Recollections Of Ash Vale By Lt Col Taylor - a Memory of Ash Vale.
RECOLLECTIONS OF ASH VALE
By Lt Col Taylor
Ash Vale, viewed from the main route through it the Frimley and Ash Vale roads would not have appeared to alter a lot during the last 100 years. Houses do now occupy some of the Stratford and Warwick Farm lands adjacent to 'The Angler's Rest'; the common ground which used to exist alongside the school has some residences on it and, a little farther along towards the station, Rosemary Avenue seems to occupy what was the site of two of the larger houses named, I think, 'Birch House' and 'Eastwood House'. *(Their names were in fact 'Silver Birches' and 'Tresino'
On the right hand side of the road, beyond the railway station and the new shops, there was a triangular area of ground which, for many years, was advertised for sale by Tarrants. The villagers of those past days regarded the ground as much too damp for house building. Wentworth Crescent and Newfield Road seem to have taken over that area.
Vale Lodge and St Mary's Road are also developments in more recent years. Away from the main roads, major changes have been made in the Prospect Road direction.
The railway station now known as Ash Vale flourished for years as North Camp (L & S. W. Railway. )
The other station at the level crossing was North Camp (S. E & C. Railway.)*(I think Lt, Col. Taylor's memory failed him fractionally here as Ash Vale Station was always known as such way back when my paternal Grandfather was the local station master for this area before I was born. North Camp has been so named since 1858, when it was called North Camp, Aldershot, according to Vic Mitchell & Keith Smith's book 'Reading to Guildford'.)
Lysons Avenue had a fine lot of tall poplars on each side until the trees were pollarded in the 1916 18 era. The common ground along the avenue, now taken over by industry, was the scene of many cricket battles by the local boys who carved out a rough pitch among the heather and gorse. A footpath existed from a space at the end of Sydney Villas on the Frimley Road to the bend in the avenue; that saved a considerable walk for people going from the Frimley Road to North Camp shops,
The Basingstoke Canal, especially during the warmer months, was a great attraction. The waterway was mainly weed free and a popular boating course for all ages. Rowing boats, punts and canoes could be hired from Mr. Harmsworth at his boathouse just above the station.
During the 1914 18 war some barges were built at the Harmsworth premises work which fascinated the children and attracted the interest of their elders.
At a point 'on the canal about 100 yards north of the road and rail bridges, there was a tiny shop selling fishing tackle and if one could afford a few pennies, real hooks and floats could be, purchased to replace the bent pins and bottle cork floats.
There was one occasion perhaps in 1919 when the canal and that wide part of it extending towards the ranges, was frozen hard enough for sliding and skating.
When the canal contained too much water, the sluice gates alongside the railway bridge were opened, and the water poured under the main road by the station entrance, down the wide ditch in the centre of Station Road until it eventually reached the River Blackwater near North Camp Station. Since this releasing of the surplus water occurred in a rainy period, the land down Station Road was already saturated and the additional water from the canal caused flooding of the road and the adjacent land. Jumping of the flooded ditch near the L. S. W. R. station tempted the daring boys.
There are, no doubt, many families who I have missed out who had children at the school at this time of my memoir. Perhaps I should have mentioned earlier that I was one of the Taylors of Grove Farm, Mytchett, and Poplar Farm, Ash Vale.
In those distant days the prominent members of the community continued to be the parson, the schoolmaster and the doctor. The Rev. F. G. Lacey was the C of E parish priest at St. Mary's Church. He lived in the house called 'Newfield', and toured around the district on his motorcycle with side car attached. Mrs Lacey ventured in the side car occasionally.
Mr. J. V. Moore the schoolmaster had his home in 'Abinger' the first group of 'houses just before St Mary's Church. The last house of that group was separated from the church by a small strip of woodland mostly birches; it was occupied by Dr Wright and his name on the red glass of a lamp at his gate advertised the fact.
