Monday 30 January 2023

Photographic History of Eton Wick and Eton - Businesses - Thames View Stores

Mr Barron in front of Thames View Stores

Thames View Stores in the 1970s. John Barron, the proprietor, pictured outside, possibly just off on a delivery run. Originally one of a pair of semi-detached houses known as Wellmans Cottages. It became a retail outlet in 1910 when William Hearn sold saddlery and harness, etc. 

After Barron's grocery stores closed it became an aquarium and pond shop, finally reverting to a private house in 1994. The opening of the new shopping parade in 1951, and later the superstores in Windsor and Slough brought out the decline of the village's small family run shops. 

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

Monday 23 January 2023

World War 2 Eighty Years On - January - May 1943

The gathering strength of the American Air Force with their Flying Fortress bombers was now seen high up as they flew over Slough-Windsor to bomb U-Boat pens on the French coast.  Since the later months of 1942, daylight raids by the American Army Air Force on targets in Nazi occupied Europe had increased and these daylight raids were followed up at night by Lancasters of the RAF Bomber Command. On clear summer evenings the bombers were seen by Windsor/Slough residents flying in lines spread over several miles as they headed for Nazi Germany and their designated targets.

Due to the death of one of their men the Council advertised for a Road Sweeper. Among the applicants was Miss Winifred Hazell of 5, Hope Cottages, Eton Wick and   as no suitable men had applied, Miss Hazell was appointed for a trial period.   The Surveyor was to report that she had proved her worth and said "We find she is conscientious and satisfactory". Before taking up this unusual occupation Miss Hazell had been a part time cleaner at the College. Working from 7.30am until 5pm she was responsible for the stretch of road from Eton Wick Church to College including Sommerville Road and the Judy's Passage, Eton College; she remarked that at first it was pretty hard but soon got used to it and enjoyed it.

New Year activities at the village Institute included the annual birthday party of the Womens Institute. This year Eton Wick and Boveney Institute celebrated their 10th Year. Congratulations were also expressed to Mrs Wilson and Mrs Weller who received prizes for their achievement in gaining the highest standing in competitions of the past year.  

Entertainment for the increasing number of service men, war workers and evacuees now dwelling in the Slough - Windsor area encouraged amateur dramatic and variety groups to flourish.  A popular local group were the ‘Dorney Amateur Drama Party’ who staged shows at Dorney village hall and the Institute, Eton Wick.  A member of the Dorney Players was        Mrs Watts, from Tilston Avenue who with others often entertained the troops at the camp with her piano playing and singing. Dances were held every Wednesday evening from 7pm to 11pm at the Dorney village hall with music for dancing arranged by Mr J. Quarterman with his record player and records and if no electric supply was available his piano playing would get the evening underway.

Mrs Lowry and Mrs Olive Stacey arranged many of the dances and other entertainments for the troops and other fund-raising events.  Many successful shows were in aid of charities, one of which in aid of Great Ormond Street Hospital was an amusing sketch entitled, "The Cosy Corner Pub".   Refreshments at the dances and other entertainments were available through the efforts of the ladies of Dorney who had a cooking rota. Ingredients for the "Goodies" were erratic but there was always an appreciated spread, especially by gunners and airmen who went to the dances.  One particular evening the audience, including many from Eton Wick, found that the show did not quite end as they would have wished. The concert had been going for a while when it was noticed that the soldiers were leaving in ones and twos until there were very few left. One artist, endeavouring to entertain with a banjo, lost the attention of the audience as they became more apprehensive as to what had happened. Their curiosity was soon satisfied as the guns on the common went into action. The shattering noise from four 3.7"s anti-aircraft guns soon had the hall echoing from the explosions and no one was allowed to leave until the guns had ceased firing.  A very rapid movement across the common road was undertaken by those from the "Wick" getting back to the village and home.  Other popular places of entertainment were the cinemas where queues often formed waiting for seats to become available.  Two films showing at the Playhouse, Windsor early in the New Year were, "A Yank at Eton" with Mickey Rooney and "In Which We Serve" starring Noel Coward.  As there was no Blue Bus Service after 9pm. it often meant a walk home to Eton Wick in the blackout.  

Great effort by all the village organizations was put into savings drives and collections for relief of war victims, such as Aid for China, The Red Cross, the Prisoner of War Fund and Aid to Russia.    The Aid for China collection which took place at the end of March raised a total of £4-5-0 and the Whist Drive held in aid of the Red Cross raised a record £20.

