Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Jack Smith & Son Butcher.

Jack Smith & Son Butcher.

Originally I knew this butchers shop as Dudley Sims Butchers. Dudley Sims was what is termed as a gentleman farmer, with quite a large farm at Dorney Reach. He also had a second butchers shop in Maidenhead. He lived with his family at Georgian House in Maidenhead Court. Located on the Lower Cookham Road at the corner of Islet Park.

Behind the shop at one time of course was the village slaughter house, but that had closed down before I was born. Though I do remember very well the pheasants and partridges in season hanging from the shop front awning. Then it would be geese and poultry at Christmas time.

Jack Smith was with Dudley Sims for quite awhile, together with Dick Brown, who lived with his family of all girls except for his only son Bob. Who when he left the top school went as an apprentice Dental Technician in Maidenhead. The eldest of the girls were Ena who worked as a pearl stringer for E.T. Biggs, the jeweller in Maidenhead. Joyce was well known as a local bar-maid. Then the youngest was Rita, what Rita did when she left school I do not recall.

One other thing that I remember quite well was during the war a large bomb was dropped very close to the railway bridge over the Thames, which now part of the Golf Course. A fragment of that bomb landed in the High Street just outside the shop. This Jack Smith displayed in the shop window for quite sometime.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Two more Quiz clues.

Moor Hall Entrance in the 1940's.
During the second world war, not only was it the wartime headquarters of the J. Arthur Rank and Odeon Cinemas Wardour Street operation, it became a social hub of village life thanks to the tireless efforts of the Manageress of the Moor Hall operation, Miss Freda Salberg (affectionately known as: 'Sally.' All of these social activities took place in the very large dinning hall. She managed to attract stars of stage, screen and radio. Including big bands that would normally be heard at the Savoy or Ritz in London. Also there was a weekly activity that she ran for the village and Rank staff that was in aid of the National Savings. It is this activity that I am looking for in the quiz.

The Workingman's Club.

The Cookham Workingman's Club, now known as the Cookham Social Club was the third building that was used on a weekly basis for this social activity. The photo of the building was taken in either 1957 or 1958. According to the published history on this building that ladies were excluded from this building . In this instance I beg to make a correction to that fact, although ladies were not allowed in the downstairs bar area, they were permitted to use the upstairs room during the 1940's. How do I know, I was there!
Know you know that in this activity both men and women took part. It was also promoting the National Savings drive.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cookham Dean Women's Institute.

Cookham Dean Woman's
Institute Building.
Once again I am going back into the history of buildings in the three Cookham's. In this case as it is one of the buildings mentioned in my History Quiz. As you look at it today, it looks as if it has been there forever. This is not the case as it was originally erected date not known, most likely in the 1920's at the top of Kennel Lane, just before the downward slope going towards Whyteladyes on the right hand side of the gravel track as it was then. At that time it had a corrugated iron roof. The interior was finished in a beautiful tongue and groove vertical pine paneling. The entrance is still the same and at the opposite end of the building was a small stage.

So in my estimate the building is very close to 85-90 years old and seems that with loving care and attention has weathered the years very well.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Historical Kings Arms Hotel.

The Missing Kings Arms Sign.
This subject was on my list to bring up in due course as it was in the middle to late 1800's a hotel that was run by my Great, Great Grandfather James Hatch, who I was christened after. It has been a long tradition in England to have Inn signs that had something to do with the village or area. In this case being that the village was once a Royal Manor.

In the picture here seen above shows workmen re-installing the sign, which for sometime has been reduced to just the crest of 1801. It was at this time that Ireland became part of the United Kingdom during the reign of George IV.

In this photo above which it is estimated was taken during the 1880's. This sign is in a different place, a few yards to the left of the main entrance, with close examination that particular sign was the full Royal Coat of Arms of George IV.

Here below is an example of what was painted on that sign, which includes the Lion and Unicorn Rampant and that of the Most Noble Order of the Garter and the two inscriptions.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mrs. Plumridge's Nursery School.

Mrs. Plumridge's
Nursery School in School Lane.