The chairman of the school managers was Mr Maclaren, and he had his residence at the corner of Heathvale Bridge Road and Ash Vale Road. He was a Justice of the Peace and regarded with some awe by the children.
Mr Hillier was the School Attendance Officer for the area. From his Camberley home he cycled on his missions of enquiry into the absences from school.
The School Caretaker was Mr Smith and he lived in a cottage on the right of Ash Vale Road about 200 yards south of the station.
The premises of Ash Vale Council School consisted of a large central hall, three classrooms on the road side of the hall and two class rooms on the other (canal) side; lobbies, store rooms, boiler house and the teachers' room completed the building. The girls and infants used the playground at the north end of the school whilst the older boys had the southern area. Outdoor lavatories were provided, wash basins, were in the lobbies. The main structure of the school probably still remains the same today.
The area between the school and the canal bank was divided into two parts one part was used as gardens and the other was a rough piece of common land in which there was a hole about 8 feet wide and 3 feet deep and known as 'The Pond'.
The Headmaster of the school Mr Moore, known as 'The Gaffer' by the children cycled to his duties daily and went home for his midday meal. He had the reputation of a strict disciplinarian but with the passing of the years it seemed that the use of the cane diminished. Early in the war years the school lost the services of Mr Marsh he I think went into the forces. Mr Bannon, then a young man, came for a while and enlivened his instruction in various bright and breezy fashions. Later he went to the West End School in Aldershot and for many years did good work there.
Among the women teachers there were Miss Paxton :she left the school before the war was very old), Miss Moore, the daughter of the Headmaster, Mrs Bannon, the wife of Mr Bannon mentioned above, Miss Spiller and Mrs Williams. After the end of the Great War Mr Marsh returned for a brief period and then Mr Fred Poulter joined the staff. I think he remained with the school until his retirement probably in the late 1950s. *(He actually eventually became the Headmaster) School hours were from 9.00 a. m. the 12 noon and from 1.30 p. m. to 4.00 p. m. During the war the afternoon classes terminated at 3. 30 p. m. an economy measure which may have applied only in the winter.
At the commencement of the school day and in suitable weather, the children lined up in their respective playgrounds and were inspected by a teacher. It was expected that shoes would be reasonably clean and clothes generally tidy; most mothers managed to achieve those results before the children left home.
The school bell was rung to call children to morning and afternoon classes and to mark the end of the breaks in teaching.
In the morning the children marched into the hall to music played on the piano, prayers were said and a hymn sung before pupils and teachers moved to their classrooms.
Those children who could not get home for their mid day meal were allowed, in the Winter months, to use one of the classrooms as a dining room. A cup of cocoa, prepared by a member of the staff in the teachers' room, was available at one penny per cup.
The 'old boys and girls' who were at the school in those years would, I think, now agree that Ash Vale Council School afforded a sound education within the resources available to it and, in its Headmaster, it had a teacher of advanced ideas. It is most unlikely that any child completed its education at the school without a reasonable knowledge of the 'three Rs'.
In the top classes standards 6 to 7 the pupils were given an insight into the best literature in the works of Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Dickens, Browning, Keats et c.; arithmetic took them to the study of algebra, logarithms, metrication et c.; in the field of botany they were introduced to the structure and classification of flowers, fruit and trees. The British Empire was the major region for geography lessons and national history was covered in that subject. The lessons in the lower standards were a building up process towards those mentioned above.
Reading, spelling, composition and letter writing were also included in the curriculum and handwriting progressed from work in copy books with inkwells and steel pen nibs to periodical exercises in the 'thin up' and 'thicker downwards' style at the appropriate angle.
The study of the bible was usually the first lesson of the day for the upper classes and concerned mainly with its historical aspects.
The boys had instruction in drawing free hand and mechanical and in geometry; that instruction was given whilst the girls were having their sewing lessons. My recollection is that both girls and boys did some painting and pastel work chiefly of flowers, leaves and fruit.
The sexes were separated for cookery and carpentry lessons which involved the girls and boys walking from the school to an old chapel like building, in land opposite the 'Admiral Napier' public house a distance of over a mile. In really bad weather that walk was cancelled.
