Category Archives: heritage

Abingdon 100 Years Ago – January 1924

Board of Guardians Abingdon Union:
The Master, Mr. Charles Howard, reported 110 inmates in the house, as against 96 in the corresponding period of last year. The officers and inmates thanked the Guardians for the extras provided during Christmas when they had a very enjoyable time.

Abingdon Borough Court:
Frank Ride of Ock Street, Abingdon, was fined £5 for riding a bicycle without lights in Ock Street on Christmas Eve.

Feast of Epiphany:
On the Feast of Epiphany (Sunday), a very devotional and excellently rendered service was given in St. Helen’s Church in the afternoon, and a large congregation assembled. The choir was a mixed one.

New Management at Messrs. Brind Gillingham & Co., Ltd.:
New management has taken place, whereby Mr. George F. Palmer, Stert Street, Abingdon, has taken up the position of Chairman of directors, with Mr. H. Brind as vice-chairman and secretary.

Board of Guardians Abingdon Union:
The Abingdon Guardians have been somewhat perturbed in consequence of the report of the Ministry of Health on the costs of indoor maintenance of various Unions in the districts. The report stated that the average cost was 10s. 8d per week per inmate, but that Abingdon Union had the second-highest cost per inmate on the list of Unions in the Central Division, which was 14s. per week per head, with Oxford City topping the list at 14s. 8d. A special committee was appointed to consider the subject.

Bowling Club Dinner:
The annual dinner of the Abingdon Bowling Club took place at the Lion Hotel, High Street, on Wednesday last, when Alderman J. E. Cottrell presided in the absence of the President (Alderman A. E. Preston) due to ill-health. The visitors included members of the Oxford City and South Oxford Bowling Club. The toast of “Success to the Abingdon Bowling Club” was proposed, and club prizes presented for the past season.

Trinity Wesleyan Church Services:
At both services at Trinity Wesleyan Church on Sunday, sympathetic reference was made to the great loss Methodism had sustained in the death of the Reverend Granger Hargreaves. The Reverend gentleman was a favourite preacher at Abingdon. After the evening service, the congregation stood while the organ played ‘O rest in the Lord.’

Three Men in a Pub:
Three men were seen in a public house in Abingdon on Monday night whose combined ages totalled 248. Their individual ages were 95, 81, and 73.

Death of Master of Abingdon Union:
The death of Mr. Charles Howard, Master of the Abingdon Poor Law Institution, took place after a short illness on Friday morning at his residence. The deceased was able to attend the Board of Guardians on the previous Monday and presented his report as usual, and then seemed in his usual health. He fell ill on the same evening, and he developed double pneumonia. The deceased was 43 years of age and leaves a widow and three children. Deceased had held the post at Abingdon for nearly four years, having taken up his duties in April 1919, his wife became Matron. During the war, this Union was used as a V.A.D. hospital, and deceased joined the R.F.A. and went to France and Italy. Deceased was respected in his official capacity and was by his kind and courteous nature liked by the inmates of the Union. The funeral took place on Tuesday afternoon in the Cemetery. The wreaths numbered over 50.

The British Empire Cancer Campaign:
Miss B. Challenor thanks all who contributed to the above fund. The amount collected was £11 14 shillings, and this has been forwarded to the British Red Cross Society, Berkshire Branch.

Unity Sunday:
Next Sunday is known as Unity Sunday among the free churches. The outward and visible sign of this locally is seen in the exchange of pulpits. Next Sunday, Reverend E. Dando goes to the Primitives, Reverend J.P. Morris to the Wesleyans, and Ensign Berry to the Baptist Church. Due to special circumstances, the Congregational Church will not join in the movement next Sunday, but it is hoped that arrangements will be carried out later with another church.

Children’s Fancy Dress Ball:
Organized by Miss M. Challenor, in aid of the local Boy Scouts Association, the ball was held in the council chamber on Saturday afternoon. With over 60 children present, games and dancing were indulged in. A fancy-dressed competition was held, judged by Lady Norman and Mrs. Cooper. Geraldine Docker was awarded the first prize in the girls’ section for an excellent representation of a Hawaiian. Maureen Stone, a dainty little fairy, was judged worthy of the second prize. In the boys’ section, Michael Austin gained premier honours as a Dutch boy, while Norman Challenor was successful in obtaining the second prize as a red Indian. Special prizes were awarded to Mickey Thorburn (blue elf on a silver moon), John Viney (duckling), and Winnie Long (Jackie Coogan). Other contestants worthy of note were Pearl Belcher (tent), Miss C. Fletcher (Viking), and Miss C. Belcher (Reckitt’s Blue).

Abingdon Pavlova 0 Abingdon Town 4:
The local derby between Abingdon Town and Pavlova played on Westfield last Saturday ended in victory for the town by four goals to nil. Pavlova lacked the service of some players, which necessitated much alteration in the team.

North Court Women’s Institute:
On January 4th, the members of the Institute gave a Christmas party, with all North Court children up to 14 years of age, irrespective of whether their mothers belong to the Institute or not. Miss Tathum gave a Christmas tree with toys for the children, and all members received a bag of sweets. The members amply provided refreshments, and the surplus was sent to the Abingdon Union Institution to provide treats for the little children.

Regarding the Railway Strike:
Cullen Stores informed us that they’ve made complete arrangements for road delivery of goods from all parts, thus assuring the public adequate supplies. There’ll be no increase in prices, with any extra cost of transport being borne by Cullen’s.

Post Office Annual Dinner:
About 40 members of the postal staff sat down under the chairmanship of Mr. Fisher, sub-postmaster, to a dinner at the Assembly rooms on Saturday. The dinner was followed by an excellent musical program.

