Saturday, December 8, 2012

An Historical Christmas Greeting.

An Historical Christmas Greeting.
Roasting Chestnuts around an old open log fire and playing with new toys and reading all my new annuals at Widbrook. That would of course been over 70 years ago. Now we can send cards and greetings via the internet. Anyway this is the same greeting that I used in my other blog, Click on the bottom right corner to get a full screen view. 

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

A 160 Years of Change.

160 Years of Change.
Click on this map to get an enlargement view of this map and then print it off. The take a walk around the village to find what buildings were there on the map in 1852 and the changes that have altered the village up to 2012. It would be an ideal time at Christmas to walk off that rich meal, and to get a breath of fresh air, and for the youngsters to get an history lesson. One thing you will note that there was no Holy Trinity School.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

A 160 Years of change-1

A 160 years of change - 1.
Now that I am in possession of some 160 year old ordinance survey maps I thought it would be a good idea to produce maps of the same approximate areas so that you can note the changes. As I have said before people change far more often compared with the topography of an area. Place names change over time due to spelling of the day being more phonetic. The area I have chosen to start with is a portion west of Cliveden Reach and going as far as Widbrook Common east. The names of the field areas that I have named on the photo map are those given on the White Place Farm map 60 years ago.
You will also notice that the area I have name Tumulus you will note that it was named Bartle Meade, This we are told in history is where a battle was fought during the Danish incursion into England. There was up until the early 1950’s two low Tumulus mounds in what was then permanent pasture. These were flattened when the field system was enlarged to what we have today Of course the area known today as Battle Meade has been reduced to a small area south of Widbrook Park, previously known as “The Islet.”
The word Southey, depicted on the photo map as Upper and Lower covered you will find, a greater area back in 1852 back into what is now known as Maidenhead Court and the Sheephouse Farm.

Two other fields on the photo map called Upper & Lower Gardeners were made up from the two Southey fields by the first Lord Astor as summer grazing for his stud brood mares, as were two fields just south of Moor Hall. So these changes took place in the early 1900’s. These particular fields have been covered in a previous page of this blog.
The same area in 2012.
Click on the pictures to enlarge them to full screen.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Tarry Stone Update.

The Tarry Stone Updated.
I have mentioned this sarsen stone before in an earlier accounting of this blog. I now have further information on its history.
TARRY STONE. A sarsen stone 3 ft. high, by 4 ft. long, and 2.ft. thick. This formerly stood in Cookham village, about two feet from Dodson's fence, where the roads parted to the church and the ferry. It is now in the Mill Garden at Cookham, where it was removed by the late George Venables when he was churchwarden.
This stone was formerly known as Cookham Stone. A.D.1506. The tithing man presents that the Warrener ought to hold sports at Cookham Stone on the day of Assumption; and he has not done so. The stone was originally a boundary stone to the property of the Abbot of Cirencester, whose house was close by, as is shown in the will of John Luffenham, A.D. 1423. Similar boundary stones are yet to be found in the neighbourhood, as in West Mead (at the southeast corner of the piece No. 623 in the Tithe Map), another at south-west corner of No. 624, and another at the south west corner of No. 625.
This accounting was by Stephen Darby in 1900. The stone was returned from the Venables garden down Mill Lane and set at the  head of the High Street for quite a number of years.
The stone has now been relocated in what is thought to be its original position.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Cookham Commons Updated.

