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Seventy Years Ago - a story of a Kingston life.

Dorothy Hobbs

My first recollection of Kingston Bagpuize dates back seventy years. It then boasted of a saddler, a carpenter, a blacksmith (at The Forge), a doctor (at Stone House), a baker, a Post Office, a school and a public house, the Hind’s Head, of which my grandfather was the licensee. After he died, my father took it over, and then my brother-in-law. It was in the family for about seventy years.

The Hind’s Head was always a busy place. My grandfather would open at six in the morning to catch the farm workers on their way to work, and he would stay open until ten at night. It wasn’t until the first world war that it was compulsory to close at 2pm and reopen at 6pm. Sawdust was spread on the floor in the taproom and spittoons were used there and in the bar and smokeroom. Games were played in both rooms – rings, quoits and dominoes. The clubroom, now the lounge, had bagatelle: this room was built on later for meetings of the Ancient Order of Foresters. They held a dinner and dance once a year, and on that day stalls were put up in the village, and roundabouts and swings in the Warren(now Rimes Close), where normally cricket matches were played. Before the clubroom was built, A.O.F. held their meetings in the bedroom upstairs (there are still holes in the door, through which they would inspect anyone who knocked).

Transport was difficult then. There was only a carriers cart from Longworth to Oxford twice a week at nine in the morning. You didn’t get back till eight at night, as you went round all the villages. You could hire a horse drawn trap or brougham (to drive you to Oxford or Wantage Road station) from my grandfather, Mr Wigmore, who charged 5/- or 7/6 for the day. The buses didn’t start running until 1921.

We made our own enjoying, giving concerts and dances to raise money fro the Village Hall. Mr Strauss gave the land for the Hall, and money towards the building too. I believe it was the first Village Hall to be built in this district.

Most people were poor then. I believe only Mrs Young, Mrs Farmer and myself are left now, but we have many happy memories of those days.

Source: Dorothy Hobbs and reprinted from KBS News in March 1975.