Monday 28 December 2020

Edward Littleton Vaughan - Village Benefactor

Edward L Vaughan
An outstanding benefactor to Eton Wick village, Edward Littleton Vaughan known to everyone as 'Toddy' but not to his face, was an Eton College Classics master. He lived 89 years from 1852 to 1870 and was unmarried until he was 70 years old. He spent most of his life living at Eton, but it was to Eton Wick that he spent his money and constant support.

He was an Eton College boy in Oscar Browning's house between 1865 and 1870 before going to Balliol College, Oxford for 4 years. From there he went to Leipzig University, returning to Eton as a master after 2 years, the year was 1876 and apart from a small break he remained at Eton College until 1919, a spell of 43 years.

Long before this he had become involved with Eton Wick, but for the moment we will stay with `Toddy' at College. After 8 years as an Eton College master, when he was 33 years old, he became a House Master for 29 years, until 1913. In fact, he did not marry until 1921, two years after his retirement at 68 years. His Irish Bride was Miss Dorothea Waller and when he went on his honeymoon to France, he found time to bring back unusual little gifts to all the Eton Wick school children. My sister had a pen or pencil, through which it was possible to see an image of the Eiffel Tower when held to the light, certainly a novelty in 1921.

Willowbrook (off the Slough Road); Eton was his home for the latter years of his life, and it was built for him. From Willowbrook he served as Secretary to the Old Etonian Association; and after the Great War (WWI) he worked with immense industry to compile a record of Old Etonians killed in that war. You may think that is not a big deal; but when we recall that 5,610 Etonians served in the forces in 1914-18, that 1,124 lost their lives (20%) another 1,068 were wounded. 13 gained Victoria crosses; 554 Military Crosses, 407 DSO besides many other awards, we should perhaps pause to acknowledge the work that Toddy undertook in himself acknowledging the price the College paid in human life.

I am sure this is enough of the background of 'Toddy' except to speculate that as is generally believed, the College Masters make their money by being Housemaster; then perhaps Mr Vaughan was particularly blessed with having been a housemaster for 29 years.

His generosity to the village is certainly on record back into the 1880's when he was still quite young and only recently a housemaster. There is no evidence that he lived in the village house so long associated with him – Wheatbutts Cottage. He did however live in Boveney. This was reputably either 'Brookside' or 'Boveney Cottage', probably one and the same.

The year that Edward Littleton Vaughan became housemaster (1884) and was 33 years old, coincided with the immense change at Eton Wick. Until this time Eton Wick ended at and before this, only the Shepherds' Hut public house and two farm cottages in Bell Lane which in fact straddled the village boundary, i.e. in Boveney/Burnham

About this time Mr Vaughan acquired Wheatbutts Cottage and Paddock/Orchard on leasehold and in the following year used the property to benefit the village. It was suggested that he consider himself the Squire of the Wick. This was in 'Etoniana'. It is not really my view, but he earned the title. From 1894-1934 the village had its own Rural Council, and for the first 20 years he was its Chairman. Mostly meetings were held at the Wheatbutts, yet he never lived in the house, Special meetings were held at the new school, when the old ceased to serve as an Institute in 1903 due to redevelopment. The village rifle club met at the Wheatbutts regularly. The District Nurse lived in a Thatched Bungalow at the Wheatbutts field. Tenants of cottage included Teddy Watson, farmer and during WWII (after Toddy's death) David Niven.

In 1919 the owners—Eton Poor Estate—put the property up for sale"– Toddy then bought it.

When young we think everybody aged 50 is very old and cannot ever imagine them ever to have been young (or perhaps less miserable. I am sure that all who remember Mr Vaughan suffer from this; and my memory is of a shortish, smartly dressed man, lame with a stick and perhaps a little bit frightening.

What a terrible pity, because I now know that this short man stood taller than most of us . I was once told that a riding accident had caused the lameness, and although this is generally accepted, there was more to my informants’ story than I have proof of. As a young man, perhaps after his return to College in 1876, he liked to ride his horse over private jumps in the water meadow below Eton Wick Recreation ground of today. This land belonged to Boveney Court Farm and Mr Vaughan was told not to trespass. Being the determined character he always was, he ignored the cautions. One day both Mr Vaughan and his horse were brought down by chains suspended across the jumps. The year and the confirmation of this event I have not been able to prove.