Cookham Commons Updated.
I have mentioned the commons of Cookham before in this blog, but now I have some old maps to go with the passage post here below:
The common fields were enclosed in 1852. A fierce controversy waged by the inhabitants in defence of traditional footpaths across these fields was decided in 1847 in their favour. The inhabitants have long enjoyed special benefits in two enclosed commons, Widbrook and Cockmarsh. The Abbot of Cirencester had a right of free pasturage for cattle in Widbrook and for hogs in Cockmarsh, continued after the Dissolution to the possessor of Cannon Court. In the time of Philip and Mary the inhabitants claimed pasturage, and after a long struggle Queen Elizabeth in 1597 granted the commons to trustees for their benefit during the lives of the trustees. Royal grants of the reversion in 1623 and 1675 were strenuously resisted by the inhabitants throughout the reigns of Charles II and James II, and they were finally victorious in 1697. From that time the administration was undertaken by the churchwardens, and has recently, as far as Widbrook is concerned, been transferred to the charity trustees. An attempt by the purchaser of the manor from the Crown to plant these commons and the wastes of the manor and village greens for his own benefit was given up after a suit in 1826. An attempt in 1903 to make a road across Cockmarsh was also defeated and proceedings are now pending for the establishment of conservators under a scheme of the Board of Agriculture.
If you click on the map and look at the top, you will find that a house that I remember as Cliveden View was at that time owned by the Earl of Orkney. In researching I find that he also owned quite a bit of property in Taplow as well.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Cookham Village 160 years later.

Cookham Village 160 years later.
Now we switch to an aerial shot of the village as it is in 2012, you will now be able to make comparison between the two photos. You will be able to notice where the old buildings still exist together with other changes.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A view of Cookham 160 years ago.

A view of Cookham 160 years ago.
Once again with grateful thanks to the Berkshire Records Office I am able to bring you this Survey Map of 1852 when the enclosures of the parish was completed by order of the government of the day. If you click on the picture you will get a full screen view and find what buildings existed then and still exist today. Two things you will note that there is no Holy Trinity School and that Berries Road did not exist. I am still investigating that there was a third farm in the village, with the farmhouse being East Gate at the top of the High Street.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

New Toll Collector in 1902.

New Toll Collector in 1902.
This photograph was taken as a house-warmer for Arthur and Ethel Sewell. They had just moved from Wimbledon for Arthur to take up work as the new toll collector on Cookham Bridge.
It was summer 1902, and Arthur and Ethel are also showing off their first baby, daughter Christine.
Cookham Bridge was effectively a Victorian PFI initiative. It was run by a private company, who in turn mortgaged the tolls each year to a speculator who employed a toll keeper. The keeper and his family got to live in the toll house, which had been built in 1839 to the designs of a man known only as 'Mr Pratt'.
The toll house is still there today on the Buckinghamshire side of the river, though it has been much restored. When the payment of tolls became increasingly unpopular, the Bridge Company was purchased by Berkshire County Council and the crossing made free.
After Arthur's service as toll keeper the Sewells moved to Warwickshire, where Arthur ran a shop. Baby Christine grew up to work in public service and later received an MBE.
This article is printed by kind permission of the Berkshire Records Office in Reading for which I am truly grateful. For other information please contact the BRO website at:
Remember to enlarge the photo just click on it.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Holy Trinity School 75 years of change.

Holy Trinity School 75 years of change.
The pen and ink sketch above is one I drew in the summer of 1998 when visiting Cookham from my then home in Templecombe in Somerset. I drew in the existing school building, but leaving out any additions that had been made since the 1930’s - 40’s and included those missing items from memory. I remember well the orchard next door, when in season there were wonderful apples, plums and walnuts to be scrumped! One pair of twin boys named David & Tom were the bane of Mrs. Adams life, always in trouble with the police.

Now of course the school has grown like “Topsy.” with the ever expanding village population. Mind you the playground area was all asphalt, both to the north and south of the school. I now observe that what looks like astro-turf has been added to the play area.
Remember to click on the thumbnails to get a full view.


Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Church Choir of 1931.

Holy Trinity Church Choir 1931.
This photo was taken in the then vicarage garden. The vicar of the day was the Rev Canon Bachelor. The lady in the black hat was the relief organist Mrs. Kate Bird. In the back row I can see two choir men, who still members in my day. One is John Fowler and the other is Walter (Simmy) Ing, who was the vicars gardener. Come to think of it even the youngest of those choirboys would be in his middle nineties today. The man in the black cassock on the right of the photo was the Verger and would have been the predecessor to Alfred (Dad) Sexton.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Another Then and Now.

