Friday 26 April 2019

World War 2 - April 1939

Britain re-introduced conscription on April 26th 1939 for men aged twenty to twenty one years to undertake six months military training.  Many  of those  called under the act went for training with anti-aircraft and searchlight regiments.  During the months prior to the outbreak of war, recruitment of volunteers for the Air Raid Precaution (A.R.P.) service was stepped up. Eton Urban District Council (E.U.D.C.), under the authority of Buckinghamshire County Council, became responsible for the local air raid precautions which were administration and directed from the Council Offices at Barnes Pool Bridge, Eton.   

Harry Chantler’s Post Office and Grocery Store — 1960
Eton Wick volunteers to the local A.R.P. units included  Arthur Codd; Harry Chantler; Albert Bond; Ernie Drake; Walter Elkins;  Mr Gregory; and Reverend Morris.  Mr Codd, then  employed as the manager of the E.U.D.C. Bell Farm sewage beds, became Chief Warden.  A.R.P. Messengers for the village were Frank Bond and Ken Weller.   Bill Akers and Harry Johnson with others joined the Auxiliary Fire Service.  Two A.R.P. Posts were  established in the village, one at  Clifton House,  the Post Office and Grocery Store of  Mr Chantler, the other at the Red House, the home and office of Burfoots, the local builder.  These business premises were chosen as being equipped with a telephone and someone always present to receive calls during air raid alerts. 

Establishment of an A.R.P. wardens’ post at Harry Chantler’s shop involved  shoring up the back room with bulks of timber and sand bags against bomb blast.  The job was so well done that when Harry married, he was unable to take delivery of his new furniture due to the obstruction.   This added protection raised another problem  for Mr an Mrs Chantler when the evacuees arrived in the village.  Upon inspection of their home they were told by the London County Council (L.C.C.) Headmaster,  Mr Cawsley, that their premises were not suitable to take children.  

The loan of the Coach House in Hogarth Road, (now part of Victoria Road). free of charge by Mr Nottage to the Eton fire Brigade for the duration of the war,  allowed for the establishment of an auxiliary fire point at Eton Wick and was agreed on the  condition that the council undertook the insurance  of the building.

Coach House. Eton Wick.  Wartime auxiliary fire point
Additional  protection of the building against bomb blast was needed requiring the reinforcement of the external walls; the addition of this extra walling was carried out by Burfoots including an office at the Eton Fire Station at a cost  of £142 - 5s.

Responding to the call  by the County Police Authority for men to train as Special Constables, Mr Morrell, Johnny Bell, Bob Friend, Edwin Buckland, Ernie Thomas. Ernie Prosser and Norman Lane  volunteered and were sworn in carrying out their duties at Eton and Eton Wick.  David Bryant with Eddie and Ernie Bond joined as police messengers.  At first their reporting post was the surface shelter located in the garden of the police house, Moores Lane, until such time as other facilities became available at the Wheatbutts Scout Hut.  The average duty rosta was two nights per week unless an alert sounded, then every one reported for duty which often became an all night stint. Night duty by civil defence volunteers was not an acceptable excuse for absenteeism from work the following day.   Persistent offenders working in factories engaged in the production of military equipment or in public transport risked being summoned to appear at court to explain their action and possibly face a court fine. 

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

Wednesday 17 April 2019

Eton Wick Census 1911

The United Kingdom Census of 1911 was taken on Sunday 3rd April, that year and was the eighth 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, 3rd April, 1911, was 45,216,665. This shows an increase of 3,757,944 upon the number enumerated on 31st March, 1901, and gives a decennial rate of increase of 9.06 percent. The 1911 Census is the first that the forms that were completed by each household are records made available by the National Records Office. Previous Census records that have been released are the books completed by the Enumerators.

Details collected include:

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

Relationship to Head of Household.

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

Particulars as to marriage.

Rank, Profession or Occupation.

Birthplace, county and country.

Whether Blind, Deaf or Dumb.

Place: street name, house number or house name.

