Monday, September 29, 2008

Are you listed here in 1935 at Holy Trinity School.

Where are they today I wonder? This list is of students who were registered into Holy Trinity School in the year 1935. They were of varying ages, as some of their families had just moved into the village, They did not all start their school days with Miss Collins. They could have been in Mrs. Evans, Mrs. Snapes or Mrs. Adams class. Mrs. Adams was the Head Teacher and took care of all the enrollments.

We start with the girls and the date of enrollment:

7th of January 1935.
Joyce Honour. Mary Magnolia Easton.
Phyllis Lavinia Northway. Beata Doreen Sayell.

28th of January 1935.
Francis Peggy M. Burbage.

29th of January 1935.
Barbara Hursey.

15th of March 1935.
Elsie Hales.

30th of April 1935.
Beryl Veronica Easton. Sheila Gladys Hannant.
Daphne Mary Spencer. Muriel Stone. Joan Marshall.
Jean Margaret Hursey.

12th of June 1935.
Olive Jean Barnes.

17th of June 1935.
Doreen Lewis.

8th of July 1935.
Gwendoline Mary Fletcher.

23rd of July 1935.
Margaret Joan Quelch.

9th of September 1935.
Hilda May Henwood. Joyce Pearl Austin.
Joan May Westcott. Gwenyth Emily Rogers.
Jean Patrica Lewendon. Eileen Hatton.
Marguerite Sayell

Of course the majority of these ladies now will have married and have families of their own with fast growing up Grandchildren, who may read this and recognize their Grandma’s name when she was a little girl.

Now Boys, it is your turn to get posted. At least one that I know has passed on from our midst. Others I know are fit and well and still active.

7th of January 1935.
Colin Reginald Hatch. Peter John Cracknell.
Reginald George Lewendon

14th of January 1935.
Ronald Honour. Robert George Edwards.

30th of January 1935.
Jame4s Geoffrey Packham. Roy Dennis Wilsdon.
Gerald Effamy. William Frederick Burnap.
James Trevour Honour. Peter Derek Fisher.
James Hatch.

15th of July 1935
Maurice Leary.

9th of September 1935
John Philip Penny. Brian Joseph Ernest Carter.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Two Mary's

Here we have two photographs of Mary Venables, the widow of George Venables, owner of the paper mill in Mill Lane. It must have been in the late 1800’s, as portrait photography was still in its infancy around then. Again I am not sure if the portraits were taken at her home or she travelled to the photographer’s studio. It could be both, as the same location was used and different furnishings are in place, though the same floor covering is there. In one she is dressed as if she is at home. The other she is dressed as if she was going out.

Remember that photographers of the day, made their own glass photographic plates, which they had coated with silver nitrate. Of course the driving force behind it all of this was William, Henry, Fox Talbot, but the general use by portrait photographers came much later. These photographs were taken after her daughters wedding in 1867, as I am sure it would have so recorded.

Mary Venables, after the death of her husband George in 1860, continued to run the paper mill business, and by all accounts was very firm in the way business was conducted. On the other hand, she was very kind and generous in looking after the welfare of her employees.

Once again my thanks to Joe Fisher, who provided me with the photographs and information.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

The Cookham Paper Mill

For a great many years, the residents of Cookham have wondered who were the Venables. Who lived, and had a small paper mill down in Mill Lane. I often wondered as a boy, sitting in church looking up at the large memorial plaque, bearing the Venables name and wondering who they were. Well thank you to, Mr. Joe Fisher, a decendant of this illustrious family, I am, at long last able to bring you all a copy of a painting, of Mary Davenport and George Venables. These portraits were painted just prior to their wedding in Holy Trinity Church in 1832. There are more stories to come and will be written up in due course.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Holy Trinity Class No2

Here is another class photograph that has come to light. The board the little girl is holding in the front row says: "Cookham H.T. School No2." I have no idea if this means it refers to Class No2., or that it is second photograph taken by the photographer. By the dress of the teachers and the children I would put it at the late 1800's, possibly 1897-8.