Another Then and Now.
This is another then and now comparison of two photos that are over 100years apart and showing how things have changed over the period, and yet in one instance has not changed. Click on the photo to get an enlargement.
In the first photo by William Bailey is the Cooper’s and later Budgen’s general grocery store and in the second modern day photo it shows that the shop has been divided into two separate shops and the closed gate behind leads to other house expansions.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Then and Now.

Then and now.
A hundred years of change:
With the last post we used a photo taken by William Bailey, I thought it would ideal to have a modern day photo so that one can compare the changes that have taken place. Don’t forget to click on the photo to get an enlargement.
The two photos are within a feet of each other and a hundred years apart. Some buildings have weathered time very well indeed, with careful maintenance they will still be there 100 years from now.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Tradesman Donkey Cart.

The Tradesman Donkey Cart.
We have used quite a lot of photographs attributed to William Bailey, who has been described by trade as a Painter Decorator. The difference between the two trades of the late 1800’s and 2012 are quite different. First most of the materials used by Bailey would from a local source, the example being, sand, clay, lime and chalk together with hazel and willow branches which went to make up wattles used in making walls. Even the Distemper paint was made up by the man himself, yes I have not made a mistake, and Distemper is paint as well as being a complaint caught by cats and dogs!
To move his equipment and material like so many trades people of that era, was made by using a donkey cart, as in the photo above where two donkeys are being used. In this photo above my fellow researcher and I agree that the photo taken outside East Flint in the High Street, and sitting in the drivers seat is one of William Bailey’s daughters. This mode of transport would enable him to take materials to wherever he was working in the area.
Even as a young lad I remember that Distemper powder was available and was applied during spring cleaning time at Widbrook Cottage by my mother. It came from most Ironmongers including Mr. Church on Station Approach, and was available in many colours, of which Brimstone and White were the colours my mother used. Also in the 1930’s the first of the wall boarding was introduced called “Essexboard.” This was the forerunner of what is known today as gypsum plasterboard. So you can see that William Bailey had to have far more skills then, as quite a lot of plaster work including mouldings would have been part of his decorating skills.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Sir Isaac Pocock

Sir Isaac Pocock Memorial.
Isaac married Ann Brown of Cookham (Berkshire), widow of Peter Joye. He retired from active service and the two settled down on the Joye estate at Biggin Hall in Benefield, Northamptonshire. Two years later, Isaac rose to be sheriff of that county and the great service he had provided for his country was further recognised when he was given a knighthood.
In later years, Sir Isaac and Lady Pocock moved to the latter’s home parish. They built a large house alongside the Thames, near Maidenhead Bridge, called ‘Ray Lodge’ where they lived until their deaths. Sir Isaac is best remembered locally for having headed up the campaign against the enclosure of common land in Cookham, thus saving Widbrook and other lands for the peasant population        
.In 1810, Sir Isaac suffered a heart attack and died whilst punting on the Thames, near his home. The memorial plaque above the family vault where he is buried in Holy Trinity Church depicts his dying moments. 

Click on the photo above to get a full screen 4912x2760 pixel view.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The village described 150 years ago.

