Filed under: heritage

Abingdon 100 years ago – Aug 1919

Abingdon 100 years ago
August 2nd
The Rev C.S. Thomas, formerly belonging to the Abingdon Church Clergy Staff, and an Army Chaplain, has again taken up the work of promoting the Boy Scout movement in Abingdon, and offers a silver cup in memory of a former Patrol Leader, 2nd-Lieut. Tom Lodge, of Abingdon, who was killed in action in the war, to any Berkshire Boys Scouts troop who produces the fastest swimmer over 300 yards, under 16 years of age, the competition to take place at Abingdon on Saturday evening, August 16th.

Lady Norman, of Stratton House, Bath Street, Abingdon, who during the war was indefatigable in her efforts to collect fresh vegetables and send weekly to the Fleet, was an invited guest at the recent grand naval review off Southend.

An inquest was held at the Cottage Hospital on Saturday, by Mr B. Challenor, coroner, on the death of Albert William Lord, aged 11 years, son of Albert Lord, of Court 1, No 4, West St. Helens’ Street, Abingdon, who was accidentally run over by a motor lorry the previous evening. He had his tea as usual on Friday and was called for by his companions. About 5.30 the deceased and the other lads were in the Square, when George Cox, of East Hanney was returning to the R.F.A. Depot Milton, after conveying men home from work, and passed some steam ploughing tackle near Messrs Gillett’s Bank in the Square. William Percy Jackson, Bath Street, who was returning on his bicycle, saw four or five boys running away from the steam ploughing tackle, when the deceased got wedged in between the motor lorry and a trailer. A verdict of Accidental Death was returned.

The ‘D’ Squadron of the Berkshire Yeomanry met at dinner in the Abingdon Corn Exchange on Tuesday evening. The company numbered about 130, and most of those present had been through the fighting at the Dardanelles, in Egypt, or Palestine, some having been wounded in the severe fighting. At the request of the Chairman, the company, were upstanding, then drank in silence ‘the memory of our gallant comrades killed during the war’. The Mayor of Abingdon proposed ‘The Berks Yeomanry,’ whose history in pre-war days, he said, needed no words of commendation from him, while in the last five years its record was like that of all Berkshire regiments. To whatever front they looked, wherever there was a Berkshire regiment, the men of Berkshire always won renown for fearlessness and bravery.

Abingdon 100 years ago
August 9th
Mrs E. J. Hemmings. Park Road, Abingdon, for many years the greatly esteemed Head Mistress of the Abingdon Church Girls’ School, who is now retiring and leaving the town, was the recipient of testimonials of her devotion to her work. The past and present scholars, staff and parents gave her a beautiful set of silver toilet table requisites and a silver-mounted album with names inscribed. The staff at the Boys’ and Infants’ Schools gave her a pair of silver vases.

The Abingdon Football Club has been revived, and is entering in the County and District competitions.

Abingdon 100 years ago
August 16th
The Abingdon War Pensions’ Committee have now taken a permanent office for its work at 6, The Square, Abingdon.

General Wigan, M.P. for the Abingdon Division of Berks, has informed the Executive that he had wished to reside in the Constituency, but that he had been unable to obtain a suitable house and therefore had taken one outside the Constituency — at Danbury, in Essex. General Wigan therefore placed himself in the hands of the local Unionist Executive, who were unanimous that he should continue to represent the Division.

Memorial Services Requiems for those Abingdon men who fell in the war were celebrated at St. Helen’s Church and St. Michaels on Sunday morning last, and a special memorial service was also held at St. Helen’s Church in the evening.

Abingdon 100 years ago
August 23rd

The graded supplies at Abingdon Cattle Market on Monday last were 12 butcher’s beasts and 40 fat sheep, the whole being allocated to Abingdon.

The late train from Oxford to Abingdon suspended during the War was reinstated on Saturday last, leaving Oxford 9.40 p.m., and arriving Abingdon at 10.2 p.m.