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

Sunday 15 January 2023

W. H. PATES - Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Walter Henry Pates (Sergeant Air Gunner No. 1152080) Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve

Walter was born on March 26th, 1922 as the only child of Walter and Dorothy Pates of "Arleigh" in Boveney. He attended the village infant school from 1927 until two years later, on April 9th, 1929, he registered at Eton Porny School. He sang in the Eton Wick Church Choir and having a good singing voice he sat, and passed, the exam to become an Eton College Chorister with effect from January 1934. The Choristers had been a long-established choir at the College, and once accepted, they provided the boys with education and training. The Choristers were disbanded in 1968 and since then the College has formed its own choir from among the fee-paying boys.

Walter was popularly known as "Ponto" Pates. He was a slightly built, smart boy with a fair and freckled complexion and reddish hair. At times he appeared quiet and rather reserved, but this was perhaps deceptive because he is still remembered for his boyishly mischievous sense of humour. The change of school, different interests and the black uniform of the Choristers all served to distance Walter from many of his former Porny school friends. He had been a member of the village Wolf Cubs but by the time he changed schools he was 12 years old and no longer a Cub. About this time the family moved to No. 16 Castle View Terrace in Victoria Road, Boveney.

It has not been established what occupation Walter pursued after he left the Eton Choristers but he presumably developed an interest in the Royal Air Force and became a member of the R.A.F. Volunteer Reserve. When war was declared on September 3rd, 1939 he was 17½ years old and being a member of the V.R. he would soon have been a serving airman -certainly by his 18th birthday six months later.

With no service record available it has been necessary to glean information from official archives. The Commonwealth War Graves Commission reported:

Pates, Sergeant (Air Gnr:) Walter Henry, 1152080 R.A.F. Volunteer Reserve, 408 (R. C.A.F.) Squadron. Died 15th January 1943 Age 20, Son of Walter and Dorothy Beatrice Pates of Manor Park Slough, Buckinghamshire. Grave (is] in the Guide] Communal Cemetery, Dept. of Morbihan France, Row 2, Grave No. 14.

It was not in any way uncommon for Royal Air Force personnel to be transferred to the Royal Canadian or other Commonwealth Squadrons or vice versa. The 408 (Goose Squadron) was the founder Squadron of the Canadian 6 Group, Bomber Command, formed on January 1st 1943. Other Squadrons joining 6 Group in January included 419 (Moose) Squadron, 420 (Snowy Owl), 424 (Tiger), 425 (Alouette), 426 (Thunderbird), 427 (Lion), and 428 (Ghost) Squadrons. Their various aircraft were Hampdens, Wellingtons, Manchesters, Halifaxes and Lancasters.

Research at the Public Record Office, Kew, suggests Walter served with 427 (Lion) Squadron which was formed with a nucleus of 10 crews from 419 (Moose) in November 1942. Due to a shortage of parachutes, flying clothing and stationery the Squadron did not become immediately operational.

On January 14th 1943 a directive was issued to attack the U-Boat bases on the French coast. The services and supply network around the bases was included, and this far-reaching decision obviously meant the bombing of French civilians along with the submarine pens. Lorient and St. Nazaire topped the list.

Lorient was the target for 6 Group's first raid, carried out on the night of January 14/15th 1943. 122 aircraft took part, including 33 Wellingtons. Two Wellingtons were lost in this raid. The following night, January 15/16th, 157 bombers, including 65 Wellingtons, attacked Lorient again. On this occasion one Wellington was lost.

RAF records at the Public Record Office, Kew indicate that it was during the second raid on Lorient on January 15/16th that Walter died. It was the 427 Squadron's first raid and six Wellingtons took off from Croft, County Durham within six minutes. Due to bad weather five aircraft turned back and landed at Tangmere, returning to their base at Croft on the 17th. The 6th aircraft flew on and took part in the raid on Lorient, but did not come back. The missing aircraft was BK364 and the crew are all buried in the Guidel Communal Cemetery.

Sergeant Pates flew with an all British crew in the Canadian Squadron, including Squadron Leader M.A. Williams, Pilot Officer A.R. Eckton, Pilot Officer E. Charlesworth and Sergeant H.D. Munro.

It is presumed Wellington BK364, ZL-G, crashed in or near the designated target area, as the Guidel Cemetery is approximately six miles north-west of Lorient and three miles from the coast of Brittany. It contains 116 graves of servicemen, mostly airmen who lost their lives while attacking the submarine base at Lorient. 85 of the graves are of U.K. personnel, 14 are Canadian, six Australian, two New Zealand and six are unidentified.