The village as it was 150 years ago.
COOKHAM Described in 1860.
COOKHAM (Holy Trinity), a parish, and the head of the union, and formerly a market town, in the hundred of Cookham, county of Berks, Three and one half  miles north and east from Maidenhead; containing 3,676 inhabitants. This parish which includes the northern portion of the town of Maidenhead, extending from the bridge to Maidenhead Thicket, and comprehending the whole of that waste, is the river Thames, by which it is bounded by the north and east, and comprises by measurement about 10,000 acres, of which nearly 4,000 are arable, more than a 1,000 grass, 93 acres in  orchards, 151 acres of woods, and 884 acres of common land. There is a considerable hamlet in the parish, called Cookham Dean, about a mile and one half west of the village, bordering upon Bisham, and consisting of scattered cottages; it is noted for its orchards, rural scenery, and woodland, and the wildness of its character, in the midst of a highly cultivated neighbourhood, renders it more attractive to the lover of nature in her simpler form. A bridge has been built across the Thames, which greatly facilitates traffic, and affords ready access out of Buckinghamshire to the Great Western Railway. The manufacture of coarse paper is carried on; and fairs are held on May the 16th and October the 11th. The living is a vicarage, valued in the king’s books at £14. 14. 02.; net income, £360. 0. 0.; patron, John Rogers, Esq.; impropriators, the Landowners. Near the entrance into the chancel of the church is a brass plate to the memory of Sir Edward Stockton, vicar of the parish, who died 1534, and is styled “Pylgrym of Jerusalem, and canon professed of the House of our Lady at Guisbro’ in Yorkshire:” this no longer appears, being probably concealed by a pew. Several descendants of General Washington, and Mr. Hooke, the historian of the Roman Empire, are interred in the church. There is an episcopal chapel in that part of Maidenhead situated in the parish; also places of worship for Independents and Wesleyans. A national school is supported by subscription; and two other schools are chiefly maintained by the clergyman. An almshouse, belonging to the Salters’ Company, of London, was founded by Mr. James Smith , citizen and salter, for eight aged men and their wives. The poor law union of Cookham comprises of 7 parishes or places, and contains a population of 11,060.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The village road sweeper.

The village road sweeper.
A couple of blogs back I mentioned the village road sweeper and now I have managed to find a photo taken in the early 1900’s of a road sweeper with his barrow at work. The initials on the side of his barrow stood for the council that he was working for, in this case CRDC stood for Cookham Rural District Council. The council at that time looked after the upkeep of the road network, also the refuse, and sewage collection as well. Their offices were located at the top of Castle Hill in Maidenhead,  on the left just pass the cross roads.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Bromley the Bakers

Bromley the Bakers.
There was a time when visitors to Cookham back in the 1930’s I remember on a day trip say from London by train to spend the day by the river. A great many would finish up their visit with a cream tea at Bromley the Bakers before catching a train back to town. It was also a meeting place for ladies of the village while in the village doing their shopping either at Budgen’s or the International Stores.
The shop itself had been operating as a Bakers Shop for a good many years going way back to the middle 1800’s. Together with Deadman’s, at Carmonta Bakery in the Dean they both kept the village well supplied with all its baked goods.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

A Tranquil Village.

A Tranquil Village.
Once again we switch back to the tranquillity of the village of about 120 years ago, when it was quite safe for the hobby photographer William Bailey to set up his tripod in the middle of the street without fear of being run over by a carriage and pair. Once again you can see buildings that still exist today. Also I remember even in the 1930-40’s, the council employed a man as road sweeper to keep the roads tidy. The only pollution that he had to contend with was the droppings from horses and cattle. In which he had a little business on the side, where certain villagers would pay him to empty his collection of the day just outside their gate so they could use it on the garden. His barrow was a three wheeled push cart with a hinged flap at the back so he could empty it easily. He also had several places where he could leave it with his shovel and broom overnight, and it was always there for him the next morning. His name I believe was Mr. Robbins,  which is the name that I remember.

Friday, September 21, 2012

The Diamond Jubilee Parade of 1897.

The Diamond Jubilee Parade for
Queen Victoria in 1897.
Once again with thanks to the enthusiastic hobby photographer William Henry Bailey, we get a chance to see how the residents of Cookham celebrated the event some 115 years ago. From knowledge that we have that Bailey was a Painter Decorator, it seems that he took this photo from outside his home of East Flint and mounted his camera on top of a tall step ladder. Again you can recognise quite a few buildings, that thank goodness still are being preserved today.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Bel and the Dragon in 1895.

