Category Archives: heritage

Abingdon 100 years ago – May 1921

7th May 1921

Brigadier-General Wigan, the Coalition Unionist member for the Abingdon Division, resigned last week, giving reasons of business. Abingdon Liberals, placed on record their strong and emphatic protest against the present creation of an untimely and unnecessary vacancy in the representation of the constituency, have decided, in view of the present industrial Crisis, not to invite a candidate to contest the seat.

At this Borough Police Court on Tuesday the only case was that of Edwin Thatcher, of Drayton, who was summoned for using a motor car without an identification plate, at Abingdon, and was fined £1.

The proceeds of the recent concert given by the Abingdon Choral Society enabled £12 to be given to the Radliffe Infirmary, Oxford, and to the Abingdon Cottage Hospital.

14th May 1921
A folk dancing demonstration was held on Thursday 12th May at the residence of Mr Bromley Challenor, and included the famous Morris Dances.

The funeral of Mrs Gillingham, aged 72, the wife of Mr W P Gillingham of ‘Avondale’ Park Road took place on Thursday 12th May in the presence of a large number of friends. Deceased was one of the oldest members of Abingdon Congregational Church, of which Mr Gillingham is senior deacon. The first part of the service was conducted by the pastor (Rev C.H.Gill) in the Congregational Church. Wreaths were sent from the firm of Messrs. Brind, Gillingham and Co Ltd of Abingdon and Oxford.

The Didcot Depot is in future to be policed by the Berks Constabulary, and attached to the Abingdon Police Division. Huts have been converted into quarters for the police, and P.S Humphries, of Wallingford, has been promoted Inspector, and takes charge of the Ordnance Depot at Didcot.

A Ladies’ Croquet Club has been formed in Abingdon, and the Governors of Christ Hospital, Abingdon, have laid down two lawns in Albert Park for the use of the Club. Lady Norman is the president, and Mrs G, H. Roberts, of Radley Road, the hon. sec.

The Abingdon grocers have agreed to closing their shops on the first three days of the week at 6 p.m. Thursday is the usual half-day and on Friday and Saturday the shops will he closed at the usual hour.

Mr. and Mrs. George Matthews, of Spring Road, Abingdon, celebrated their golden wedding last week, and were the recipients of many hearty congratulations. Mr. Matthews has been for over 63 years at the Abingdon clothing factory, and his fellow workers made him a presentation of a case of pipes.

21st May 1921

Mr. Thomas Loyd, Coalition Unionist, was on Saturday returned unopposed at the by-election in the Abingdon Division of Berkshire. At the previous election, in 1918 J. T. Wigan, Coalition Unionist, was returned.

The festival of Whitsuntide was duly kept at the Abingdon Churches, of St Helen, St. Michael, and St. Nicolas, which were appropriately decorated. Early celebrations of the Holy Communion were held in each of the churches, with High Mass at 11 a.m. at St Michael’s. There were good congregations. The Bank Holiday was favoured with delightful weather. On Monday boating and picniccing were the chief items of enjoyment.

The scheme inaugurated in Abingdon for systematic house-to-houses collections on behalf of the Oxford Infirmary and Abingdon Cottage Hospital has been very successful. The amount received in the month of April was £83 13s 3d.

The Abingdon Fire Brigade was called on Wednesday last week to fire at a cottage at Rowstock, tenanted by John Moore, labourer. The only water supply was from deep well, which could not be used by the fire engine, and the thatched cottage was entirely destroyed. Moore, who was working in a field, saw the roof on fire, and in getting on the roof was partly embedded in the thatch, and had to be extracted and taken to Wantage hospital.

28th May 1921

The London Joint City and Midland Bank, of the Square, Abingdon, have transferred their business to a larger premises, acquired at No. 6, High Street, Abingdon. (Became The Midland Bank and then HSBC)

On Thursday in last week, during the workmen’s dinner hour, a fire broke out in the roof electric power house, recently erected by Messrs Cox and Sons, builders, near Radley Road. The plant was used for driving a saw in a large building, near, and had also been used for supplementing the town electric supply. The roof which was of asbestos on match boarding, fell in and the remainder of the power house practically was destroyed. The building and its contents were insured.

