Category Archives: heritage

Abingdon 100 Years Ago – November 1923

League of Nations Union Meeting

The local branch of the League of Nations Union held a meeting in the Abingdon Congregational Church School-room on Thursday evening to hear an address from Miss Stevenson. The Vicar of Abingdon presided and there was a fairly good audience.

Abingdon Cattle Market

There was only a moderate supply of fat cattle on Monday, and trade for the best quality was good, up to 60s. per cwt.; second quality was not in great demand, but all were sold. A good entry of dairy and store cattle met a good clearing trade. Sheep were scarce and dear, making up to £5 14s. A very large supply of calves, well over a hundred, sold readily at late rate. A good entry of pigs met a steady demand.

North Berks Agricultural Society Corn Show

In connection with the North Berks Society’s Autumn Show at Abingdon in September, a Corn Show was held in the Corn Exchange Abingdon, on Monday, October 29th. The entries were poor all round, there only being five entries in the largest class. The following prizes were awarded:— (class 62.—For the best ten quarters of red wheat — First prize, Mr. A. Cox, junr., Tithe Farm, Abingdon. Class 63.— For the best ten quarters of barley— First prize, Mr. F. Shrubb Shillingford; Class 64.—For the best ten quarters of spring oats — First prize, Mr. F. Shrubb., Class 65 —For the best ten quarters of winter oats—First prize, Messrs. W. E Bradfield and Son, Drayton ;

Abingdon Pavlova v Cowley Football Match

Cowley chartered three buses for their team and supporters to go to Abingdon on Saturday. The buses were all well-filled. Abingdon Pavlova F.C. had printed programmes on sale at their Amateur Cup tie on Saturday. The attendance was about 650, and the gate receipts just over £17. The Pavs have a splendidly-kept ground, and their admirable little covered stand — with seating accommodation for about 150 — was put up by the voluntary work of some of their members. The Pavs won the game and the third round was drawn on Tuesday. The four teams left in this district were paired as follows: — Abingdon Pavlova v. Reading British Workmen’s Institute. Slough v Morris Motors. To be played on Nov. 17th, kick-off 2.30 p.m.

Police Pensioner Dies from Suicide Attempt

A 60-year-old police pensioner, Thomas Henry Williams, died from pneumonial sepsis after attempting suicide on Saturday afternoon, according to an inquest.

Mr. Williams’ widow, who lives at 12a Marcham Road in Abingdon, said that her husband did not come home one night and she thought he was visiting their daughter. However, when she went to West Field Allotments to feed some chickens, she found the shed door unlocked and her husband lying on the ground inside. She spoke to him but received no reply.

Mr. Williams was taken to the Radcliffe Infirmary, where he was found to have cuts to his throat and arms. Williams had been invalided out of the London Police force 17 years before due to a head injury. He had been a popular policeman and was knocked unconscious during an arrest. He had left a letter saying he was very worried that his daughter and children were about to be turned out into the street. He said in the letter he had not slept for a week due to worry. The daughter had been told she could not keep lodgers or she might loose the house.

Missing Person

Mr. James Clack, a butcher from Abingdon, has been missing since Tuesday. Mr. Clack was last seen in the evening, and there is concern that he may have fallen into the river in the dark. In addition to police inquiries, the river is being dragged in the neighbourhood.

Rev. Maitland’s thanks for Sympathy During Illness

The Parish Magazine reports that the Rev. Maitland, who is now living at 8, Bevington Road, Oxford, wishes to express his thanks to the people of Abingdon for their sympathy during his illness, which required surgery on his throat. He is able to talk much better now.

Unemployment Figures

The unemployment figures for the Oxford Employment Exchange and branch offices on November 5th are as follows:

Abingdon: 101 men, 1 boy, 19 women, total 121
Banbury: 601 men, 61 boys, 83 women, 28 girls, total 671
Bicester: 110 men, 2 boys, 4 women, total 116
Buckingham: 32 men, 2 women, total 34
Chipping Norton: 92 men, 1 boy, 8 women, total 101
Deddington: 36 men, 1 woman, total 37
Oxford City: 474 men, 47 boys, 207 women, 78 girls, total 806
Thame: 74 men, 2 boys, total 76
Winslow: 27 men, 1 boy, 8 women, total 36
Witney: 96 men, 7 boys, 11 women, total 114
Woodstock: 11 men, 4 women, total 15

General Election Called

A general election has been called and will be held on December 6th, 1923. The Conservative member for the Abingdon Division of Berkshire is Mr. A. T. Loyd, who held the seat last year by a narrow majority of 540 votes. Mr. A. E. Lessing is expected to stand in the Liberal interest again.