The corrugated iron leantoo that I have mentioned in a previous blog is in the background, this is where the children could wash their hands and hang up their outdoor coats and hats.

I have no idea but, my father and some of my aunts could be in this picture. I'm afraid my school register records do not go back that far.

Some 300,000 Years Ago

Though the date on the map may be out. This is how early man crossed from Africa into Europe and to the far north.

You will find that this Historical Blog will not run in any sort of sequence, due to the fact I will be posting as facts that concern the area and Cookham in particular come to light.

We now step back in time some 300,000 years, yes I know it was a long time ago, but it does reflect on what exists today. The bones of the oldest person known to have lived in Britain, was in fact a woman. Her skull was discovered in the gravels in Swanscombe on the south bank of the Thames in North Kent. The age of this find was, according to records at a quarter of a million years ago.

Where did these people known as "Chellean's" come from. Again according to records I find that the most likely place was North Africa. You are now going to ask: "How did they get here?" Well at that point in time the continents as we know them today were still land linked. The Straits of Gibralter and the English Channel did not exist. It is thought that they lived in small comunities, and most likely in trees. Their club like axes and tools were not sharp at all, and again it is thought that food was mainly fruit and green vegetation. It was not until the Acheulian Man came along, were the stone axes and cutting tools pecfected to being quite sharp. They gave the flint a straight edge and followed the grain of the stone.

Then came the last Glaciation Period or Ice Age, and these settlers were forced to retreat to where they came from and warmer climes.

This I think gives you an idea of who was walking around this area during this time period, and makes up part of our history.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Holy Trinity School Class of 1922.

This class photo I have cleaned up as best as I could, so that the facial features can be seen. There are 25 students in this photograph, some of which could be your parents or grandparents. This class would have held both seven and eight year olds. Looking back over a copy of the school register I have taken 28 names that would have been in that class at that time:
Lena Wakeford, Ivy Cook, Nora Dodd, Enid Franks, Betty Lane, Daphne Chitty, Cora Tuck, Rona West, Juanita Swaby, Phyllis Fairlie, Marjorie Fyfield, Dora Gibbs, Lucy Mary Robinson.
Douglas Kent, Dennis Gale, William Frank Barker, Albert Ayres, Alan Ronald Emmett, Joseph O'Neile, Ross Rockell, George Rixon, Rowland Emmett, Cecil Chadwick, Charles Rockell, Charles Lowe, John Joseph Lowe, Cuthbert Giles, Edward Gore.
NOTE: If any of these names happen to be relations of yours, I would be happy to hear from you, together with their life story and any photos that you may have.
James Hatch

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Holy Trinity as I remember 1935 till 1941

This is a pen and ink sketch that I drew from memory in 1992 of Holy Trinity School in Cookham. The main school building with two class rooms was built in 1858. Together with the head teachers house. The addition to the right of the picture and to the rear was the infants classroom and was built as a gift about two years later. In front of that building was a corrugated tin leantoo was a cloakroom and wash hand basins, with large bars of carbolic soap. The trees on the left was Mrs. Cheeseman of "Halls Corner" orchard. An ideal place to scrump apples, plums and walnuts when in season, providing of course that you escaped without being caught. The playground in front was for the boys, and the girls had a playground with the infants at the back. The fence in front was a metal panel fence with a five bar gate and a small side gate to one side. The tree at the left front of the playground was a Rowan, with lots of red berries in the autumn. One thing I left out of the drawing was the flagpole. That was where the metal fence and the brick wall joined.