The school gardens were cultivated by the senior boys. The small plots about a rod each in size were shared between the Headmaster and 12 15 of the boys. The boys who had a plot allotted to them were expected to cultivate, plant and maintain the garden. The surrounding paths had to be kept free of weeds. Tools and seeds were provided by the Education Authority and the boys had the produce from their own plots.
Work on the Headmaster's plots was done by the boys under his guidance and he had the benefit of the crops. Flowers were grown in the borders surrounding the plots. The soil of the gardens was of a very light, sandy nature and though it had little manure, the crops obtained were of a reasonable standard.
The necessity to grow more food during the war years led to the study of garden pests and the use of artificial manures lessons on those subjects could be given when gardening outside was impossible.
During the war, a plot in the common area behind the school was cultivated by the boys. The plot, which was about 250 square yards in area, was trenched to a depth of about 2 feet and most of the work was done in the pupil's free time before lessons or in midday breaks.
To help with the work, one of the Tupper boys would bring along his father's turf cutting spade quite a weighty object to carry the mile to the school.
The need for food during the war years also led to the older boys and girls being allowed to go blackberrying during school hours usually of an afternoon. The fruit collected was taken back to the school, weighed and dispatched by train to the Jam factory. I think the children received three pence per pound for their berries and, of course, those who knew the best fruiting areas, had the greatest rewards. During this operation the children were scattered over a wide area and I now wonder how they knew it was time to return to the school when not one child in a hundred had a watch!
The commencement of hostilities in 1914 brought an end to the colourful parades of troops in Aldershot but the local school children then saw more of marching men, animal and mechanical transport and of artillery of all sizes. In due course, Canadian troops came to Mytchett camp and German prisoners of war marched past the school probably to some work at Aldershot or on Ash ranges.
The sinking of 'H. M. S. Hampshire' in June 1916 brought death to Lord Kitchener whose face glared rather fiercely from recruiting posters and on whom we children relied on to win the war for us. The same catastrophe members of the Young and Boroman families were among them.
Prior to the war one of the few events of the year was the arrival of the Officers Training Corps of public schools for the annual camp period at Mytchett. These young men brought colour to the camp and to the canal where the boating was largely taken up by them and their parents or girl friends. No doubt hundreds of the young men did not survive the war.
Empire Day was marked by the hoisting of the flag on the tall pole in the southern (boys) playground. In the Frimley area there were also sports and a tea for the children and since those pupils of Ash Vale who lived in Mytchett, had their homes in the Frimley Council District, they were entitled to participate in the Frimley celebrations. Tickets were sent to the school for distribution to the children concerned. No doubt these celebrations ended in 1914.
The coming of the Armistice on Nov. 11th 1918 seemed, to a schoolboy mind, to promise untold wealth to the country from the huge reparation sums which the Germans and their allies were to pay. However, it did bring a Christmas party for the children on the school premises a great occasion for so many youngsters who had never before had such an entertainment.
A tea meal was supplied in the various classrooms, using the desks as tables and chairs. Afterwards in the school hell, some of the elder boys, plus a variety of musical instruments, rendered a song about the effectiveness of the school band and the senior girls sang of litte dolls who had lots of fun.
Under the guidance of Mr Poulter, a school football team was formed and entered in the Aldershot Schools League. Having no recreation ground or other sports ground in Ash Vale, the boys practised on the rough heather covered common land, on the rushy meadows of Mr Bugden's farm or among the grass of land at Mytchett Place, now occupied by military married quarters. On the day of the first league match, the school team arrived along Queen's Avenue at North Camp, to play the Marlborough Lines School. The team was dressed in a variety of khaki shirts, short trousers and knickerbockers with footwear of any type other than football boots. Ash Vale lost that match by 13 goals to nil and continued to lose throughout the season. All the matches had to be played on opponent's grounds and the boys had to make their own ways to those places. When matches were in Aldershot town, the train from Ash Vale (North Camp?) could be used, but games at North Camp, Farnborough and Ash entailed long walks. Despite these disadvantages the team was always at full strength and by the end of the season had some Jerseys and a few real soccer boots.