Unfortunately, R.A.F. records concerning individuals are only available to relatives and it has not been possible to find particulars of Walter's service between 1939 and his death in 1943. He may have been on flying operations before joining 6 Group or like many others he may have served as ground crew or administration and later re-mustered to flying duties. All aircrew were volunteers, and within the R.A.F. there was always an encouragement for servicemen to volunteer for flying duties.

Walter was single and 20 years old. He is commemorated on a special family plaque in the Eton Wick Church of St. John the Baptist, on the Village Memorial, on the Village Hall plaque and on the Eton College Choristers Memorial. The plaque in the Eton Wick Church was unveiled and dedicated at the Evensong Service held on Whit Sunday 1949.

The Crew of Wellington III BK364 ZL-G

Walter Pates' page on the Commonwealth War Graves Commission website.

The Forces War Records websites records that Walter Henry Pates enlisted at Cardington. He joined the RAF after April 1940 and was appointed as a Class F Reservist.

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

Monday 9 January 2023

Eton Wick History Group - Wednesday 11 January @ 7.30pm at the village hall - Secrets of the Box


Eton Wick History Group - Wednesday 11 January @ 7.30pm at the village hall. Change of speaker. Tony Weston's will be coming along to talk about "The search to discover the owner of a Regency writing desk using as clues letters and shop receipts hidden within its secret compartment (as shown on BBC Antiques Roadshow)"

Tough Assignment - The Chew Family

When Mrs Tough died in 1930, the chapel lost that driving force which had largely been responsible for it being built. The work she had started then became the responsibility of those whose lives she had influenced. One family particularly would be prominent in that work spanning the next fifty years. In human and spiritual work, the Chew family were remarkable. Their example and influence on others over many years has been considerable and far-reaching.

The Chews were largely responsible for keeping the chapel active during difficult years, and but for their dedication to the Christian work, and great love for people, along with a few others in the Eton Wick community, the chapel might not have survived. Anyone who has known them cannot help but admire those qualities that have communicated something special.

On the 14th March 1986, Joyce Chew, now Mrs Stevenson, related some of her memories of her parents and brother and sisters.

Her father, Archibald Barrows Chew, came from BryanstonSquare in West London. His parents came to live in Eton Wick in 1908. He was educated at the Regent Street Polytechnic and was a good friend of its founder and headmaster. Quintin Hogg, the grandfather of the late Lord Chancellor - Lord Hailsham. On Sunday afternoons Quintin Hogg would give talks to 'his boys' on Christianity, and in 1900 he published a book, 'The Story of Peter, the Disciple'. A copy of that book was given to Archie Chew, and inside the cover was written, "To my dear Archie with love from Q.H. Nov. 1900". Such seeds sown in those early years were to affect Archie Chew's life and be mirrored in the lives of his family and many others in the years ahead.

In 1984 when the present Lord Chancellor was speaking at St. Georges Chapel Windsor on 'Morality and the Law', he was shown this book inscribed by his grandfather, and placed an entry beneath it - eighty-four years later.

Archie Chew's parents lived at Busane, on the site where Bryanston now stands. Busane was owned by Mrs Tough. It was while visiting his parents at Eton Wick that Archie met Miss Annie Frances Moore, known as Dolly. She was a strikingly attractive young lady. When Archie Chew finished his schooling, he went into business and spent his whole working life as a wholesale woollen merchant in London's Golden Square. Annie Frances Moore was born in August 1886 and was the fourth of six children, and the first daughter of Alfred Moore. She lived at Bell Farm until she married, having been fostered by Annie and Charles Tough. In the same way that Archie Chew's life had been influenced and directed along Christian paths, so Annie Moore was influenced by the Toughs, and it was to be this unique combination of Christian principle and example that would help sustain the chapel continuously for a period of time spanning more than seventy years.

In 1910 Archie Chew and Annie Moore were married in the chapel, and moved to Hanwell, where their first two children - Mabel and Sylvia were born. They then moved to Chalvey Park at Slough, where Joyce was born in 1916. While at Slough, Archie and Annie attended and assisted at the Methodist Church in William Street. They finally moved to Eton Wick in 1918 where their last two children were born, Clifford in 1917 at Bell Farm, and Miriam at Brookside in 1919.

Miss Winifred Jewel moved in with the Chews when Miriam was a baby, and this help enabled Mrs Chew to devote more time to the chapel. Annie had been Sunday School Superintendent while Mrs Tough was alive and when Mrs Tough died, Annie Chew took over the chapel reins and became the new driving force for Christianity.

