Tuesday 9 August 2022

From the Parish Magazine - Eton Wick History Group Meeting - History of the Council

The meeting of the Eton Wick Village History Group on 4th September 1996 commenced with a surprise: the most welcome announcement from Mr. Kinross that he was going to hand over, for the benefit of the Group's funds, £2,000 which he had received as unexpected compensation as a result of his successful claim (via the local Borough Ombudsman) that the Royal Borough and the Royal County of Berkshire were guilty of maladministration in the matter of industrial development on Common Land in this area. 

Mr. Kinross felt that as, in his opinion, this History Group was the only body which had taken an interest in our Commons (and he referred to the restoration of The Pound) the Group's bank account was the obvious home for this money, which had come in from the Council coffers. He thanked Mr. Frank Bond and his team and asked that they accept the cheque for £2,000 to further the aims and successes of the Eton Wick History Group. 

Mr. Bond thanked him profusely and suggested that perhaps the first purchase from these new funds could be audio equipment, which could be made available to certain other groups in the community. 

Councillor Ronald Clibbon

Mr. Bond then introduced Mr. Ron Clibbon, who was to talk about the 'History of the Local Council'. Mr. Clibbon had served on the Urban, District and Bucks Councils. He said that he had experienced great difficulty in finding any early records, but eventually Bucks County Council found minutes of Eton Council dated 6th May 1897, when the Chairman was Mr. Austen Leigh and another Council was Mr. Somerville.

138 High Street: Council's offices 1890-c. 1957

He told the group that Eton Wick was part of Eton Rural district until 1934 when it was transferred to Eton Urban District Council. At that time Eton Wick had no main drainage, no electricity and no street lighting; electricity wasn't installed until after the Second World War and we had 'open lagoon' sewage until 1954! 

102 High Street: Council's offices after c. 1957

Mr Clibbon took the group through the history of not only the local councils but also the construction of the various Council properties in the area; and he told of the considerable discussion which took place in deciding which trades should have shops in the parade, the terms of their leases and what their rents should be; they decided on a fish shop, butcher, chemist, baker, grocer, newsagent and greengrocer. 

We learned that the Duke of Edinburgh came to open the Stockdales Road Recreation Ground on 14th October 1952. The last major development was Haywards Mead, which was to provide dwellings for older people. 

Mr. Clibbon's talk encompassed considerable information, not only about the running of the Councils but also about the many local people who have done so much for the area in so many ways_ The meeting ended with a show of slides which included many reminders of the past such as the boys' clubs, the Scouts (formed in 1932) and Guides (1933); Harry Wakefield's football club which he formed in 1946, and the cycling club which went round Cornwall in 1949. 

The next meeting of the History group in be on the 23rd October, when John Coke, the Chairman of the Slough & Windsor Railway Society will talk on The Rail Connection into Windsor'. 

During the 1990's the Parish Magazine of Eton, Eton Wick and Boveney reported on the meetings of the Eton Wick History Group. A member of the audience took shorthand notes in the darkened hall. This article was published in the September edition of 1996.

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