Later the Ash and Ash Vale schools teams were combined and a junior team commenced. It meant that for all home matches the boys selected from Ash Vale had to walk to Shawfield Recreation Ground a journey of at least 2 miles before playing.
At cricket, some practice was taken on the rough ground behind the school and matches were played against Normandy, Ash Common and Frimley Schools.
A combined schools sports meeting at Shawfields produced one boy from Ash Vale, (Godfrey Galvin) who later did well in Army athletics as a long distance runner.
In the playgrounds the children engaged in the usual run of games skipping and some form of ring game were most popular with the girls, whilst, after the introduction of the school team, the boys indulged in football with a tennis ball.
Away from school, spinning tops, marbles and hopscotch had their appropriate seasons. The boys played their games of 'Cowboys and Indians' with only a few of the contestants having more than a twig of wood to shoot down the opposition. When weather permitted, fishing in the canal was popular with the boys and the rifle ranges were an attraction jealously guarded by the Range Wardens. During the war some trenches and dug outs were skilfully constructed in the Tunnel Hill area and these lured the
No doubt the evenings at home, especially in the winter, saw both girls or boys either reading or playing some form of card or board game. The girls could also do some sewing or knitting. By the standards of today all homes were cold and badly lit.
For all those children whose parents could afford the coppers required to pay the entrance fee, the Empire Cinema in Lynchford Road, opposite the point where it is joined by Artillery Road, was the Saturday afternoon attraction. There the 'Adventures of Elaine' and 'The Clutching Hand' (with Craig Kennedy and Jameson on the trail of the villains) kept the rapt attention of the boys and girls whilst someone played appropriate music on the piano.
Sundays found many of the children attending one or other of the places of worship in the village. At St Mary's C of E Church there was Sunday School a in the church room at about 10. 00 a. m. for half an hour or so. In the church a Matins service was held between 10 and 10.45 a. m. and that was followed at 11.00 a. m. by Choral Eucharist (during the time of Rev. Lacey). In the afternoon there was a children's service in the church, followed by Evensong at 6.30 p. m. A choirboy who attended the Sunday School and all the services following it, had a busy day and perhaps walked some miles during it.
Choir Practice was done on one evening during the week and was usually conducted by the Rev. Lacey. The organist, Mr Buckmaster lived in Farnborough and, perhaps had other musical commitment's during the week. He cycled to the church on Sundays.
For a complete attendance at all morning and evening services during a quarter a choirboy received two shillings. An older choirboy usually took over the duty of blowing (pumping) the organ and for carefully watching the weight on a cord which showed how full were the bellows, he received ten shillings per quarter. For most choral services there was an attendance of 8 12 boys and about 6 men in the choir. There were no girls among the choristers. During the ministry of Mr Lacey the cassocks worn by the choir were changed from black to purple garments.
On one occasion the services of the choir boys was recognised by a trip to see the pantomime 'Aladdin' at the Theatre Royal in Aldershot. This was a great event in the lives of the boys and enjoyed despite the fact that they had to make the homeward ,journey on foot, during snow which had fallen during the performance. At this time probably 1919 the train service (steam) would not have been very frequent and a bus service probably nonexistent. A Sunday School treat was an outing to Farnham Castle and Park. I cannot recollect how the children were taken there.
The Rev. Lacey organised a camping trip for a number of boys (about a dozen) and tents were set up on the lower slope of St Martha's hill outside Guildford. The participants had to take along a sack (to be filled with straw from a local farm), a couple of blankets, their feeding implements and toilet requirements. Under the direction of Mr Lacey the boys did the cooking and kept the camp area tidy. Cricket was played on the camp site and visits made to Guildford and other spots of interest. In the following year (1920) Mr Lacey introduced some of the elder girls of his congregation to the camping and they had their tents a little higher up the St Martha's slope, above the boys camp.