For assaulting P.S. Painter, at Abingdon last week, Albert Sheppard, 1st Bucks Regiment, of Didcot Depot, was sentenced by the Borough Magistrates to seven days’ hard labour. The Sergeant said the prisoner came up to him in the Market Place and complained that a landlord would not serve him with a drink. When the policeman told the prisoner the landlord was justified he hit the Sergeant in the face with his fist, and was very violent on the way to the Police Station.

Thank you for the extracts to the Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette on the British Newspaper Archive. Two pictures from the Reading Mercury and one (the first) from The Sketch of 9th September 1925 showing Brigadier-General Wigan.

Displays in Abingdon Library for Local History Month


Daniel sent me some pictures of the exhibition which includes some of his aerial views of Abingdon, upstairs in the library. The display, put together by Elizabeth Drury, also has a board of Abingdon in the 1950s, and another of Victorian times.

Then in the case are pictures of the River Thames at various times.

Some of Elizabeth’s past and present books can also be seen.

The library also has a local history display downstairs for May is Local History Month. The aim of the month is to increase awareness of local history. The town council website has a local history portal put together by the Abingdon Area Archaeological and Historical Society (AAAHS).

Abingdon 100 years ago – April 1921


Saturday 02 April 1921

The Abingdon Free Library Committee have appointed M. A. T. Rhodes, who was chief assistant at the Oxford City Library for several years, to be librarian for the Abingdon Free Library.

The “Three Hours’ Service ” at St. Helen’s, Abingdon, Good Friday was conducted by the Rev. F. J. C. Gilmor, vicar of St. Giles’, Reading.

The offertories throughout Easter Day were given to the Vicar as an Easter gift for his personal use, and were as follows: St Helen’s, £66 11s. 7d.; St. Michael’s, £43 2s. 3d.; and St. Nicholas’, £19 10s 2d.

The Abingdon Rural District Council have decided to practice strict economy in connection with the Surveyor’s estimate for the maintenance of the district roads. The Surveyor’s estimates for the coming year were given, and equaled a rate of 2s. 3d. in the £. The Council ordered a rate of 2s. in the £, being of opinion that many of the roads could be patched up instead of being metalled. This would save nearly £2,000.

In connection with the Abingdon Y.M.C.A. two recitals by Mr. Alec C. Glassey, A.G.S.M., were given on Wednesday in the Roysse Room, Abingdon.


Saturday 09 April 1921

Memorial tablets, inscribed with the names of Abingdon men who fell in the War were unveiled at a dedication service held in St. Helens’ Church on Sunday afternoon last.

At the County Bench Frederick Inneas, Shippon, was fined 5s each for riding a bicycle without lights and assaulting the police, at Shippon on March 23rd. Defendant in defense said he had suffered from shell shock and was a patient at the Radcliffe Infirmary, and that had had a drop of beer on the night in question and did not know what he was doing.

At the Abingdon Police Court on Wednesday, Charles John Parker, labourer, Abingdon, was sentenced to 14 days hard labour for being drunk and flourishing a sword bayonet, and threatening people, the previous evening.

The late Mr W. J. Sedgefield, who died at his residence, Bath Street, Abingdon, last December, at the age of 82 years, a retired solicitor and for many years Registrar of the Abingdon County Court, left an estate valued at £9,790 1s l½d, the net personality being £9,547 11s 5d.

Saturday 16 April 1921

The cattle market was well attended on Monday last, when prices had no inclination of falling. Three heifers reached £42 10s each, whilst a fat sow made £18. The stock penned included 174 sheep and lambs, over 100 fat and store pigs, 36 calves, and 22 fat beasts.

The returns of births and deaths in Abingdon and several neighbouring villages for the past quarter shows that there were 58 births (34 males and 24 females) and 36 deaths, four deaths occurring in the local Sanatorium, eight in the Workhouse, and two in the Isolation Hospital. The population of this district at the last census was 9,439. the corresponding quarter last year there were 70 births and 35 deaths.