Fur and Feathers Show – High Quality Rabbits Exhibited

The North Berks Fur and Feather Association held their first winter table show on Saturday. The quality of the fur-producing varieties was undoubtedly the show’s feature, with some very fine rabbits being exhibited.

Boys Sentenced for Egg Theft

At the County Petty Sessions Court, two boys, aged 11 and 9, were charged with taking seven eggs from Mr. E. Winter, a farmer in Drayton. The boys took the eggs from under a hen that was sitting. The police constable said that at one of the boys’ homes, he found a bunch of keys, one of which fitted the padlock of the fowl house door. The boys were ordered to each receive four strokes of the birch.

Abingdon Pavlova and Slough to Contest Local Divisional Final

As a result of the third-round ties of the Amateur Cup on Saturday, Abingdon Pavlova and Slough are left to contest the local divisional final of the Qualifying Competition on December 8th. Abingdon Pavlova were at home to Reading R.W.I.. They showed fine form, and won decisively by 5-1.

Election Contest in Abingdon Division

Great activity is being enacted in the Abingdon Division in the election contest. The sitting Member, Mr. A. T. Loyd, of Lockinge House, Wantage, is not seeking re-election, and Major Ralph G. C. Glyn, M.C., has been adopted as the Conservative candidate. The Liberal candidate is Mr. A. E Lessing, of Kingston House, near Abingdon, who has twice previously contested the seat, at last year’s election being defeated by 540. Mr. Lessing is widely known in the constituency and much respected, and therefore the present contest will be a close one. Meetings of both parties are frequent, and a large Liberal meeting in the Abingdon Corn Exchange was held on Monday evening under the presidency of Mr. M. T. Tatham.

Russian Pool Match

On the evening of the 24th, a team representing the Lamb Hotel, Wallingford, journeyed to Abingdon and played a side representing the Queen’s Hotel, at Russian Pool. An excellent repast was subsequently provided by Mr. Wilks (the proprietor of the Queen’s Hotel, Abingdon).

Thank you for the news extracts and adverts from the North Wilts Herald and Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette and Berks and Oxon Advertiser in the British Newspaper Archive. I could have done with extracts from the North Berks Herald in the library but the film reader has not yet been returned after the recent refurbishment. I’ll look and update this report to include something about Armistice Day in Abingdon when it returns. I found a good report about Armistice Day at Wallingford and Oxford.

From D-Day to Cold War Fears: How one Abingdon man received the news of JFK’s Assassination

On Friday, November 22, 1963, the news of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination spread around the globe. The event occurred in Dallas, Texas, and the news reached England via ticker-tape at 6:42 pm, just 11 minutes after the shots were fired.

As the BBC’s Monitoring Service scanned the airwaves for any updates, a bulletin emerged from the Voice of America at 7:40 pm, confirming that President Kennedy was dead.

The assassination of President Kennedy is one of those moments when many people can recall what they were doing.

The audience at the Regal cinema in Abingdon were watching The Longest Day, the American film drama about the D-Day landings.

The reel paused, the lights flickered on, and after a hubbub, a hush fell, as a man appeared on stage.

He said: “I am afraid to inform you ladies and gentlemen that the President of the United States has been assassinated. We have no further information at this time.”

Elizabeth, who was there, remembered the two minute silence that followed the announcement. Mike, was a member of the Royal Air Force, and for him the news carried another significance. He thought that the potential for conflict with the USSR, a threat that had been growing, now seemed an imminent reality.

(Elizabeth and Mike’s comments were reported in ‘Cinemas of Abingdon’ by Bob Frampton. Details of the timings came from

Trinity Evergreens and 150 year anniversary

This afternoon, David Busby of Busby Bees entertained the Evergreen Club at Trinity Church, Abingdon, with an informative talk about bees. He showed a picture of a bee in amber that dates from the time of the dinosaurs. Bees were pollinating flowers both then and now.

Trinity Church will be celebrating a 150th anniversary on Sunday. The Sunday Morning service will include a look back over the last 150 years, and various archives items will be displayed. (The picture above shows the church during the removal of the pews in the early 1970s.)