The Abingdon Town Council’s quarterly meeting was held in the Council Chamber on Thursday evening, the Mayor presiding. In reply to a petition by 68 allotment holders of West Field’s Allotments who are under notice to quit, the Council agreed to try and secure 20 acres near West Fields belonging to the Duchy of Cornwall. The Farm Committee were given power to purchase a motor tractor for use on the farm at a cost of £385. A letter from the Ministry of Health had been received asking the Council to stock a quantity of coal for the winter, and it was agreed to purchase 500 tons, to be stocked by the local coal merchants and ear marked for disposal by the Council. It was stated by the Mayor that the Housing Commissioner had that day sent a letter approving the site on the Oxford Road, by the side of the Boxhill Path, for the erection of workmen’s dwellings by the Council.

Abingdon 100 years ago
August 30th

The members of the congregation of the Abingdon Trinity Wesleyan Church have made a presentation to the Rev Charles Pengelly, before leaving to take up his duties at Market Drayton Wesleyan Church. The gift took the form of a case of Treasury notes, and the presentation was made in the Schoolroom after his farewell service. The Rev Herbert Ashby, of Glasgow, who has been in the Wesleyan ministry for 26 years, will commence his ministry at Abingdon Wesleyan Church, Sunday, September 7th.

It is stated that over 1,000 women and girls employed at the R.A F. Depot Milton, near Steventon, have received notices to terminate their employment within the next few weeks. It is understood that only those members of the Force willing to reside in camp will be retained in their present employment.

The Abingdon Pavlova Leather Works held their programme of sports in a field near the works on Saturday afternoon last, the prizes being given by Mr R. A. Fraser, Director of the Works. The Reading Silver Band was in attendance and there was a large number of spectators.

The Abingdon Horticultural Society revived the holding of their annual show at Abingdon on Thursday last, when the weather was very favourable. The Show was held in the Caldecott Grounds, the residence of Mrs Bailie, whose late husband. General Bailie, was always a valued friend of the Society. The exhibits were not on a large scale, but to counteract this several gentlemen sent some beautiful items from their greenhouses and gardens. In addition the show of flowers, fruit, etc., there was a fete and carnival, and the programme consisted of a fairy play, competitions for decorated bicycles, bowling, and fancy dress parade, and in the evening there was dancing in an illuminated enclosure, the music being supplied by the Abingdon Town Band.

Thankyou for the extracts to the Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette – Adverts were taken from old North Berks Heralds and the picture of the 1919 Abingdon War Memorial, and the children going on a boat trip from Abingdon to Wallingford, came from the Oxford Journal Illustrated. The homecoming celebrations on 4th August did not get a mention in the Advertiser which reported on the Wantage homecoming event.

Leave a Comment August 16, 2019

Happy Days

Happy Days
Julian is trying to trace pupils from Dunmore School. These group pictures are from around 1967/8. He wants to arrange a reunion next year. There are bigger pictures and a list of names on the Abingdon Facebook Group and lots of comments.
Happy Days
He says ‘does anyone on here recognise themselves or know anyone in this Dunmore infant school class?. ‘ Probably the best way to contact him to to send a facebook message or email jannells @

What a good school it looks. Happy Days!

1 Comment August 6, 2019

Do you live in a Cowley Concrete house or did you work at Cowley Concrete?

Cowley Concrete
In 1966 you could have had a house built in three weeks using components from the Cowley Concrete Abingdon plant. Cowley Concrete was once an important company in Abingdon, located down the Radley Road.
Cowley Concrete
Do you live in a street like this made from Cowley Concrete? If so Elizabeth would like to hear from you. In Abingdon Library, she has put together a display of some of the buildings and flyovers made from the Cowley Concrete Abingdon plant.
Cowley Concrete
That includes the garage in Botley. Elizabeth is also interested in hearing from former employees at the plant to find out what it was like working there. If you can help, visit the display at the library and leave your contact details.
Cowley Concrete
This afternoon I took this picture of a bridge made at the Cowley Concrete plant in Abingdon. The bridge opened a large recreational area to the people of Abingdon.
Cowley Concrete
It was given to the town by H.G. Mullard, former Mayor and Freeman of Abingdon , and Mrs E M Mullard, Justice of the Peace, ‘In appreciation of a happy life spent in Abingdon.’