Bel and the Dragon Hotel 1895.
Here is another photo of the village, this time of the Bel and the Dragon Hotel with the landlords name displayed of Mr. T. (Thomas) Warboys. Again I attribute the photo to William Bailey, the painter and decorator who lived at East Flint. Also you will note the size of the pram in the bottom left of the picture, but also the size of the child in the pram. Keeping this picture in mind and looking at the buildings that still exist today, you can see why I am interested in the preservation of this old Royal Manor.

Monday, September 17, 2012

When petrol flowed by gravity.

When petrol flowed by gravity.
Yes, there was a time during the transition from horse drawn vehicles to motor cars and trucks, when the Kings Arms  upgraded to selling petrol to their guests for their cars. It was a very simple manual wobble pump that pumped the petrol from the underground tank up to one of two glass gallon jars and when full it was then switched over to drain manually via a metal boom pipe through a hose and into the cars petrol tank, or to fill the two gallon can as a spare on the cars running board. As the first was being emptied the second was being filled by the attendant. This photo was taken between 1925 and 1935, most likely using a Kodak 620 box camera, as it can be seen in the bottom right of the photo the shoe repair shop and what was Mrs. Vale’s sweet and cigarette and paper shop The petrol pumps remained in use until the end of the war, when they were dismantled.

The photo here is a close up to show you the way the petrol was delivered to the car from the measured glass jar via a swinging boom arm down into the car petrol tank using gravity.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

"Moaning Minnie."

"Moaning Minnie."
Going back as far as 1938 Great Britain was preparing for the possibility of war and the chance of there being air raids. So the installation of sirens started to take place. These sirens were hooked to a telephone network that was controlled by the Royal Air Force early warning system network, thereby giving people time to take cover in their Air Raid Shelters. One such siren was mounted on the Cookham Fire Station in Berries Road and the wailing sound of the alarm could be clearly heard. Bourne End had a different system. Theirs was the intermittent blast of a steam hooter at Jackson’s Paper Mill. This also could be heard for quite some distance as well. The ladies of the village soon found a name for the sound of the electric siren, which was dubbed “Moaning Minnie.”

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

When recycle was a duty.

When recycle was a duty.
I see that the RBWM cabinet room boys and girls have come up with a new recycle of a wheel that was in use 72 years ago. The photo above shows housewives doing their bit for the war effort. In those days everything was biodegradable and there was no such thing as plastic wrap or styrofoam. Of course there were no fancy packages. Everything was in your store in bulk and was weighed and packaged by the store staff while waiting to serve customers.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Old Cookham Ferry.

The Old Cookham Ferry.
For the longest time I have been searching through my files for a print of the original Cookham Ferry that plied between the village and the Buckingham county shore. In this print you will note that the river does not seem very wide. This is due to the fact that Cookham Lock had not been built and the flow of the water had not been regulated weirs. At one time back in the middle ages at this point at certain times of the year the river was actually fordable by horse drawn vehicles. Also that sailing bargees used to dread that part of the river by Hedsor, as there was always a danger of running aground on a gravel shoal, and to get themselves re-floated would cost them dearly in time and money.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A young man's tranport in 1920.

A young man's transport in 1920.
98 years ago this 1920 Douglas motorcycle was every young man’s dream of transport. At that time my father had returned from the 1914-18 war to resume his chosen profession of a Journeyman Slaughter-man/Butcher. He travelled from slaughter house to slaughter house.  In Cookham of course, where he served his apprenticeship. Also to Bourne End, Marlow, and Maidenhead, in West Street. So to get from Cookham to the various slaughterhouses he bought a motorcycle like the one above.
Even into the 1930’s I remember he was still active as a slaughter man for Ernie Colliass, at the slaughter house on the Parade in Bourne End. During the war he was still quite active at the busy slaughter house in West Street in Maidenhead. Also at that time he was managing the J.H. Dewhurst shop at 95 the High Street. Now long gone.
He rode the motorcycle up until he married my mother as she was not in favour of him riding one, plus other forms of transport was now available.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Holy Trinity Church late 1800's

Holy Trinity Church in late 1800's.
This photo of Holy Trinity Church was taken in the late 1800’s, when the church tower still has quite a growth of ivy. It was discovered in the early 1900’s that ivy was weakening the lime mortar in the structure, and it was then removed. You can see at the lower part of the tower on the north side the sloping roof of what was once the church boiler room.

