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
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.
|Courtesy of Grace's Guide to
British Industrial Heritage.