A Verbal Picture of Cookham in 1861. (Part Two)

Here are the list of traders and professionals who were residing in Cookham in 1861.
Aldridge Miss Elizabeth (Farmer)
Allen William (Surveyor of Roads)
Andrews Isaac (Seedsman)
Bailey James (Painter & Glazier)
Bailey William (Painter & Glazier)
Bartlett Mrs. Ann (Schoolmistress)
Blewett Henry (Grocer)
Briginshaw Thomas Richard (Baker)
Burrows & Son (Boot & Shoe Manufacturers. The Elms)
Carter Robert (Station Master)
Child John (Schoolmaster)
Cooper Edward (Grocer & Draper)
Cooper George (Maltster)
Cowdery Henry Thomas (Baker)
Dewe William M. (Excise Officer)
Doxey Thomas (Farmer, White Place)
Dockett Frederick (Beerseller, Tailor & Assistant Overseer)
Ford Joseph (Bel and the Dragon)
Francis George (Letter Carrier)
Game Miss Anne (Dressmaker)
Godden Mrs. H. (Dressmaker)
Godden Edward (Ferryman)
Godfrey George (Hayward of the Manor)
Harfield George (Police Constable)
Hatch James Thomas (Kings Arms & Fruiterer)
Lacy & Son (Bricklayers, Plasterers, & Slaters)
Lane Mrs. Susan (Blacksmith)
Lane Miss Susan (Infants Schoolmistress)
Lane William (Sexton)
Main Mrs. (Laundress)
Maskell Luke (Beer Retailer & Poulterer)
Mills John T. (Farmer & Church Warden, Tithe Farm)
Pearce Thomas (Blacksmith)
Peto William (Farmer, Cannon Court Farm)
Poulton Richard (Ferry House, Registrar, Collector of taxes, & Boat Proprietor)
Price Richard (White Hart)
Price Thomas (Railway Tavern & Coal Merchant)
Slack George (Grocer)
Spencer John (Tea Dealer)
Spencer Julius (Bricklayer)
Staniford James (Cookham Pound)
Taylor John (Grocer)
Venables Mrs. Mary (Paper Manufacturer)
West William (Wheelwright)
Whitmarsh Elizabeth & Catherine (Grocers)
Whitmarsh William (Blacksmith & Parish Clerk)
Wigg Mrs. Ann (Beer Retailer)
Wigg John & James (Carpenters)
Wilder John (Angler)
Wise Benjamin (Carrier)
Worster Mrs. Martha (Butcher)
Young Mrs. Anna Postmistress)
POST OFFICE: Letters arrive from Maidenhead at 7:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Letters dispatched at 12:45 p.m. and 7.45 p.m. and on Sunday only one dispatch at 5:50 p.m.
PAROCHIAL SCHOOL: John Child (Master) Mrs. Ann Bartlett (Mistress)
INFANTS SCHOOL: Miss Susan Lane (Mistress)
CARRIER TO LONDON: Benjamin Wise (Monday & Thursday)

A verbal Picture of Cookham in 1861. (Part one)

COOKHAM: is a romantic and sequestered small town, containing 1004 inhabitants. It is situate on the south or right bank of theThames, 3 miles N. of Maidenhead, part of which is in the parish of Cookham. A Market was formerly held here, but it has been discontinued. The inhabitants of the town and neighbouring villages are employed in agriculuture, and in making boots and shoes, which are manufactured here in considerable quanties, this place being noted for the excellence of these articles. The establisment of Messers. Burrows and Son, is one of the most extensive of the kind in the kingdom. The church, an anccient structure, in Gothic style, has just been restored, at an expense of upwards of £3,500, including organ and clock. The original building is supposed to have been built 400 years ago, it is dedicated to the Holy Trinity. A very handsome memorial window has been added by direction of General Gordon to the memory of the Misses Lewis. The living is a vicarage, now held by the Rev. Joseph T. Brown, M.A., in the Archdeaconary of Berks, and diocese of Oxford. The Westleyans have a place of worship here. In 1858 new and substantial Parochial Schools were erected here, at the cost of £1669. The site was most liberally given by Messers. Neville, Reid, and Co., Windsor. A very handsome and commodious Infant School contiguous to the above schools, has lately been erected at the sole expense of the Misses Fleming. A Reading Room and Library were established here in December, 1857, in addition to which Miss Venables has an extensive and valuable Lending Library. Cookham has a station on the Wycombe Branch of the Great Western Railway. Fairs are held on the 16th of May and the 11th of October. The population of the entire parish in 1861 was, 4,467; acreage, 6,510.
Those dates of the fairs were when cattle were allowed to pasture on Common Land and when they have to be removed.
This is a is a list of those considered to be "GENTRY" residing in Cookham at that time.
Baber Rev. Charles (curate)
Bamford Mrs. Ann
Blissett Mrs. Isabella
Box John Esq, White Place
Brown Rev. Joseph T. M.A. Vicarage
Cahusac Thomas Esq., Moor Cottage
Darby Miss Julia
DeVitrè Mathew Esq., Formosa
Fleming Misses Isabella and Louisa, The Grove
Grant John Esq.
Harman John Esq., Moor Hall
Jewers Fras, William Edwin Esq., The Halls
Lang Henry Esq. Melmouth Lodge
Taylor Gustavus Thomas Esq., West Lodge
Venables Mrs. Mary, Cookham Mills
Young Lady Susan, Formosa Cottage
The Trades and Business residents will come in another edition of this Blog. So keep your eye open.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Cookham Survey of 1839. Who was here then.

