Wednesday 31 July 2019

Long Close House

No photographs of this old farm house in its original timber clad state have come to hand. The house is located some half a mile beyond Little Common Farm House, at the north east end of the Common, and borders on Manor Farm and North Field. By the mid-20th century it was no longer a farm, and the house was modernised and brick clad. Before the 1914/18 war until some time after, the Quarterman family ran it as a pig farm. In the mid-1930s the Tutt family used it as a home and smallholding. After the 1939/45 war, it became the home of Bridget Rogers, who ran her Long Close Riding Stables from there. Bridget was also associated with Windsor's Theatre Royal as a stage director. 

Long Close's connection with the stage/film industry has continued up to the present time as the home and vehicle museum of Tony and Paul Oliver. Vehicles are hired out to cinema and television film makers. Among many items that have appeared on screen are Lt. Gruber's 'little tank' and Rene's ice cream van (TV series ''allo, 'allo'), Roger Rabbit's auto, and military vehicles in the film 'Evita'. The museum is occasionally open to the public and attracts visitors from far and wide.

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

Monday 22 July 2019

War Memorial Committee Meeting July 1919

Committee Meeting held July 22nd 1919 

Sargeant's estimate (Nutt's design) £173.18.4d: accepted. Agreed that work be put in hand at once, also that the architect be asked for a copy of the specifications and invited to submit his fee which shall include work supervision.

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

Wednesday 17 July 2019

Eton Wick: A Changing Village Before 1934

This part of the village has almost always been mainly residential, but elsewhere there 
Clifton House

were new shops and businesses being set up. One of the first additions in the twentieth century was probably the shop at Clifton House, now the post office. It has the distinction of being the first purpose-built shop in the village, and the cause of much open-eyed wonder to at least one small boy, who about 1902 watched they high sky-light going into place, and large marble slabs for counters being carried in. Before this he had only seen marble as tomb stones! The shop was 'built as a wedding present to young Mr Pratt from his father of Pratt & Sons, family grocers of Eton High Street. Unfortunately romance and business did not mix: tradition has it that the young couple were too kind-hearted so that within a few years the shop had to be sold. The next shopkeepers after this were the Harman's, after them Anderson, then Wiggington; until in 1931 the shop became Chantler's and remained so for the next forty years.

About 1907 Edward Woolhouse set up in business at 58 Eton Wick Road as a cyclemaker and repairer, though there was far more to his business than that. He hired out cycles, particularly to Eton College boys for this was the era of the bicycle. He also made and mended perambulators and many other household items. There is no doubt of his importance in Eton Wick nor his prestige when he became one of the first villagers to own a car, a De Dion. For many years the present Baron's Stores (no 62 Eton Wick Road) was occupied by William Hearn, boot and shoe repairer, saddler and even umbrella maker. Thomas Henry of Inkerman Road, on the other hand was a bespoke shoemaker. Like several other shoemakers in the village, though their names were not recorded in the trade directories, Mr Henry worked for Ganes of Eton and his customers were mainly from the College. About this period in the years before the First World War, Thomas Bond was first advertised as greengrocer of Alma Road; Albert Bond was following the same trade from his home at Ye Olde Cottage. Bert had begun his interest in business long before - while he was still at school - by selling fish to the workmen building the new lock at Boveney. When he left school he took to selling fruit and vegetables from a donkey and cart, promoting himself to a horse and cart as soon as he was able, and selling fish and rabbits as well. He was a familiar figure in the village for well over half a century, and his cart, piled high with clean and polished produce, annually took part in the Windsor Hospital Parade. North of New Town the land not built upon was a market garden known as Home Close and owned by Harry Prior. Albert Borret was a cowkeeper though he lived at Vine Cottage in the Eton Wick Road until he moved to Eton Cottage. Like the farmers he sold milk from a churn, measuring out the quantities into the customers' own jugs.

