Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Heather Atkinson-Ahmad

Heather Atkinson-Ahmad.
This lady though she was not resident in Cookham, she had very strong and historical connections with the village. Most of the older members of the village will remember her brother Desmond Atkinson. So with that in mind I asked her niece Carol to write a tribute to her Aunt Heather. You can see from the photo a strong resemblance between her and her brother.

It is with much sadness that I was told that my Aunt Heather, who was the sister of the late Desmond Atkinson, who passed away in Toronto, Canada on August 26th 2011 at the age of 92, where she had lived for the past 40 years.

She was born in Sidcup, Kent, as was Desmond, where her father was the bank manager of Martins Bank. She worked in London for Air India where she met Kay Ahmad, her husband. She travelled extensively and on at least four occasions’ they drove by car from London to Karachi, which was very adventurous and would probably be too dangerous to attempt now.

She regularly visited and stayed in Cookham, with Desmond & his wife Ursula and where her husband is buried.

She was very interested in the theatre & the arts, particularly Desmond’s activities for many years as writer-producer and director of Christmas Pantomimes in the Pinder Hall.

She will be remembered with much happiness but, also sorrow by her niece Carol, Desmond and Ursula's daughter and so many friends in Cookham, Toronto and around the world.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Cookham Fire Station.

Cookham Fire Station.
I have noticed recently of what is to happen to the village fire station. I have discussed in earlier blogs the wartime history of the station that was made up with both full time and volunteer firemen.

One full time fireman had a very strong Irish brogue and in his off duty hours, use to busy himself making leather handbags and purses, which he sold locally to the local villagers for birthday and Christmas gifts. I remember watching him punching holes and then lacing the parts together. So at one time in its history was the source of making handbags and purses. Of course working with leather was already part of the village history.

I wonder if some lady has a handbag or purse today, handed down from her mother that was made right here in the fire station?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Crown Hotel of the early 1900's.

The Crown Hotel 1910.
With the destruction of the first Crown Inn by fire, a second and grander edifice was built to replace it. It was also designed to accommodate the fast growing motoring public; giving competition to the already changed Kings Arms Hotel that had built a garage where the chauffer/mechanics could service their vehicles ready for the next days driving.

They too also had a garage for their guests as well, the only thing that they did not have was a petrol pump service that the Kings Arms had installed.

Cookham was well known to the touring public coming out of London during those early years of the 1900’s. It was a very popular place to be seen on the river, or visiting one of those thirty night clubs that existed between Maidenhead Bridge and Cookham at that time, only to be destroyed once again by fire 1929.

The Crown Inn 2011.
It was replaced by the present modest public house, which was one of the thirteen public houses in the Cookham’s during the 1930’s and 40’s.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The rope laced bed of the 1800's

Rope laced bed.

Inns of the first Crown’s vintage, the bed shown above would have been one of the most common in use. The lace network of rope between the frame of the bed, which had auger holes, spaced about six inches apart.

The end of the rope was double knotted at one end; the rope was fed through the first hole at the foot of the bed frame and threaded through the corresponding hole at the other end. The rope was then pulled taut using a simple levering device and a small tapered wooden plug was tapped into the hole to stop the rope losing its tension. The rope was then fed into the next hole and the whole process was repeated at the other end of the bed. Again when the tension had been made another tapered wooden plug would have been tapped into place. This process would have continued until the threading of the rope was completed. As the work proceeded from end to end the wooden plug was removed and reused in the next hole. At the completion of the last hole the tapered plug was left in place and the balance of the rope was coiled for future use.

The cross roping was then done in the same format except, that this time the rope is fed under and over the rope strands going in the opposite direction. This also gives the rope support extra firmness. On top of which would be placed the straw filled palliasse.

From time to time the rope had to be tightened due to it stretching in a damp atmosphere. Hence the term of sleeping tight, as in the old saying passed down through the years, “Goodnight, sleep tight, and don’t let the bed bugs bite.”

Friday, August 19, 2011

The original Crown Inn.

