangerously ill in No. 70 General Hospital, Cairo. Suffering from gunshot wounds to the right foot. 
February 15th. 1918
Joseph Springford, son of Mrs J Springford, 3 Victoria Place, Eton Wick. Private in Sherwood Foresters. Died of Kidney Disease in Rouen, France.
Thomas Wall, 17 Tangier Place Eton.Torpedoed on H.M.S. Aragon. December 30th, 1917. He was aged 35.

The Eton Central Kitchen opened in February of that year. Pea Soup  2d, Meat Stew 2d., Rice pudding and Jam ld., There was a great demand for the service run by volunteer ladies.
New ration cards were issued early in November.
The weather turned extremely cold at the end of the month. Early morning school at Eton College was discontinued for the week.
The influenza pandemic was taking a big toll of human life and there were many deaths in the district.

March 8th, 1919
Meeting at Eton Wick to discuss war memorial.
Volunteers collecting subscriptions ... Mr A. Percy, Miss Nottage, Miss Ashby, Mrs Miles, Mrs Howells and others.
Mr Ashman appointed Hon. Secretary,
Mr E. W. Howell appointed Hon. Treasurer.
Some 400 men from Eton and Eton Wick had served in the forces.
Heavy rains at this time brought the river level up and the Brocas and Eton Playing fields were flooded for a short time.

Sunday April 7th, 1919

A commemoration service was held at Eton Parish church. A request to the Bishop of Buckingham by the local territorial association to remember their fallen comrades. The sermon was given by the Dean of Windsor.
The council discussed and started on plans for a housing scheme at what is now Sommerville road area. Sommerville was the chairman of the council at that time. There was much discussion about the allotment area that was there/that had been created during the war years on the proposed site. It was not Lammas land and the lord of the manor at the time was prepared to sell The problem was identical to that of Tilston Field after World War Two, the allotments at the site had been beautifully cultivated and there was a little opposition from the allotment holders.  ( I think that is correct).

May 1919

Much discussion by Eton Wick churchwardens and Reverend McNally (E. W. Vicar) about burial fees. Reverend McNally drew attention to the discrepancy in burial rates between Eton Wick and Eton. The fees fixed in 1870 were Eton 4/= and Eton Wick 15/- Eton Wick charges were as follows:
Burials ...
            Child under 14 years with bearers    2/-
            Adults with Bearers and Bier           3/-
            Adult with Hearse                             3/-
            Adult with lead coffin                       5/-
            Buried in Vault.                            £1/1/-
            Brick grave                                        5/-
            Double brick grave                            5/-
            Re-opening brick grave                     5/-      

July 19th 1919

Peace Day Celebrations (Windsor & Eton)

Demobilized Sailors, Soldiers, RAP and members on leave, Hospital Nurses, VAD Members, WRNS, WRAP, WAAC, OTC Volunteers, Cadet Corps, Special Constables, Munition workers, Boy Scouts and Girl Guides were requested to take part in the parade that would start from Batchelors Acre at 11 am. The Band of the Coldstream Guards led the parade with and Ex-serviceman band also taking part. The route was from the Acre via Sheet Street, High Street, Peascod Street, Eton College (Burning Bush). Eton College OTC lined the street of Eton from Barnes Pool Bridge to Queens School with the Eton Cadet band playing over this section. Everyone taking part in the parade received a souvenir badge.

Mr Sommerville, Council chairman, said that Eton and Eton Wick would make their own arrangements for their local children entertainments.


The committee of the Institute gave a supper on July 31st. to men of Eton Wick and Boveney who served overseas in the Great War. Eighty invitations were issued, owing to the limited accommodation available the committee have been unable to extend the invitation to men who joined up, but did not go overseas.

August 30th, 1919

Extract from the Windsor and Eton Express.

An old lady living in Windsor, Mrs Hannah Deadman, had passed away aged 92, having never heard of the Great War.

The fact was religiously kept from her through tout the campaign, though her relatives often found it extremely difficult. Although blind and partially deaf she had a keen sense of reasoning and followed up any casual remark passed with awkward questions.