The pupils of Ash Vale Council School game from an area extending from the cross roads (and beyond) at Mytchett, to the canal bridge at the end of Ash Vale Road. A record of the days of the school is therefore linked with life in part of Mytchett.
From the most distant (northern) point of the school area came the Mann children -four or five of varying ages - who lived in Salisbury Grove in Mytchett. * (There were eventually to be 11 of them, all of whom went to Ash Vale Council School, although not all together. Two more died before reaching school age. They were my husband's Mother and her brothers and sisters).
Then there were the Fairminer family from the bungalow just over the connected rail and canal bridge and the Kemp boys whose parents occupied the largish house at the cross roads end of Coleford Bridge Road - all having a long walk to school.
The Milner family came from the southern end of the area - near the foot of the canal bridge - and there were some children from what was then known as Government Road. Mr Poulter lived in the same area in a house on Ash Vale Road.
From Mytchett came Dick Hodge who gained a. Scholarship to Guildford Technical School. His parents lived in a house' at the corner of Jubilee Road - a road which has been made since the days of which I write. That road and its houses are largely on the land which was used as a nursery by a Mr Skinner. He lived in a bungalow on the main road and had one or more children.
Mr Wheeler and his family of boys and girls came later to the next nursery along the road, and at the end of that property, Mr Springate had a dairy. His son and the children of Mr and Mrs Stephens who kept the sweets and tobacco shop at the corner of Glenmount, were also at the school.
Vine Farm, opposite the end of Glenmount Road, was under the control of Mr and Mrs Bugden. There were some cows and horses on the farm and Mr Bugden had a milk round, making his sales from a horse drawn float. His boys were Bert, Ted and Bill in that order of seniority. I think the family moved later to Glenmount Road and gave up the farm. Indeed they did, the two brothers Bert & Bill opened Vine Farm dairies and delivered milk throughout Mytchett, Ash Vale and Ash.
Residents of Glenmount Road included the Sindens, the Murfitts, the Gatcums and the Browns, all adding to the school population. The Cheale boys and girls lived in the bungalow at the corner of the road to Mytchett Place and opposite the entrance to Grove Farm. Mr Cheale cultivated land between his home and Glenmount Road and some up near the canal now under housing.
On the school side of .the entrance to Grove Farm the two semi detached houses included the homes of the Bagley and Savory Families. There were two boys in the Savory family but did Mr and Mrs Bagley have three boys and two girls? I think the eldest (or elder) of the girls became the wife of a shoe repairer with a shop at Frimley Green.
The last house on that side a detached property was the Dudley home before they moved to a similar residence on the north side of the Grove Farm entrance. The two girls in the family managed the millinery business known as 'The Bonnet Box' on Lynchford Road at North Camp in later years. I think the Sherman family came to the old Dudley home.
The house before the 'Angler's Rest', on the corner of Stratford Road, was occupied by a Mr Thomas, a gas works employee if my memory serves me correctly, and he had two or three children. Along Stratford Road there was an old house, on the upper wall of which, in lighter brickwork, was the sign Jas Nash 1866 (or was it 1886?) The two houses under that roof contained the Halfacre and the Richardson families. During 1914 or 15 the Halfacre family were evicted from their cottage and, for a time, found shelter in one of the outhouses of Grove Farm. The farm had in those days, a substantial house, the usual stables, sheds, a barn, styes ect. It also had a double decked earth closet and a pond. The former antique has no doubt been replaced these many years whilst all that seems to remain of the pond is a small enclosed pool in the mobile homes estate.
In the land between Grove Farm and Stratford Road was the red bricked Stratford Farm House. This was occupied by the Rogers family until they moved to Station Road. At one time the farm land was used for dumping the 'night soil' collected in horse drawn containers from the army camps. Following the Rogers, I think Mr Harry Potter took up residence in the house.