The Crown Inn 1883.
We now take a look at the location of the Crown public house in Cookham. As you can see in the photo above is what was known then as “The Crown Inn.” From its architecture it is estimated that it was built in the 1700’s. Providing food and shelter to the weary traveler. Accommodation in those days was to say the least, very sparse. This I will go into greater detail later.

Wattle & Daub Construction.
The construction of the first Crown was of wattle and daub, fixed to an oak beam wall frame as seen in the drawing above. The wattle was made of in most cases of hazel saplings, of which there was plenty growing localy. The lime and sand mortar mixture would have come from a local source also. Horsehair was also used, as a binder in the mixture of which there was no shortage either.

This building was destroyed by fire in the late 1890's. Exact date not known at this time and was replaced by a new and much larger building and named "The Crown Hotel." The story of will continue in the next blog.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Family Washboard.

The Family Washboard.
In the late 1800’s right through to the middle 1900’s a washboard such as the one in the photo above was in regular use during the Monday washday. By rubbing the clothes over the ripple section of the board using a good block of Sunlight soap the lady of the house would ensure to get her whites sparkling white and her coloured items bright.

Then as the washing machine with its built on power wringer came along, the washboard became a thing of the past, till Lonnie Donegan came along came and resurrected the washboard, with an old tea chest, a broom handle and piece of string, plus a cheap Spanish guitar and the age of Skiffle was born. Also many mothers lost their metal needle finger stools, as this was needed to make the washboard sound audible.

One song that he made famous was “My old man’s a dustman.” Plus of course “The Cumberland Gap.”

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Wartime "Stone Pig."

The Wartime "Stone Pig."
The earthenware “Stone Pig” as numerous people named it was from my researches a Scottish invention. They were the replacement during wartime due to the scarcity of rubber used in the making of hot water bottles. Mothers and aunts would knit tubular socks to keep them warm and for children to snuggle up to without getting burnt from a bottle that was too hot.

Today if you find one it has become a collectible antique. Along with other items of this vintage.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Cookham Army Cadets 1942.

Cookham Army Cadets 1942.

With very many thanks to an old wartime Cookham resident Dan Coles I am able to bring you the photograph of the village Army Cadets. Between Dan and myself we have been able to name nearly all the members in the photo.

So if you have a father or grandfather or even a great grandfather who lived in Cookham during the war years who were either evacuated from London or whose family was already living here, you may get a surprise.

I have numbered all those in the photo for easy recognition, or for a grand child to say, ”Is that what granddad looked like as a little boy.

1. Lt. Green. 2. Peter "Nobby" Clark. 3. Dick Lewingdon.
4. Unknown. 5. Charlie "Waggle" Coles. 6. Charlie "Slogger" Smith.
7. Derek "Hole in the Road" Buckingham. 8. Sgt. Dan Coles.
9. Unknown. 10. Unknown. 11. Fred Holland. 12. Bernard Hills.
13. Face is familiar Unknown. 14. Unknown.15. Willie Harris.
16. Peter Kent.

Lt. Green use to run a shoe repair business very close to the Pinder Hall.

Peter “Nobby” Clark was the son of George “Dawdy” Clark who was a carter on White Place Farm.

Dick Lewingdon was the second of three sons of Jim Lewingdon who ran the Off License in Hamfield Cottages.

Charlie “Waggle” Coles, Dan Coles, brother, got his nickname from his quick footwork on the football field.

Charlie ”Slogger” Smith, got his nickname from his famed goalkeeping skill of kicking a football the whole length of the field. In later years he was known as “CAB” Smith.

Derek Buckingham, got his name when he played in a school play with the late Bill Fisher called “The Hole in the Road.” In which he played a Night Clubbing Gent, while Bill played the road works Night Watchman. The play was put on in aid of “Wings for Victory Week.”

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Wash Stand.

The Wash Stand.