The first mention of his help to the village that I have yet found is 1884, the year he became a housemaster. In March 1884 we read in the Parish Magazine; on Sunday Schools 2 Classes for children of trades people at 2.15 at the Eton Vicarage. At 2pm for young men under the Reverend Norris and at 3pm. For lads by Miss Vaughan ,4pm. For girls over 14 years by Miss Vaughan both held at Mr Vaughan's house in Eton College. Was there a connection here between the Vaughan’s?

 In 1888 the Old School was closed (on the site of Chantlers' Stores at the top of the Walk) after 48 years and a new school was opened in Sheepcote Road. The old building was made available as an Institute and Working Mens' Club the following year for £10 a year rent. It was opened with membership fee of one shilling and two pence or three pence a week charged. There were 46 members at the outset. Mr Vaughan gave a large wall map to the club. It is believed that Mr Vaughan was resolved to see Eton Wick and the Boveney (new one village in

Queen Victoria Jubilee Oak Tree
image courtesy of Google maps
all things. In 1898 he planted the oak tree on The Common to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. In 1904 the old school was purchased with intent to build a purpose shop on the site for Pratt of Eton for his son. Of course, this disrupted the successful Institute and a committee explored means of building a new premise. Mr Vaughan generously offered to take a long lease on Wheatbutts where an Institute could be built or give a site on his property in the N.E. corner. In October 1905 a meeting held in the school room agreed to the loss of Lammas Rights on the proposed plat next to the allotments. By this time (1905) he was giving annual treats at the school, with pupil entertainment, tea, cakes, crackers and presents all round, at the end Buns, oranges and chocolates.

He gave the land and the very fine Institute to the village, and being on the border of the two villages it was fittingly named Eton Wick and Boveney Institute — now of course , The Village Hall.

The things that he gave were ongoing — every year a Christmas tree; school treats etc. He once claimed to know all the school childrens' names. He was President of three football club and a vice-president of the cricket club. He provided the site for the Scouts but and took a major role in the formation of the scouts and wolf cubs. On occasions he motored the Cubs and Guides to camp and would pay for the poor to go. When the football club won a cup, he gave them all a dinner in the Three Horseshoes pub.

The Horticultural show was always held in his orchard (Wheatbutts) and he usually attended, made a speech, and presented the prizes. The creation of Eton Wick and Boveney Womens Institute and the Library were due to his efforts. Not once, but several times he created a Boy's Club here.

In the mid-1930's, despite being over 80 years he urged a Les Moreley and a Guards sergeant to form another Boy's Club. He often visited himself until in 1937 Les Moreley left to work at the newly built Slough Centre in the Farnham Road.

Dorothea Vaughan

Unfortunately, most youngsters of this era were a bit intimidated by 'Toddy' and tried to avoid playing him at Shove-a‘ penny, Lexicon or draughts. He attended the village church services and always read the lessons. The services came to a halt while he hobbled back to his seat. Eton Wick and Eton College were his two loves until he married and then Dorothea was added to them. We owe him much, the village hall, the magnificent tree on the common, his many kindnesses throughout his adult life and above all his influence on the community.

Dorothea was herself an equally determine lady, and she played an important role in the village. After the war I wrote to her on behalf of the Youth Club — she was President — for permission to sell a vaulting horse and box and other gym items that were no longer used in the hall. Back came a strong letter saying "No" My husband equipped the hall for boys to use, I should see they use it, no excuses, and while I was at it I should use my influence with members to go home and educate younger brothers and sisters not to break fences (Wheatbutts) not to throw rubbish in the stream etc..

On one occasion she attended a meeting of the club (She was terribly deaf in old age) and I reported that I had been asked to represent the club at a National Boys Club meeting to be held at Aylesbury. I could not possibly attend; it was an afternoon in mid-week, and I was working on the Slough Trading estate. She made no indication of having heard a word but imagine my surprise a few weeks later when I was asked who was the frail old lady who found her way to the Aylesbury meeting and gave them all a dressing down for calling an inter club meeting at a time unsuitable for working representatives. She once said to me, I decided to buy all new chairs for the Hall, I told my husband and he replied, "Good I will tell you where to get them". She then said, "No you will not, I am paying, I am Irish and I will have them sent here from Ireland" Those two small examples give some indication of her strong nature. She was president of the Womens Institute at one time. Wheatbutts was left to Dorothea and eventually purchased by Eton College in 1953. Since then, Wheatbutts was occupied by a college master. The field was later sold as a building site around the early 1980's.