On Wednesday last (November 26th 1873), the foundation stones for the new Wesleyan chapel were laid in Abingdon. The chapel is to be one of the largest in the town and will serve as a place of worship for the Wesleyan community. The stones were laid by Mrs. J. C. Clarke, her daughter Miss Elizabeth Clarke, Miss Edith Mewburn of Wycombe Park and Miss Sarah Vanner from Banbury. The Sunday School stone was laid by Mr. Harry Clarke. Behind one of the stones was placed a time capsule containing a copy of The Times, The Methodist Recorder, The Abingdon Herald, and a programme of the day’s services. The ceremony was attended by around 500 people, but the weather was not favourable and it rained heavily. This caused many of the company to leave early and the ceremony was adjourned to the Ock Street chapel after the last stone had been laid. The Rev. S. Atkinson, Abingdon’s Wesleyan Minister, led the singing of a new hymn he wrote for the occasion:

Thou who hast in Sion laid
The true foundation stone,
And with those a covenant made
Who build on that alone;
Hear us, Architect divine,
Great builder of Thy church below,
Now upon Thy servants shine
Who seek Thy praise to show.

(Taken from The Oxford Times of November 29th 1873 and D. B. Tranter’s ‘History of Trinity’)

Abingdon 100 Years Ago – October 1923

Death of a Well-Known Abingdon Printer

James Burgess, a prominent member of the Abingdon community, passed away on Sunday morning at his residence in The Market Place. He had been the owner of Burgess and Son, a successful printing business in Stert Street, now owned and operated by his son. Burgess was a staunch churchman and a member of the North Berks Conservative Association. His funeral took place in Abingdon on Wednesday.

Mid-Weekly Services Concluded

The Abingdon Free Churches concluded their series of mid-weekly services on Wednesday evening at the Primitive Methodist Church. The preachers, organist (Miss Cox), soloists, and secretary (Mr. Busby) were all thanked for their contributions to the series. Several musical items were performed, and there was a large attendance.

Women’s Constitutional Association Meets

The Abingdon branch of the Women’s Constitutional Association met on Tuesday in the Roysse Room, Borough Buildings. Mrs. Welchman, an agent for the district comprising the home counties, was the chief speaker. There was a good attendance.

Choral Society Annual Meeting

The Abingdon Choral Society held its annual meeting on Saturday. The balance sheet showed a surplus of a little over £9. All of the officers were re-elected, and Messrs. J. Gilbert and W. James were added. The honorary conductor is Mr. H. Sheldon Peach, and the honorary secretary is Mr. A. A. Mills of Swinburne Road, Abingdon.

FA Amateur Cup Football Games

There were only two matches of special interest last Saturday. On the Abingdon ground, the town club faced a strong team from Cowley, Oxford. The visitors displayed good form and proved too strong for the home team, winning by five goals to one. This match was part of the FA Amateur Cup competition. In the same competition, Abingdon Pavlova journeyed to Banbury where they met the Harriers and emerged as winners after an excellent game, securing victory by four goals to one.

Pavlova Sports Club Holds First Whist Drive of the Season

The Pavlova Sports Club held their first series of whist drives for the winter season on Thursday evening at their canteen, lent by the Pavlova Leather Company, Ltd. There were over 100 present.

Trades and Labour Council to Run Candidate in November Town Council Elections

The Trades and Labour Council decided, at a meeting last week, to run a candidate in the next November elections for the Town Council.

Two Boys Charged with Stealing Brass Calendar

A special Children’s Court, at the Borough Police Court, was held on Friday, when two boys were charged with stealing a brass calendar from a shop of Charles William Moore, antique dealer, Bridge Street. The article was found at the house of the younger defendant, and he was bound over for six months. The older defendant, who pleaded not guilty, was dismissed.

Michaelmas Fair Draws Crowds

The Michaelmas Fair took place on Monday and Tuesday, with the marketplace, High Street, and a section of Ock Street bustling with fair paraphernalia. The fair caravans were set up in the fairground on Sunday afternoon, drawing a large crowd. The weather was pleasant on Monday until the evening, with Tuesday remaining clear. However, the rain on Monday dampened the usual arrival of visitors from Oxford by bus and rail.