She had twelve or more grandsons and granddaughters serving in the forces, the latter as nurses. When one grandson went away from home she was very persistent as to his whereabouts. She was told that he had gone to fresh employment at Reading, where in fact he was with the army in France. Week succeeded week and still the grandson did not come home. At the end of two years the old lady became exasperated and remarked, "Two years and no holiday, why I would not work for such a master". She also expressed great surprise at the increasing cost of food and remarked that it never used to be so.

During the campaign grandsons returned home on leave at intervals and in them the old lady displayed great affection. She never knew they were in uniform because of her failing eyesight and often when shaking hands with the lads they turned up their sleeves in order she should not discover the military buttons.

Sometimes they took their coats off when visiting in this way she was kept in total ignorance of the conflict. Curiously enough the house in which she resided with her relatives at Helena Road faces Victoria Barracks where thousands of fine troops passed through the gates on route for France, but she still never knew.

Wednesday 24 January 2018

Boveney New Town Census 1901

The United Kingdom Census of 1901 was taken on Sunday 31st March, that year and was the seventh of the UK censuses to include details of household members. The total number of persons returned as living in England and Wales at midnight on Sunday, March 31st, 1901, was 32,526,075. This shows an increase of 3,523,550 upon the number enumerated on April 5th, 1891, and gives a decennial rate of increase of 12.17 percent.

Details collected include:

Place: street name, house number or house name.

Houses: inhabited, uninhabited or a building and the number of rooms.

Names of each person who was resident in the house on the night preceding the census.

Age and sex of each person: The actual age in years or months for babies under one year are recorded in the 1901 census.

Rank, Profession or Occupation.

Birthplace, county and country.

Whether Blind, Deaf or Dumb.

The Superintend Registrar's District was Eton, Bucks and the Registrar's district was Burnham. Enumeration District No. 1. The enumerator was Edward Groves.

The area for the 1901 census included was the entire parishes of Dorney and Boveney.

The 1901 Census reveals that there were 125 households, eight houses that were unoccupied and 481 people in residence in the parish of Boveney at midnight on the 2nd April. The oldest person, Ann Grames (or Grimes) at the age of 81, she was born in 1820. There were two residents in their 80’s. There were three children recorded at age 1 month Arthur Lea was the third child of Thomas and Martha, Nellie Newport, the fourth daughter of Albert and Selina and Eva May Oxlade, first child of John and Louisa. Three other children born in the first three months of 1901.

Click on this link to see our transcription of the 1901 census records for Boveney.. We will be looking deeper into what the census reveals about the growing village and publish our findings in future articles.

Tuesday 16 January 2018

Eton Wick Newsletter - Our Village April 2008

The Eton Wick Village Hall committee published a newsletter for a short time in the 1950's. In 2008 the Committee revived the idea and have been publishing a magazine three times a year since April that year delivering it free of charge to every house in the village. The Eton Wick History Group are delighted to have their kind permission to share these insights into village life on this website. We will be showing the front cover and the regular Village history feature articles many of which were written by Frank Bond on the front page. There will be a link to images of each complete Our Village that we republish at the end of each post.

Eton Wick and Boveney

We are very fortunate in Eton Wick to have open country all around and the river so close by. This should not be taken for granted. A village, albeit very much smaller, has stood here for hundreds of years and very probably people were living here, close to the river, before the village had its Anglo Saxon name.

Although the village boundary reached east to beyond the rail viaduct until the 1920's and the west boundary to Bell Lane until 1934, most of the homes before the 19th Century were concentrated along Common Road between the Wheatbutts and Sheepcote. At the beginning of that century there were approximately 100 villagers and by 1860 about 300 (probably one tenth of today's population). Of course this included the six or seven farms which were a little north of the residential Common Road and marginally on higher, less likely to flood, ground. 200 years ago Sheepcote was not an inhabited road, but a muddy farm track alongside the Sheepcote fields which belonged to the crown. The Walk was non existent.