An article by Frank Bond

Monday 21 December 2020

Photographic History - Village Characters - Councillor Ronald Clibbon

Ron Clibbon cuts the ribbon on the seat presented to the village by the Eton Wick and Boveney Women's Institute to mark the Buckinghamshire Federation's 50th anniversary in 1970. The Institute members in the photograph are, from the left: Mrs Attride, Mrs Kohler, Mrs Willsher, Mrs Hessey, Miss Banister, Mrs Joan Jones, Mrs Wilson, two other people are hidden from the camera, Mr Clibbon, Mrs Wyeth, Mrs Leary and Mrs Paintin. 

Ron Clibbon first became a councillor with Eton Urban District Council in 1949/51, and again from 1953 until 1974 when the E.U.D.C. became the Eton Town Council. He served as a Buckinghamshire County Councillor from 1964 until 1975, and then a Berkshire County Councillor. He was Chairman of Finance from 1974 to 1977. He was also a Justice of the Peace from 1959 to 1987; a member of Berkshire Magistrates Courts Committee 1975/87, a member of Thames Valley Police Authority 1974/87 (Chairman 1977/85) and a member of the Police Council for the U.K. 1983/8. He was the Secretary and Treasurer of the Eton Wick Village Hall Committee 1964/72 and Chairman of the Royal Albert Institute Trust in 1983. He was appointed Deputy Lord Lieutenant for the Royal County of Berkshire in 1982.

Tuesday 15 December 2020

World War 2 Eighty Years On - December 1940

Wednesday December 4th.

At about 8 pm. bombs fell on the G.W.R. goods yard at Windsor. Damage to coal wagons scattered timber, coal and trucks over a wide area. One wagon thrown into the air was propelled with its contents onto the roofs of the neighbouring buildings. Shops in the Goswells and Bridgewater Terrace, Windsor were damaged, also windows in Thames street were shattered by the blast. Two bombs fell on Eton College buildings, one on Savile House in Westons Yard, the home of the College Music and Choirmaster Dr. Henry Ley. The other bomb fell just outside the entrance to the Headmaster’s room. This bomb was of delayed action, its presence not being discovered until several hours later. The first bomb exploded on impact causing severe damage to Savile House, one of the finest college buildings. It was fortunate that Dr. Ley had been detained on some minor business which had delayed him going to dinner as the dining room was completely destroyed.  

Two residents of Eton Wick, Eva Bond, and Mr Cox were at the college during the evening. Frank Bond describing the bombing said his sister Eva was employed by Dr. Ley as a servant and was working at Savile House that evening. Several bombs had dropped around the district but on hearing of the Savile House bomb I cycled furiously to Eton only to be forbidden to venture past college corner. Unable to get any information as whether there were casualties, I return home to Eton Wick. Long after my returned Eva, covered in filthy brick and plaster dust with matted hair came home in a very disturbed state. Also in the house was a young girl evacuee who, fifty years on, wrote to Eva recalling memories of the night of near disaster (Frank Bond)

Reporting later on the bombing of Eton College said that a high explosive bomb had fallen in the front garden of Savile house, residence of Dr. Henry Ley, the College Presenter. Adjoining property was damaged and windows were broken in in the buildings in Westons Yard. Fire also broke out in Savile house. Sometime later a time bomb was discovered by Mr E. Bendell, the school clerk, outside his office in the colonnade. After the alarm was raised, staff salvaged many valuable papers, books, and important records. Everyone in the vicinity were evacuated. Later when the bomb exploded stained glass windows in the chapel were broken or damaged. Damage was also sustained to the school office, the roof, and an outside wall of Upper School. Upper School built in the reign of Charles II by Christopher Wren had the names of many Etonians carved on its walls and efforts were made to collect as many pieces as possible with the view to restoration later.