Archie Chew's faith was much simpler than that of his wife. If the children were found doing something wrong, their father would get them to pray about it, as he would pray for finding something like a lost key. Archie found his strength through prayer. In the later years when the regular Chapel Prayer Meetings began at 6 pm, anyone hearing the prayers of Sylvia, Joyce, and Harry Cook, found themselves in the engine room of our Christian experience and faith. It was this simple faith and belief in praying about all things that was the foundation and strength of Archie Chew, and his example reflected onto his children, and from them onto many others. In contrast Annie Chew's faith was much more questioning and theological, complementing her husband's.

Archie Chew did not have a strong physical constitution, and always had diet difficulties. This weak constitution prevented him from doing much physical work, and he encouraged his children to help with gardening etc. He worked long hours in London arriving back home late most evenings. Sometimes he was away for several days on business - an absence he disliked. The children always enjoyed Bank Holidays with their father home, for he was a happy man when with his family and could quickly throw off business worries. He continuously emphasised good morals and principles.

Businessman, family man and chapel leader, Archibald Chew still found time to work for the wider community. He served on the Board of Governors of Dorney School, and as a Councillor on the Eton Urban District Council. With John Smith, the surveyor, he was largely responsible for the inclusion of the excellent open space in Moores Lane. People in Eton Wick village are indebted to such vision. He was also the first chairman of the Eton Wick Allotment Association.

In 1938 Archie Chew retired from business, but when war broke out in 1939, he soon became involved in war work. He was responsible for the collection of such materials as old iron and paper, which were stored in the cottages which then stood at the corner of Bell Lane and Alma Road. Mr and Mrs Chew became the Evacuation Officers for the village, a difficult and time-consuming job, particularly if the children were not happy in their allotted homes.

Archie Chew died in 1943 after a long illness and several operations. His family knew that he was unlikely to recover, and all believed that he did not know himself how seriously ill he was. But even unknown to them he would discuss his health problems with his young friend Harry Cook long before he died. During his last days in Edward VII Hospital at Windsor, Archie asked for all his family to join him in prayer, and openly prayed that he would not be long for this world - the first indication to them that he knew he was dying. Despite this tragic loss to the family and the Eton Wick Community, Annie Chew carried on positively, and was elected as a Councillor, taking over from her husband.

Meanwhile their eldest daughter, Mabel, had become a civil servant, and in 1936 married Dr William Templeman, a brilliant scientist with ICI, who pioneered research into chemicals for weed control and increased crop productions. He was also a Methodist local preacher and circuit steward in the Windsor and Maidenhead Circuit. For his researches he received the OBE.

The second daughter Sylvia, worked for the Prudential Assurance Company as a sick visitor making reports on claimants. She was engaged to be married for a time, but this was broken off, and she continued her work and to help in the task of running the home and assisting her mother. Her lob with the Prudential was eventually taken over by the Civil Service.

The third and fourth children, Joyce and Clifford, both joined ICI, and during this time Clifford became best man at the wedding of his friend Bernard Stevenson. Many years later after becoming a widower, Bernard was to remarry in 1984, his former best man's sister, Joyce Chew.

When war broke out in 1939, Clifford joined the RAF Volunteer Reserve as a pilot, and completed a tour of operational duty with Fighter Command during the Battle of Britain. He was commissioned in 1942 and was entitled to wear the ribbon of the 1939/43 star. In June 1944 Clifford was awarded the Air Force Cross for a deed of remarkable bravery in bringing an aircraft which was on fire safely to the ground. By so doing the whole crew was able to jump clear without injury.

Clifford Chew

Joyce joined the Wrens in 1942 as a transport driver. Miriam the youngest, went nursing at Reading's Royal Berkshire Hospital.

In March 1945 Mrs Chew received the devastating news that her son was missing. He was 27 years of age. Flight Lieutenant Chew was shot down while flying paratroops across the Rhine. The other members of his crew managed to get clear of the aircraft, but he was unable to bale out in time and his body was afterwards recovered by British troops and given fitting last honours.

Annie almost lost her faith. She had been so positive that God would take care of her son and felt let down that He had failed her. During this critical and very stressful time, Annie was well supported by Sylvia, and without the great support and strength of character of her fine daughter, she may not have regained her faith. Clifford's death was later confirmed, and the returning of his wallet and New Testament sealed his passing. He is now buried in a war grave in Luxembourg.

After the war Joyce left the Wrens and in 1946 returned to ICI and again took up work with the chapel. On the death of her father Sylvia had taken over the jobs of Trust secretary and treasurer, and now on being demobbed Joyce took them over from Sylvia. Miriam returned to nursing after working for a short period for ICI and the Great Western Railway. She later married John Harrison and moved to Taunton in Somerset.