The early dwellings mostly had very long gardens which stretched from Common Road to the main road; and the few 18th and 19th century homes along the main road had extended gardens to Common Road. The Three Horse Shoes' pub's garden was likewise, as was the tiny ten terraced cottages east of that pub. Unable to build on the lammas, common or crown lands, and west of Bell Lane being in the different parish of Burnham, the long gardens were sold off as building plots. The green spaces of today were yesteryears jealously guarded grazing rights. These rights never did extend beyond Bell Land and of course still do not.

With old Eton Wick filling up it looked like a stalemate until in 1870 the Eton Council purchased Bell Farm, to be used as the town's sewage farm. The farm was bigger than needed and in 1875 they sold 75 acres of mainly pasture that was west of Bell Lane.

Although Bell Farm was just inside the Eton Wick boundary, much of its actual farm land was the other side of Bell Lane and consequently came under Burnham. In fact the farm had already built farm cottages for its employees along Bell Lane and on adjacent land.

Soon after the initial sale of the 75 acres it passed into the hands of local man, Mr Ayres. Roads were laid out in Alma, Inkerman and Northfield and he sold plots of the land parcel by parcel. At last room to expand, but being in the parish of Burnham — not Eton Wick. Being close to old Boveney it was called Boveney Newtown. It had its own council, a chapel and two shops. This was during the last two decades of the 19th century. Although not part of the scheme it triggered off building along the main road and establishing Victoria Road, a cul-de-sac with its long terraced row.

Village organisations predating the 1934 unifications under Eton Urban are generally known as Eton Wick and Boveney i.e. Women's Institute, Scout Movement, War Memorial etc. Development west of Moores Lane all came after World War 2 — another story.

The crown lands are now Eton College owned and will surely be protected in their own interests. I like to believe their interests are mostly the same as ours, preservation of Lammas and common lands as far as it is reasonably possible. Without small holdings, livestock on the farms, the need to glean and graze, a general apathy believes all will take care of itself and we will keep the centuries-long pastures. Perhaps it is later than we think.

Submitted by Frank Bond

Click here to read Our Village April 2008 - the first edition of the Eton Wick Newsletter that this year celebrates its 10th anniversary.

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

Friday 12 January 2018

The Joining of Boveney and Eton

The Chapel of St Mary Magdalene, Boveney
In 1892 a temporary arrangement was made with the Vicar of Burnham by which the Vicar of Eton undertook the spiritual care of the growing population in New Boveney.

In December 1906, a new temporary agreement, for two years only, was being negotiated between Eton and Boveney. 

It involved two changes if it came off, viz: that Eton should take over the services' at Boveney Church and that Burnham should pay Eton £50 a year instead of £20. 

It was hoped that there would be an announcement the following month that this had been agreed to, as both parishes and their officers were in favour of it and it would be a big step towards the only satisfactory settlement of this question, viz:  the union of Boveney with Eton for parochial purposes. 

The above question considered by Church Council which met at the Parish Room on Thursday, November 15th, 1906 at 6 p.m., sixteen members being present. The following resolutions were carried unanimously:

“That the agreement receives the approval of the Council” and also “That a vote of thanks be given to the committee for all the work they have done in the matter.”

The Committee of the Council had been appointed on March 24th, 1904 and consisted of the Rev. J Shephard, Mr Williams, Mr Drake, Mr Haygate, Dr G E Hale and Mr Tarrant, whilst Mr Broker and Mr W S Evans were added on May 16th, 1904.


Text of the agreement between the Vicars of Burnham and Eton:- 
(1) This agreement shall be for two years from January 1st, 1907 to December 31st, 1908 and shall then cease.
(2) That for the mentioned period the Vicar of Eton shall undertake the charge of Boveney (Old and New) and the services at Boveney Church, but not the upkeep of the fabric of Boveney Church.
(3) The Vicar of Burnham shall pay to the Vicar of Eton a sum of £50 per annum during these two years.
(4) The permanent attachment of the Parish of Boveney to the living of Eton, an income of not less than £60 per annum must be secured to the Vicar of Eton by the Vicar of Burnham, in which case it is understood that an annual grant of £40 will be secured to the Vicar of Eton by Eton College.

