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.”