Category Archives: heritage

Abingdon Ichthyosaur


In December 1988 fossil bones were found at a gravel pit at Oday Hill, Abingdon. A small group of archaeologists investigated and identified the front half of a huge ichthyosaur. (The composite picture, above, of the crushed up skeleton is on display in Abingdon Museum).

The bones were put together with the help of staff from Oxford University Natural History Museum and can be viewed in the attic gallery at Abingdon Museum.

The museum blog has more about the Abingdon Ichthyosaur.

The attic gallery has other fossils showing how the changing climate has influenced life in Abingdon.  The ichthyosaur ((Ancient Greek for “fish lizard” ) lived here during the Jurassic period when this region was under water. In the museum basement you can find out about how humans have influenced the changing climate in recent times in what some are calling the Anthropocene epoch (proposed geological epoch where human impact on Earth’s geology and ecosystems has become significant).

Ock Street – 1972 hunt and Today flowers


Thankyou to Colin and Jenny for another picture of the Boxing Day Hunt which Jenny says was in 1972.

Today, the pink gate next to Coxeters was open and there was a new plant and flower seller.

He has winter plants such as cyclamen, and bunches of cut flowers. It is at the same location as Richard Matthews used to have a satellite flower stall.

Another new business, Starbucks opened today on the Market Place. I believe businesses request permission from the Town Council to put out tables and chairs on the cobbles. Starbucks, if they wish, might ask to use the cobbles between Costa and R&R.

Bath Street – without and with motor cars

Bath Street
On the sunny side of this old picture postcard is the Horse and Jockey pub. The nearest building, on the shady side, was a malthouse.  The road is scored with wheel tracks and darkened with horse droppings.  The sunny side pavement has a smooth path between cobbles. A delivery boy stands with basket and starched apron. The year is a round 1880 and the photo would have been taken with a tripod. The motor car had not been invented.
Bath Street
A picture of Bath Street this afternoon. Stratton House, directly ahead, still has the blocked-up upper-floor windows. The malthouse is now part of Abingdon School. The pub is now Gosling Court. Another pub, the Black Swan, further away, used to have two gables facing the road, and now has been rebuilt and the gable faces down the road. The motor car has been invented and has had new innovations every year for over a century. It is no longer safe to stand in the road and take photographs with a tripod.
Bath Street
The Morland sign outside the ex-pub could do with a touch of paint.

Abingdon 100 years ago – December 1921


3rd December

A confirmation service was held at St. Helen’s Church, Abingdon, on Sunday last (Advent Sunday) by the Bishop of Oxford, when about 60 were confirmed, including candidates from Roysse’s School, St. Helen’s Girls’ School, Radley, Shippon and Marcham.

At the Borough Court, Ernest Ackling, of 180, Ock Street, Abingdon, was fined 10s for riding a bicycle without lights in Spring Road, on the 18th inst. Edmund Preece, 57, Ock Street, was fined 5s for allowing his chimney to catch fire on Nov. 14th.

In the Berks and Bucks Senior Cup Abingdon journeyed to Slough, playing against Slough Trading Co. The result was a draw, neither side scoring. The play of both sides was excellent.

The Abingdon Y.M. Social Club met the Abingdon Police in a series of billiard contests on Wednesday in last week, which were much enjoyed. There were eight single-band contests, the Club winning seven.

In connection with the National Children’s’ Homes and Orphanage the Abingdon Young Leaguers gave entertainment with stalls, side shows, and Xmas tree, at the Wesleyan Schoolroom, which was a financial success.

The Abingdon Town Council held a special meeting last week to decide If they should continue the building of 54 houses contracted for or only finish the ten which were partly built at the time the scheme was suspended. – The voting was for the continuance of building the ten houses only. Considerable discussion took place, as at the last municipal election the housing scheme was prominent factor.


10th December

The local football on Saturday last included the replay of the match, in consequence of a draw, between Abingdon Town and Slough Trading Co., which was played on the Abingdon Ground. The match was for the Berks and Bucks Senior Cup. The teams were very evenly matched, and at half time the scores were even, viz., Slough one goal through Gunn, and Abingdon one through Ivey. In the second half it looked much like another even result, but Gunn through a pass gained another goal after which no other score was made, thus resulting in the visitors winning with 2 goals to 1.

On Monday last, William James Woodley, of the Causeway, Steventon, a packer in the employ of the G.W.R., met with instantaneous death by being knocked down by a passing train. It appears that the deceased was going home from his work along the up-line, and when near the Stock-lane Crossing stepped from one line on to the other in order to get out of the way of a passing train, and in doing so stepped in front the London and Bristol express, and was literally cut to pieces, some portions of the body being found a dozen yards away. A verdict of accidental death was recorded at the inquest.

