Friday, February 25, 2011

The Corgi Scooter.

The Corgi Scooter.
Recently the question was posed  by a person looking for a used scooter for use around Cookham. That got me thinking back to the late 40’s when auctions were taking place of surplus war equipment. Especially in motor equipment, which included the Paratroopers “CORGI” scooter, which were designed to be dropped with the troops in cylindrical containers at the end of a parachute.

There were one or two in the village. The garage proprietor at Cookham Motors just behind the Stanley Spencer Gallery used one I remember. He used it to run errands into Maidenhead and over to Slough.

Another form of transport that a few of the village residents used before the Second World War was the “Autocycle”. Two of these were used by residents who use to work at the Mars factory on the Trading Estate.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ted & Anna Barrett

Ted & Anna Barrett.
Ted Barrett was a very long time employee of the Astor family at White Place Farm. Both he and his wife Anna and daughter Daisy lived in No1.”The Lodges”, on Sutton Road.

Lord Astor not only took a very great interest in Ted and his skill as a champion horse ploughman, but his great knowledge of the working farm horse. Many a time Ted accompanied his Lordship to Horse sales, to pick fresh horses for the farm stables. Ted also chose his own working pair of Belgian horses who were named Rodney and Colonel.

Ted also developed for a better word “Horse Language.” Oh yes! He did have reins, but seldom used them, as he use to talk constantly in his broad dialect, as he would drawl out their names: Co-ore-nell and Rod-kne-ee.

Ted like all carters and ploughmen on the farm were early risers, as they would up either to bring their horses in from the field in the summer time, or direct to the stables in the winter. Here they would groom and feed their charges and prepare the nosebags for the mid day feed. Then they would have their breakfast before setting out for a days work in the field around 8:00 a.m. They always had their lunch in the field with their horses. At 4:00 p.m. they would head into the stables to feed, water and groom. Then after taking them back out to the over night paddock in the summer they would head home for tea.

About every six weeks or so all the horses would be walked up to Tom Emmett’s forge in the High Street to be re-shod. This was spaced out, so that one team would go up at a time, unless one of the horses would cast a shoe. That happened now and again.

As a young boy I learnt quite a lot about the art of ploughing from Ted, which stood me in good stead in later years when ploughing with a tractor and trailer plough.

In the picture above you see Ted and his wife Anna with their wartime family of evacuees: Jean, Alan and sister Margaret, with David, Jean’s brother in the background.

My grateful thanks to, Carole Wiffen, Jean’s daughter for this photo.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The National Identity Card.

Identity Card.

It is hard to think this Identity Card was issued by the Government to keep tabs on the legitimate citizens of Great Britain some 72 years ago. As children we were to carry them when we went to school, together with smelly gas masks and every so often we had to produce our cards to the teacher, usually when we were having gas mask drill.

I remember once being stopped at an army roadblock and asked to produce my Identity Card. Along with them was one of our local constables, who were able to verify that the holder of the card was that person.

That was when every local constable was expected to know every family in the village patch that he looked after, but they were able to maintain law and order, even if they rode on slow and very upright bicycles. On top of which they were much part of the village, on or off duty.

Of course you had to carry them especially when traveling any distance to see relatives. Then the big posters at all railway stations, which read, “Is your journey really necessary?” confronted you.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

WWII Ration Book.

WWII Ration Book.
I recently received a long newsy letter from Dennis Newland now living in Perth, Western Australia. As a young boy he and his family were living in Ellington Park during the war. He also remembers the Maidenhead Isolation Hospital where he and his sister ended up when she came down with Scarlet Fever, also know as Scarletina. Also walking to school past an area known as “Three Fields.” Picking and munching on Blackberries when they were in season.

Above is an example of a wartime Ration Book. Actually there were three different types of Ration Books in use:

A Green covered one, which was issued for children under five years of age.

A Blue covered one, for children of school age up to the age of eighteen.

A Buff covered one, which was for adults and supplement, for use when having to travel and stay away from home.

If any readers like Dennis would to share their wartime experiences living in the Maidenhead-Cookham area, I would like to hear from them along with any photos that you may have. This applies to children and grand children who would like to relay their parents and grandparent’s stories, before they are lost forever.

You can contact me at:

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Gwen Pinder Brown

Gwen Pinder Brown.
The name of Pinder Brown is well known by the older members of the village community, besides the Pinder Hall built by her father in memory of her mother, Gwen Pinder Brown filled in as her fathers able assistant in her mothers place.

Her organizational abilities were second to none through out her life in the village. One position I remember she took on very well was that of a School Governor, and on a regular basis she would sweep into the classroom to count the children and sign the attendance register.

Her style of dress never changed though all the time that I knew her, that of a 1920’s debutante. She was an excellent speaker with a clear and precise delivery of thought.

During the war she was very much involved with the WVS and of course the Women’s Institute was one of her lifetime loves.

The last I heard of this great lady was that she was in a care home for gentle folk in Eastbourne in Sussex and she was well into her ninety’s at that time.

She never married, although several times village gossip would suggest that this beau or that beau was taking an interest.

Gwen Pinder Brown, who like her parents did so much for the village and not to be forgotten.