In 1839 a survey was taken of business and professions. The following list covers those living and having a business or profession in or connected with the village at that time:

BARNETT J. Baker Cookham
BARTLETT Ann Parochial School Mistress Cookham
BEESLEY J. Beer Retailer Cookham
BURROWS C. Plumber &c Cookham
CLIFT P. Grocer/Boot & Shoemaker Cookham
COPAS W. Chequers Cookham
FORD J. Bell & Dragon Cookham
FORD J. Carrier Cookham
FROST T. Grocer/Cheesemonger Cookham
FROST T. Grocer/Cheesemonger Cookham Dean
GIBBONS W. Fruiterer Cookham
GODFREY Martha Beer Retailer Cookham
GRANTHAM I.T.Rev. Rector Cookham
GREENLAND J. Boot & Shoemaker Cookham
HARDING J. Carpenter/Joiner Cookham
HATCH B. Fruiterer Cookham
HATCH E. Hare & Hounds Cookham
HATCH J. Kings Arms Inn Cookham
HORNETT W.R. Tailor Cookham
LACEY J. Beer Retailer Cookham
LACEY W. Baker Cookham
LANE J. Blacksmith Cookham
LOUCH J. Grocer/Draper Cookham
LUNNON J. Beer Retailer Cookham
NOTTS John Receiving House Cookham
PEARCE J. Blacksmith Cookham
POULTON R. Boot & Shoemaker / Reg.B.D.Cookham
POULTON T. Coal Merchant Cookham
RILEY C. Carpenter Cookham
SMITH E. Boot & Shoemaker Cookham
SMITH J. Butcher Cookham
SPARKS T. Nurseryman / Handle Maker Cookham
TOWERS Mary White Hart Cookham
VENABLES G. Paper Maker Cookham Mills, Wooburn
VENABLES George Paper Maker Taplow Mills, Taplow
VENABLES George Paper Maker Cookham Mills, Cookham
WARE H. Boot & Shoemaker/Coal Cookham
WEST W. Wheelwright Cookham
WHITMARSH J. Smith / Farrier Cookham
WYATT J. Fruiterer &c Cookham
My Great Grandfathers name appears in RED as there are other Hatch names listed.
George Venables besides owning the paper mill in Mill Lane, he also owned mills at
Taplow and Wooburn, but his home was in Cookham.
You will also note that there was quite a cottage industry of making Boots & Shoes.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Thomas John Fowler

Thomas John Fowler was all the time I knew him a very active participant in village life. I became aware of his presence when I first went to Holy Trinity School in 1935. He and his family had just recently moved into #1 Black Butts Cottages, where he had set up a small building repair and decorating business and had taken on the responsibility of collecting rent every Friday night for the Kislingberrys who were the landlord. He also had taken on the job of caretaker for the school, which besides sweeping the school classrooms every day, he had to make sure the classroom fires were lit early in the morning as these had back boilers behind to heat the water in the radiators. The heating in the infant’s classroom was a big potbelly stove, which was fired with coke. The last task he had was to clean and empty the bucket toilets every day. Colin Hatch the Builders just about the outbreak of the Second World War thank god modernized these in 1939.