The Fly-paper Man
The long established shops continued through this forty year period, though the shopkeepers and the types of goods they sold changed. At one time there was a fish and chip shop, a fishmonger's, a confectioner's and Uneedus the draper's. All of these were advertised in the directories; but there were several small businesses that were not. Tinker' Palmer mended pots and pans, and boots and shoes at his home in Prospect Place. Mr Bolton attempted to establish a butcher's shop in Alma Road, but it was not a success. Meat could be bought from one of the grocer's shops when a carcass had been bought from Windsor market, or from one of the travelling horse-drawn shops that came into the village each week. Hendley's high-box type van was a familiar sight each Thursday until the Second World War. It carried all manner of household goods, pots, pans, baskets, tin baths, oil for lamps which were hung outside and inside of the van and piled high on top as it was so laden. Mappin's from Slough delivered cakes; the muffin man and the winkle man came in their seasons and in the summer the fly-paper man, complete with his top hat adorned with a sticky paper ribbon decorated with dead flies. How far he travelled is not known, but his song is remembered in Slough, Chalvey and Windsor: - 'Flies! Flies! Catch 'em alive! His appearance fascinated one small boy in Slough who captured his likeness on a page in his school history book.

After 1895 the launderies were rarely advertised either, though until the end of the 1920s they continued to play an important part in the working life of the village. Before the First World War there were at least five launderies operating. These were cottage launderies employing at the most about eight women as at Mrs Langridge's of Thatch Cottage. Even so not all the workers came from the village. At least a few lived in Dorney. Gradually much of the work done by these launderies was taken over by the College Laundry until there were only those of Mrs Cox and Mrs Miles left. All seem to have ceased by 1930. Many women, however, still took in washing, specialising in the items of clothing that were better hand washed such as jerseys and woollen socks.

In the village two other businesses still in existence, made their beginnings in the first decade of this century. From his home in Inkerman Road Albert Sibley, a shoemaker by trade, began his newspaper agency. It was a part time family affair, the sons collecting the local newspapers from the printer's in Windsor, and carrying them home in a home-made box on wheels. They would then distribute them if it were not too late at night. It became a full-time business when Bill Sibley set up at the corner of Alma Road in the 1940s. Rolley Bond was a smallholder, but he supplemented his income by running a cab service from his home at Palmer Place. He took College boys to the station, sick people to hospital, and regularly each holiday Miss Stearn, the village schoolmistress, to the station. Even before he left school Bob Bond, with his brothers, was helping his father with the horse and trap. Through the 1920s the business expanded to cover road haulage, becoming motorised at the end of the decade; the first advertisement is in the 1931 directory: - R. Bond & Sons, motor haulage and cartage, contractor, sand and ballast merchant. The firm was to flourish in the council building boom of the post war years, and Bob was to become one of the important members of the community. About 1935 he bought Dairy Farm and renovated the old farmhouse, and when Bell Farm no longer served as sewage farm he took over much of the land.

Other names are to be read in the directories of the 1930s - Jack Newall had taken over from Arthur Gregory as blacksmith, Miles & Sons were carpenters and undertakers in The Walk, and Scotty Hood was a coal merchant with premises in Sheepcote Road until the terrible night when his stables caught fire. There was now a chimney sweep, William Neal, and Mr Mumford had opened his butcher's shop at 31 Eton Wick Road (now Kelly's). The 1931 directory listed seven farmers and dairymen in Eton Wick; three of them were Tarrents - Alfred, George and Arthur, tenants of Little Common, Manor and Crown, and Saddocks Farms.

Perseverance House in Alma Road was the depot of the Uxbridge Gas Company. Gas had come to the village lust before the First World War; oil lamps were exchanged for gas mantles in the main rooms, and open fires and cottage ranges could be replaced by gas cookers - though this happened only very slowly. Two - or was it three - gas lamps lit the Eton Wick Road through the village. Electricity did not arrive in the village until the end of the 1930s; like gas, water and main drainage, it was brought into Eton Wick long after it was installed in Eton. Even so not all the houses were converted, several still had only gas in the 1950s, and at least one cottage in Albert Place was still without electricity when it was demolished in 1969. The only artificial light in the bedrooms was candlelight. Piped water did not come to the Boveney part of the village until the late 1920s, and only then after a campaign because the water had become contaminated.

