Author Archives: Backstreeter

Wild Flowers edge Barton Meadows. Thrupp Lake memories.


Last year the cycle path through the Abbey Grounds and Barton Fields was much improved with rubber tarmac. The border of Barton Fields was seeded with wild flowers beside the cycle path.

After Barton Fields the cycle path becomes muddy and  overgrown until you get to the tarmac cycle path beside Thrupp Lake.

Today the bright sunshine on Thrupp lake was dazzling.

There is a beach area on Thrupp Lake, popular with young families and water birds. A dozen juvenile swans  were there today, with a similar number of geese and ducks.

A mound of crushed bricks and breeze blocks are all that remains of Sandles, the house with fabulous lake views. It  was bought, along with the lake, by NPower when they planned this to become a site for putting the fly ash produced by the coal fire Power Station at Didcot. There was a determined campaign to stop them, run by the community group Save Radley Lakes. The lake is now looked after by The Earth Trust with the help of the Friends of Radley Lakes and the blessing of NPower who no longer burn coal at Didcot.

This is the view of Thrupp Lake from the top of the heap that was once Sandles.

For a short time in 2007 it was occupied by Greenpeace protestors – squatting until a court order allowed NPower bailiffs to throw them out. After that the bailiffs patrolled the lake in hi viz jackets and balaclavas and stopped further occupations until it was decided the lake could remain as a lake.  The house was eventually torn down.

Abingdon 100 years ago – July 1921


2nd July

An Abingdon angler last week caught a barbel weighing 9 lbs., whilst fishing from Abingdon Bridge.

An accident befell Ruby Chapman, aged 6 years (daughter of T. Chapman, Spring Road. Abingdon). Whilst playing near the Ock Bridge, she fell from the parapet and sustained a fractured leg and was taken to the Abingdon Cottage Hospital.

The High Sheriff of Berks (Sir Mortimer Singer) and Lady Singer gave a brilliant garden party at their mansion residence on Milton Hill, on Thursday last. Over 250 accepted invitations. Van Lier’s famous band gave delightful music, and Mlle. Lunina and Michel gave exhibitions of modern dances.

Alderman Arthur Preston has been elected to the Fellowship of the Society of Antiquaries.

Alexandra Day was this year celebrated on Saturday last at Abingdon. A representative Committee arranged numerous competitions, children’s balloon processions, stalls, etc., and the day’s proceedings concluded by a popular concert in the Corn Exchange. The Abingdon Town Band gave selections in the afternoon and evening.

Early on Sunday morning last, during a heavy thunderstorm, the lightning struck the Club House on the Frilford Heath Golf Links, and the building was briefly destroyed, with its contents. The damage is estimated to run into four figures. The whole building was burnt down in less than an hour. The Fire Brigade could not be summoned in time to be of use, as the wires would not act.


9th July

The only case at this Court on Tuesday last was that of Edward Emerton, of the Abbey, Abingdon. for cycling without lights in the Vineyard, he and was fined 5s.

The Vicar of Abingdon, (Rev. A. H. Kennedy) has so far recovered from his illness to be able to help in the services during this month.

The Boy Scout movement has been resuscitated, and F. Duncan has been elected Hon. Scoutmaster, and Mr J. E. Gibbens as Scoutmaster.

A motor accident occurred on the Oxford Road, Abingdon, on Thursday evening in last week, when a collision occurred between a Ford car (with four passengers from Reading) and a telegraph pole. The car was much damaged, but the occupants escaped with somewhat slight injuries.

The National Association of Bakers, have, by poll of members throughout the United Kingdom, elected Mr G. F. Palmer, of Stert Street, Abingdon, as a member of the Council with a total of 590 votes.

The Abingdon Branch of the Women’s Temperance Association, held a garden party on Thursday afternoon in last week, at the residence of Councillor H. T. Clark, J.P ,of Wayste Court, Bath Street, Abingdon, when over 160 attended. There was a concert, also speeches and competitions.

The Abingdon Bowling Club have held competition to decide who should. represent the Abingdon Club for the Berks Championship, and the honour fell to Mr J. E. Greenwood


16th July

The winner of the Alexandra Day guessing competition of the gross receipts was W. J. Vasey, whose guess was £366 6d, the actual amount being £367 5s 1d. The prize was a good river-steamer trip.

The Abingdon Constitutional Association had a river trip to Moulsford and Day’s Lock on Thursday in last week, when a large number of members and friends spent an enjoyable day.