He had been all his life a dedicated Churchman, Bell ringer, and Chorister. Both he and his very close friend Walter ‘Simmy’ Ing the vicar’s gardener use to sit side by side and suck “Little Imp” lozenge’s during the vicar’s sermon, which was always precisely ten minutes in length.

His skills in the Bell Ringing world were well known as the South Bucks Branch Ringing Master of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers, also as conductor of peals consisting of some 5,000 changes, and taking close to three hours to complete, as can be attested by the peal boards with his name on, in the tower ringing chamber.

During the war he took on the maintenance and caretaking of Moor Hall, working very closely with Miss Freda Salberg, and was also a part time Special Constable with the Berkshire Constabulary. His beloved bells were silent, due to the fact that they were only to be rung if there was an invasion. This of course did not stop him as he had made wooden silencers to fit across the waist of each bell to hold the bell clapper rigid. Though the majority of the younger ringers were in the forces, he still held to odd silent practice, so that when the ban was lifted to celebrate the victory in North Africa, all was in good working order. He was very saddened when his son Ron was killed in action while serving in the RAF. Ron also like his father was a fine ringer. One of the two bells cast after the war was dedicated to Sgt. Ronald Fowler.

I remember when my voice broke and I thought I was out of Sunday services, not so the Vicar conscripted me to being one of his servers and crucifer, and John Fowler seconded me to the tower as a ringer along with other broken voice choristers. Mind you he also persuaded some our young ladies of the village to join as well. That made it more interesting all the way around.
I suppose the highlight of our ringing year were two fold. First, the annual ringers guild meeting in Oxford. With a service and a meeting in the Chapter House, then luncheon in the college dinning room. After which we youngsters tried to see how many different colleges and churches we could ring in before catching the train back to Cookham.
The second was the annual ringers outing to the seaside, which was very popular among the ringers and other members of the church. With ringing at churches on the way down and on the way home, with the last stop at a nice pub who had been forewarned of our arrival on the August Bank Holiday Monday.

Another celebration that we all enjoyed, was our New Year’s Eve party held at Melmont Lodge to home of Mr. & Mrs. Wilson and family. Then to walk across the moor, to arrive at the church by eleven-thirty, to ring, the Old Year out, and the New Year in.Whatever the event was, John Fowler was always there to organize his ringers and ringing activities.

The Cookham & District Fire Brigade Early Years.

The first Cookham Fire engine and equipment was housed at Holy Trinity Church. Then through the efforts of the then Brigade Captain Mr. Pinder-Brown it was located here in Terry's Lane in the spot marked with an X.

First Officer Eric Jordan, Captain William T. G. Hatch and First Officer Fred Robinson were made officers of the reorganized Cookham and District Fire Brigade in 1932. First Officer Jordan broke his neck while the Brigade demonstrating their skills, and became one of the first patients to use a Plaster of Paris body cast.

For many years the village fire brigade had kept their equipment at Holy Trinity Church, and in 1895 the Parish Council ‘respectfully declined’ to take on the cost of supporting and maintaining it.

By 1910, Mr. Pinder-Brown the then Captain of the brigade took out a lease on a building in Terry’s Lane (shown on attached Google map) to house their equipment, which by 1919 included a ‘Shannon Mason Manual Engine, An Acetylene Motor Lamp, Two Hand Lamps, Double Set of Harness (complete), An Extension Ladder, Two Stand Pipes, Six Nozzles, and about 900 feet of Hose, plus Uniforms, Helmets, Belts, Boots, and Axes etc’
They remained there until they relocated in a purpose built building behind “The Crown” in Berries Road. They then became part of the Auxiliary Fire Service, which eventually was reformed into the National Fire Service.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Steam Traction Engine and Marshall Thresher.

