A Year in Woburn Sands through the columns of the 1947 Woburn Reporter
These stories and photos are all from the 1947 editions of the “Woburn Reporter and Woburn Sands Record”. I have included all Woburn Sands or Aspley Heath pictures and news stories, except the more mundane sports news and the weekly Whist report, unless they were exceptional in some way.
October – December
The festival of St. Michael’s and All Angels was commemorated at St. Michael’s Church by special services conducted by the Rev. F. W. Bowler. In the Memorial Hall a social, organized by the Vicar, with the assistance of Mr. E. G. Smith and Mr. J. Pursell, was held, at which there were games and competitions. Mrs. H. White was the pianist for the musical items and dances and refreshments were served by members of the Mothers’ Union.
Youth Club At a general meeting of the members of the Woburn Sands and District Youth Club, held on Tuesday, it was decided to recommence the club’s activities on 7th October. The club will meet every Tuesday and Thursday after that date. The Rev. F. W. Bowler was the chairman. The appointment of officers and committee made were: Secretary, Miss J. Pratt; treasurer, Miss J. Capp; with Miss D. Deverell and Miss H. White to form a temporary working committee.
The inaugural meeting of the Young Women’s Fellowship was held in the Memorial Hall on Thursday. Forty women were present, and games and competitions were enjoyed. After refreshments the Vicar gave a talk on the best way of bringing up children to be true children of God. Mrs. Bowler stated the aims of the Fellowship, and plans were outlined for weekly meetings
Sportswoman and Amateur Actress – Death of Mrs. R. Chester The death of Mrs. Rose Chester occurred on 30th September, at her home, Horse Grove, Station Road, Woburn Sands. She had been ill for some time. Mrs. Chester was born at Wymondley, Hertfordshire, and had lived in Woburn Sands since she was six years of age. She was active in amateur theatricals and musical societies. She was also a keen sportswoman, and played in a women’s cricket team. At one time she was a teacher of St. Michael’s Church Sunday School. She leaves a husband and one daughter. The funeral took place on Friday, at the Parish Church, the Vicar officiating. The mourners were: Mr. A. Chester (husband), Miss A. Chester (daughter), Mrs. Rudge (cousin), Mrs. Dyball (niece), Mrs. Pettit (niece), Mrs. Hill, Mrs. Foll, and Mr. and Mrs. Sykes (friends).
Floral Tributes Floral tributes were received from: Aubrey and Babs; Gwen, Bill, and Ann; Eva, Jim, and Bert; Dorothy and Cliff; All at Gayton; John Tompkins and family; Mr. and Mrs. Sykes, and Joan; Mrs. M. Hill; Mr. and Mrs. Codd, and Gordon; E. Cossom, H. S. Frost, and H. A. Cossom; Frank and Bill; Mrs. Billson and Mary; Mrs. Annoot and Joyce; Mrs. and Miss Dennett; Mr. and Mrs. C. C. Green (Aspley Hill Dairy); Mr. and Mrs. W. H. Preston; Mrs. Redfern; Mr. and Mrs. A. T. Morris; Jeremy and Patricia; Sarah Cullen; Mrs. Thorne, Albert and Audrey (Northampton); All at 26 Theydon Avenue; Mr. and Mrs. Faulkner; Peggy, Bill and the children; Diana and Alec; B.R.C.S. Bucks.122; R. and J Lester (Eversholt); All at the Cedars; Mr. and Mrs. W. Hill.
Woburn Sands Development The development of Woburn Sands, making it a compact residential place, has been carried out over a number of years (about seventy), and has, of course, affected all parts of the parish, the acreage of which is really very small. Because of new housing schemes, some of the few remaining fields are disappearing – or will disappear in the future. We wonder whether all the grass patches upon which a house can be built will eventually be lost to the parish.
Old residents can recall the days when the fields upon which Leys Terrace was built, was a football field. The present football club committee might say, “lucky people in those days to be able to choose a field in which to play football!”, for the present ground is far from ideal. But, there appears to be no alternative field.
Friends’ Burial Ground Despite these building activities, one piece of the original Woburn Sands has remained untouched. We refer to the Friends’ Burial Ground in Hardwick Road. Because of its great age, it can be regarded as one of the most interesting spots in the village. In it have been buried a number of Friends who were notable figures in the district. Space forbids mention of more than a few, but the How and Wiffen families come readily to mind.
Richard How (1727-1801) lived at Aspley Guise, and, besides being a diligent student, was a collector of books. He accumulated a library of over 5,000 volumes, which eventually came under the care of Mrs. Lucy How.
The Wiffen family lived at Woburn, and in the Friends’ Burial Ground there are buried at least seven members of the family. Jeremiah Holmes Wiffen (1792-1836) was librarian to the Duke of Bedford, and was the writer of good poetry. Much of this poetry was composed during walks in Woburn and Aspley woods. His brother, Benjamin Barren Wiffen (1794-1867) lived at Aspley Guise. He was a Spanish scholar, and poet also.