The total rainfall registered in Abingdon for the month of June was only 0.36 inches.

The births and deaths recorded for Abingdon and adjoining hamlets for the past quarter were 62 births and 24 deaths. The births, which were 29 males and 23 females, were 19 less, and the deaths 7 less than in the corresponding quarter last year.

The following have been allowed £62 12s each from the Alexandra Day celebration at Abingdon:— Oxford Infirmary, Oxford Eye Hospital, Abingdon Cottage Hospital, Abingdon Sanatorium, and North Berks Nursing Association.

At this County Bench Court on Monday Jamieson Muir, of Patrick’s Hall, Reading, was charged on three counts of being drunk whilst in charge of a motor car, driving to the danger of the public, and driving without license, on the Oxford Road. It appeared that the defendant, with three others, were rolling against one another in the car, which was swerving from one side of the road to the other, and ultimately collided with a telegraph post. The Bench sentenced the defendant to 14 days without hard labour on the first charge, fined him £20 for the second and £6 for the third.


23rd July

The Abingdon Comrades of the Great War held their annual fete on Saturday last in the grounds of Barton Court, Radley Road. The Abingdon Pavlova Band was in attendance and dancing was indulged in into the evening. There were children’s sports, and a tug-of-war prize went to the Council School.

The hospitals scheme, recently promoted in aid of the Radcliffe Infirmary, is progressing. At the quarterly meeting the General Hon. Sec. (Mr Archie Staniland) stated that the house-to-house collection for the quarter was £153 10s, and there were 50 volunteer collectors, and 1,467, contributors to the scheme. In addition several firms were working the scheme, and the amounts were as follows: —The Clothing Factory £46 1s 6d. Morland and Co., Ltd. £7 2s, Borough Surveyor’s Staff £5 6s 10d. and the Pavlova Leather Co. £42.

Early Friday morning in last week the Abingdon Fire Brigade was called to a fire at the farm in the occupation of Messrs Watts and Son, whereby a large barn and two ricks of straw were totally destroyed. The Abingdon Brigade were assisted by the Wantage and Ardington Fire Brigades. The farm house, occupied by Mrs Cowdrey, was in great danger, the rafters having caught fire. The furniture was removed. With numerous helpers with buckets of water it was prevented from spreading over the whole of the house.


30th July

A sale of work in connection with the funds of the Abingdon Salvation Army was held in the local citadel on Thursday afternoon. The sale was opened by Mrs Bailie, of Caldecott House, who was accompanied by Lady Norman and the Mayoress of Abingdon (Mrs R W. Langford).

The funeral took place last week at Abingdon, of an old Abingdon Gas Company employee, viz., Harry Webb, who was highly respected in the town. He was 44 years at the Abingdon Gas Company, and died at the age of 70 and was an old Oddfellow.

The finals in the competition bouts for the Preston Challenge Cup were played on the Abingdon Park on Thursday afternoon and evening in last week. In the finals, after a keen game. Palmer Park Club, Reading beat Wantage 29—16.


Thank you for the extracts to the Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette on the British Newspaper Archive. Pictures came from Sunday Illustrated from July 1921 also on the British Newspaper Archive.

The annual swan upping resumes but only as far as Moulsford


Last year the annual swan upping – census of swans – did not happen because of the pandemic. This week swan upping has resumed, and the colourful boats are rowing up the River Thames. They began today, Tuesday 20th July, from Eton Bridge, Berkshire and will finish at Moulsford on Thames, Oxfordshire on Thursday 22nd July.

They are not doing the full five days this year and will not visit Abingdon.

This group of four cygnets will escape being rounded up,

examined for injuries, weighed and ringed.

Monday Market on Freedom to Choose Day


Since the start of June there has been a new grocer, with dried goods, at the Monday Market in Abingdon.

My wife thinks there is less packaging at the market than supermarkets and so we try to buy vegetables on Monday.

This Monday there were no longer stewards to help control social distancing.

The Isla Jane Bakery looked colourful as did the flowers stall. Today’s heat made some of the flowers wilt.

I felt a bit more self conscious about wearing a mask than usual. I asked one shop keeper whether she had to wear a mask. She said it was left up to her to decide but she thought mask wearing was still the right thing to do with the large increase in infections.

At the library there was nobody outside the door anymore. The track and trace box and QR code had been moved inside the library and is a matter of personal choice. The government is advising that masks should still be worn in crowded public spaces, but the library was not crowded. So some people had chosen not to wear a mask. It is an individual choice now there is no legal requirement.