We are very lucky recently with people recalling their memories of the area…..Gill Hoare has sent in some more of her Bourne End memories, this time in the Furlong Road area as she does a mental walk through the village.
“Where were we with our walk through Bourne End?….Oh yes we have just visited Bourne End School and are turning into Furlong Road. So on the left hand side the School Masters House then the school playground while across Furlong Road is a small parade of shops.
Mr Cheek the Greengrocer, who my good friend David Birch who lived at that time in Brookfield Road in Wooburn, tells me, he remembers an incident when Mr Cheek drove his ancient open back truck which boasted a steering wheel not on the right hand side or the left hand side of the truck but slap bang in the middle and it was used as a mobile shop around the villages – one day on the steep Brookfield Road the vans brakes failed and the van careered down the road, over the main road, and into the River Wye shedding apples and potatoes etc to float down the river – gives a whole new twist to apple bobbing!!
Alex Television Shop…although back in the early ’50’s not too many homes sported a television, radio was the thing in the mornings “Workers Play Time, afternoons “Listen with Mother” and “Mrs Dales Diary” (she was alway worried about Jim!) Evenings were spent gathered around the radio listening to “Journey into Space” staring Lemmy and Co. Where on earth did I dig all that up from??!! However a lot of folk sported a tele when it was the Coronation in 1953. We didn’t have a television till many years later – always felt deprived!!
Next was Woodbridge the Ironmongers and Hard Ware shop, a mainstay of the village, if they didn’t sell it – it did not exist!
Next – if I remember rightly – was Mr Gray the men’s outfitters – and I could never work out why – but on the wall outside was a Chewing Gum Machine needing one old penny to get the gum, very handy for using a penny from the Sunday School collection money before going into the Methodist Chapel!
I remember a “Ladies Wear” shop called Lilla Palmer – was it run or owned by Mrs Bocock?
Macphersons was a grocery shop then a Co-op. Then a separate large building was the main Post Office run by the Voiseys and in more recent years it is an Aquarium.
On the left hand side was the School Canteen at the side of the school playground and next along was the Methodist Chapel (I remember going to Sunday School and the Sunday evening Service…..you will remember we didn’t have a television!!
Across the road a row of houses then Wilks the Nurseries with a lot of land for green houses. More houses to take you up to Recreation Road – the park was used by the school games and sports days.
Back to the left hand side where my grandparents lived at 2 Ingledale Villas one of a row of semi detached houses (which I notice are still standing) before the family moved to Chalklands in 1938. Long before my time I hasten to add!!
After the row of semi – detached houses was some waste land later used as a car park for Jacksons employees opposite the Mill site.
More houses filled the right hand side of the road up to the many buildings that formed Jacksons Millboard and Fibre Company with the two mighty chimneys, an important part of Bourne End with employment for over 800 people from the surrounding villages.
Fond memories of the Mill where I started work in the accounts office in 1959 getting £3 a week…..before deductions!! A lot of Bourne End people worked in the offices – some travelled from Marlow on the Marlow Donkey and some long distance from Wycombe!!
The payroll was huge about 850 people working in the various departments of the Mill and everyone was paid, every week, in cash. The payroll was processed in the Book Keeping Department once all the information had been made up and checked from the Time Keeping Office, the Bonus Section where calculations were done on slide rules, and all checked in the Comptometer Office. The vast payrolls were completed and checked and passed to the Wages Office. The cash was ordered from the local Lloyds Bank and collected from there and made up into Pay envelopes. One very memorable Friday morning staff arrived to find the safe where the pay packets were stored was open and empty the robbers had arrived overnight and taken the lot! The television people arrived and one of the Directors was filmed revealing the empty safe…..all that was seen on the News that evening was an arm pulling back the safe door…no instant stardom there!! Lloyds Bank was “done” the very same night. The village bussed with the happenings! Everyone got paid as usual thanks to a lot of speedy work!! As an after thought the Wages Office was moved upstairs!!!
Jacksons offered a huge sports ground so there was football, cricket, bowls and tennis the large canteen saw dances, Children’s Christmas Parties and served on Saturday evenings as a Bingo Hall. There was a Social Club which doubled as a Cricket Tea Room An annual Mill trip to the Sea Side with a fleet of 50 odd Coaches for mill workers and their families to enjoy the day.
It had all finished by the early ’70’s the Mill buildings and the chimneys gone I believe it is an industrial estate now and the lovely, vast sports ground is now a housing development”.
Well that was Furlong Road in days passed…..I hope you enjoy it!! More to come!