Visitors to Woburn Sands During July and August this year, parties of holiday-makers came to Woburn Sands, and had, as their headquarters and sleeping-place, the Friends’ Meeting House. These people, who came from the East End of London, had with them a number of children. These youngsters appeared to enjoy their stay.
A playground was needed, of course, and they selected the grounds in which the Meeting House is situated and the burial ground adjoining. Thus, residents of Woburn Sands observed children, playing in the burial ground – and enjoying themselves. We don’t blame these children; but we have, since then, heard several protests from residents, who consider that this should not have been allowed. We can assure these people that no damage was done to this burial ground, and the characters of the people buried there prompt us to believe that they desired children to be happy.
Record Broken Mention of the Friends’ Meeting House reminds us that meetings for worship have not been held there for some time past. This is due to the absence of members of the Society of Friends in the district. In view of the great number of years (since 1674) that Quakers have met and worshipped at Woburn Sands, this cessation of Sunday worship is a matter for regret.
Squirrels and Chestnuts While walking through the Aspley Woods we have noticed the absence of squirrels this year: last summer there were plently. Chestnuts are abundant on all trees this year; last autumn they were very scarce. Much to everybody’s delight there have been very few wasps about during the summer months. In the Woburn Sands district there appears to be an abundance of both apples and pears and rough winds, prior to the picking season, have been at a minimum.
Ghostly Face of an Old Man Said to Have Been Seen – Story of Revelations in Aspley Guise House When a second séance was held at “Woodfleld”, Weathercock Lane, Aspley Guise, on Friday night by Mr. H. W. M. Richards, a member of Luton Area Assessment Committee, two members of the circle claimed that they saw the ghostly face of an old man moving about the darkened room.
“It was an awful greyish colour. I was quite startled”, said Mr. Peter Craven, assistant to Mrs. Florence Thompson, a London medium, who was again present. Mr. Craven said the old man appeared at the side of Mr. G. Kenneth, another medium at the séance, and appeared to be trying to whisper in Mr. Kenneth’s ear. The other member of the circle who claimed to have seen the face was Mr. A. P. Underwood, of Westholm, Letchworth, who is gathering material for a book he intends writing on haunted houses.
“I saw the face at the side of Mr. Kenneth directly Mr. Graven drew my attention to it”, he said. Mrs. Thompson went into a trance, as she did on the former occasion. She said she “contacted” a young girl who said her name was “Bessie”, and gave the name of her lover as “John.” Mrs. Thompson said the girl told her: “We were going away together, but my father knew, and hurt my head. We have been shut away a long time . . . help John for me . . . help us to rest.”
Very Beautiful Later, Mrs. Thompson said the girl appeared to be about 20 and very beautiful. Her lover was dark and gaunt. She went on: “I have the impression of being bound and helpless. I definitely know there has been a tragedy in this room, and there are two earth-bound spirits who want to be released.” Mr. Kenneth told the circle that he saw a tremendous black horse in the room, and heard, screams at the beginning of the séance. “I also noticed an elderly gentleman with a long beard, who looked like a farmer”, he said.
This second ghost-hunt followed an appeal to Luton Area Assessment Committee by Mr. B. Key, of Twickenham, owner of the house, for a reduction of the assessment on the ground, among others, that the house was reputed to be haunted.
Scientific Viewpoint Mr. Richards decided to investigate, and held a séance at the house about a fortnight ago. On Friday he explained: “I want to give the Committee an answer from a scientific point of view. Whether they will accept it is another matter.” He added that he wanted to find the burial place of the lovers’ skeletons which were supposed to have been found in a cupboard by Dick Turpin Among the observers of the séance was Dr. Donald West, of the Society for Psychic Research. He afterwards had a discussion with Mr. Richards on the evening’s happenings.
Brains Trust at Woburn Sands – Agricultural Topics at W.I. Meeting An agricultural brains trust by a team of experts from Bedford was an interesting feature of a meeting of the Dunstable Group of Women’s Institutes in the Memorial Hall, Woburn Sands on Thursday. Among the opinions it expressed was the unanimous one that no village with a population of 2,000 or more should be without a food office, open on at least one or two days a week.
More than 200 members from Dunstable, Eaton Bray, Heath and Reach, Houghton Regis, Kensworth, Studham. Stanbridge and Tilsworth, Toddington, Woburn, and Woburn Sands, were present and Miss M. A. Barrett (Vice-President of Woburn Sands W.I.) presided in the unavoidable absence of Miss Robinson (President). She was supported by Miss Pain (Heath and Reach), convenor of the Group.
Thanks From Princess A letter expressing thanks for a message of good wishes upon her engagement was read from Princess Elizabeth.