1 Comment August 4, 2019

Abingdon 100 years ago – Jul 1919

Abingdon 100 years ago
July 5th
The news of the signing of the Peace Treaty reached Abingdon about 7 p.m. on Saturday, and there was an outburst of cheering by large crowds, including soldiers from Milton Depot. The Abingdon Town Band paraded the streets, and fireworks in the streets’ were indulged in.

At Abingdon on Tuesday evening, an angler caught nearly 21 lbs. of barbel from the river Thames.

The Abingdon Oddfellows held a most successful river trip to Streatley on Thursday last, which was greatly enjoyed by upwards of 170 people. There were two boats requisitioned for the trip, and started from Abingdon at 9.30 a.m. reaching home again at about 10 p.m. A short stay was made at Wallingford on the outward journey, and luncheon and tea were provided on board, the caterer being Mr G. Hathaway, Stert Street, Abingdon.
Abingdon 100 years ago
July 12th
Major W. Aldworth, eldest son of Mr and Mrs W. Aldworth, confectioner. West St. Helen’s, was a recipient of the D.S.O. at the King’s Investiture at Buckingham Palace, on June 26th. Major Aldworth had five brothers serving, one of whom has made the great sacrifice.

At the Police Court on Thursday last the Abingdon lad who absconded from the Union, was ordered to be sent to Neath Reformatory till he reaches the age of 19.

Harry Plowman, coal merchant, Spring Road, Abingdon, was fined 1s on each of the following counts – selling coal without a ticket, weighing machine, or metal label sacks.

A Peace Thanksgiving Service was held at St Helen’s Church on Sunday last when the sacred edifice was crowded. The Vicar preached the sermon, and at the close the Te Deum and National Anthem were sung. A procession from the Market Place – accompanied by the Town Band and the Mayor and Corporation – to the Church took place in order to attend the service .

Soldier’s Mysterious Death.—An inquest was held at the Camp, Sutton Courtenay, on Monday, before the Coroner, Mr B. Challenor, on the death of J. H. Beesley, aged 20, of the Northumberland Fusiliers, who was found shot Thursday evening at the Camp. It appeared from the evidence that deceased was one of the sentries on duty on Thursday evening, and about 10 30 p.m. a witness named Pte. E. Bell, saw Pte. Fairhurst running down the hut alone. When he asked Bell if he had blown the alarm whistle. He replied No. A shot was soon afterwards heard which sounded as if coming from the guard-room

After other evidence of somewhat conflicting nature had been given, a verdict that “death was due from a gun-shot wound not self inflicted, but somehow unknown,” was returned.

A verdict of Suicide during temporary insanity was returned at Abingdon inquest yesterday on Lady Bliss, wife of Sir Henry Bliss of Abbey House. It was stated that the deceased, who had been suffering illness for sometime, was found dead in bed, having taken cyanide of potassium.
Abingdon 100 years ago
July 19th
Abingdon Cottage Hospital Pound Day this month produced contributions to the total of 4761bs., of which 3031bs were from the Abingdon Schools.

The Abingdon and District Master Baker’s Association revived their annual summer excursion on Wednesday in last week with a trip to Southampton by char-a-banc. There were three conveyances for a party 80, including friends and employees. A start was made from Abingdon at 7 a.m„ and six hours were spent at Southampton, arriving back at Abingdon at 11 p.m.

Alexandra Day in Abingdon was observed on Saturday last, and the proceeds were in aid of the local Hospital and Sanatorium, Oxford Eye Hospital and Radcliffe Infirmary, and the North Berks Nursing Association. A country fair was held in the Market Place, a Punch and Judy Show in the Borough Buildings Yard, and tea and concert in the Corn Exchange in the afternoon. The proceedings finished up with a popular entertainment in the evening, when the hall was crowded.

A poultry show of the Abingdon Branch of the National Utility Poultry Society in aid of the local Alexandra Day celebration on the following Saturday, was held in the Corn Exchange, on Thursday last.

