The Abingdon Blog

The Abingdon Blog is a photo record of events and places in Abingdon, Oxfordshire, started on January 1st 2006.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Christian Aid Walk

New Years Day and there are a choice of walks. This one is the 6.5 mile Christian Aid walk.

The route this year started and ended at St Helen's Church in Abingdon, and went via footpaths around Drayton - with a break for refreshments at Drayton Parish Church, then near Milton, Sutton Courtney and returned by Peep-a-Day lane .

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy New Year

A picture of the sun rising on year 2010 seen from the Abbey Meadows in Abingdon at about 8:25 AM.

The strange lights seen by many drifting across the sky at 12:30 AM, after the New Year's Party, were not an invasion of Triffids, as first supposed, but instead were little candle-lit hot air balloons.

Thursday, 31 December 2009

The Mill Stream

The Vale of the White Horse is the valley of the Ock, a stream which joins the Thames from the west at Abingdon. The pictures were taken today. Four rivers including the Ock were put on flood watch yesterday but no problems yet ...

Here is the first stanza of a poem written in 1951 by Phyllis Dawson Clark celebrating the Ock, and called: The Mill Stream

Down from the chalky range of Berkshire hills
Stamped with the cave-man's god, a lean white horse;
Through rustling cornfields, by a dozen mills
Whose wheels are long since rusty, and across
A thistle wast where winter storms have laid
To rest the hollow trunks, where brittle rot
Harbours the comfrey seedlings that have strayed;
Where centuries of blue forget-me-not
Have sighed away their days unseen, alone,
And sprays of blushing dog-rose bend to kiss
Their own reflection in a pool that's known
A thousand summers just as sweet as this, --
By the wild rhubarb leaves and giant dock,
Under the willow arches flows the winding Ock.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Abingd0n Through Time

The wet flakes of snow that fell yesterday have not settled. There has been too much rain. I went to have a look round the display about the County Hall in the museum and saw the curtains of light from the inside - and they looked almost snow-like.

Back in January a new book about Abingdon, More of Abingdon - Past and Present, was published. On November 25th a second book, Abingdon Through Time, has also been published. It is written by Pamela Horn, who having retired from lecturing and writing books about Social History, particularly the Victorian Era, at Oxford Brookes University, has now written a book, illustrated with many colour photographs, telling the stories of the streets and faces of her home town Abingdon since Victorian times.

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Town Centre - End 2009

This is the state of the town centre on a rainy Tuesday at the end of 2009

(Press on image for a bigger version and if it looks grainy press again the (+) magnifying glass or whatever re size icon appears in your browser. Not a brilliant map and not to scale but it serves this yearly purpose. )

Red is a vacant shop premises that was occupied at the start of the year.
Yellow means change of ownership or name.
Green is a shop that was vacant at the start of the year which is now occupied.

Change in 2007 (10 red, 6 green, 5 yellow) - Net Loss 4
Change in 2008 (13 red, 10 green, 8 yellow) - Net Loss 3
Change in 2009 (6 red, 9 green, 6 yellow) - Net Gain 3

Toys-Uk and...

W H Smith opened in the Bury Street Precinct (sorry! I mean The Abbey Shopping Centre as it was renamed in 2009), as did the Sandwich / Spud Bar.

Cargo recently took over the vacant Woolworths premises.

Two shops moved from Ock Street to the town Centre - Fantasia Bridal, and Abingdon Bowls.

The Co-op opened back in January and the Post Office also moved in there - leaving its old premises empty. Newton Alexander - fashion for the beautiful figure - also opened on Stert Street.

The newly opened and wonderfully refurbished Kings Head and Bell has been doing well over the Christmas period getting lots of group bookings - many from outside Abingdon.

The only pictures I have of the Kings Head are from before it opened but I will get some soon... The Grapes also re-opened under new management

Cherries moved and re-opened as Lucky 777s. Londis changed franchise to Bargain Booze / Select Convenience, and The Bakers Oven changed over to the parent company name - Greggs. Dick left off running Hair and Beauty Scene in February and some of the young ladies took over and renamed it Established.

We lost Frugal Food and Lady McBeth in November.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Flood Survey - River Ock

Members of the Ock Valley Flood Group have been taking round these Residents Flood Surveys over recent weeks. They went to people near the Ock who were flooded and also near misses - people who moved all their furniture upstairs in July 2007 etc. , and who are still having worries about insurance.

Anyway if you want to see your risk of flooding for insurance purposes go to the EA flood map and search Abingdon.

It looks something like the picture above.

Last year this blog covered the demolition of the St Helens Mill Bridge on the Ock. Other actions included mending these collapsed banks of the Ock near the Ladygrove Estate. But the Flood Group will be looking to take other measures and apply for some of the available grants.

(If you have not had a flood survey and would like one it is probably best to contact Richard Webber, the chairman. His e-mail is:
The group will arrange a public meeting in the near future. So if you want to be kept informed I will do my best on this blog but you could ask Richard to add you to the mailing list.)

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Bargain Booze

The Londis sign has changes yet again and now 'Bargain Booze' has been added on one side. Bargain Booze was one shop open on Christmas Day. Gone are the days when if you failed to buy batteries or whatever on Christmas Eve you had to wait.