We are happy to be able to add that the College has most generously promised to add £30 each year to Burnham’s £50, so that we start this year with a better prospect of making both ends meet in the Assistant Clergy Fund than we did last.

June 1907

As we all know by this time we are now responsible for the services at Boveney Chapel though it is not yet at any rate united with the Parish of Eton. So far Evensong has been said at 3 o’clock except of the fourth Sunday of each month when Holy Communion is celebrated at 9.45 am. In June we intend to try the experiment of putting Evensong at 4 pm as the position of the Chapel on the river bank seems to suggest the advisability of offering an opportunity to many strollers to attending service in the course of their walk.

The Chapel of St Mary Magdalene is most interesting from an architectural point of view and historical one, and it is a quaint and delightful little church to worship in. In 1377 there were 28 inhabited houses in the Liberty of Boveney, 33 families and nearly 165 inhabitants, but the Chapel must have been built at least 150 years before this and seems from the earliest days to have been connected with Burnham.

In 1737 an Act of Parliament was passed for converting Boveney into a district Parish but proceedings seem to have stopped there for the want of funds. In later years the regular services were undertaken by two Eton masters, Mr CT Abraham, afterwards Bishop of Wellington, New Zealand and Mr WA Carter, afterwards bursar of Eton College. In this work they were succeeded by FG Otley so there has been plenty of connection with Eton in the past, apart from which came through the connection with Burnham and the College.

There is a tradition that the Chapel was in some way intended for the Thames Bargemen, and as the authority to which we are indebted for the above points out, if that is true it proves that the ancient Bargemen must have been greater churchgoers than of the present day.

As a matter of fact, Boveney was a village of quite ordinary proportions in the past and the existence of the Church needs no special explanation.

There are now about 700 inhabitants but nearly all are living in the part adjoining Eton Wick and the remains of the old village are still untouched, and if the 28 houses referred to have gone, at any rate, there are some of very considerable antiquity.

August 1909

We very much regret to hear that there has been a serious hitch in Burnham’s scheme for raising the money for the Boveney arrangement. It is hoped that things may yet get smoothly though. We hope that the Charity Commissioners may be induced to change their minds, and make possible an arrangement so clearly in the interests of both Boveney and Eton Wick.

March 1910

There is, I think I may say, now no doubt that the proposed union of Boveney with Eton will take place. The legal formalities will be sure to take time, but the end is in sight. When it is done all the inhabitants of Boveney will have full ecclesiastical rights in Eton Wick Church and Churchyard. The union will, of course, not affect anything but these purely ecclesiastical things, the ancient charities will remain quite unaffected as they were left to the inhabitants of Eton Parish as it was, not as it might come to be, and the same applies of course to Boveney Charities (if any).

July 1911

I am very glad to be able to announce that at last Boveney has been formally and legally separated from Burnham and joined Eton. From July 1st, it will be part of Eton Parish so far as things ecclesiastical are concerned, an all inhabitants of Boveney will have full parishioners’ rights in Eton.

These extracts are taken from Eton Parish Magazines of the period
This script was originally written by T. R. C. Scarsbrook.

The Boveney Family

We learn from the records of Merton Priory that the Prior had become possessed of a messuage in Burgagio (l) de Eton with an acre of land called Sudmed (South Meadow) and a croft called Chelvescroft (Chalvey) near the ville of Eton. This is mentioned a lease (2) of this land in 1198, to Robert, son Hugo de Boveney. 
(1) If a settlement was defined by a mound and a ditch instead a tun or a quick hedge. 
(2) Heal's Merton, p. 54. 

The old of Boveney Liberty must come from this. Liberty, Lloyd's Dictionary - a place or district within which certain privileges or franchises are employed. 
“The Bells of all the parishes of the City and liberties were rung.” 
MacauIay, History of England, Chapter viii.