Displaying the first of 36 old photos of Pangbourne. View all Pangbourne photos
Historic maps of Pangbourne and the local area, hand-drawn by Ordnance Survey and Samuel Lewis. View all Pangbourne maps
Pangbourne area books
Displaying 1 of 13 books about Pangbourne and the local area. View all books for this area
Memories of Pangbourne
My Family Posed in Front of The Mill in 1899
I have an old family photo posed in front of Pangbourne Mill on 4/9/1899. It includes the entire Stone family including my great grandfather and my grandfather (as a young boy). My grandfather, Edmund Stone, was a Master Mariner and captained 4-masted square rigged sailing vessels around the Horn to India and back; later serving as a Captain for the Cunard line and later piloted big ships from Gravesend to the London docks. My family moved from UK to the USA in 1956 and Edmund visited us in 1960 - I remember a strong man who impressed us with his great stories. He tied us a rope ladder and my brother and I hung from an apple tree. He appeared on a local radio show and visited my first grade class and drew a detailed picture of such a sailing vessel on the backboard. If anyone has any information about the mill and its operators and history I would certainly appreciate it!
The boat in the photograph was completed in 1949 by my father George Watson. We lived in Palmers Green, London N13. I am up forward then aged 11. I think the picture was taken in 1949 as I can remember the occasion well.
I went to live in Winteringham Way in Purley when I was 4 years old until I was 8 years old, and twice a twice every year we were flooded out. I remember having to stay elsewhere like the Memorial Hall, and it was very exciting staying at The Priors big house, eating my breakfast at a big long table, with my mum and older brother, we also had to move sometimes, into another house, in Brading Way. The area still looks very much the same. I still think about the times, that we went pea picking, my older sisters would come down from London to earn extra money, I loved it, they were good times, the farmer was MrBucknell.
As a young child, these were good days, we had very little but so did everybody else, Mum had a few chickens, and we lived in a little house on stilts, brick piers, my Dad was working for the Thames Valley, and when the floods came, he had to row the first few hunred yards to get to the hill, which would carry him over the railway and up to the main road to catch the bus in Reading. Joyous days by the riverbank nearby and fun at the local school where my teaching was a Miss Wallington. We were good friends with Beryl Webb who lived in a converted railway carriage and we all shared what we had together. Great days with happy memouries.
I have so many happy memories of Purley on Thames. My older sister lived at No 1 River Gardens in the latter part of the 1960s until the middle of the 1970s. As kids, my brother and I spent many, many happy days playing in the large garden there and along the river bank from the stile right up to Mapledurham Lock. I also remember swimming in the Thames there, and the night we swam across to the island almost opposite my sister's house and camped there. I often recall how we used to hire a small wooden boat called 'Ada' from a lady who lived a few houses along from my sisters. It cost one old shilling for an hour to hire and we had many happy hours paddling along the river between the lock and the Roebuck Hotel jetty. I don't remember the name of the lady, I think it sounded like a German name. So many, many happy memories I could go on and on.
19 Colyton Way
A friend of the family introduced us to Purley. My father John Dighton, took over management of the grocery shop at 19 Colyton Way in 1952. I remember the water was from an outside type pump in the kitchen, and electicity from a huge noisy generator in a large shed at the back, and the floods every winter. My two brothers and I learnt to swim in the river. The house on stilts was freezing in winter and there was a bathroom but it was too cold to use (in winter). An old sailor called Cally, organised a fete on the river..we, all dressed as pirates ..fireworks let off and boats sunk in mock sea battle. Trainspotting ..last of the steam trains. When it snowed, we sledged down from the railway embankment thru the farm field and under the barb wire fence at the bottom..Great times!..We gave up the shop in about 1956 and moved to Caversham but my sister Mary, still lives in Purley. Tony Dighton
I was about 5 or 6 and my dad was a school groundsman visiting schools in the Reading area cutting the grass and generaly keeping the grounds tidy. He would sometimes take me with him on a Saturday or during the holidays, always by bus no car in those days. I remember going with him to the school at the end of this road towards the trees on the left of the photo. The school caretaker took delight in lifting me up to look into a birds nest with baby birds in it. Nearly 60 years on this is still a memory that I have kept.