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Kingston and Southmoor Village memories.

Violet E. Soden.

I have spent most of my life here – starting off as a very small child (aged about two years) at Fyfield Wick.

My father was groom for the farmer who lived there at that time (Mr Bob Weaving).

When we were old enough my sister, brother and myself walked to Kingston School, quite a distance for a small child (no bus in those days). This was the old school, now used by the Longworth Scouts.

Horses were still very much in evidence at that time. Mr Ballard the blacksmith was kept very busy shoeing not only carthorses but cab-horses and hunters too, as in those days we had the kennels at Kingston. I well remember the smell of the hounds’ food cooking and when the wind was in the the right direction it could be smelt in Southmoor too.

As children the top part of the field known as West Hayes was used by lots of us to play cricket and football in; as you know it is now full of rather nice houses.

Possibly the people of this generation would not appreciate how quiet and peaceful these two villages were then. No need to accompany children to school as there was hardly any traffic – maybe the odd rich man’s bull-nosed Morris with its dicky seat at the back. I was once privileged to ride in one of these and felt like a queen.

Source: Village memories from Mrs Violet E.Soden Pt I. Excerpt from July 86 KBS News.

Village Memories - Part 2

I often think of my mother who was born in a cottage at Trafalgar Square just down what is now known as Town Pond Lane. She would not recognise the village as it is now.

Her mother before her was the local midwife and was called out at all hours of the night to deliver babies to people for miles around –this was of course on foot – often across fields with only a candle-lit lantern to light the way.

It doesn’t seem possible that in such a short time things could have changed so much. For instance, the plot on which Mr Platt’s house now stands was once a very busy yard owned by Mr William Cox from where he operated a thriving market garden business and the only grocery shop was on the corner by the Chapel, more recently an antiques shop, now privately owned.

There was also Mr Palmer’s lovely sweet shop where we used to spend our pennies on the way to school. For one old penny we could get enough sweets to last all day.

The village was beautifully kept in those days, as we had our own road man, Mr Harry Absolom. No rubbish to be collected by volunteers then! Although in some ways we are a lot better off now than we were then, I still think with great nostalgia of those far off days.

Source: Village memories from Mrs Violet E.Soden Pt 2. Excerpt from August 86 KBS News.