A financial statement showed a profit of £11 1s. 4d., with £17 18s. 7d. in the reserve fund. Meetings were arranged for 1948. The Brains Trust consisted of Miss M. Davis Miss L. Tysoe, Mr. B K. Randall, and Mr. R. A. J. Wadsworth, with Mr. L. J. Harper as question master. The questions, all of which had been sent in by the various Institutes, included such topics as food offices in villages, planting raspberry canes, the possibility of using the chalk hills for sheep farming in order to improve meat and wool supplies, promoting growth in loganberry plants, should mushrooms be cut or pulled?, combating the ravages of the pear midge, who is the owner of the hedge between two gardens, and who is responsible for trimming it?
Tables Turned Amusement was caused when the Brains Trust became the questioners. Woburn Sands members were asked to name six insects helpful to the garden. Houghton Regis were asked to name six insects which fed on other insects. The question which Heath and Reach members were invited to answer was “Do people in the country do better for food than people living in towns? Eaton Bray members were asked, “Should there be an extra allocation of food for miners? This led to a spirited defence of the miners, and most members were of the opinion that other heavy workers should have more food. After the tea interval, the Woburn Sands W.I. Players presented the comedy. “Abu Hassan Pays His Debts”. Members of the Heath and Reach W.I. for the visitors, thanked Woburn Sands for their hospitality and entertainment.
Exhibition of Birds at Woburn Sands The Woburn Sands Cage Bird Society’s members’ show, held on Saturday at the Memorial Hall, attracted a large number of spectators. There were nearly 100 exhibits from Woburn Sands. Leighton Buzzard, Aylesbury, Ivinghoe, Bletchley, Olney, Aspley Guise, and Wavendon.
The show secretary was Mr. T. Griffin, with Mr. A. Tomlin as his assistant, and the stewards were Messrs. T. Pople, H. Wilson, L. Casey, H. Brett, H. A. Griffin, and F. Smith. The judges were Mr. C. A. Bartlett and Mr. A. C. Beckett, both of Aylesbury.
The most successful competitor was Mr. T. Griffin (Woburn Sands), whose entries gained for him the highest number of points. He won four cups, including the Barber Trophy and a diploma. Other cups were won by Mr. A. J. Griffin, Mr. V. C. Thompson, and Mr. H. Wilson.
Results: The placings in the various classes were as follows: – Canaries – Yorkshire flighted, 1 F. Smith, 2 A. J. Griffin, 3 T. Griffin; Yorkshire yellow, unflighted, 1 A. J. Griffin, 2 T. Griffin, 3 F. Smith; Yorkshire buff, unflighted, 1 A. J. Griffin, 2 F. Smith; border C.F., 1 and 2 T. Griffin, 3 H. Wilson; border H.F., 1 T. Griffin, 2 Knights, 3 L. Casey; border yellow, unflighted, 1 Spencer; border – B.C., unflighted, 1, 2 and 3 T. Griffin; border yellow, hen, 1. Spencer, 2 T. Griffin; border B.H., unflighted, 1 and 2 T. Griffin, 3 Knights. Budgerigars. – Old bird, 1 and 3 R. Chapman, 2 H. Brett; 1947 cock, 1 R. Chapman, 2 and 3 V. Thompson; 1947 hen, 1 V. Thompson, 2 R. Chapman. British Birds
Goldfinch: 1 A. J. Griffin, 2 T. Griffin, 3 H. Brett; any variety cock, 1 A. J. Griffin, 2 and 3 A. Tomlin; any variety hen, 1 H. Wilson, 2 H. Brett, 3 A. Tomlin; mules, 1 H. Wilson, 2 H. Brett, 3 Knights; S.C., 1 V. C. Thompson, 2 and 3 T. Griffin; any variety white, 1 Spencer, 2 H. Brett, 3 Mrs. D. Nursall; any variety, 1 and 2 A. J. Griffin. Refreshments were served by Mrs. A. Griffin, Mrs. Pople, and Mrs. H. Wilson.
Woburn Sands Vicar Hits out – Our Own Opinion We have, in Great Britain at the present time, a number of religious organizations whose leaders and speakers preach creeds which run counter to the old beliefs and doctrines upon which the Church of England, the Roman Catholic Church, and the well-known, old-established nonconformist religious bodies have been founded. Residents of small villages do not, generally speaking, come into contact with these modern organizations, but sometimes a series of meetings is held. This has happened at Woburn Sands recently, and has resulted in caustic comments from the Vicar (the Rev. F. W. Bowler, M.B.E., A.K.C.). Writing in the October issue of “Forward” (the Woburn Sands Parish Magazine), he states, “Much harm is being done by the spreading of views which have no historical basis and are often built up on false ideas of the Bible. Several of these heresies have strong financial backing, and some are run at a profit. Of late, there has been an influx of these movements in this place (Woburn Sands) and we who hold the faith of the Catholic and Apostolic Church must do all we can to combat them. I urge all members of the Church of England here to withhold all support from these heretical bodies, and to stand firm to the faith of their fathers.”