About this time the first bus service reached Eton Wick. That was the Blue Bus which at first was no more than a converted Model H Ford van, seating six passengers and entered by steps at the back. A few years later there was competition from the yellow and brown Marguerite buses to take people to Windsor. This was the era of small bus companies and one man operations with much com-petition between rivals. The Blue Bus van was replaced by a proper bus and for several years in the late twenties and thirties Eton Wick had two bus services . Fares were only 1d and 1½d and the conductor-cum-driver would obligingly set down passengers anywhere along the Eton Wick Road. The Marguerite ceased operating before the end of the thirties, but the Blue Bus driven by Mr Cole continued well into the 1960s when his personal service was replaced by that offered by the national bus companies.
Edward Littleton Vaughan
These forty years while Eton Wick was a separate parish saw many innovations, but perhaps the most lasting has been the Village Hall. It was built by Burfoot and Son in 1906, but the land was the gift of Edward Littleton Vaughan. Known at first as the Eton Wick and Boveney Institute it was opened a year later on 22nd January 'under auspicious circumstances' according to the parish magazine. The opening ceremony was brief but impressive. The large room up-stairs was filled long before the appointed hour with parishioners and visitors'. The Institute, however, was more than just a building, it was a club replacing the old Working Men's Club which had been meeting at Wheatbutts. The new Institute, so it was explained in the speeches and reports of 1907, had been founded 'primarily for men and boys to promote fellowship and to provide whole-some recreation among these. The billiard room, a reading room and a large room suitable for concerts, the boys' room and a bar selling light refreshments and non-alcoholic drinks, all contributed to give the right atmosphere for a successful beginning to the Institute. Before the year was out, however, one note at least of dissension was being heard in the village - the women and girls were expressing their indignation and disappointment at being excluded. By December this had been altered, and the parish magazine was 'pleased to announce the formation of a Women's and Girls' Club, who thanks to the kindness of Mr Vaughan (were) now able to share in the recreation of the Institute'. Girls over thirteen years of age were eligible to become members at the cost of a 1d per week or a 1s per quarter. As well as the weekly social club there were a library, sewing class, fancy work class, gymnastics, dancing and table games.

Mr Vaughan became president of the institute and remained keenly interested in all its 
The Village Hall - 1907

activities; it was not in his character to be merely a figurehead. In 1934 he conveyed the Hall to Trustees for the use of the inhabitants of Eton Wick and Boveney. The first three trustees were all from the College and even today the Bursar by virtue of his office is always a trustee. The day to day running, however, has always been in the hands of a Village Hall Committee and various subcommittees. Over the years the range of activities and rules of the Institute have changed, and even its name as well, to the less formal 'Village Hall and Vaughan Club' , and the Boys' and Girls' Clubs have at times had no leader and had to be closed. Yet throughout the period the Hall seems to have been the social centre of the village. Dances, whist drives, concerts and debates were held there, many of them organised by the Institutes' own clubs and committees. Billiards, table tennis, darts and table games were available to its members; a billiard championship was organised in the 1930s ; Mr Vaughan presented a cup. Toddy' Vaughan, as he was affectionately known was associated with the Wick for over half a century - as president of the Village Hall, as chairman of the Parish Council and as father figure and benefactor. He took a personal interest in many of the sorrows and joys of the village, and many people still remember the help he gave them and the fun they had at his hay teas and cherry parties. It was he who bought Wheatbutts and restored it in the 1920s and who allowed Wheatbutts Field to be used each year for the Horticultural Show. He died in 1940 and the village did honour to his memory with a plaque in the Village Hall. After Mrs Vaughan's death in 1951 a stained glass window was placed in the church; it was her bequest in memory of her late husband

