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Kingston Bagpuize WI Scrapbook 1965

Kingston Bagpuize with Southmoor ~ Villages in the melting pot.

This is an impression of our villages in 1965 in which we have tried to give an overall picture. Who knows what they will be like in ten to twenty years time – with greatly increased population, many of whom have never lived in a village before, an overcrowded school with primitive sanitary arrangements, a village hall which will not hold many more Women’s Institute members, or any other expanding groups.

Two villages with divided interests strongly endeavouring to work together, and a Parish Council in Southmoor shouldering more and more responsibilities as the population expands and traffic problems increase.

Source: Kingston Bagpuize WI Scrapbook 1965

Tony and Maud Drew remember.

Hanney Road

Tony and Maud Drew

There were no houses along Hanney Road until you got to Granny Cox’s. The only trouble with her was she had a big dog called Prince. He used to come flying at the gate. If you happened to go that way to school you’d give him your sandwiches if the gate was open or cut across the field! There were so many frogs along Hanney Road that to walk down the road without stepping on the frogs was difficult.

The cobbler

We had a cobbler in the village – a Mr Walker at what was later Saddler’s Cottage. His full-time job was working for Ballard the blacksmith. At night when we came out of school although we were tearaways if we were feeling good we’d help Mr Walker – a very nice bloke so we pumped the bellows for him. In his spare time he’d mend shoes.

The village bonfire

Where the old village hall was and up to the Witney road was open ground. The school gardens were in the part by the school and the rest was waste ground which was used for the Kingston Bagpuize bonfire. We weren’t allowed to go to it because it was in Kingston. The Southmoor one was on the land near Stonehill Lane.

Tony Drew: “I don’t think he ever went faster than 20 miles an hour. Real slow. We used to have a fellow bring round paraffin. Mr Cox, where Cross Road Garage is now. He lived there. He used to come round once a week with big milk churns of paraffin and ladle it out just the same as they did milk. It was used for lamps and a cooker,. Electricity came about 1937 – two bulbs. Installing it was so expensive. We had one put in the kitchen and one on the landing to shine into four bedrooms it couldn’t go into the fifth one. With about a 60 watt bulb and a big kitchen it wasn’t all that bright but it was better than candles. We still went to bed with a candle. We didn’t have a socket.”

Maud Drew: “I know when we were children, doing homework if we bumped the table the lamp was on it smoked. It was a brass oil lamp with a wick.”

Mr Strauss

T.D.: “I can remember walking to Newbridge when I was about seven and my brother who was older than me, he was 8, and we were walking along and Mr Strauss came along in his Rolls and a chauffeur and he stopped to pick us up. It was a really hot day. I’d got nothing but a pair of shorts on and when we got down to the river and he pulled into the car park and I got out and I thought I'd peeled the leather off of his seat because I was absolutely stuck to it. It frightened me to death – I thought Oh no! He was a nice man. There was Mrs Lessing, his sister and her son and I think somehow they’d invested some money in pepper and the value dropped and that was it. That changed the village when that went.

M.D.: “Mrs Lessing always used to come and present the Christmas presents at the school party. I remember my brother, I think it was just the boys, when they were 14 and left school they were presented with a wrist watch and it was about to be my brother’s turn and the estate finished so he never got his watch.”