We Attend In order to get first-hand knowledge of the type of addresses to which the people of Woburn Sands have been invited to listen, and to ascertain if possible the truth or otherwise of the Vicar’s article, we attended one of the meetings. Looking round the Hall, we found ourselves among strange people – strange because we did not recognize one person as being a resident of the village.
We decided that the Vicar need not be over-concerned a about the possibility of Woburn Sands being taken by storm. Apathy seemed the order of the day. Of the 20 people present, one lady told us she came from Dunstable. Remarking that the speaker was late, she said she hoped we would not be tired of waiting, and suggested giving him five minutes more. We replied that this remark put us in mind of a popular song.
The speaker arrived, and soon got down to business. In a lengthy address, “Religion versus the Bible”, he spoke about the history of the Bible, and how it came to be written. After that he attempted, with the aid of quotations from the Bible, to prove that the doctrines of the Trinity, and Immortality, as taught by the Church, were wrong; he also attacked the Roman Catholic belief of prayers for the dead.
Summing up, we decided that Woburn Sands people (those we know, at least) would not be greatly attracted to these lectures.
Two Disappointments Having raised the necessary money to pay for the work, it was hoped to complete the concreting of the paths of St. Michael’s Church, Woburn Sands. However, this is not possible at present, because the necessary licence to undertake the work cannot be obtained. It will be remembered that a number of church services had to be held in the Memorial Hall instead of at St. Michael’s Church last winter. This was due to the failure of the heating apparatus, and it was decided to install a new system of heating as soon as possible – probably for use this coming winter. However, the Parochial Church Council has come to the conclusion that nothing can be done this winter.
The present heating system has been patched up and it is hoped to keep the church warmed and free from the fumes that were found to be a nuisance last winter. Eventually the new heating system will be installed, and also the concreting of the paths will be completed.
Fire Fought by Two Hundred and Ninety-Four Men – Vivid Details of the Aspley Heath Forest Blaze – Question of the Water System The forest fire at Aspley Heath in August burned for twelve days and nine hours. The 294 men who fought it were served with 650 meals. Twenty thousand feet of hose was used, with six mobile tenders; fire engines came from places as far apart as Wisbech, Watford, and High Wycombe. These facts were given by N.F.S. officials when they met representatives of the Newport Pagnell Rural Council at Newport Pagnell on 10th October Giving details of this meeting to a full meeting of the Council on Wednesday, Col. J. P. Wyness (Chairman) reported that he had assured the Fire Force Commanders that there was no question of criticism of the Fire Services. The interests of the Council lay in the conservation of piped water supplies to meet all demands.
The Aspley Heath fire, Col. Wyness continued, was described by the Eastern Fire Force Commander as one of the largest in his experience. No water was taken from points near the Railway Station, because it would have required nine pumps and crews to lift it to the site of the fire, and these were not available. During that period there had been 50 fires each day in the area controlled by the Eastern Fire Force Commander.
Mains Inadequate The N.F.S. representatives were of the opinion that the mains throughout the rural district were inadequate for the fire extinction service, and stated that the Home Office could contribute annually to the cost of new mains, if demanded by the fire service. Col. Wyness added that he pointed out that the water scheme in the district was designed and approved in 1934. Since then there had been demands on it for which it was not originally provided.
Housing Progress Presenting the report of the Housing Committee, Col. J. Williams reported that four of the 32 houses at Woburn Sands had been plastered, and that the Committee had decided to select tenants. Col. Williams and the representatives of Woburn Sands and Wavendon were empowered to make the selections.
Institute May be Renovated – Auditor says money should be spent At a meeting of the Woburn Sands Parish Council, held on 13th October, suggestions for making the frontage of the Institute more bright and attractive were outlined by Mr. C. Hutton. The Clerk reported that in the recent audit of accounts the auditor had raised the question of the large balance standing to the credit of the general fund, and had suggested that the money be spent on schemes beneficial to the parish. Mr. C. Hutton considered that the money (or at least some of it) could be spent in improving the front of the Institute. He made tentative proposals that the hedge be taken away, and the front of the building and brickwork cleaned and painted. The frontage, he suggested, be gravelled, and probably a seat or two could be placed there. Mr. Hutton’s suggestions appeared to meet with general approval, except that one or two members queried the idea of removing the holly hedge. After some discussion it was decided to defer the matter until the November meeting.
Danger to Traffic Mr. C. M. Ball pointed out that the holly hedge at the corner of Hardwick Road and Hardwick Place constituted a danger to traffic. He suggested that steps be taken to try and get the hedge cut back, though he thought it would lessen the danger if it was cut down. The Council generally agreed. The Clerk reported that the inaugural meeting of the Buckinghamshire County Association of Parish Councils will be held on 1st November at Aylesbury, and the Council was asked to be represented. It was agreed that Mr. C. M. Ball and the Clark represent the Council, and Mr. A. E. Tomlin signified his willingness to attend.