Yes! This is the answer to my quiz question. The house is right across the lane from Holy Trinity Primary School. In the photograh that Google Street View provided me with, you can see what is now a garage. It was here that Mrs. Plumridge held her nursery class in a large glass windowed garden room. It was a fee paying school and the children were with her until they were old enough to move to a school like Herries in the Dean.
She had a daughter Ann, who was quite an artist, and fun to be with when playing field hockey, or tennis. Also a great organizer of the local Young Conservatives.
I am quite sure the present owner of the house is quite aware of its past history.
The head teacher at the Holy Trinity School at that time was Mrs. Adams.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mr. William Spencer of Ship Orchard.

W. Spencer of Ship Orchard.
From this Google view location there use to be a gravel driveway with two wooden gates. It was the home of a retired schoolmaster Mr. William Spencer. Who lived there in retirement with his daughter Amy Hagerty Spencer. I have no photos of either of them as they were very quiet people and kept themselves to themselves. I think they did not associate with the other famous family in the village with the same surname.
I can only describe William Spencer as a man who dressed even in the 1930's as if he were still in the late Victorian, early Edwardian era. He was always dressed in a grey frock coat with homburg hat to match, grey gloves and a cane with a silver knobed handle. He always wore spats over his shoes. He was tall and slim and a very good bearing. He had grey hair and wore a fine straight waxed moustache.
In fact every time I see David Suchet as Hercule Poirot on the telvision, although a much smaller build, it recalls Mr. William Spencer to mind and his afternoon walk along Sutton Road to stand for awhile looking into the stream from Widbrook Bridge.
His daughter Amy was a fine but unrcognised artist in her own right, and her painting of Bel and the Dragon sign, hung outside the hotel for many years. Now I am told it is missing. It is a shame when people take valuable history out of the village.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Mrs. Cheeseman & Hall's Corner.

Mrs. Cheeseman's Orchard
and Hall's Corner.
The story of Hall's Corner and the Orchard exists long before Mrs. Cheeseman came on the scene in Cookham. The orchard was in producing use during the time that the Darby family were living at Moor Hall. As records show that my grandfathers brother Alfred while living at Eastgate at the top of the village rented the orchard from the Darby's before he moved into the house of Hall's Corner at a later date. Until the orchard was torn up to make room for the school exspansion and more housing, it had been in existance for well over a hundred years. Beside having a good cross selection of fruit trees, there were mature walnut trees close to the boarder line and Black Butts.
The"A" indicates what was the Holy Trinity School property. "B" is the location of Hall's Corner. "C" Is The Old Ship. This is give you the extent of the orchard itself.

Hall's Corner as it is today.

The house itself was of a very unique finish to the construction as the top half was finished off with a decorative tile in natural colour. Most likely produced at one of the local brick works that were in existance at the time.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Cookham Flower Show of the 1920's and 30's

The Cookham Flower Shows
of the 1920's & 30's.

The Cookham Flower Show was the high light event of the year for the village, and with generosity of Col. Ricardo, the pasture off Mill Lane was made available for the event. Not only was it where the cottage gardeners vied for prizes of cash and silverware, but a chance to best the professional gardeners in the open competition.

Ladies of course entered in the baking competitions in the various class, plus flower arrangements from their gardens as well. The children were encouraged to enter in the wild flower and grasses section.

The gateway in the picture above was the entrance to the show. Around the tree on the left was constructed a pen in which was placed a fine pork sized pig. In which for a few pennies you were invited to guess the weight of the said animal. Weight was measured by the score, pounds and ounces. At the end of the day the pig was put in a sack and a balance scale was suspended from a overhanging branch, and the winner was declared to the nearest ounce. They of course got to take the pig home.

I remember well the fairground traction engines with all their trailers stopping at the Widbrook stream to fill up their tanks with water before proceeding on to the Mill Lane site.

Of course there had to be a roundabout with steam organ, Swing boats were always popular, as were the coconut shy.

The chairoplane was very popular in those days and was a great attraction at the fairs winter quarters in Hines Meadow in Maidenhead

Bumping cars or Dodgems was where a young man could demonstrate his driving prowess to his young lady. Of course there were other forms of entertainment that were at the Flower Show. For instance there was Horace the elder brother of Stanley Spencer who was quite a magician and very good slight of hand tricks with playing cards. Not much has been remembered of him as he was regarded as a bit of a Black Sheep of the family. Always enjoyed his John Barleycorn, which was to lead to his untimely death in the river near Boulters Lock.