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.

1 thought on “Abingdon 100 Years Ago – October 1923

  1. Freddie Pratley

    Interesting to read that Wilson’s were at the runaway fair 100 years ago. It is great that they are still part of the Fair, in the important role of Fair organiser. The fairs are an important part of our heritage and what makes our town what it is. Long may that continue, and as street fairs, and not pushed into some field by those who do not understand how important it is to have a sense of place and history


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