The Abingdon Roysse School Founders Day was renewed (after the War) on Wednesday week, when there were present a large company of parents and friends. A choral service was held at St. Helen’s Church in the afternoon, when the Dean of Pembroke was the preacher. The school prizes were afterwards distributed by Brig -General J. T. Wigan, M.P..

An Open-Air Service was held in the Park, Abingdon, in connection with the local Comrades of the War Association, on Sunday afternnoon last, when there was large attendance. The service was conducted by the Vicar, and the Salvation Army Band supplied the music.

A conference of the Citizens’ Housing and Public Welfare League was held on the lawn at Caldecott House on Thursday evening last, when a local branch was formed. The Vicar of Abingdon presided, and Mr A. T. Pike, of the Garden Cities and Town Planning Association gave an address. The conference afterwards elected 30 members of both sexes (15 of each) representatives on the Council.

At the Abingdon County Bench on Monday last Dorothy Brooks was charged with attempting suicide on July 5th. On the 5th inst. Gertrude Clarke,a fellow worker, saw the prisoner vomiting, and on asking what was the matter the prisoner replied “I have done it, I have drunk some spirits of salts, I meant to do it.” The medical testimony was that he found prisoner in great pain and her lips red and swollen. He gave her an emetic and she was afterwards able to be conveyed to Abingdon Union Infirmary.

William Brooks, engine driver, the prisoner’s father, said his daughter had suffered from St Vitus dance when a child. The Bench bound prisoner over for 12 months in the sum of £l0, and her father in £50.
Abingdon 100 years ago
July 26th
Abingdon Peace Celebration was observed at Abingdon on Saturday, and in spite of the inclement weather, the arranged programme was carried out and witnessed by a large number of spectators. The proceedings commenced with the parade of demobilised soldiers, about 150, in the Market Place, from whence they marched to the Guildhall Yard, where the King’s health was drunk. An old disused cannon, for many years standing in the “Crown and Thistle Hotel” Yard, was fired several times, and in the evening fired again in the cricket field. The decorations of shops and houses were profuse and the town presented a gay appearance. Peals of bells were rung from St. Helen’s and St. Nicholas’ belfries and from the former at noon a muffled peal in honour of the gallant dead. In the afternoon there was a lengthy programme of athletic sports and races, including a marathon race of 7 miles, which was won by H. Pocock. In the evening at the invitation of the Mayoress a smoking concert was held in the Corn Exchange for the overseas soldiers.

Thankyou for the extracts to the Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette – Adverts and the Leamington Spa outing report were taken from various places where ‘Abingdon’ appeared in a search of the British Newspaper Archive in July 1919.

9 Comments July 29, 2019

Abingdon 100 years ago – June 1919

Abingdon 100 years ago
June 7th
The employees at both the Milton and Didcot Military Depots were given a half-holiday on Tuesday in honour of the King’s birthday.

The Abingdon Cricket Club were defeated at home on Saturday last in match against Trinity College, Oxford.

For the fourth week in succession there were no cases to be heard at the Abingdon Borough Police Court at this week’s sitting.

The Abingdon Town Band held a garden dance on Thursday evening in the grounds of Alderman J. T. Morland, Bath Street, kindly lent for the occasion. Their was a large attendance.

Mrs Smith, of 48, Vineyard, Abingdon, has just received the Military Medal awarded to her late son, Corporal F. G. Smith, Berks, killed in action. His brother, also of the Berks, gained the M.M. last year.

On Thursday last week recognition services were held at the Abingdon Congregational Church, in connection with the new pastor, the Rev C. H. Gill, formerly of Long Sutton, Lancashire. A good company sat down to tea in the Schoolroom, which included the Vicar of Abingdon, who welcomed Mr Gill to Abingdon, saying that unity amongst the various churches did not necessarily imply uniformity.
Abingdon 100 years ago
14th June
It is stated in a new Army Order that attention has been drawn to the fact some officers and soldiers are wearing ribbons of foreign commemorative war medals for service in the war. The Allied and Associated Power have agreed to institute an Inter-Allied War Medal, to be designated the Victorv Medal, and as this medal will obviate the interchange of Allied commemorative medals, the order says the wearing of Allied ribbons is prohibited by the Military authorities.