Farm Fire: Alleged Incendiarism, Man in Custody

A fire broke out at Mr. Woodin’s farm at Southmoor at about 9:30 am on Wednesday morning. The Abingdon Fire Brigade fought the fire until early Thursday afternoon, but damage to straw and hay is extensive. The fire is alleged to have been caused by incendiary acts, and a man has been arrested and will appear before the magistrates at Abingdon Petty Sessions on Monday.

Clergy Golf Match Proposed

The October issue of the Oxford Diocesan Magazine suggests the formation of a team representing the Oxford Diocese to compete against the London Diocese in a golf match, likely on a Friday in the upcoming month. The Bishop of Oxford is interested in leading this team.

Abingdon “Runaway” Fair

The Michaelmas “Runaway” Fair took place on Monday, with Wilson’s switchbacks setting up in the Market Place. Attendance was limited during the day, but a large crowd assembled for the evening entertainment.

Workhouse Inmate Absconds

Alice Woodward, a 40-year-old female inmate of the Abingdon Union, absconded from the Michaelmas Fair while under the charge of female officers. She was eventually found near Oxford and brought before the Borough Police Court magistrates on Thursday. After being cautioned, she was sent back to the Institution.

New Social Club for Young Men

Mr. F. C. Belcher of “The Chestnuts House,” Northcourt, has formed a young men’s social club in the village of Northcourt, which adjoins the Borough of Abingdon. The club opened last evening with a concert and dance. Mr. Belcher is the president, and the committee have elected Mr. J. Wheeler as honorary secretary, and Mr. A. V. Argyle as chairman.

Annual Freemasonry Installation Ceremony

The annual installation ceremony for Abbey Lodge Freemasons took place on Thursday evening in the council chamber, presided over by R W Langford. A dinner followed, with a good attendance.

Cyclist Fined for Obstruction

Leslie Leach, 18, from Little Clarendon Street, Oxford, was fined six shillings in the Borough court on Tuesday for causing an obstruction by leaving his bicycle on the pavement in Ock Street.

Evening Classes Begin

Evening classes in Abingdon, under the auspices of the Berks Education Committee, commence this week. Classes will be held on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, with instruction in woodwork (both elementary and advanced), short-hand, typewriting, bookkeeping, and other subjects.

Theosophical Society Lectures

Mrs. Howell gave two lectures in Abingdon last week under the auspices of the Theosophical Society. The topics were “Is Democracy a Spiritual Power?” and “The Brotherhood of Races.”

Meteorite Falls in Abingdon Market Place

During a heavy thunderstorm on Monday afternoon, considerable consternation was caused by the fall of a meteorite in the Market Place close to the cattle market. The sky was extremely dark when suddenly a great noise startled persons in or near the market and several people saw a large oblong shaped red substance fall from the sky and explode on striking the east end of the Abingdon Corn Exchange. The statue that rises from the roof of the building as an ornamentation was damaged, but the glass roof of the building was not. The falling masonry from the statue fell on the pavement and several persons walking in the street at the time had narrow escapes. The statue was a figure of Ceres, the goddess of agriculture.

Abingdon ex officers bankruptcy

The first meetings of the creditors of Ivor Stanley Miles Avery, 100 Ock Street, Abingdon, Berks, now or late an officer in H.M. Army, will be held at the Official Receiver’s Offices, Oxford, tomorrow. The cause of failure alleged by the debtor is “living within my income when in the army.” Having resigned his temporary commission as a second-lieutenant some two months ago, he is now a temporary third-grade clerk in the employ of the Air Ministry. The indebtedness is mainly for loans, the balance being for clothing and hire of a car. It has been incurred probably to enable the debtor to keep up the position of an officer in a regiment for which his own means and pay were considered by him to be insufficient.

League Football Matches

On Saturday, Abingdon Town played matches in the Reading and District League. They visited Caversham and suffered a defeat, scoring only one goal against their opponents’ three. In the same league, Abingdon Pavlova Club faced Henley Town Club on the Abingdon ground. Despite the visitors putting up a commendable game, Pavlova emerged victorious with a three to two scoreline.

Thank you for the news extracts and adverts from the North Wilts Herald and Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette in the British Newspaper Archive. The meteorite story also had national coverage. One advert came from the Banbury Guardian. The picture of James Burgess is from A Short History – Burgess & Son (Abingdon) Ltd Copyright Lesley E Stopps (1980). The picture of Abingdon Pavlova is by Warland Andrew (date unknown). If anybody knows where Abingdon Pavlova Football pictures should be archived let me know.