A notice of the revised order for the parking of vehicles in the High Street (Traffic Regulation No. 6, 1947) was received from the Buckinghamshire County Council. This incorporated the Parish Council’s amendment to the original order, and it was pointed out that the new order would come into force after the expiration of the time limit allowed for objections and amendments. The Council expressed satisfaction about the revised order.
Present Members present were Mr. McMurtrie (chairman). and Messrs. C. M. Ball. B. Furber, E. F Bathurst, B. W. Hanson, C. Hutton, 3. A. Pursell, and A. E. Tomlin. An apology for absence was received from Miss E. S. Robinson.
Popular 20 Questions At the monthly meeting of the Woburn Sands Women’s Institute on Wednesday there were present 101 members and 14 visitors. In the absence of Miss E. S. Robinson (President) the chair was taken Mrs. G. Hunt (Vice-President). Four new members were welcomed. “Twenty Questions” was a popular feature.
It was decided to send a letter to Miss Robinson expressing sympathy at the death of a sister. Members stood in silence in memory of Mrs. Barton, a member for many years, who died recently.
A report of the Group Meeting at Woburn Sands on 8th October was given by Mrs. Wilson. Members were invited to send questions, to be dealt with by a Brains Trust at the December meeting, to Miss Palmer (secretary).
Sweet-Making Miss Higgins (of the Bedfordshire Education Committee) gave an interesting demonstration on sweet making. The competition, for a jam-jar of autumn leaves and berries, was judged by Mrs. Barrett, and the winners were Mrs. W. P. Hawes and Mrs. E. Barnwell. Mrs. A. Manley, who was in charge of the social half-hour, introduced “Twenty Questions”. The part of Stewart Macpherson (“knowing all the answers”)’ was taken by the Rev. Arthur Manley. The “experts” were Mrs. G. Hunt, Mrs. F. Sillem, Miss M. Palmer, and Mrs C M Ball.
“Haunted House” Case – Story Unconvincing to Committee – Appeal Rejected The case of the alleged haunted house, “Woodfield”, Weathercock Lane, Aspley Guise, was decided by Luton Area Assessment Committee on Thursday, when the claim of the owner, Mr. B. Key, of Twickenham, that the value of the property was depreciated because of ghosts, was rejected. Since the appeal first came before the Committee, Mr. H. W. M. Richards has held two seances at the house, and on Thursday he declared, “I am satisfied that the place is haunted.”
Mr. Key, who had also appealed on other grounds, submitted further evidence in the form of an eleven-page document on the house and the alleged discovery by Dick Turpin of the skeletons of two lovers said to have been imprisoned in a cupboard by the girl’s father. Mr. G. W. Bean, Valuer for the Rating Authority, said he inspected the house on 2nd October, as arranged with Mr. Key. He referred to other points raised in the appeal, and added, “My inspection was made in daylight and I have no knowledge whether the house is haunted or not. I cannot help the Committee any further than that.” Ald. A. E. Sharman: Nor does anybody else.
A New Point Mr. Bean said he considered the bad state of repair of the house was due to neglect over a period of years, and the question whether it had been aggravated by war damage was not of particular interest. A new point now raised by Mr. Key was that, through confusion in the postal address: the house was actually in Woburn Sands, he said – people went to the wrong place.
“People have gone to Aspley Guise,” he said, “only to find there is only one house there with any reputation, and that is one where Oliver Cromwell stayed. The result is that Oliver Cromwell has become mixed with Dick Turpin.”
Before giving his report, Mr. Richards said that his investigations and seances had not cost the ratepayers any money. The Clerk (Mr. L. J. Aylett): Anything you have done has been a personal matter, and not as agent or on the instructions of the Committee. Mr. Richards: Definitely: I want to make that quite clear.
As to the investigations. Mr. Richards said, “I realized, when the case came forward, that there would be quite a number of people on the Committee who would be sceptical and think it was rubbish.
“Only Fair” “I thought it only fair to conduct the investigation in conjunction with the only people, in my opinion, who could investigate the matter, and I have done that.” Both mediums used, he said, were approved by the Psychic Research Board, and Dr. Donald West, of the same Board, was there to make sure the whole thing was fair.
“I am quite satisfied, from the evidence given, that the place is haunted,” he continued. In view of my statement, I wish now, to be considered as a hostile witness, and when the matter is discussed by the Committee I shall retire.”
When Mr. Richards proposed to quote from a booklet, the Chairman (Councillor R. C. Oakley) intervened and asked whether the Committee wanted to hear more than Mr. Richards’s opinion that the house…[Spookily, here the report ends!]
Street Lighting One result of Government’s order that a 50 per cent cut should be made in street lighting is that black spots in Woburn Sands have become inevitable. It will be remembered that at the annual lighting meeting, held in July, the members of the Parish Council endeavoured to cut down the lighting so that vital spots would not be too badly affected, and decided to utilize the remaining lights to the best advantage. This task (a thankless one, because any decisions made would not meet with unanimous approval of the residents) could have been shared by parishioners other than members of the Parish Council. Unfortunately, the only people present at this public meeting were Parish Councillors, and they had to deal with the matter without outside suggestions.
