Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Coppin Pruner.

The Coppin Pruner.
If you refer back to the maps of the village of 1852, you will note how many orchards there were dotted throughout. Quite a few village members were also Fruiterers among other ways of making a living. In those days of course the apples when ripe were carefully stored in Apple Houses, the storage of which I will go into in a later blog.

The Coppin Pruner as illustrated in the above etching was invented by a George Coppin, a Horticulturist who lived in Surrey. It was quite a well-used tool around the country and in the village, even my father had one and we only had two Bramley Seedling apple trees. Of course this tool was well used in the Cherry orchards in Cookham Dean. It was also used by gardeners, who used it to trim their ornamental trees without having to use a ladder.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Widbrook Gate

Widbrook Gate.
For those readers who have not lived in Cookham all that time the Commons under the names of Widbrook, Odney, The Moor and Cockmarsh were under parish control. It was only in 1937 that the National Trust took them under their wing.

One building that I have known the history of was Widbrook Gate. Before Widbrook Common was fenced off, there used to be a gate at either end of the road where it crossed the common. The one at the north end was looked after by the wife of the gate keeper. While the gate at the south end, was tended by the husband. These gates were manned from sunrise to sunset while cattle were grazing on the common. The rest of the year the husband was employed as a road mender by the council filling in pot holes. This information I learnt from my Grandmother. I do know that the last gatekeeper to live in the little bungalow according to records was a family called Plumridge that was in 1901.

I remember a family that lived there when it was re-named Widbrook Bungalow in the 1930’s and their name was Penndel or Pendle, at the beginning of the war they moved to a house in School Lane. The last people to live there that I knew was a family called Greer, he was a ferry pilot with Air Transport Auxiliary based at White Waltham. Then in the 1950’s it changed hands and it was called “Mizpah.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Cookham Cottagers Horticultural and Industrial Society.

Cookham Cottagers Horticultural and
Industrial Society.
My researching and memories have taken me back this time to way over a hundred years and the founding of The Cookham Cottagers Horticultural and Industrial Society. The Industrial part in the title goes back to when Boot and Shoe making was a thriving industry in the village.
Over the years it has gradually changed as the Industrial part faded away together with the Horticultural and Farming aspects which branched away on their own. This left just the professional and cottage gardeners who would compete in what became to be known as The Cookham Flower Show.
For many years this show was held under the benevolent auspices of Colonel Ricardo, on a field which is now part of The Odney Club, just off Mill Lane.
Here it remained until the beginning of the Second World War. After which it was moved to Dean Meadow.
In the 1930’s I remember there was very keen competition in the various classes. There was I remember a Professional Gardeners class. One for Cottage and Allotment Holders, who, not only entered their produce, but also entered their gardens and allotments to be judged. The ladies of course entered in the flower arranging and baking skill contests. The school children were not left out as there were classes for wild grasses, wild flowers, all of which had to be arranged and named as well.
To top it off there was the fairground with all the roundabouts and swings. Plus of course Horace Spencer who would entertain the crowd with his card tricks and magic.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Yes! You can have floods in the Summer in Cookham.

Yes! You can have floods in the Summer in Cookham.

1903 Flood quotation from The London Illustrated News on the 27th of June, 1903.
The Thames Valley presented an extraordinary appearance after the rain; bungalows were isolated, meadow-land, streets and roads, inundated. The river was so high that the steamers were unable to pass the bridges and the stream so powerful that boating became a danger. Eton oarsmen, unable to practise, will probably not be represented at Henley.
This photo is taken of Cookham Moor by the newspaper photographer and in the words of the reporter; “that this scene was between the station and the town.”


This photo shows two punts in Ferry Lane right by the Hedsor turning.

This is The Moor in Maidenhead showing Cox Brothers Builders Yard to the left.
So you can see that floods do not occur only during the Winter and Spring. With many thanks to the London Illustraded News for the photographs and write up.
You can enlarge the pictures by clicking on them.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A 106 year old Postcard.

A 106 year old Postcard.
The postcard that is shown above has quite a story to tell, not only that it is a hundred and six years old and travelled to London for a one half penny stamp, and yet found its way back to Cookham. It did have a message and address on it which I have removed as it was of a personal nature from one sister to another.
You will see quite clearly that the stamp bears the head of King Edward VII and the date that the card was posted in Cookham at 7.45 p.m. on the 19th of February, 1907.
More interesting is the card itself, which most likely had a photo of Cookham by William Bailey. That the card itself was published by, W. Shergold & Son of Cookham. Shergold kept the Post Office and little general store on Station Hill. The same store that use to be ironmongers twice and has now reverted to a Stationary Shop. From what I have been told Shergold was quite an ingenious person and it quite possible that had a small printing press where he could make postcards for himself, and for Annie Slack who had a small shop in the High Street. This also points out how resourceful people were then. Even to travel by train to London for most villagers was a major event.

Once again to enlarge the photograph, just click on it.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A quiet summer Sunday afternoon.

A quiet summer Sunday afternoon.
Another photograph of Cookham high street, this time the photographer chose a quiet summer Sunday afternoon. I think the year was 1949. I also know that this photographer took up the hobby after he had been demobbed from the RAF. It is about this time that I also took up taking photos with a Brownie 127 camera and developing in a tank kit that Boots the Chemist use to sell. It is something to reflect back over those 64 years to now and 2013, the era of digital photography.
To enlarge this photo, just click on the picture.