Abingdon 100 Years Ago – May 1924


It appears that May 2024 in Abingdon was a busy one! Here is a trip back in time to see what locals were up to:

Local News

The annual May fair was a modest affair, lacking the usual roundabout and music.

The Abingdon Croquet Club kicked off their season with a successful AGM and re-elected their committee.

Abingdon Lawn Tennis Club started their season with mixed results, losing against Faringdon.

The annual spring stock sale at Brewery Meadow, off Ock Street, saw a good turnout and strong prices for cattle.

Mr. C. D. Adkin, a respected auctioneer and community leader, passed away.

The Council Schools held a concert to raise funds for a music festival.

A rummage sale organized by Miss Estridge raised over £14 for the upkeep of Abingdon New Church Hall.


Lady Rucker of Newbury demonstrated how to make footwear from string at the Northcourt Women’s Institute.

A whist drive was held at the Pavlova Canteen to benefit the National Institute for the Blind.

Courtroom Drama

A farmer sought to evict a tenant whose filthy habits rendered the cottage uninhabitable.

A tramp confessed to setting fire to a hayrick at Lodge Hill, claiming hunger and wetness as his motives.


Community and Culture

The North Berks Scouts held a rally in Albert Park.

Mr. Coxeter, the long-serving Chief of the Fire Brigade, stepped down, and Mr. Joseph Gib— was appointed his successor.

The Salvation Army announced the departure of their successful Commanding Officers, Ensign and Mrs. Berry.

A United Service at the Primitive Methodist Church drew a good crowd.


A Local Author Gets Recognition

Abingdon resident Oswald J. Couldrey’s book “South Indian Hours” received a glowing review in The Times, praising its cultural depth and evocative writing. It was chosen as book of the week.

Sources were the Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette on the British Newspaper Archive, The North Berks Herald from the Abingdon Library microfilm, The Times archive accessible from Abingdon Library online. Thanks to the Oxford Chronicle and Reading Gazette on the BNA for the pictures.

June Events at Mostly Books


Thanks to Aileen for an update on Mostly Books events.

Celebrating Pride Month, Mostly Books are hosting a Queer Writers’ Panel in the shop, chaired by author Laura Kay (Wild Things). On the panel are Jiaming Tang (Cinema Love), Luke Turner (Men at War), and Neil Blackmore (Radical Love).

Debut author Claire Daverley will be joining them in the shop to discuss her novel, Talking at Night. It’s a beautiful and heartfelt love story perfect for fans of One Day and Normal People.

Saturday 22nd June – Reverend Richard Coles at the Amey Theatre – 7pm, £16 ticket / £28 ticket and book. To round off the Independent Bookshop Week there is an evening with Reverend Richard Coles in conversation with author Joanna Cannon, discussing the third book in the Canon Clement Mystery series, Murder at the Monastery, and more besides.

See https://mostly-books.co.uk/events/

Abingdon Bank Holiday Walks


The Friends of Abingdon organised a series of Bank Holiday walks today, all departing from the Market Place. In the morning there were four walks on offer, and all places were filled. Penny Clover led a walk exploring the historic boundaries of Abingdon. John Killick guided participants on a nature walk through the Abbey Meadows, showcasing the area’s biodiversity. There was an “Edible Abingdon” walk.

And for the historians, there was a walk around the historic pubs of Abingdon.

The town crier helped lead the boundary walk.

In the afternoon, I led a walk highlighting Abingdon’s public artworks. The surprise hit was the Octagon sculpture near the Old Gaol. Many participants were surprised to learn this land is freely accessible.

The other afternoon walks were: Abingdon’s Oppidum, Rivers of Abingdon, and a nature walk with David Guyoncourt.

Art week at Peachcroft Farm


At Peachcroft Farm, you are tempted by the farm shop and the cafe. But art first.

The sheep see you arrive.

Inside the barn, several artists display their work, and Susan Hill is demonstrating drawing flowers using two hands then painting them with ink and water.

Paul Minter is there explaining his ideas about art and is fascinating to listen to.

A couple of the artists, also produce books of their own poetry. The poetry is also very good as far as you can tell.

Then you sample and buy some cheese, and relax in the cafe with scones and tea before heading back. You wonder whether Peachcroft Farm can continue as a farm with houses marching in on all sides.