In order to raise funds for the help of the Radcliffe Infirmary and the Abingdon Cottage Hospital a scheme for house to house collection in Abingdon for weekly subscriptions has been organised, the town being divided into four districts, with a hon. sec. for each.

The proceeds of the Cinema performance at the Corn Exchange on Warriors’ Day, in aid of Earl Haig’s Fund, amounted to £11 17s 3d, and the comic football match at Abingdon the same day and for the same object, realised £13 10s 3d.

At the Borough Bench, Tuesday, Mr Ernest Sedger, St. Aldate’s. Oxford, Allen Dodd, dealer, of Castle Street, Wallingford, and Charles Lay, of Church Farm, Long Wittenham, were each fined 10s for having a cart at Abingdon Cattle Market without name thereon.


Saturday 23 April 1921

The Abingdon “Crescent’ Lawn Tennis Club, who are permitted to have their courts in the Abingdon Park, held a whist drive in the Roysse Boom, on Thursday evening in last week, in aid of the funds, the prizes being given by local tradesmen.

The illness of the Vicar of Abingdon (Rev. H. Kennedy), has necessitated his going under a serious operation at the Acland Home, Oxford. He is stated to be progressing favourably.

The Abingdon Boy Scouts intend celebrating St. George’s Day on Sunday next, by a rally in the park in the afternoon, followed by service in St. Nicolas Church, the Market Place.

The Abingdon Y.M.C.A. held a social rally in the Roysse Booms, Municipal Buildings, on Wednesday evening in last week, when there was a large company present including many of the members of the Abingdon Girls Club. The programme consisted of music, games, dances, refreshments, etc., and a thoroughly enjoyable evening was spent.

The Abingdon Branch of the National Farmers’ Union held a meeting last week at the Lion Hotel. Abingdon, Mr F. A. May presiding, at which there was a good attendance of farmers. The object of the meeting was to discuss the cost of the cultivation of various crops for the use of the Berkshire Costings Committee in giving evidence in the Government Commission on the subject. The conclusion come to as regards wheat was that it could not be grown at under £l7 per acre.

At the Abingdon Borough Police Court Tuesday last, William Harvey, of East Hendred, and Charles Wheeler. 84, Vineyard. Abingdon, were each fined 7s 6d for riding a bicycle without lights, the former in Faringdon Road and the latter in East St Helen Street, Abingdon.

Saturday 30 April 1921

A rick of barley straw, standing in a field on the Oday Road, Abingdon, was totally destroyed by fire on Thursday in last week. The rick contained about 28 tons, and was the property of T. A. May, farmer. Although the river was only a few yards off the fire raged too furiously for the rick to be saved.

An inquest was held at Abingdon Monday on the death of Albert Mason, a painter, aged 64, of Ock Street, who fell from a ladder whilst at work on Friday afternoon last. It appears the deceased was painting some spouting at the Pavlova leather factory in Spring Road, near an electric crane, which, on moving, came in contact with the deceased, whereby he fell to the ground, obtaining a fractured skull, from which he died a few minutes after the accident. A verdict of accidental death was returned.

Thank you for the extracts to the Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette on the British Newspaper Archive. Pictures of tennis an old postcard.

Roysse School Gothic Gateway


The Gothic Gateway that once led to the yard of Roysse School has a coat of arms for John Roysse.

The other two coat of arms have only partly survived. The Borough of Abingdon arms are still recognizable to the right.

On a photo by Henry Taunt, the other coat of arms can be seen more clearly with the date MDCCCX1 (1811). It is for the Earl of Abingdon.

According to Agnes Baker, the 5th Earl of Abingdon gave £100 towards building the gateway. Accounts show the gateway was made by local craftsmen for £99. 10. 11½. The Earl’s arms were added in gratitude. Borough and school also contributed to school improvements in 1811.

The current Earl of Abingdon (the 9th) was born in 1931 and I took this picture during a visit to Abingdon during 2006 (450th Charter Anniversary). Peter Green was the Mayor of Abingdon at the time. The Earl of Abingdon is next to Peter (in the double breasted suit).

(source: Historic Abingdon – 56 Articles by Agnes C. Baker)