It is very hard to believe that even 80 years ago in Cookham, the wash stand set as seen in the photo above was still in use by many families. To have a bathroom in the house was an unheard of luxury. These would be found in the various bedrooms of the house. The stand itself would have a marble top and would be around two feet in depth by about three foot six inches wide. Besides the basin being used to wash in was about eighteen to twenty inches wide, it was often used for the mixing of Christmas Puddings. The jug or ewer, to give it the correct name would carry the warm water from the kitchen to the bedroom. The chamber pot seen on the was often called by little boys as "The Goesunder." As it goes under the bed.

The toilet was usually outside the house and hooked up to a septic tank system, usually next to the family wash house and copper. Bath night was usually on a Friday night in a tin bath next to the fire in the kitchen. Children first and off to bed, followed by father before he went to the local for a pint, then last but not least it was mothers turn. That is where the old saying of "Friday night is bath night" came about.

Monday, August 8, 2011

A Saturday Butcher's Boy.

The Saturday Boy.
Out of the blue I received an e-mail, which got me thinking of my wartime activity as my father’s “Saturday Boy.” He was at that time manager of JH Dewhurst Ltd, butchers, located at 95 High Street in Maidenhead.

In those days of the war I use to deliver not only rations of meat to local households, but I use to deliver to several wartime factory canteens, one of which was the Fairy Aviation assembly factory at White Waltham. Once I had delivered meat to the canteen, I then had to go to the office to pick up a cheque. This was the part that I liked, as I had to walk through the hangar where the aircraft were being assembled, this was quite a treat for a young boy. The pear drop smell of the aircraft dope that had been sprayed on the body fabric still lingers in my nose to this day.

My usual Saturday rounds started at 8.30 a.m., having caught the 8.00 o’clock bus from Cookham at Widbrook, then a quick walk up the High Street to the shop. My usual delivery was two routes around town before lunch, then a trip down to riverside customers after lunch.

Then I would be finished about 3.00 p.m. I would pick up my 5/- from the shop bookkeeper and depending what I had collected in tips from the various customers, I would take myself off to the pictures. Either, it was the Rialto, now demolished, or to the Plaza on Queen Street. Mind you I had to be out in time to catch the last bus to Cookham, which left the Rialto at 8.30 p.m. Yes, there were no late buses in wartime.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The Keeley Cottages of Cookham.

The Keeley Cottages.

I often wonder if new residents to Cookham know the history behind the house that they now call home. This is the story about a family that were very much involved in the cottage industry of boot and shoe making, which were not only sold locally but found their way to the fashion houses of London.

Such is the story of John Keeley who seemed to have moved from Clewer near Windsor, after marrying his wife Ellen in 1831. From what I can gather they had about ten children, and as in those days some of them died at a very tender age. There was one son Edward who followed into his fathers business having been born in 1838. When John Keeley died in 1896. Ted took over the business according to the census of 1901.

Ted was a very devoted Christian and a regular attendee at Holy Trinity Church and also a very enthusiastic and dedicated bell ringer. He was the driving force in forming what is now known as the East Berks and South Bucks Branch of the Oxford Diocesan Guild of Church Bell Ringers.

When he died at the age of 93 he was at that time the oldest resident of the village he was buried in his beloved churchyard to the sound of an half muffled peal from the then six ring of bells. He would I am sure, be pleased to know that there are now ten bells in the tower.

He was by all events a very early riser and the expression he was well known for when greeting village folk after seven a.m. “Yes! It’s been a nice day.”

With many thanks to Velma Dinkley, who supplied me with some of this information.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday Historical Cookham.

On the 1st of August 2008 the idea of having a blog to illustrate the past history of the village and some of its past residents who certainly made the village life most interesting.

During those three years on the average visits to the Historical Cookham site via the discussion page has averaged close to 62 hits a day. That of course does not include those visitors who come to the blog direct.

It is also gratifying to note that the history of Cookham is now known around the world via the world wide web. It is also most gratifying to receive letters of interest from a great many people. Also I wish to thank those who have helped in supplying me with photographs and factual information.

As more history is uncovered the Blog will continue to be added to, and plans are underway to record the facts onto a DVD for archive purposes.