Monday, November 29, 2010

An Historical Cookham Christmas Wish.

An Historical Cookham
Christmas Wish.
Well that time of year has come around again where we take off for a little relaxation by the Muri Lagoon on the island of Rarotonga in the famous Cook Islands.

So we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Will are still gathering Cookham History of villagers and they way things use to be. We will restart posting again towards the end of January, 2011.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wilmink's Greengrocer and Taxi Service.

Wilmink Greengrocer
and Taxi Service.
Mr. & Mrs. Wilmink ran this little greengrocers shop right through the 1930's and 40's. Mr Wilmink was of Dutch decent and Mrs. Wilmink had relations who ran a banana plantation in Jamaica. In the summer months they also served ice cream cones I remember.

There were very few cars in the village in those days, so the Taxi business was quite a prosperous business, even during the war they were very much in demand, especially by the American Servicemen stationed at the Odney Club.

I remember right after the war they were one of the first people to take a cruise to Jamaica for a holiday. Shortly after their return they sold the business and I believe they moved back to Jamaica to make their home.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

James Moores Men & Boys Wear.

James Moores
Men and Boys Wear.

Just the other side of The Bear Hotel from Nate Smith's Toy Shop was another shop that a great many boys went into for their school clothes. The store manager was a very kind man, a Mr. Bennett if my memory serves me correctly. Grey flannel shorts, blazer and school cap. Ties, knee socks, black shoes and Dunlop wellington boots. The final item was a dark blue gabardine rain coat.

The same shop also supplied all my fathers clothes, plus they also supplied all his white smocks and aprons for the butchers shop. Always a very busy place I remember, yet the staff always time to make sure that the customer was well looked after.

I am not sure how long the business was in existence, but I think it closed its doors at the end of the 1940's.

Even today the shop front has not changed at all, even though it has changed its custom.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Nate Smith's Toy Shop.

Nate Smith Toys.
Nate Smith's toy shop was in its day Maidenhead's equivalent of Hamley's Toys of London. There was not a little boy living within 5 miles of Maidenhead that did not know Nate and his toy wonderland.
Mothers had to stop by at least in one direction or the other so their family could feast their eyes on what they wanted to save their pennies up for. For the boys it would be some Dinky Toy or piece of Mecanno that they wanted to add to their set.
He also kept a full range of Hornby Train Sets, both electric and clockwork models. You could also buy miniature model steam engines that you could use to run your Mecanno models. The fuel used was Methylated Spirit that you could buy from any chemist shop.
Another thing that he use to keep was a full line of fishing tackle, including bait like gentils (maggots) or loose uncooked hemp seed! Yes (cannabis) As a boy I often wondered why the old fishermen use to call it dope! We use to buy a half pound and take it home and boil it until the seed split, then it was ready for bait. Roach and Dace use to love it.
As I mentioned in the Guy Fawkes blog, Nate use to keep the best selection of Brocks Fireworks. Even to indoor party fireworks when it came around to Christmas time. The boys favourites were as I mentioned then was the 2d Cannon and the 1/2d Little Demon.
Of course to say those days are now long gone, and so is Nate Smith's.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Guy Fawkes Night at Widbrook Cottage.

Guy Fawkes Night at
Widbrook Cottage.
Remember, remember the fifth of November. Gunpowder, Treason and Plot.
Yes in the 1930's Guy Fawkes Night was a cause for a family tradition and celibration with all the Aunts, Uncles and Cousins at Widbrook Cottage.
Toward the end of October my cousins John & Mary Field and I would start to gather all the dead wood that we could find lying around the common, mostly old willow branches are there were quite a good few trees around in those days.
The next thing was to ask our mothers for old worn out jacket and trousers that we could make our Guy Fawkes with, which we either stuffed wit straw or old newspapers. The mask we could usually buy either from either "Tanner Wooly's or Marks and Sparks."
We then took our Guy up to Sutton Road on a Saturday in an old pram and ask the cyclists of which there were a great many in those days for, "A Penny for the Guy."
We our collection of pennies we would go into Maidenhead to our favourite fireworks shop on the Colonade called "Nate Smith." He carried the best selection of Brocks Fireworks to be had anyware.
Of we boys loved the bangers, such as the 2d Cannon or the 1/2d Little Demon. Of course the girls and ladies loved the Catherine Wheels and Coloured Fountains. Of course the Uncles were the experts in launching the rockets.

After the fire had died down and the fireworks were over it was time then for Hot Chocolate and Baked Potatoes that had been baked in the embers of the fire.

Ah! I guess I can repeat that old saying: "Those were the days." The recipe for the Potatoes you can find in "Cookham get Cooking'.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Snob's Last

The Snob's Last.
Going back a couple of centuries at least in the village that was once part of the boot and shoe industry of England among other things. I think that this cast iron last can still be found in the odd cottage. Most likely to be now relegated to the use of a door stop.

Though back in the 1930's I can remember these items were still in use in a lot of homes, where the family shoes were still repaired. One could buy the half leather soles or heels from Woolworth's in Maidenhead to fit your size of shoe or boot, together with the proper size snob's nails. Then you finish off the job on the edges with a rasp.

Or you could find them being used in a small workshop as a makeshift anvil. The Snob's Last I remember. had many uses. In true village tradition: "Necessity was the Mother of invention."