The photo itself was taken from what is known as Bell Rope Meadow. The meadow got its name I was told by John Fowler, a one-time Ringing Master of the tower that it was a tithe pasture, and the money from that tithe was set aside for the maintenance of the six bell ropes, oak stays and ash sliders.

Friday, August 17, 2012

The Sartins Family Shop 1887.

The Sartin's Family Shop 1887.
Way back before the days of Supermarkets, the folks living in the three Cookham's relied very much on shopkeepers like the Sartin family to supply them with their household dry goods requirements for their basic needs such as flour, sugar and dried fruit. Together with household cleaning materials, such as polish, washing soda and bluing for the laundry and of course oil for the oil lamps in the house.

The Sartin's had four daughters who are pictured in the photo above together with their mother. Right from a very tender age these girls would help in the family business by running errands and collecting orders from the larger houses in the area. Also they would have to help with keeping house and to cook under their mothers watchful eye, ready for the day when they to would get married.
I have only once in my travels come across the name Sartin. That was down in Yetminister, Dorset. Where one of the well known group called "The Yettie's," had a member with the name "Bonny Sartin."

Sunday, August 12, 2012

History Restored.

History Restored.
The print by Fred Morgan which you see above use to hang in the kitchen of Widbrook Cottage when I was growing up. Recently I came across this print in a very sad and sorry state. So as I had the tools to repair it, the result of which you can see below.

Here for you all to see is the restored Fred Morgan print aptly named, "Tug of War."

Monday, July 30, 2012

Barley Harvest in Cookham Dean.

Barley Harvest in Cookham Dean.
Once again we move forward in turning a still photo into a video presentation. This date for this scene is somewhere in the late 1800's and a mowing machine was being used instead of scythes. Though the crop was still bundled into sheaves by hand. Turn up your sound for this one minute clip.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Cooper's General Grocers.

Coopers General Grocers.
Once again we go back to the 1870's and to take a look at Cooper's General Grocery Shop in the high street, which then followed on as Budgen's. You will note that the village at that time very agricultural in outlook, together with the Boot and Shoe Cottage Industry. The high street was made up with graded gravel with a general camber for drainage. Most of the houses in this picture still exist, except for the one on the right. That has been removed and replaced, most likely in the 1890's

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sutton Road in 1958.

Sutton Road 1958.
This is another view of the village in 1958, taken from the traffice island at the top of the high street, looking south towards the School Lane intersection. The Kings Hall, now the Spencer Gallery can just be seen in the right of the photograph.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Wiggs Cottage. Then & Now.

Wiggs Cottage. Then and Now.
This particular posting is to demonstrate how buildings and the surrounding views can change over a period of just 54 years. For instance, the first photo was taken from The Moor, now hidden of course by a line of trees.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Cookham High Street 1958
There is one big flaw that stands out in this  photograph, that one would never see a double decker bus coming up the high street on a regular basis. The double decker service use to run on the Sutton Road, between High Wycombe and Windsor Station. I remember well that the then vicar Rev. B.H. Hayward-Browne would make sure that his Sunday Matins service was over in time so that his parishioners from Maidenhead Court were out in time to catch the bus at five past the hour.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Jack Smith Butcher 1958.