In the 1950s Mrs Chew moved to London to help look after relatives - Uncle Russell (Mr Russell Smith) and his wife. Sylvia moved to Oxford to work for the Civil Service. Only Joyce remained at Bryanston. Later in the 1950s Mrs Chew, Uncle Russell, Sylvia, and Miriam, all returned to Bryanston to re-unite the family.

In 1964 Mabel died after suffering a stroke and two years later Mrs Chew died after much worrying about her eldest daughter. Dr Bill Templeman died in 1968.

The work of the chapel however, had to continue, and Sylvia, Joyce and Harry Cook, undoubtedly kept the chapel going by their personal commitment and Christian leadership from the 1960s onwards. Sylvia and Joyce were-both treasurer and secretary of the chapel over a period of at least forty years. For more than twenty of these Joyce was also organist, having had only two years tuition. Both daughters were involved with the Sunday School from a very young age. Mrs Tough encouraged Joyce into Sunday School teaching when she was only twelve. Today Joyce is President of the Chapel Sisterhood and President of the Circuit Womens Fellowship. Sylvia was the Chapel Overseas Mission's Secretary for many years, and it was largely her inspiration and leadership that earned such good support for this work. Between 1966 and 1980 Sylvia was also a superb President of the Chapel Sisterhood (Womens Meeting), started by Mrs Tough some eighty years earlier. She was a supreme organiser and visitor, totally caring, and the most unselfish person you could ever meet. She was very like her father.

When Sylvia died suddenly in her little cottage next to the chapel, it was felt by the whole community, and the number that attended her funeral was a testimony of the affection and respect in which she was held. She was a very rare lady.

The 1960s and 1970s were the years of the garden parties at Bryanston for Missions, summer mystery drives ended at Burnham Beeches with 'Bangers and Mash', and community singing among the trees on beautiful Summer evenings. The sound of hymn 414 still rings in the mind - "We thank thee Lord for this fair earth'.

When one looks at the early years of the Chew family it is not surprising that the Christian influence of the parents made deep and lasting impressions on the children as they lived out their discipleship within their own family. Thus, was sustained a Christian influence in this village that has lasted more than a hundred years - from the coming of Mrs Tough in 1877, the birth of the chapel and Annie Moore in 1886, until today and beyond for Joyce is still with us. She still plays the organ - a prayer in sound - and is a much-loved church steward. In mother and daughter, we have a unique hundred-year link in the life of this chapel.

The Eton Wick History Group is most grateful for the kind permission given by the Eton Wick Methodist Chapel to republish this history, Tough Assignment on this website.

Mabel, Sylvia, Clifford, Miriam, Joyce, 

Archibald and Annie Chew.

The Eton Wick History Group is most grateful for the kind permission given by the Eton Wick Methodist Chapel to republish this history, Tough Assignment on this website.

Monday 2 January 2023

Photographic History of Eton Wick and Eton - Businesses - The Old Dairy and Eton Court, Eton

The Windsor & Eton Dairies building was situated next to photographers Hills & Saunders in the High Street. It was a 15th century house with a central hall and solar wings, with many alterations over the years. After much deterioration the dairy was demolished in 1967. Many of the older residents of Eton will remember the small statue of the golden cow in the window, how cool it was to step down into the dairy on a hot summer's day, and of being served by Rosie, the auburn-haired assistant. 

The lower photograph shows the entrance to Eton Court car park looking towards the High Street. Part of the Austin Leigh and Baldwin Institute is visible on the left of the photograph. What the shops that can be seen in the High Street were selling then cannot be discerned from the picture. 

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

Sunday 1 January 2023

Eton Wick History Group Programme for 2023

Programme of talks for 2023: 

The programme is subject to change.

11th January 'Secrets of the Box': with Mr. Tony Weston

22nd February 'Rock Steady — 'The Gibraltar Story': with Major (Retd.) Paul Whittle TD

12th April 'The Great Water Conduit of Windsor Castle — a wonder of 16th Century engineering': with Dr. David Lewis

24th May 'Brownsea — A Secret Island': with Mr. Tony Weston

12th July Speaker invited — 'More than Biscuits, Beer and Bulb - Reading's other industries': with Jo Alexander-Jones

13th September 'History of Colnbrook as a Major Town’: with Julian Hunt

25th October Speaker invited — 'Heathrow - A Smooth Operation': with Alan Clare

13th December 'The Village's history through the website': with Mr. Steven Denham


Meetings are held at 7.30 pm in Eton Wick & Boveney Village Hall. There is entrance fee which includes light refreshments.

 All are welcome