The John Fowler steam traction engine was a very familiar site around the country roads and lanes in the area. Towing behind it a Marshall threshing drum, and sometimes a small crew caboose.

We now come around to a couple of local characters who were well respected in their working life for Sir Ernest Gardener MP who, at one time was one of the largest farmers in the area, with his home farm being at “The Mount” in Cookham Dean. Running Lower Mount Farm he also owned Sheephouse Farm in Maidenhead Court. This he rented out to my Grandfathers brother Alfred James Hatch and then to Jack Hatch, brother of William Turner Gray Hatch, who is well remembered in the village for his Nursery and work with the village fire brigade.

The men who I knew very well were Jim Bedwell, and Jimmy Green. They were the crew of Gardener Steam Traction Engine and Threshing Machine. Besides threshing The Mount Farm cereal, they came down threshed the grain at Sheephouse Farm. Besides that they use to do contract threshing for other small farmers in the area. With the exception of the Astor Estate at White Place Farm, who had their own threshing machine, which they powered with a very old International 10-20 tractor.

Jim Bedwell was a very long time resident of Cookham Dean and was well known for his pipe and black shinny engine drivers cap. As a matter of fact I went to school with his granddaughter Barbara Bedwell. He looked after that Fowler traction engine as he would for a horse. He dampened the fire down at night, then was on the job early in the morning to ensure there was enough steam to start the days threshing.
Jimmy Green, was the feeder of the grain into the drum of the thresher, also he made sure that all the operating belts and lubrication of the bearings were in good working order. He also helped Jim Bedwell set up the drum and chock the wheels before the main drive belt was tightened. I remember Jimmy best for his 'cheeky grin' that he always had.

The Giant Gyro-tiller.

Team horses of Clydesdale’s, Belgium and other shire breeds had for centuries carried out the cultivating of arable land in the Thames Valley. The normal single furrow horse plough had been the basic cultivating implement for years. Farmers began to realize that their arable land was not draining, as it should due the build up of what became known as a clay hardpan. The plough manufacturers came up with a single arrowhead cultivator tine that would break up the bottom of the furrow before being covered by the newly turned sod. This worked well except that due to the extra heavy drag on the plough the horse team could not complete as much work in one day as before.
To the rescue came the agricultural engineers with the diesel powered “Gyro tiller.” This very expensive machine could be hired from an Agricultural Contractor. The machine became so popular among the farmers that the machine was working twenty-four hours a day with its own flood light system. It could break up hardpan down to eighteen to twenty inches.
During the war this machine was used to break up areas of the Thicket in Pinkneys Green for one place as more ground under the plough. Then after the war more tractors came on the market with two and three furrow ploughs with sub-soiler attachments and the Gyro-tiller became redundant. So did ploughing with horses for that matter.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The Maidenhead Boundary Markers of 1934

In the late summer of 1934 the borough of Maidenhead decided to mark its boundaries with a series of molded marker plinths. One of these plinths was discovered while dredging the Widbrook stream a while back. From information that has been gathered, it was one that was located just to the left of a style between the common and a Sheephouse Farm field. (Shown on the map as BM-1).

I remember my mother taking me to the ceremony of the installation of the plinth at the east side of Lower Cookham Road / Sutton Road. (BM-2) A great many people were in attendance, which I expect were Maidenhead Town councilors and others.

Marker BM-3 sits alongside a farm track that leads into what used to be Upper Southey Field. Marker BM-4 is located on the east bank of Widbrook Stream where it enters Islet Park. Marker BM-5 is located along side the towpath of the river.

The photograph below is of the marker that was recovered from the Widbrook Stream. All the plinths were identical, as they had been cast. The indented lettering and date were originally painted black.