Bungalows built in more recent years along Stratford Road sheltered the Morgans and the Barltrops. The latter home, in the corner before reaching North Camp station, now seems to have been destroyed.
At the level crossing, Mr and Mrs Jacobs lived in a long narrow bungalow on the right hand side near the rail track. The family had previously had a house at the bottom of Wood Street. Mr Jacobs was a ganger in charge of work on the rail track for many years and when he retired it was said that he had a pension of no more than a few pence. The son Walter, left the family name in the firm of Booth and Jacobs.
The 'Angler's Rest' was a favourite port of call for the fishermen who operated on the canal banks and of many other thirsty men. Women did not often enter such premises in those days. The landlady of the inn was Mrs Hill a tall lady, with a daughter who became the bride of one of those military mounted policemen who looked so fine on their well groomed horses with swords dangling from their saddles. The sign 'Ancient Lights' on the wall of the 'Angler's Rest' puzzled most of us. (It disappeared a few years ago from under the small north facing window on the side of the building. I understand that by law one is not supposed to block the light entering such a window)
Playfairs shop, opposite the public house supplied the sweets for those fortunate children who had a ha'penny or penny to spend on a sherbert dab, a kallibonker, a toffee bar or a strip of liquorice.
Certainly the home next to that of the Purcells had no shortage of children. Mr. Clare a rather small man and Mrs. Clare who was a lot taller, had several children, of whom I think Reg, Florence, Eva and Elsie were in the junior group of the family.
In the bungalow next door, the order of eminence was reversed Mr. Gaines was the taller of the partners and they had two or three children.
My recollection is that the Warwick Farm building on the opposite side of the road and, at the time, the first house beyond the 'Angler's Rest' is of more recent construction than the cottages near it, and that early residents were the Renwick family who later, moved across the road to a small shop, set up in one of the older houses.
Of those older houses, the last lot on that side before the school, the one nearest the school was the residence of Mr. and Mrs. Backshall. Mr. Backshall was a one armed man but rode his bicycle regularly around the district, Of their children Cyril and Lena were the youngest members, whilst an older son was one of the few men who, after the war, tried to get an Ash Football Team formed.
From that house to the school fence was common ground heather and gorse covered, a haunt of lizards and the home of the insect catching Sundew plant. It gave easy access to the canal banks.
A family named Kercher lived in one of the bungalows just before the 'George Inn' Helen was the daughter who came to school. Then after the inn and the larger detached houses, there was the red bricked home of the Murray family. They had a horse drawn van from which they, sold tea etc. to the troops.
The first house just over the school fence contained a bakery run by Mr Field. I recollect him as a bearded gentleman who carried his wares by cart to his various customers. His oven was in a building attached to the main house; perhaps it survives to this day. The bakery closed down around the end of the war years.
My memory of the names of families who occupied the two rows of terraced houses on the opposite side of the road is not as good as it might be. There were the Holloways in the first block and the Ruffles in the second. An Army P. T. instructor named Shaw also lived for a while in the second group.
Mr and Mr's Swan lived in 'The Beeches' next to .the second terrace; of the two children, Daphne and Frank, the boy won a scholarship to Farnham Grammar School. (In those days it seemed the scholarship chances were limited to the boys). Mr Swan was a railway employee (L.S & W. R.) and often on duty in the signal box at the junction of the Ascot and London lines. Their neighbours were Mr and Mrs Cox with Dorothy and Leslie as the children of the family.
After the space, now occupied by a chapel, there was a small cottage where the Harmsworth family lived before taking over a new house in the common land beyond the school. Reg a big lad was the Harmsworth boy and I think the family were relations of the Harmsworths of the boat house.
The last house in Sidney Villas contained the Barnards. Walter Barnard was a tall boy and when the school football team was started, there was an opinion that he, as goalkeeper, would be impregnable. As I have said elsewhere, the illusion was soon dispelled.