At last Eton Wick had become a real village and not merely a hamlet of Eton. Although it still had many connections with the town and College it had its own church and priest, a chapel, school, village hall, its own nurse and policeman, its own clubs and social life and most of the shops and services for everyday living. It seems a strange paradox then, that at this time when Eton Wick could offer its residents so much more than in any earlier period, that it should be reunited with Eton. In 1934, however, the life of the Eton Wick and Boveney Parish Councils came to an end, and all parts of the village were taken in to the Eton Urban District, while the remainder of Boveney was merged with Dorney Parish. Today Eton Wick is still part of Eton Town Council within the much larger Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead.

Wednesday 10 July 2019

Word War 2 Eighty Years On - Summer 1939

During the summer months of 1939 there was much to be done on the Home Front.  Men and Women  who volunteered to serve as wardens, firemen, rescue, ambulance and first aid personnel had to give of their available time for lectures and practical training Instruction. This training was generally taken after a day’s work or at the weekend. Wardens and firemen were then called upon to instruct citizens in the correct way to use stirrup pumps, how to deal with incendiary bombs, the use of the gas mask and how to take shelter safely in the event of an air raid. Air Raid Wardens were also  responsible for the fitting of gas masks and enforcing the blackout.  Parades and reviews of the military services and civil defence organizations were held during the war years. During July 1939  Harry Chantler in his capacity as ARP Warden represented Eton at the national review of ARP personnel held in Hyde Park, London where the salute was taken by Queen Elizabeth.

Although negotiations had been taking place for a considerable time regarding the installation of an electricity supply to the village, no agreement had been reached before the outbreak of hostilities, therefore no air raid siren was installed in the village.   Eton Wick relied on the sirens located at Eton, Slough and Datchet to give warning of enemy aircraft in the vicinity. Safeguards put in place to combat dislocation resulting from air raids included the establishment of emergency food supplies.  Large and small stores of dry goods were set up by the  Ministry of Food during 1940/41 at sites considered safe from bombing.  A small quantity of essential foodstuffs was deposited in Eton Wick village hall  also an emergency meat supply was lodged with the village butcher, George Mumford.  Local memories indicate that a refrigerator was installed, probably gas operated, but hearsay has it that a  temporary  electric power line  was rigged from a near point;  if this was so, the nearest supply would have been from  Cippenham or Dorney.

Civilian Gas Mask - image courtesy of Object Lessons website. 
Before an issue of gas masks could begin, the separate component parts supplied  in bulk to the local ARP units required assembly.  For the Eton district this involved the assembly of more than three thousand units,  the work being carried out during one evening by Eton College staff and helpers.  Initially there was a shortage but before September,  ARP Wardens had fitted each resident of Eton and Eton Wick with their mask complete with its cardboard carrying case.  During the summer of 1940 smoke filters were fitted to the masks. This may have been a selective procedure to combat the effects of the smoke screen lamps installed during 1940 to protect the Slough trading estate.  Damage to one’s gas mask incurred the following charges,  complete mask adult 2/6d, face piece 1/6d, container 1/0d and the cardboard box 2d.  To ensure residents knew how to use their gas masks, Wardens visited homes to checked that the fit was correct. This  sometimes presented difficulties and Warden Harry Chantler remembered the tantrums of children who would not co-operate, whilst others found the smell of the rubber face piece nauseous.  Also to be fitted were the special designed gas mask for babies and invalids.   One case  requiring patience and tact involved a resident who mentally could not  come to terms with wearing a gas mask.  After several visits and attempts at persuasion that always met with point blank refusal even to try on the gas mask, Harry with his cool and Christian approach to such matters, decided that, rather than upset the person, it would be better to leave the situation and nip around quickly if a gas attack was likely and then see what could be done!!.

