Abingdon 100 Years Ago – March 1924

Indignation was aroused on Wednesday evening when it became known that the large replica of Felix the Cat, which stands at the front entrance of the Kinema, was missing. However, before long, the worst fears were allayed when the effigy of the famous cat was found at the Queen’s Hotel, where some undergraduates had taken him for a drink.

The Board of Governors of the Abingdon Union, at their meeting on Monday, decided to reopen the casual ward attached to the institution. This action has been influenced by the significant increase in expenses that the board has been called upon to pay to The Berks, Bucks, and Oxon Joint Vagrancy Committee. The sum has increased from £16 pounds to £208 in just three years.

A Whist Drive was held in the Hut, Northcourt on Tuesday, in aid of the women’s Institute.

The Abingdon and District staff of the Pearl Assurance Company Limited held their annual tea at the Baptist Hall. The evening started with a musical selection, followed by a talk from a Pearl Assurance Manager. He noted the significance of the day due to the company publishing their annual accounts in London, and locally opening their new offices in Abingdon.

A hen belonging to Mr. T. Drew of Marcham Road laid an egg weighing over four ounces.

On Wednesday, a car, driven by Mr. Bernard Butler of Cowley Road, Oxford, was coming up Ock Street when the steering rod went wrong and locked, causing the car to turn and collide with Miss Blizzard’s shopfront, smashing the glass and woodwork.

Notices by the Thames Conservancy have been posted at Abingdon Bridge and at the lock: ‘Beware! Beneath the water mark at Abingdon Bridge, there are projecting stones that could damage navigation craft.’

There was a good attendance at the second of five lectures during Lent on Sunday afternoon, when the Rev. Dr. A. J. Carlyle (formerly Oxford City Rector) spoke on “Is our civilization going downhill?” These lectures are being held in the Stert Street Cinema.

The Abingdon Licensing Justices decided to refer two licensed houses to the Clerk Compensation Authority, namely, The Steam Plough, Broad Street (owners, Messrs. Morland and Co., brewers, Abingdon; licensee, Mrs. Ellen Doman, widow) and The Fox and Hounds, Vineyard, a beerhouse (owners, Halls Brewery, Oxford; licensee, Mr. Leonard Tame, a painter). Supt. W. Foster’s statement revealed the fact that the population was 7,167, and there were 46 licensed houses, which gave one to every 155 inhabitants. Within 150 yards of The Steam Plough there were seven fully licensed houses, and within a quarter-mile radius of The Fox and Hounds there were nine fully licensed houses, one beerhouse, one grocer’s license, and one refreshment house license.

At the Borough Police Court on Tuesday, Percival Yates, of 17, Stert Street, Abingdon, was summoned for non-maintenance of his wife, Catherine Yates, of The Ark, Manor Road, Wantage. The case took some considerable time, and eventually the Bench made an order for the defendant to pay his wife 15s. per week and the Court costs of 9s. 6d.

St Nicolas church is desirous of completing their new hall, situated in the Abbey, near the Market Place, and a meeting was held on Tuesday night with the object of obtaining support by inaugurating a lightning campaign to raise funds. The object is to obtain the sum of £1,600 in 16 months. The campaign was opened at the meeting by Archdeacon Shaw, and the work is to be started when £800 has been obtained. The campaign received strong support from Abingdon churchgoers, resulting in a considerable sum being collected and promised.

The death occurred on Saturday morning from double pneumonia after a very short illness of Mr. William Henry Randall, of Swinbourne Road. Deceased was one of the principal builders in the town, and by his amiability had won a large circle of friends. The funeral took place in the Cemetery on Wednesday afternoon and was attended by a considerable number of friends.

Thank you for the news extracts and adverts from theOxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette in the British Newspaper Archive. Also, thanks to the North Berks Herald microfilm in Abingdon Library for a couple of adverts and a few stories. Felix came from The Picturegoer in July 1924. An egg weighing over four ounces came from the Grimsby Daily Telegraph. I could not find a picture of the Abingdon egg.

P.S. Just to add that I will be taking a week off from the blog and will be back around the 8th April 2024.

2 thoughts on “Abingdon 100 Years Ago – March 1924

  1. Hester Hand

    Sorry to hijack the thread, but since Back Streeter is away I thought it might be useful if I flagged up that this year’s “Annual Parish Meeting” is next Wednesday – it’s the occasion when the Town Council report publicly on their activities in the year – and take questions from the public, so a good opportunity for everyone to ask direct all those questions that come up on here. Details and agenda are on the Town Council website.


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