A Survey Making a survey of the “cut” lighting, we came to the conclusion that the result of the Council’s “allotment” of lamps for the various streets could be described as “fairly satisfactory.” Hardwick Place appears to have been favoured inasmuch as that part of the village retains its three lamps; this is because there are three road junctions at which the lamps have been placed. Theydon Avenue comes off fairly well, owing to the lamp at the Junction with Wood Street still being lighted; but the Leys Terrace has lost its two lamps – this thoroughfare having Junctions with other roads only at each end. Wood Street is in the same category as the Leys Terrace. The High Street loses one of its four lamps, but, with Hardwick Place, can be described as fortunate. In view of other lighting in the Square, we wondered whether the lamp outside Mr. Havill’s business premises could not have been sacrificed, and one of the side-street lamps (probably in the Leys Terrace) lighted.
Dangerous – But Unlighted One complaint comes from a resident who points out that Chapel Street – the most dangerous thoroughfare in Woburn Sands, both for pedestrians and other users – is now the most badly lighted street in the village. We agree. It was expected that the lamp at the High Street – Chapel Street junction would give some light, but the foliage of a tree nearby stops Chapel Street from having the full benefit. It is hoped this trouble may be rectified; also that the Council may see its way clear to provide a lamp half-way down the street.
In our survey we found that Russell Street would benefit if the bracket of the lamp at the High Street end could be altered so that the full effect of the light could be gained. We understand that the lamp at the Cranfield Road – Ridgway junction is to be lighted, and the one further down the road extinguished. This will be beneficial to users of the Ridgway thoroughfare – not an easy road to traverse in complete darkness, unless one is well acquainted with it. The lamp to be dispensed with (until the “cut” is restored, of course) appears to be in an unfortunate position, as it is close to a tree.
A Danger to Traffic Mention of Cranfield Road reminds us of a complaint made to Woburn Sands Parish Council a few months ago. This was about a high hedge, which the complainant described as a danger, and suggested should be trimmed down and cut back. The hedge is a definite danger to traffic turning the bend at that point of the road because it completely obscures the driver’s view.
When the Parish Council forwarded the complaint to Newport Pagnell Rural District Council, a reply to the effect that the hedge would eventually be removed was received. Shortage of labour prevented the work being carried out immediately. As the hedge has been condemned, because the field is one upon which building is in progress, we would suggest that enough labour be mustered to carry out the work before an accident occurs.
The Value of Names
It has been suggested that the title of the Woburn Sands Parish Hall – known, since it was built a great number of years ago, as the Institute – be changed to a more up-to-date name. During the war, security reasons demanded that the name of a town or village be left off any poster advertising a concert, dance, whist drive, or other function. People in Woburn Sands and nearby villages, however, could generally identify the village at which the function was being held merely by the name of the Hall. For instance, Social Club Hall or the Institute was the clue for Woburn Sands; the Parish Hall immediately brought to mind Aspley Guise; the Town Hall always meant Woburn; by the Reading Room we recognized Husborne Crawley; and the B.P. Hut gave us the clue for Wavendon. At one time Ridgmont had as its chief place for entertainment the Y.M.C.A. Hall, but that name has now given place to the Village Hall.
Theft of Spring Cabbages – Woburn Sands Man Fined A 74-year-old retired Woburn Sands man, Charles C. Cook, of Theydon Avenue, was fined £1 with 9s. costs at Bletchley Magistrates’ Court on Thursday for stealing 85 spring cabbage plants. Alec William Circuit, of Station Road, Woburn Sands, coal roundsman, said he took 85 spring cabbage plants, which he valued at 2s., to his allotment, and left them lying wrapped in brown paper about three feet away from the footpath. They were not there when he returned the following evening.
P.c. Regan said that in a plot about fifty yards away he found two rows of spring cabbage plants which had recently been set; he ascertained that the plot belonged to Cook.
In a statement to him Cook said he picked up the plants 20 or 30 yards from Circuit’s ground. He thought he would set some himself and keep the others, and then pay whoever owned them for what; he had taken. P.c. Regan added that Cook produced a bunch of plants from the rear of his house, and the two rows of plants he had set were taken up again and taken to the owner.
Cook told the Magistrates that he found the plants in a ditch, and had no intention of stealing them and he thought it was a shame to see them lying there, so he set a few of them with his own.
Whist The weekly whist drive for the Football Club funds was held on 20th October, at the Memorial Hall, when Mr. A. W. Linnell was the MC. The winners were; Miss. E. Last, Mrs. M. Anderton, Miss D. Linnell, Mrs. Kilpin, Mr. Sharman, Mr. A. Linnell, Mrs. J. Hart, and Mr. E. Cox.
Methodist Guild The Methodist Guild met on 20th October, at the High Street Methodist Church, when there was a good attendance of members. Mrs. G. Hunt was the chairman, and the speaker was Mrs. W. R. Heffer (Leighton Buzzard), whose address dealt with the temperance question.