The Eton U.D.C., being responsible for the provision of private and public air raid shelters. asked for tenders from local ironmongers and engineering firms. The Council Surveyor recommended a 'Fortress' type shelter from Metal Agencies of Slough at a quoted price of £4-10 shillings with the suggestion that tenants of council properties erect their own shelters.  It was pointed out that many people in Eton living in Brocas Street, Kings Stable and other streets in that area had no space for a shelter, suggesting that permission be sought from Eton College to erect shelters on the Brocas but this scheme for various reasons was thought not to be practicable and did not proceed. Shelters had been completed at the College Arms and the archway to the Eton College boathouses with other sites already selected including the tunnels under Barnes Pool and the railway arches. The provision of air raid shelters became the subject of heated debate in the Eton Council Chamber during the following year (1940). Assurance from the Surveyor and Council Chairman that Eton was deemed a safe area, therefore having no priority for shelters, did nothing to allay the fears of the residents.

The approaching war was not the sole interest in the village. Ten new dwellings, the first council development in Eton Wick, had been erected on Bells field and were ready for letting. The new houses were of one bedroom, three bedroom and four bedroom type with corresponding rents of three shillings and sixpence, eight shillings, and ten shillings and sixpence per week.  These dwellings were named after the village benefactor ‘Toddy’ Vaughan,  and called ‘Vaughan Gardens’.

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 3 July 2019

Our Village - August 2013 - The way things were — Bounds & Names

We have previously looked at the earlier village of Eton Wick and its restricted development within the limited available building land, up to the western boundary of Bell Lane. Most of these limits still exist, and are imposed by the land being Agricultural; Green-Belt; Commons; College owned, and earlier the Crown. Defined boundaries were always perhaps deemed necessary, and of course not more so than aiding the early church when collecting tithes. 

In the mid-16th Century Queen Elizabeth I decreed that districts and property should regularly mark their boundaries. This was already an old custom and this practice survived until the mid-1850s when accurate Ordnance Survey Maps made it unnecessary. This became an annual event and perhaps an excuse to celebrate and feast the occasion. 

A procession walked the boundaries on a specific day - usually during Rogation Week (the week before Ascension Day) (Not necessarily at Eton; it being deemed better to celebrate on a day when the college boys were away). This old custom became known as 'Beating the Bounds', and when the perambulations came to a change of direction the spot was appropriately marked, i.e. a cross or cut on a tree. A number of these special occasions have been recorded locally, and are a glimpse into the past. It is tempting to say we will re-enact one of these events, using an old record, but I doubt it would be very possible. Places referred to just 200 years ago have now been built on; privatised; or more commonly, completely changed their name; becoming barely identifiable. 

We will take a look at much abbreviated records of 150 — 200 years ago: Parish Officers, Charity Children and inhabitants proceeded from the Weston's Yard (college) to the College Chapel with music and flags flying, where they sang the opening verse of the Morning Hymn before being fed a meal of roast and boiled beef and ale. Then passing through the playing fields, once known as King's Worth or King's Ward, they crossed Sheeps Bridge with the Thames on their right and where for 300 years until 1840, had stood a coal and timber wharf known as 'Leadbeaters' Wharf. Taking a track left they passed to the left of Shooting Fields, now known as Upper Club. Crossing the Slough Road, they came into Stonebridge Mead which was in earlier times three properties. One of the three holdings was owned by the Eton Parsonage; as such free of tithes — and known as Parson's Bush. Nearer Colenorton Brook was Pocock's Field and by crossing a foot bridge to the left they passed through 'Timbershaws' later known as The Timbralls and to the College lads 'sixpenny'. They then entered Common Lane and passed through Colenorton Close (not to be confused with the villages' Colenorton Crescent of 20th Century) thus entering the Eton end of Long or Great Common. A path led the procession over Colenorton Brook; near the Pumping Station of later years; under the rail viaduct and into Rossey's Piece. The long, narrow field immediately north of Colenorton Brook is Inner Meads. 