Cookham High Street 1958.
From photos of the late 1800's up to today, a great deal of the village has changed very little. Where changes have been allowed to take place, the structures stand out like a sore thumb.
Another item in this photo is the Morris Station wagon car. In that period British made cars were in full production with a good export market. Harry Ferguson had made a hit with the British farming community and being produced for him by the Standard Motor Company. His revolutionary hydraulic system on these tractors were way ahead of his time and lead to a big legal battle with Henry Ford, which in the end he won.

Friday, June 22, 2012

A Foggy 1870's day in Cookham

A Foggy 1870's day in Cookham.
We now take a look at the village high street looking towards the east in the 1870's on what appears to be a foggy day. The barn at the left of the photo is where my grandfather use to hold his famous smoking parties with his friends around a barrel of local beer and also entertain each other with country folk songs. From what I was told one of the men would keep an eye on the farmhouse door through at knot hole in the barn to see when my grandmother was walking across the farmyard to find out what was going on. I gather she took a dim view of these gatherings.

On the right is The Kings Arms Hotel of which my great grandfather was once the landlord. At the far end of the village is Wisteria Cottage, which my grandmother moved to after she sold Ovey's Farm in 1915 after the death of my grandfather.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Lost Spencer Landscape

Widbrook Stream 1934.
Somewhere in this world is a missing landscape painting by the late Sir Stanley Spencer. The photo above is showing the same scene of the painting, except there would be leaves on the willow trees. As he often called them one of his "Pot Boilers." who were then sold on by Dudley Tooth his agent at that time.

Why do I know so much about this painting. I am the only person still living that remembers Stanley painting this particular landscape, as it was only located about 200 yards from my old home at Widbrook.

Stanley grew up with my father and his sisters, living just across the road from my grandfather's Ovey's Farm in the village high street. Quite often he would visit my Aunt Amy Field on a Sunday afternoon for tea, where a lot of reminiscing of old village life would take place.

If someone knows where this oil painting is today, please let the Spencer Gallery in Cookham know, so that they may update a hole in their records.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

The old Butcher's (Circa 1870).
We now have the opportunity to go back into the village high street around 1870 and take a look at one of two butcher’s shops that existed in the village at that time. For the more recent residents and visitors to the village, it is now called “The Old Butcher’s Wine Cellar.”
If you look closely at the picture you will notice a black and white dog by the door, eying a leg of lamb hanging on the door frame just out of reach.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Her Majesty Mary, Queen Consort.

Her Majesty Mary, Queen Consort.
I was looking back to the 1930's recently and another Jubilee, that of King George V and his Consort, Queen Mary. I came across this photo, which bares a remarkable resemblance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as she celebrates her Diamond Jubilee.

I remember very well that Her Majesty use to refer to her grandfather as "Grandpa England."

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Just 13 years ago

Just 13 Years Ago.
Yes it was just 13 years ago when I happened to be in the village and I managed to drop the Waiting Room of the Railway Station and took this snap of the FM station in full swing. I know to run such an enterprise  costs quite a bit. I am sure there are many who would like to see one up and running again.

I have just upgraded my computer, and in the process came across this modern historical photo buried in some of my old Windows X.P. files.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Cookham High Street around 1890.

Cookham High Street circa 1890.
The photo above was taken in the late 1800’s on a rather wet and grey day. You will note that the High Street is of gravel and so is the footpaths with a gentle slope for drainage to where today would be a gutter. Not a car in sight, only horse drawn vehicles. This is when the village was self-supporting and all your shopping was within walking distance. Even the children use to walk to school.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Miss M. Denial (Land Girl)

Miss Margaret Denial, Land Girl.
In my research and memories of local history, it is funny how little things turn up to bring old thoughts flooding back of the 1940’s and wartime Britain.

Recently I received an e-mail from a Brian Denial in South Yorkshire asking me if I remembered a young land army girl named Margaret Denial who worked for a Mr. Hatch at Sheephouse Farm, near Maidenhead. I was happy to tell him yes that I remembered quite well.