At the Abingdon Borough Police Court on Tuesday the licenses for cinemas at the Corn Exchange and Stert Street Picture Palace were renewed.

Mr A.H. Roberts, for 17 years Relieving Officer for Abingdon Union, resigned the post in consequence of his serious illness. The Board at last Monday’s meeting expressed their deep regret at Mr Roberts’ resignation, which was accepted.

The return billiard matches between the Abingdon Y.M. Social Club and members of the Abingdon Police came off on Wednesday evening, when the Club won again with one match to the good, and a score of 877 against 675. Eight games were played.

The Y.M.C.A, annual meeting was held on Thursday evening last, at the rooms, when Sir George Dashwood of The Warren, Abingdon, took the chair. The Secretary (Mr W. H. Bourne) read his report, in which he stated that the year’s work had been a great success.

A lecture on Buddhism was given in the Abingdon Wesleyan Schoolroom on Wednesday evening in last week, by Mr A. H. Nathanielsz, son of a native Wesleyan Minister at Ceylon.

The new oak choir stalls at St. Michael’s Church, Abingdon, as a jubilee memorial of the Church is to be commenced, being a design of Mr F. F. Howard, of Oxford.


17th December

The annual meeting the Abingdon Branch of the National Farmers’ Union was held Wednesday evening at the Lion Hotel, Abingdon, when Mr H, Pullen, presided. The secretary (Mr Allison), reported a successful year and an increase of membership, whilst the financial position showed a balance in hand of £36. The membership of the Branch now is 120.

On Monday last the annual fat stock show was held in Abingdon market, which was attended by a large number of farmers and buyers as well as the general public. There were four classes for fat beasts, in which the following took first prizes —For fat steer, Mr Frost, Brightwell; fat maiden heifer, Lord Wittenham; pair of butcher’s beasts. Messrs Cornish and Sons ; four butcher’s beasts. Sir Mortimer Singer. The prices realised were from £43s to £50 10s. The first prize winners in the sheep classes were Sir Mortimer Singer. Lord Ebury gained first prize for a pair of fat pigs. In the cottagers’ classes for fat hog and pair of fat porkers, Mr F. Atkins and Mr A. Prew were the respective first prize winners.


24th December

Abingdon tradesmen have formed a Chamber of Trade for the Borough. and appointed a preliminary Committee to prepare a scheme.

At the Abingdon Baptist Schoolroom on Wednesday evening in last week there was a large attendance to witness a Missionary demonstration entitled ‘Doubts Dispelled’, which had been prepared by Mrs J. F. Morris. The costumes of the different countries were lent by the Baptist Missionary Association. The object was to raise funds for medical work in India.

31st December

The usual festival Christmas services were held at the Abingdon Churches, conducted by the parochial clergy. The decorations were of the usual appropriate character.

Tenders accepted for supplies to Abingdon Union for the ensuing three months include: Bread 8d per 41b. loaf, flour 48s per sack, beef (English) 1s per lb, imported 6 1/2d, beef suet 5d per lb , mutton (side) 10d per lb and imported 6d, milk 2s 2d gal.

The annual concert was held in the Roysse School in the gymnasium prior to the breaking up for the Christmas holidays, when a large number of parents and friends, were present. The programme was excellent, and the conductor was Miss Sheldon Peach.

Christmas at the Abingdon Poor Law Institution was kept in a very enjoyable way for the inmates. The fare for the inmates consisted of roast beef and pork, vegetables, plum pudding, mince pies, beer and minerals. In the afternoon they were regaled with oranges, nuts, sweets, biscuits and crackers. After tea, songs were indulged in and a pleasant day was spent, ending at 8.30 p.m.

Abingdon Carol

In Abingdon, by Thames’s side,
Are Holy Churches three –
Michael’s Church and Nicolas Church,
And St. Helen’s on the quay.

Where, oh where, shall we find the Child,
And where will the Little One be?
At Michael’s Church or Nicolas Church,
Or St. Helen’s on the quay.

Michael, have you hidden Him
Behind your folded wings?
Good St. Nicolas, have you seen
The King of Kings?

Or does a woman cradle Him
And hush Him on her knee?
Is the Little Mighty One
With St. Helen’s on the quay?

Christian people search no more …
He once was laid in stall,
And Christus natus hodie *
In the faithful hearts of all.

(*  born today in Latin)

Thank you for the extracts to the Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette on the British Newspaper Archive.

Brought to you with help from: Thomas Leach, The Corn Exchange, Harry E Bailey, and The Mayor C.Rippon. The Abingdon Carol is from the North Berks Herald.