Badminton At a well-attended meeting on Thursday, at the Institute, it was decided to form a badminton club for the village. Mr. E. N. Bathurst was the chairman. He stated that he had approached the Woburn Sands Parish Council concerning the hire of the Institute to play badminton, and read a reply from the Council, which had agreed to certain alterations to the lighting and the marking of the floor, and had fixed charges, which were 5s. for the first hour and 3s. for subsequent hours for each evening the Club hired the Hall.
Mr. W. Elliott proposed that the Club be limited to thirty members for the time-being, each to pay a subscription of £1. 5s., and play to be on two evenings of four hours each evening, weekly. Mr. E. W. Kitchener seconded, and the meeting agreed. The election of officers and committee resulted as follows: Secretary, Mr. W. Elliott; Treasurer, Mr. A. H Upstone: Committee, Mrs. Moss, Mrs. S. West, Mr. E. W. Kitchener, and Mr. J. Holmes. It was left to the Committee to appoint a president and chairman.
Chapel Street One Woburn Sands resident, living in Chapel Street, has been very outspoken recently about the hedge opposite the houses in his street. He complains of the great height to which this hedge has been allowed to grow, and states that this has had the effect of excluding both light and air from the houses.
He asked: “Could something be done about it?” The only reply we could give was, “Yes; but only by the people responsible for the hedge.” This resident is right when he points out that the hedge used to be cut periodically, but that nothing has been done for some time past.
For Houses? We are afraid that the nuisance may have to be endured a while yet. As the complainant is probably aware, Newport Pagnell Rural District Council has been in negotiation for the purchase of the field for a building site for a very long time past. When the field is eventually acquired by the Rural District Council, building operations may be started. This should result in the hedge being removed, and, in due course, this resident may be able to look out of his window and see a number of badly-needed new homes. We certainly hope so!
Disgrace to the Village Walking down Chapel Street we see that this hedge is bad enough, but a further glance convinces us that the height of the hedge is not the real nuisance. Exceptionally bad weather during the early part of the year, and the very dry weather during the summer, has resulted in a serious deterioration of both road and path. It is a pity that the problem of making-up the street could not have been solved before the war.
Chapel Street remains – as was described 1933 – a disgrace to the village of Woburn Sands, and a danger to all who use it. The bad weather during the coming winter will make the street worse. A present, this problem – a bigger one than the hedge – is difficult but not insoluble.
Lights Out! On Sunday, 19th October, Woburn Sands residents experienced what, to the, is a rare happening – a failure of the electric current. At 8.50pm the lights went out, and in some houses, there was a hasty search for shillings for the meter. Even this failed to produce the desired result. The failure lasted well into the night – in fact into the early morning. Listeners with electric receiving sets were disappointed, but battery set listeners were better off.
The Methodist Guild met on 27th October at the High Street Methodist Church. It was the first of a series of evenings on “The Mission and Message of Methodism”, and Mr. C. B. Bates gave an introductory talk on “The World that leaves God out”, after which there was a discussion.
The weekly whist drive, for Football Club funds, was held on 27th October, at the Memorial Hall. Mr. A. W. Linnell was the M.C. and the winners were Mrs. A. Fairey, Mrs. G. Rand, Miss J. Andrews, Mrs. Souster, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Wilson, Mr. A. Linnell, and Miss M. Spring.
A Dance, held on Friday at the Memorial Hall and arranged by the Woburn Sands and Aspley Guise Football Club Committee, attracted a good crowd. Mrs. E. Fox was in charge of refreshments, and the proceeds were for Club funds.
Blood Transfusion Woburn Sands and district blood donors were present at the Memorial Hall on Saturday, when a blood transfusion session was held.
The War Memorial Comment on the appearance of Woburn Sands War Memorial, after its recent cleaning, has been very favourable. Residents generally, agree that the work of cleaning was long overdue. Standing, as it does, in a very conspicuous position in the village, and in full view of visitors and travellers passing through, the Memorial should never have been allowed to develop its drab and uncared-for appearance. We had seen it like this for a number of years, and probably came to regard this as its normal appearance. However, its brighter look after cleaning has made us realize that the dirt to which we had become accustomed when looking at the Memorial should have been regarded as an eyesore. The result of this thorough cleaning should cause us to resolve not to allow the Memorial to deteriorate again.
New Tablet A tablet with the names of the seven residents of Woburn Sands who lost their lives in the 1939-45 war, with a suitable inscription, has been placed on the east side of the War Memorial. This has been paid for by the sum of money kept for the purpose from the “Welcome Home” Fund subscribed to by residents after the conclusion of hostilities.
The dedication and unveiling of this memorial tablet will take place next Sunday (9th November) at 10.30 a.m. After this, there will be a united service at the War Memorial, conducted by the Vicar and the Rev. Arthur Manley (Methodist Minister). The special united service of remembrance will be held again at St. Michael’s Church, following the two services at the War Memorial. The sermon at St. Michael’s Church will be preached by the Rev. Arthur Manley.
