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Mrs Farmer's Village.

A description of Kingston Bagpuize as it was in 1919

An account of Kingston Bagpuize as Mrs Alice Farmer [nee Henley] remembered it, from the time when she first came to the village after her marriage in 1919.

Alice Farmer nee Henley.

I can remember the days when there was no post office as such. The Postmen were Mr King and the other was Mr Rogers, they all took it in turn to cycle out to Kingston Bagpuize and Southmoor from Abingdon to a tin hut, which stood where Mr Palmer’s garage now stands. It would be about 7.00 – [8].00a.m. when the postman arrived and he would stay in the tin hut all day after he had delivered the mail. Anyone wishing to buy stamps would be able to get them from him up until about 4.00p.m. in the afternoon.

The only means of transport out of the village to Abingdon in 1920 was by Carriers Cart, which cost us one-shilling return fare. Leaving the Lamb and Flag driven by Mr Simmonds at approx. 9.00a.m. and back again at 3.00p.m. Of course this was a horse driven cart for which it was usual to carry around ten or twelve people. This service continued until the carrier bought a charabanc approximately 1930. It is not until 1933 that I can remember the Oxford buses coming through the village when they went from Faringdon to Oxford and that cost us one shilling and sixpence fare.

At that time the doctor’s surgery was much different to the present day arrangements. If a member of the family was taken ill, someone had to run to the doctor’s house to fetch him or leave a message and he always came on a cycle. When Mr Palmer Senior opened the petrol station, Dr Woodward who lived in Old Stone House was the first to buy petrol from him.

Being a member of the W.I. during the war there was no Institute because the Village Hall was used as a canteen for the forces. All members of the Institute took it in turns to go to serve the tea and coffee when the canteen opened at 6.00p.m. till 10.00p.m and that was every evening of the week.

Where Rimes Close is now here used to be a big field which was often used as a cricket pitch, also where John Blandy School and Draycott Moor Estate stands, there was a large copse of fir trees. These were felled and used or pit props about 1939-1940 leaving a large clear area for army huts to be built. This made two camps known as ‘East and West Copse’. After the war these army huts were taken over by the council to help house the homeless to ease the over crowding. Up until just after the war The Old Berks Hounds and Horses were kept in the kennels, which were on the Hinds Head corner. They moved away to Wickersham, near Faringdon.

Just before closing I would just like to recall how beautiful the cherry trees and all the other fruit in flower would be at this time of the year, this was when the playing fields are now. Close to the playing fields, long gone out of use, but not forgotten is the water well in School lane which used to supply ten homes with their water, all to be carried some distance too.

Source: In 1965 Mrs Farmer was a member of the W.I. in Kingston. This is her written account given to the W.I of her memories of the village as it was when she first arrived in the village in 1919.

Written by Mrs Alice Farmer and published in the Kingston Bagpuize WI scrapbook 1965

See also:
Working Life > Mr & Mrs Thomas Farmer

Village Stories > Alice Farmer