Mr Cox was doing fire watch duty that evening at Walpole House, where he witnessed the following incident involving a boy who had gone for extra tutoring to another house. Returning late from this tutorial after lock up, he found his House Master, H.K. Marsden, waiting in the boys’ entrance as he entered. Within Mr Cox's hearing, the boy was given a severe dressing down. He was covered in dust but just replied “I have just had a very bad shock, Sir”, which was putting it mildly for he was on his way back and just passing the Memorial Hall when the bomb fell in Westons Yard demolishing part of the Music Master’s house and school office near the Chapel. Needless to say that once it was realized what the boy had been through he was taken care of. Mr Cox said how much he admired the young boy for the way he handled his ordeal. (Daphne Cox.)

Chapel. Needless to say that once it was realized what the boy had been through he was taken care of; Mr Cox said how much he admired the young boy for the way he handled his ordeal. (Daphne Cox) 

Evacuated to Eton Wick, George White remembered vividly the night Eton College was bombed. "I was cycling home in the dark from the cinema at Slough; suddenly, when about a half a mile from Eton, the air raid siren sounded and within a very short space of time huge high explosive bombs fell in the direction of Eton. I threw myself into a ditch at the side of the road and after possibly a minute I looked around me and saw dozens, maybe hundreds, of incendiary fires from incendiary bombs all across the fields and in the roads etc. (George White) 

December 5th. 

The unexploded bomb (UBX) which fell in the College Colonnade caused several difficulties necessitating parts of College to be evacuated and the main road to Slough closed to traffic. Later in the evening the bomb exploded causing much damage to Upper School fortunately there were no casualties. Following the bombing of Eton a letter to A.A. Command from the College Provost expressed the view that the method of A.A. defence was unskilful. There was anxiety that College buildings would be destroyed by the Anti-aircraft guns firing at enemy raiders that were merely passing over head and he was sure that falling shrapnel would cause damage to the buildings as well as being dangerous. It was of no importance where the guns were positioned as long as they did not fire, as the firing of the guns could scare the German pilots into dropping bombs on Windsor and Eton. 

Throughout December the bombing onslaught continued on London and other towns and cities throughout Britain. Whenever enemy aircraft ventured over the district came within range the anti-aircraft guns at Datchet, Burnham, Windsor Great Park and Dorney went into action. The barrage of exploding shells and occasionally exploding bombs drove some household pets and farm animals wild. Mrs Miles recalled having to take her dog to the vet to get tranquilizers for him as he would tear madly around the house madly when the guns on the common were firing. Village residents had a fear of shrapnel from the exploding shells causing casualties as well as damage to their homes, but none were ever reported from this source. 

21st. December

During the evening of the 21st. December two high explosive (H.E.) and one delayed action bomb dropped on Kinross's farm in the Windsor road Eton, causing no damage or casualties. The bombs had dropped close to the College tennis courts, one of which exploded leaving a crater 22 yards across; this was filled in with rubble by Alf Cook and Amy Armstrong, the College carters also included from previous bomb damage, utensils from the boys bedrooms. The second H.E. bomb failed to detonate and was listed as an U.X.B. (unexploded bomb). This bomb became the subject of a request from the army to the farm foreman to pull it out with the tractor. His reply in no uncertain terms, told the Army what they might do with it, and for all that is known, it might be still be there - future golfers might get a surprise!. An incendiary device also burnt out the rick yard (Jim Kinross)

A legacy from the late Sir Sydney Herbert, an old Etonian, enabled Eton College to purchase Manor Farm at Eton Wick with all its buildings, including the rights of the Manor of Eton including the Manor and its lands. This completed the package of lands bought by the college in 1929 with the help of the Eton Land Fund. Lands of the farm are scattered over South Meadow, Athens fields near the river and land near to the railway arches. With the requirement of Manor farm and the ownership of the other lands there about, it was professed that the amenities of the surrounding district would be preserved the history of the Manorial Rights and Customs of Eton gives protection as to the use of the Little Common and the Large Common that stretches from Common Road to Eton Wick. A number of fields, including the Eton College playing fields of Mesopotamia, Racket Court Field and South Meadow are subject to Lammas Rights. This gives the right to those freeholders and tenants to graze their cattle on those fields from 1st. August to the 31st. October.

Under the emergency powers given to the County War Agricultural Committees some of the common and lammas lands were taken for arable crops. The demand for food production on the home front became urgent as an increasing number of merchant ships bringing food supplies were lost to attacks by German U-Boats. Conscription and membership of the Territorial Army had taken some farm labourers from the land before it became a reserved occupation. Land Army Girls, Prisoners of War, Service personnel, Eton College boys and other volunteers were employed or gave help on local farms and horticulture holdings in the drive to produce more home-grown food.