The Abingdon Cricket Club played a match at their home ground on with Pembroke College, Oxford, winning by a good margin. On Monday a match was also played against University College, Oxford, which was seen by a large number spectators. The visitors won easily.

There was a large number of visitors to Abingdon on Whit-Monday by river steamboats and Oxford buses, the latter being very crowded.

There were no cases at either the Abingdon County Bench or Borough Police Court again this week.

Lady Norman, of Stratton House, opened her grounds to the townspeople on Thursday evening last, when there was dancing to the music of the Abingdon Band.

In the Birthday Honours list was the name of Miss Nora Cullen, daughter of Mr E. Cullen, Stert Street, Abingdon, amongst the V.A D. Nurses, who was awarded the Royal Red Cross (second class). Miss Cullen worked for four years during the war, and spent three years in Camiers, Northern France.

The Abingdon Provident Society, of 75 years’ existence, held its annual meeting in the Borough Buildings, Wednesday evening last week , Mr Wake presiding. The report stated that about 100 members had served in the War, and nine young members of the Society had made the great sacrifice. A cash bonus of £300 had been distributed, and those serving in the Army been relieved of payment of subscriptions.

Abingdon 100 years ago
21st June

A fire broke out in a wooden structure at the Abingdon Pavlova Leather Works, Spring Road, Abingdon, on Thursday evening last. The structure was used by a contractor for his workmen and stores, and was about 50 feet long. The Abingdon Fire Brigade was soon on the spot and prevented the flames reaching the factory buildings, which cover a large area. The wooden buildings and the whole of the contents, were destroyed.

The Abingdon Belgian Relief Fund has now been wound up by the Committee, and it is stated that nearly £1,000 was subscribed by the public, and there is a balance over expenditure of £35 11s 4d., which the Committee have devoted to a distressed Belgian family.

Private Arthur Bronson, aged 38, of West St. Helens. Abingdon, who served through the War with the Berks Territorials, was taken ill on Thursday last and died at the Radcliffe Infirmary on the same day from appendicitis. He was demobilised last February. A number of his comrades attended the funeral in Abingdon Cemetery

The Abingdon Girls’ Club held a gipsy fair and dance on Saturday afternoon last in the grounds of Waste Court, the residence of Mr Clarke.

Lieut. Alan Cobham R.F.A. took several passengers for trips last week from the Manor Farm, Shippon, Abingdon. On Thursday the weather was too rough and intended flights were abandoned, but several went up on Friday, and on Saturday the number desiring trips were so many that Sunday was also utilised. There were no mishaps.

Abingdon 100 years ago
28th June

The Meritorious Service Medal has been awarded to Sapper W. Walters, 3rd Signals, of 68, Spring Road, Abingdon.

The North Berks Women’s Suffrage Society Branch, at a meeting at Aston Tirrold Manor, was wound up. The balance in hand. £5 15s, was voted to the National Union of Equal Citizenship.

An Abingdon woman, Mrs Turner, was knocked down by a cyclist last week, in Abingdon, and sustained a fractured wrist. The cyclist, Walter Busby, of Blackfriar’s Road, Oxford, was rendered unconscious and had to be taken to the Cottage Hospital, where, fortunately, his injuries did not necessitate his detention for more than few hours.

Abingdon June Fair was held on Friday last week. A few stalls, roundabouts, &c., were erected in the Market Place, but the evening was wet and interfered with the attendance.

At the Borough Bench on Tuesday, Walter Chivers, of 68, Spring Road, Abingdon, was fined 5s for riding a bicycle without lights, at Abingdon, and the same amount was imposed upon Douglas Game, of 18, Park Road, Abingdon, for a like offence. There were no other cases.

Thankyou for the extracts to the Faringdon Advertiser and Vale of the White Horse Gazette – All Rights Reserved. Picture of Congregational Church from an old postcard. Picture of the back of Victory Medal from Ebay. Picture of Lieut. Alan Cobham from . National Union of Equal Citizenship picture is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) license).

2 Comments June 21, 2019

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