The school teachers, Mr and Mrs Bannon, took over No. 1 Sidney Villas with the Randalls next door. Raymond came later to increase the population of No. I but there were already two or three in the Randall family. Dorothy and Sidney were younger members and I think, a more senior member of the family married one of the Sunday School teachers (Miss Harrington?), who lived across the road. Mr Randall (senior) worked at the railway station (L. S. & W. R.) and was a regular member of the church choir.
Next to the shop, a few cottages housed people whose names I cannot recall. Beyond them, Mr Parker and his coal yard and the Nash family lived in a house set back from the road. Mr Nash was employed at the waterworks at Frimley Green and it seemed to me that he was on permanent night duty, caring for the boilers in the pump house. The little man set out daily to walk from home to the works, to arrive around 5.30 p. m. He walked back next day, leaving his job about 7. 30 a. m. During the years he must have walked many hundreds of miles and was so punctual throughout. This particular Nash family included two boys and three girls. The eldest girl, known as 'Puss', worked in Mr Brigstock's grocery shop near the station and later married I think, Stanley Potter a younger son of Ted Potter who lived in Eastwood House *(Tresino?), Ethel, Frank, Gladys and Stanley probably completed the Nash family.
Heather Cottages are too numerous for me to recall the names of all the occupants or the numbers of the houses in which the various families lived. I know that the Goddards lived in No. 1. Was Mr Bellman in No. 2 or No. 3? If Mr and Mrs Phillips lived in No. 6 (and I am sure they did!), where were the Higgs, Lowrys and Streets?
On the same side of the road there was a gap before two semi detached houses where the Haskell and Walker families lived. Both families included a number of children of whom I can only recollect three Tom, Fred and Elsie of the Walker family.
P. C. Lewis the village policeman lived in 'Ruscombe', with his wife, two sons and a daughter. Unfortunately Mr Lewis died at an early age and his daughter Madge still only a school girl, did not long survive them. The elder son Reg is still in the village with another of the school pupils, Doris Munday, as his wife.
The detached residence in the junction of Frimley Road and Lysons Avenue, housed the Whittle family with two fair haired daughters who attended the school for a while. It was said that the family were related to the famous aviator Mr S. F. Cod y. Perhaps he lived there. *(Indeed he did)
The Flynns lived in the last house on the right, down Lysons Avenue. The elder son, Bert, was a tall boy and the brother, Leslie, had some nice wavy hair.
Mr Brigstock's shop, under different management is still selling groceries, but it seems to be a little larger than it used to be. Mr Newton had his cycle shop next to it and one of his boys achieved success in the motorcycling field. The village post office was on the corner opposite the two shops and under the control of Miss Bayne who lived in the Firacre Road area. Her assistant married Mr Howard the son of a smallholder with his property towards the lower end of station Road. (Newtons were still selling bicycles in the 1950s, but from the post office premises. My father bought my first cycle there)
The shop was run by a Mr Collins, we went to school with his son Peter.
At the top of Station Road were the homes of the Murphy and Rogers families the latter after moving from Stratford Farm. Mr Young and his family lived in one of the last houses on the right hand side, at a point where a wooden footbridge crossed the ditch in the middle of the road. Eva and Frank were, I think, the younger members of that family.
In the cluster of houses on the left hand side, below the bridge, the Greens, Burmans and Pardys lived at various times. Farther down the road and beyond a gypsy encampment, there was another row of houses of whose occupants only the Goodhearts arid the Matthews remain in my memory.
Mr Fort was the landlord of the hotel at the station and he had a son with a mop of fair curly hair. During his time at the hotel, some hard tennis courts were built on the ground where the new shops are erected.
From the station onwards, the land along the road up to Heathvale Bridge Road was either unoccupied or contained the larger detached houses of the 'better off'. Over the canal bridge, the hotel, best known as 'Tuppers', was a favoured rendezvous for boating parties since they could land direct from their craft into the hotel grounds.