Towards the end of the year 262 Battery left Dorney Common to be replaced by another battery and the relieving troops were probably from the London Scottish Territorial A.A. Regiment as the skirl of Bagpipes through the early morning mist is a memory of Peter Morris whilst picking mushrooms on the common.

The pipers were a complete contrast to the Burglar of 262 battery whose reveille awoke those living near to the camp. The change to the so-called skirl of the pipes had Daphne Cox as a child, asking what the horrible noise was. On occasions a column of troops from the camp with the pipers in the lead would march through the village en route to Windsor.

The tented troop accommodation of the Dorney Camp was being replaced with more permanent buildings in the form of Nissen Huts enabling the resident battery to invite the village children to a grand Christmas party. This was due to the kindness of the Commanding Officer, Major Highton, and Captain Sawyer. The party was organised with military precision, each child having a label attached to their coat and arm. The battery chefs laid on a tremendous feast. One child on seeing all the good things to eat declared to the Major, "Sir, I can hardly wait". The N.C.O.s, Officers’ wives and other lady helpers became the waiters for the feast that had been laid out on two large tables. A decorated Christmas tree, Punch and Judy Show and singing with musical accompaniment entertained the young guest. To the sound of Bugles everyone left the hut to greet Father Christmas who arrived by army lorry accompanied by the blackest clown playing a banjo and the children all received a present and a silver coin from Father Christmas.     

Air raids on British cities culminated in a heavy incendiary attack on London on December 29th. 1940 and these fires in the City area lit the sky with a red glow that was visible from Slough. The damage wrought to the buildings by the firebombs during this raid brought a Defence Order for men of 16 to 60 years to register for fire watching amounting to forty-eight hours a month. All factories, shops and offices were to station firewatchers to combat the serious threat from incendiary bombs. Men from the village working on the Trading estate were expected to do fire watching at their place of employment. Firewatchers and plane spotters were also stationed on the roof of factories to ensure that as little interference to production as possible occurred during air raid alerts. Warning to take shelter being given to those working when danger seemed imminent. Married men often entices the young single men to do their turn of night fire watching with an inducement of three shillings (15p).

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

Monday 7 December 2020

The Eton Wick Newsletter - April 2008 - `Our Village' Magazine - OUR NEW PLAYGROUNDS

Our children's play areas, in Stockdales Road and Haywards Mead, are being completely renovated and upgraded, thanks to a huge community effort by the Eton & Eton Wick Partnership, who have raised £110,000, and £90,000 of that goes to the village, with the remainder going to the playground in Meadow Lane at Eton. 

Eton Town Council set up the Partnership in 2004 to tackle the anti-social behaviour problems in the village centre. Thames Valley Police, the Royal Borough, Windsor Housing, Eton College and others joined them to work together, and saw the problem pretty well disappear, but they went on to do other things to help, like arranging for the extra lighting in Haywards Mead and the car park, more staffing and projects for the Youth Club, the new CCTV camera, closing the rat run at Bellsfield Court and the drinking den in the recreation ground. In all twelve separate initiatives were undertaken. 

And then came the big one. The survey undertaken in 2006 —remember - showed that our rather tired playgrounds were a big issue for many of us, with lots of Mums and Dads taking their children to newer and better playgrounds in Datchet, Windsor and beyond. So the Partnership consulted the community, particularly the schools, playgroups, child minders and the youth club and then set about raising the necessary cash. The government's South East England Development Agency matched the Partnership's efforts pound for pound, and £110,000 has been raised altogether. 

These new facilities will benefit local children, helping their problem solving, improving confidence, and providing more social opportunities for them and for the rest of us as well. Initiatives from within our community of which we can all be proud. 

Philip Highy - Mayor 

Sue Warner - Partnership Chairman 

This article was first published in the first edition of the Eton Wick Newsletter in April 2008 and is republished here with the kind permission of the publishers, the Eton Wick Village Hall committee.

There are several articles about the history of the Eton Wick Recreation Grounds that can be found on this website by clicking on this link.

The images that illustrate this article are used with the courtesy of Google Maps.