Friday 16 August 2019

Eton Wick Horticultural Society 1939

Wednesday,  August 16th 1939.
A beautiful summer’s day heralded the annual Eton Wick Horticultural Society show held at the Wheat Butts by kind permission of Mr E.L. Vaughan.  This, the fifty seventh show of the society was well supported with exhibits of vegetables, flowers, poultry and rabbits. Entries were received from Dorney, Boveney and Eton Wick which did great credit to the members, not least the amazing display of 121 grasses collected by one child. Before the opening of the show, Major R.T. Dabson, Chairman of the Society, presided over the luncheon held in the marquee for the Committee and invited guests.  Replying to the Chairman's opening speech, Mr Vaughan addressing the Society, spoke of the pleasure the show gave him and expressed the hope that the Wheatbutts would never be built on. For the following forty years the Wheatbutts remained as such until sold for housing by the landlord Eton College.  Sideshows and Competitions added to the enjoyment of the day together with a very level putting green that had been made. This attracted a steady flow of players and spectators.  Field sports and dancing during the evening ended the show.

As the likelihood of war drew ever closer the requirement for war weapons increased and to meet their manufacturing targets of war weapons, engineering companies on the Trading Estate needed more labour. Offers of high rates of pay with overtime and bonus payments attracted men and women away from non-essential service jobs.  Frank Bond, having spent
Courtesy of Grace's Guide to
British Industrial Heritage.
three years learning boot and shoe repairing in Windsor, joined the Tipsy Aircraft Company on the Trading Estate. His wage as a shoe repairer was eighteen shillings a week, but his first pay packet as a war worker amounted to two pounds and fifteen shillings.  Increasing production of military equipment at High Duty Alloys engaged in forging and casting parts for Merlin aero engines, G.D. Peters of Slough producing various military equipment and Hawker Aircraft at Langley where Hurricane fighter planes were being produced required seven day round-the-clock shift working. The growing force of skilled, semi-skilled and trainee workers came from a wide area putting lodging accommodation at a premium.  Many travelled daily by rail to Slough and via the branch line to the rail platform within the Trading Estate. Wartime workers found lodgings in Eton Wick, Dorney and surrounding villages. The numerous factories on the Trading Estate employed a wartime workforce of more than 40,000, added to the civilian workforce were the specialist service personnel seconded from the navy, army and air force to factories. At the edge of the Estate Canadian troops set up a camp and repair workshops for their tanks and vehicles whilst at the farther end of the estate there was an MT Vehicle park and a Royal Ordnance camp.

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

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