Other Tuppers came from the Hutton Road area; the three boys seemed to possess the best cricket bat in the district and borrowed the wheelbarrow of their father to assist with work in the school gardens. The barrow was one of those solid, wooden structures and it was used on one occasion to transport a few loads of rotted manure from Poplar Farm in Station Road to the school. This involved a team of three or four boys pushing the heavy load down Station Road, up the Lysons Avenue and so to the school; a considerable task for the youngsters of 12 13 years of age.
In the vicinity of the Tuppers I believe there were the homes of the Galvins, Strachans and Hursts.
Just before Firacre Road in Ash Vale Road, Mr Moore the school head moved residence to occupy the first house from the corner of Firacre. In Firacre Road lived a number of families whose locations I cannot state exactly. I think the Bannisters, Breakspears and Gowans had homes there and, towards the bottom of the road was the house of the Boromans, Farther on, and on a track which linked up with Station Road, there was a bungalow occupied by the Heanes.
In Wood Street, Mr Barlow and his family lived next to the church, with the Williams house lower down the road. Charlie Williams was the curly headed boy in the choir.
The church sexton Mr Blake had the house on the right at the top of Wood Street, and probably Mr Neville, a regular choir man was his neighbour. Another member of the church was Mr Martin one of the churchwardens and he lived on the other side of the canal in Hutton Road. Mr Martin was a big man and one of the senior range wardens.
Somewhere down Wood Street, on the left hand side, was the home of the Smith family. I have an idea that it was partly of wooden construction. Bill. 'Ginger' and their tall sister were in that family.
From Wood Street on to the canal bridge I can name only a few of the residents and fewer addresses. In all cases which .I can recall, the families lived on the right hand side of the road.' The first set of houses sheltered the Mundays and the Dibbs. The butcher's shop beyond those houses was run by Mr Lucas and there were Dorothy and Leslie in that family. The Asletts had some connection with the nurseries, whilst the Browns and liorrobins dwelt in the next row of houses. A small house alongside the 'chapel' used for carpentry classes, opposite 'The Admiral Napier', was the home of the Beardmores.
I find that I have failed to mention those folks who lived in the station area. The houses where dwelt the Golledges, the Broadheads, the Robinsons and for a time a boy named Wilcox. Was the Wilcox family there too' I believe Jasper Robinson has not gone far from this district. Cecil Broadhead had a wooden leg but he was very agile despite that handicap, ( It was in fact Mr Golledge who had the wooden leg, and I am told by his grand daughter Mrs Tosie Titmuss that the leg is still in existence!)
After the 1914/18 war a library cupboard was purchased and installed in the school as a memorial to the old boys who had lost their lives in the war.
The names of them were recorded on a panel of the cupboard.
School examinations were usually held in June or July and the most successful pupils were awarded book prizes. During the war certificates were given in lieu of books.
Perhaps the Misses London did really run the little shop along the road in those days it was certainly known as 'Londons' and attracted those 'capitalists', the children with the ha'pennies and pennies.
Next to the shop, a few cottages housed people whose names I cannot recall. Beyond them, Mr Parker and his coal yard and the Nash family lived in a house set back from the road. Mr Nash was employed at the waterworks at Frimley Green and it seemed to me that he was on permanent night duty, caring for the boilers in the pump house. The little man set out daily to walk from home to the works, to arrive around 5.30 p. m. He walked back next day, leaving his job about 7. 30 a. m. During the years he must have walked many hundreds of miles and was so punctual throughout. This particular Nash family included two boys and three girls. The eldest girl, known as 'Puss', worked in Mr Brigstock's grocery shop near the station and later married I think, Stanley Potter a younger son of Ted Potter who lived in Eastwood House *(Tresino?). Ethel, Frank, Gladys and Stanley probably completed the Nash family.
E. J. Taylor, Lt. Col. (Ret' d) (Additional notes)
96 Rhodrons Avenue, Eileen Bunyan,
Chessington, 1 Rosemary Avenue, ('Tresino')
Surrey Ash Vale.
22 February 1977. 1st February 1994.
A memory shared byon Mar 25th, 2017.
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