The year was 1942 when Margaret, a sixteen year old arrived at the farm all the way from her home in Sheffield to work on the land. Her brother told me that she still lives on the outskirts of Sheffield, now an 86 year old, widow and a grandmother. I remember even that with all the attention the young men around Maidenhead Court paid her, she was very homesick for Sheffield and eventually the Land Army moved her back to a farm closer to her home.

Now after all these years, this story can now be told.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wings for Victory Week.

Wings for Victory Week.
Just over seventy years ago during the “Wings for Victory.” Savings drive the school choir of The Cookham Rise Secondary Modern School, put on a concert in the Pinder Hall under the direction of the headmaster Mr. G.H. Wood, and assisted by Miss Graham. Besides the plays and skits that were put on, as closing piece we sang this song “Lords of the Air.” I have looking for the longest time for the lyrics by Michael North and Davy Burnaby. Now at last I have found them. I remember we sang the ballad twice and on the second refrain the whole audience stood up and joined in.


The British Empire proudly stands
As in the days of old,
Our fathers fought o’er land and sea.
Their history is told,,
In our new battlefield the sky,
Prepared to do or dare,
Let this be our new battle cry,
“Britannia rules the air.”


England is our island home,
Land of the free,
England unconquered yet,
O’er land or sea,
Lord of the heav’ns above,
Answer our prayer.
God keep Britannia’s sons,
Lords of the Air.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Bill Owen in Maidenhead Court.

Bill Owen in Maidenhead Court.
Cookham and the surrounding area has had over the past seventy or so years quite a few actors and actresses who have made their home close to the village itself. During the war the well-known actor James Mason made his home in Cookham Dean. One well-known actor that everyone who has followed the series “ Last of the Summer Wine” was Bill Owen the character actor who played Compo Semonite.

Bill and his family lived very quietly in a house called “Lavender Lodge” on Islet Road in Maidenhead Court, a house today which has been altered quite a lot and now has an entrance on Sheephouse Road and is now called White Croft, which appears to be next a new complex now called Boulters Lock Residential Home.

To my recollection Bill bought Lavender Lodge from a family called Ravenhill in the 1950’s. I remember the Ravenhill family quite well, as the farm at Sheephouse supplied them with all their dairy needs.

The first film I can recall seeing Bill in was “Robin Hood.” In which he played Studeley a poor peasant who was being hounded by the Sheriff of Nottingham and Robin Hood played by Richard Todd comes to his rescue. This of course long before he became a household name as Compo.

Monday, February 6, 2012

The Dingle, Maidenhead Court.

The Dingle,
Maidenhead Court.
It is amazing how much change can take place over a seventy-year period. The house above was known as “The Dingle.” The one time home of a Miss Russen, a retired London West End milliner, who lived there with her long time housekeeper Maggie. The house at that time was shrouded from the road by a line of laurels and it was plain brickwork and not white.

Miss Russen was a very kind person and very much resembled the actress Margaret Rutherford. and also went walking with her little Yorkshire terrier “Shrimp.” When Shrimp died of old age, she replaced it with another one called “Ting-a-ling.” When Maggie passed away, Miss Russen sold up and moved into a retirement home for gentlefolk.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

The early Refrigerator.

A 1930's Refrigerator.

Today, everyone has to have a refrigerator and maybe a deep freeze chest as well, they can’t imagine living without one. The photo above is an example of the first refrigerator that I ever saw in about 1935-36 in the dairy farm shop at Sheephouse Farm, Maidenhead Court. My uncle and aunt purchased it so they could keep the milk, cream, butter and eggs for customers that wanted extra to their regular daily deliveries to their homes. Yes, even in those days, 365-7 was the norm, and the cows had to be milked twice a day.

As you can see in the photograph, the Freon gas compressor was mounted on the top of the unit, so that the surrounding air could readily cool the heat from the compressed gas. Prior to this milk was kept cool by standing the bottles in a tray of water and a cloth placed over the top with the ends in the water so as to keep the milk fairly cool.