Gill Hoare’s last description of Bourne End Village as it was when she was a child, went down enormously well. Below, Gill has very kindly sent in another taking us a little further around the village. Thank you Gill, I know this will be of great interest just as your first article was.
Well Bourne End people…are you all ready to continue our jaunt around the village?
We got as far as the old Doctors Surgery, which, my long time friend David Birch reminds me, was called St Edmunds. I cannot remember there being any buildings past there – a lot of gardens lurked behind big hedges along the road till the corner where the Chemist is, and always has been a Chemist in my memory. The adjoining building, now the estate agents has always been an office of some kind.
Cross over Wharf Lane and heading in the direction of Bourne End Station a lot of high hedges hid a dwelling, all dark and mysterious..the sort of place you ran past very quickly! Of course it might well not have been as scary as it seemed!
The first part of Station Road on the right hand side was, as Roger Taplin (an ex Chalklands man) reminds me, a stable yard which was immediately before The Firefly which in a former life was named The Railway Hotel.
The Firefly could tell a few tales! I worked in Jacksons Office in Furlong Road and the pub was the nearest hostelry and it would have seen a vast number of celebrations of Jacksons staff – especially the much enjoyed Christmas Eve celebrations! Enough said!
Opposite the Firefly were some small shops. The first a Newsagent, then Websters the coal office and a tiny, tiny shop next to the railway line Mrs Dunhams Wool Shop where ardent knitters could choose a pattern for a jumper, or whatever, and the kind lady would keep the wool to be bought as and when needed or indeed be afforded.
Over the railway lines…that was when the train journeyed from Bourne End to High Wycombe…yes Bourne End was well catered for with travel to High Wycombe and Marlow – courtesy of the Marlow Donkey and to Maidenhead, and a single decker bus between Bourne End and Marlow. Bourne End was a central hub with trains and buses to the three main places. I used the train to Marlow when I was courting my husband and the Station Master, who’s name escapes me, had a hobby of making wedding cakes, and, yes, he made a three tier wedding cake for John and I in 1967!!!
Next to the Station was a sweet shop and opposite in the tiny place which was later an antique shop, was Mr Dabbs the greengrocer. Then where the Orchard Surgery is now was the home of Dr Selborne Bailey and next to that St Marks Church.
Opposite St Marks was Hall and North the grocers and wine shop. Roger Taplin tells me his Dad was Manager there at some point. I can not think the Wine Shop had a lot of business in those days but the grocery section was well used my Mum used to go there each Monday afternoon to place an order and pay for same at the cash desk! In later years when my brother and I had left school and gone to work she worked there! I remember her telling us that one afternoon a very well dressed gentleman went into the wine shop, he was so polite and purchased any amount of bottles which my Mum carried out to his car for him while he wrote a cheque for his purchases. Guess what… the cheque bounced and he was never seen again!! Who would have thought it??!!
Where Alfred Court is now was the Bourne End School. It had been there long enough for both my Grandfather and later on my Mum to have been there and then it was my turn!
I started there at five and my teacher was Miss Dodds the building was very old and as such boasted an outside block of bucket toilets! This was replaced by a new toilet block and even rows of wash basins built during the summer break one year..great rejoicing!!
Year two class presided over by Mrs Beeson had a huge open fire in the classroom – no Health and Safety back then – and in the winter the regulation daily bottles of milk were put to warm in front of the blazing fire – the very thought still makes me shudder!!
Each day morning break time was not complete without a currant bun. Children brought into school one penny and whoever was “bun monitor” collected the coins and went across the road to Spindlers the bakers to order the buns. I loved being “bun monitor” quite an important job!! Back then we left the junior school at 11 to go to senior school. In previous years in my Grandfathers time, they left school aged 12 to start work.
Mr GJ Drewett was the Headmaster and he used to read out loud from a book..but I always remember it being the same book “Rikki Tikki Tavi by Rudyard Kipling and he used to fall asleep whilst reading – not that the class took advantage of course!!
All good things to reflect on, tales to tell, school friends well remembered and some friendships still strong today.
Directly opposite the School was a Garage, and next to it the Spindlers Bakery with Ruth in charge of the shop. How sad that some of the lovely shops disappear.
by Gill Hoare