On the right of the farm track and onto Chalvey lie Broad Mead, Broad Masses or Broad Moors, a place one time famed for its cowslips (not so in my own childhood, but certainly we always gathered blue cornflowers and white dog daisies from here). 

Nearer Eton Wick they came to Northfields, and here were three little areas named Little Bush Close, Bushy Close and Long Close. At the end of this track it joins Little Common Road. Here they came to Saddocks and Manor Farms. On the Little Common stood two or three small tiled cottages. Not always tiled because under the tiles were tell-tale poles, once used for thatched roofing. Behind these cottages they came to Great Park Close later to become the Eton Sewage Farm. Then they came to Bell Farm with nearby land known as the Hyde or Great Hyde. The procession constantly marking the route of the boundary. 

From the farm they went through the water of Old Ditch, cutting yet another mark before turning right into Upper Bell Lane. Cottages stood at the bottom of the lane and the boundary actually passes through one of them. The record states the procession went through the house of William Lanfear and nailed a boundary mark at the door before proceeding north up Bell Lane to the junction with Tilstone Lane (the early name for Eton Wick Road from this junction). Old maps show this as 'Tilstone Gate', so we are left to presume the road was gated. Crossing the road at the place of today's Village Hall they followed the long hedge situated behind the hall to the far corner of today's Recreation Ground where again they cut their mark before following the Boveney Ditch to Boveney Bridge (Iron Bridge) and then kept to the river bank to Bargeman's Bridge (Chinese Bridge). Crossing and marking the bridge they came to Farm Ayte and continuing they turned by the side of the creek on the left of Dabchick Ayte, leaving a small planting of withy in the Parish of Clewer etc. — the procession continued as it wended its way via Brocas to Eton. 

Origins and place names have often changed. There was Gudgeon Pool which was the field of today between the 'Car Wash' business at Crown Farm and the main road. Today the old college Sanatorium is known at `Sandles' but Sandles was the name of the field across the road from the Sanatorium. Behind is the fairly recent estate of 'Stonebridge'; but originally Stonebridge was 300 to 400 yards north of the estate and across the Long or Great Common. 

Just two very confusing place name changes. Old maps show varying names for some places. Sheepcote is often referred to as Great Sheep Croft or Sheep Gate, and opposite the school was Crab Tree Close. The Walk is said to have got its name before the road existed. There were no houses lining a road in the early 19th century, and the Greyhound pub was owned by a Mr Deverill. Customers on the main road made a well-trod path across the land (now The Walk) to get a drink. This reputedly became known as 'Deverill's Walk'. Eighty years later the road was privately established and maintained by the tenants. 

Dare I wander over the Boveney boundary as far as the Boveney Lock? It intrigued me why an old and lone house stood on the Windsor (racecourse) bank only a few yards downstream of the weir. Its ruins can just be seen amid trees opposite the lock sanitation station. Probably it has not been occupied since WWII. Not the house but its name was intriguing. The name was 'Poison Ducks'. For years as I walked the Thames footpath I searched my mind for this odd name for the old house. Eventually I think I solved the riddle. There was no lock at Boveney before 1838, just the island or Ayte for the lock to take over. River traffic used the wider reach of water now occupied by the weir. The narrow stretch of water now used by the lock was occupied by a Mr Gills using large wicker fish and eel traps to glean a living. Those traps were known as bucks. Their proximity to the 'Poison Ducks' house, which may well have been Mr Gills home, is I believe the answer to my problem. With a play of letters an 's' to poison becomes poisson — French for fish. Change the 'B' of bucks to a 'D' and we have ducks. We can but wonder how many place names are the work of humourists. 

Lastly, I once asked a villager how his home in Sheepcote came to be named 'BYJIA'. His reply was "B"""r You Jack, I'm Alright". 

Submitted by Frank Bond 

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.