Death of an Old Inhabitant:
There passed away during the week one of Abingdon’s oldest and most respected inhabitants, Mr. George James Vickers. The deceased was in business for many years in Ock Street and was well-known in the town and neighbourhood. He had been a member of the Wesleyan Church for 54 years, until recently acting as a sidesman. Some years ago, he retired from business, and although he had attained the great age of 83, he had enjoyed good health until the last month or so.

Thank you for the news extracts and adverts from the Wiltshire Herald and Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette in the British Newspaper Archive. The photographs came from the Oxford Journal Illustrated. Also, thanks to the North Berks Herald microfilm in Abingdon Library for some stories and adverts and the cartoon.

Abingdon 100 Years Ago – December 1923

Election Activities at Abingdon
Around 2 p.m. on Saturday, an aeroplane landed in the Abingdon Corporation Farm field near Abingdon, opposite Caldecott House, Caldecott Road. The machine’s pilot was Mr. J. Sperry, who recently arrived from America to tour in his aeroplane and currently serves as a messenger for the Liberals. He left a package for the Liberal candidate for the North Berkshire Division (Mr. E. A. Lessing) in his room. On Tuesday, a final rally was held in the Corn Exchange, Abingdon, with Mr E. A. Lessing, Chief Liberal and Free Trade candidate, as the main speaker. A concluding rally for the Conservatives took place in the Corn Exchange on Wednesday, led by Major R. C. Glyn, the candidate.

Abingdon Pavlova lost to Slough by 6-2 in the Final Qualifying Round of the Amateur Cup.

Election Results
The polling in the Abingdon Division resulted in a Liberal triumph, with Mr. E. A. Lessing, who was defeated by 540 votes a year ago, securing the seat with a margin over Major Glyn, the Conservative nominee. (Major Glyn succeeded as the candidate after the retirement of Mr. A. T. Loyd, for health reasons.)

The figures were as follows:—
1923 election:
E. A. Lessing (L.) 10,932
Major GLYN (C.) 10,678
Majority 254
1922 election:
A. T. Loyd (C.), 10,501;
E. A. Lessing (L.), 9,967.
Conservative majority: 534.

Mr. LESSING, M.P., speaking after the declaration of the poll, emphasised that they had achieved victory in the cause of protecting the food of the people.

Major GLYN, addressing a crowd of supporters from the balcony of the Queen’s Hotel, expressed his appreciation for the work his friends had done.

Fatal Motor Accident
A tragic incident occurred on the Drayton Road near Abingdon late on Tuesday night. Mr. W. Shepherd, son of Mr. George W. Shepherd of Park Crescent, Abingdon, was fatally injured while going to fetch the police to a rick fire. The accident took place when a party from the Abingdon Fire Brigade was being driven in a private motor car to the same rick fire at Sutton Wick. Deceased, riding a motorcycle from the opposite direction, collided with the car, resulting in fatal injuries.

A Confirmation service was held in St. Helen’s Church, Abingdon, on Sunday afternoon by the Bishop of Oxford in the presence of a large congregation. The candidates numbered 80 and included several from the Girls’ High School and Abingdon Grammar School, and also from Marcham and Shippon.

Y.M.C.A. reopens
The Y.M.C.A. club rooms in West St Helen Street have been redecorated and reopened last week by the President (Mr. H. T. Clarke, J.P.). The proceedings included a musical program and addresses by the Chairman and others. Towards the cost of the renovation, subscriptions amounting to £20 7s. 8d. have been raised, but there is still a deficit on the current account of about £60.

The funeral of the late Mr. A. H. Shaw, eldest son of Mr. A. T. Shaw, Stert Street, took place at the cemetery on Thursday afternoon in the presence of a large number of relatives and friends. The late Mr. Shaw was the senior partner in the firm of Shaw and Sons, outfitters, Abingdon, and was 52 years of age. Deceased was a member of the Fire Brigade, the Liberal Club, East End Slate Club, the R.A.O.B., and the Bowyer Lodge of Oddfellows; representatives of each society attended the funeral. The floral tributes were numerous.

In the Reading Town Cup competition, Abingdon Pavlova won 4-1 against Caversham Rovers.
Abingdon Town won 4-1 against Wallingford in the North Berks Charity Shield.

Borough Bench
* Two men were fined £1 each for violating the Animal Removal Restriction Order. The order prohibits removing animals from the Abingdon Cattle Market without a license.
* One man was fined for riding a bicycle without a light.
* One man was fined for being drunk and disorderly in Stert Street.
* The renewal of a cinema licence was granted to Mr. Walter Thatcher for Stert Street, and a licence for stage plays at the Corn Exchange was granted to Mr. J. H. Viner on behalf of the Corporation.

Other News
* The Town Council has approved the acquisition of the remaining 11 acres of the Box Hill building site from the ministry of health.
* Members of the Congregational Church have raised £4 11s 10p for St Dunstan’s who help blinded ex servicemen.
* Christmas festivities at the Girls’ Council School were a resounding success with a party for the juniors and a dance and supper for the seniors.
* The isolation hospital and sanatorium were adorned with festive decorations, and Santa Claus delivered presents to young patients.
* The Mayor of Abingdon is recovering well from a recent operation.

Thank you for the news extracts and adverts from the Reading Standard and Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette and Westminster Gazette in the British Newspaper Archive. The picture of the aeroplane came from the Westminster Gazette. Also, thanks to the North Berks Herald microfilm in Abingdon Library for some adverts and the picture of E. A. Lessing.

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