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

The Superintend Registrar's District was Eton, Bucks and the Registrar's district was Eton. Enumeration District No. 6. There is no signature of the enumerator visible.

The area for the 1911 census included was the entire parish of Eton Wick. There is no further description of the area covered

The 1911 Census reveals that there were 147 households and 527 people in residence in the village at midnight on the 3rd April. The oldest person, Esther Wheeler at the age of 89, she was born in 1822. Her husband, William was 87.  Eda Alice Talbot and Felina Brades were both one month old, there were four children born in the first three months of 1911 within the civil parish of Eton Wick.

Click on this link to see our transcription of the 1911 census records for Eton Wick. We will be looking deeper into what the census reveals about Eton Wick and publish our findings in future articles.

Consolidated Census spreadsheet.

Wednesday 10 April 2019

Eton Wick and Boveney were part of Eton Rural Sanitary Authority

Eton Wick was outside the area that the Eton Union Sanitary Authority covered so the villagers were not entitled to use the hospital, nor were those people of Eton who could not afford to pay something towards the cost. There was opportunity here for charitable help, and the Church was not slow in setting up a system whereby the more prosperous people were encouraged to buy 'dispensary tickets'. These could be given directly to the poorer parishioners who needed medical help as outpatients. Otherwise, as often seems to have happened, they were given to one of the clergy, who with the help of the District Visitors gave them to the most needy. By the end of the first year 399 people had been treated at the Dispensary as well as those who had been patients in the hospital. It should not be forgotten that 1883 was also the year in which the Eton Poor Estate had begun to pay the salary of a nurse for the parish. Church, Charitable Trust and Local Authority all combined to make Eton a good parish in which to be ill

In 1875 Eton Wick and Boveney became part of the Eton Rural Sanitary Authority. Inevitably because of the large area changes were slow to take place; but at least one improvement was achieved in Eton Wick when in 1892 piped water reached the village. Communal taps were placed at convenient places to pairs and blocks of houses and collecting water from them became a daily task. Clean drinking water was kept in muslin covered buckets in the scullery, while water for other purposes stood uncovered nearby, though rainwater from the tub was still favoured for its softness. At the turn of the century new houses built in the Walk were probably the first in the village to enjoy the luxury of having running water actually in the house. Slowly, however, a cold water tap and stone sink became standard for most village homes. 

In the same year, 1892, another important change took place. New Town was taken under the wing of the Vicar of Eton for all spiritual purposes. Now, except for marriage, all residents of New Town would have the same rights of administration as the rest of the people in the village. For the first time also Eton Wick had its own resident curate, though as yet no parsonage. Services of District Visitors were obtained for New Town and parish work in that district was put on a more official footing. The first steps in the recognition of New Town as part of Eton Wick, rather than Boveney, had been taken. 

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

Public Health Act 1875 

Wednesday 3 April 2019

Woolhouse Family of Eton Wick

The Woolhouse surname was recorded in the 1841 Census and every national survey up unto the 1939 Register. There is evidence that the family had been living in Eton Wick or the Parish of Eton at the start of the 18th century. Woolhouse is the surname with the longest continuous name in the available records.

From 1841 census through to the 1939 Register there appear to have been 35 people with the Woolhouse surname. From William who was born around 1780 and was living at No.2 Prospect Place in 1851 with his wife Sarah to Edward, born in 1916 and was living in 6 Palmers Place in 1939 there is a connected story. Across the 98 years of these records they lived in 15 houses, the family were tenants of No.2 Prospect Place for more than 40 years.

From working on the land to running a business making and repairing bicycle; sawyer to builders foreman the family's employment is a reflection of the changing opportunities for work that the residents of the village had on offer during this period.

The Woolhouse Family of Eton Wick from 1841 to 1939

WW1 artifacts belonging to William Woolhouse are held in the Windsor Museum collection. The 1939 Register records that he was married to Eunice and the live at No.5 South View. This is one of the 'Homes for Heroes' built just west of the Windsor to Slough railway branch line. After being a Prisoner of War he became a tenant of the new house in 1925.