Not a Perfect Gem! Resident of a nearby village (Husborne Crawley to be precise) has quoted Mr. A. E. Tomlin’s description of Woburn Sands – “The Koh-i-noor of Buckinghamshire” – and suggests that “this Koh-i-noor has a few rough spots to be eradicated.” He cited Chapel Street as “a part which should be polished before the village of Woburn Sands can be regarded as ‘a perfect gem’.” Unfortunately, we could not argue with him; his statement called for no denial, and we contented ourselves with pointing out to him that the most perfect-looking gem in the world had a rough and uncared for appearance until the experts, by their work, revealed to the world its true glory.
Street Lights It was pointed out in these notes a fortnight ago that Woburn Sands Parish Council had been concerned with maintaining lights at street junctions, and had been fairly successful in achieving this object. It has been suggested now that the lamp in Weathercock Lane would be of greater use if it could be moved a few yards up the lane to the Weathercock Lane -Russell Street junction. This, undoubtedly, would be beneficial to Russell Street, and would not be detrimental to Weathercock Lane.
Unfortunately, the Woburn Sands Parish Council has no jurisdiction over this street lamp, as it is under the control of Aspley Guise Parish Council. In the past, Woburn Sands Parish Council has requested Aspley Guise Council to move the lamp as suggested, but with no response. The same remarks apply to a lamp in the Aspley Sill area, where an adjustment would benefit the Aspley Hill – Downham Road junction. A little co-operation between Parish Councils whose boundaries adjoin would eliminate problems like these.
Grocers Cannot Oblige A Woburn Sands tradesman has been perturbed about requests from customers to accept coupons and points in advance of the period for which they are available. Naturally, he has had to refuse, and, by so doing, feels that these customers consider him to be disobliging. It should be pointed out that the law does not permit any trader to accept coupons in advance.
The Manchester Food Committee, for instance, has warned grocers against future offences, and decided to prosecute a trader who, it was alleged, had accepted coupons in advance of the period for which they were available. So, the moral is – help your retailer by not suggesting such a thing to him.
How Woburn Sands Remembered – A New Tablet Unveiled A large number of residents of Woburn Sands and district was present at the War Memorial on Sunday morning to take part in the Remembrance Day service and the unveiling of the new tablet commemorating the men of the district who lost their lives in the last war.
The services was conducted by the Rev. F. W. Bowler (Vicar of Woburn Sands) and the Rev. Arthur Manley (resident Methodist Minister). The singing of the hymns was led by the surpliced choir of St. Michael’s Church. Organizations taking part were the members of the Woburn Sands, Aspley Guise, and Aspley Heath branch of the British Legion, the Woburn Sands Red Cross Detachment, the Aspley Heath Platoon of the Army Cadet Force, the 72nd Beds. Troop of Boy Scouts, and the Girl Guides.
The Unveiling Mr. C. Hart, who served in H.M. Forces during the war and was a prisoner of war in a Japanese camp, unveiled the new tablet.
Wreaths were placed at the Memorial by Mr. C. M. Ball, for the British Legion; Mr. C. Wooding, for the Red Cross; a member of the Army Cadet Force, for the Aspley Heath Platoon; Scout R. Gamble, for the 72nd Beds. Troop of Scouts: Miss E. Bromage for the Girl Guides.
The Last Post was sounded by a bugler from the balcony of the Swan Hotel before the two minutes’ Silence was observed. Members of the organizations present at the War Memorial afterwards marched to the Parish Church, where a special Remembrance Day service was held. This was conducted by the Vicar, and the sermon was preached by the Rev. A. Manley.
Negro Spirituals Explained – Methodist Guild Hold Anniversary At the anniversary meeting arranged by the Woburn Sands Methodist Guild, held on 3rd November at the High Street Methodist Church, an interesting lecture-recital dealing with Negro Spirituals was given by the Rev. C. Fernley Jones. Mr. C. M. Ball was chairman, assisted by the Rev. Arthur Manley, who accompanied the lecturer when he sang the negro spirituals. Mr. H. C. Piper was the pianist.
The lecturer pointed put that folk music was the music of the ordinary people, and the foundation upon which the professional musician built much of his music. Practically all the music of the British composer, Ralph Vaughan Williams, was built up from English folk tunes. Folk tunes, however, were not composed by an individual, but by groups of people, and this was so with negro spirituals. Many of these originated in the negro churches, where the theme of a preacher’s sermon was taken up in song.
Endured for Years Illustrative of the condition of slavery which the negro had to endure for a great number of years was the spiritual “Go Down, Moses”, but not all of these songs should be associated with the slavery of his body. Some indicated that he was concerned with the slavery of his soul, as in the song “Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen”.
At one time the slave master did not allow the slaves to attend religious services, but the negro went in secret, leaving his hut under the cover of darkness, to take part in a gathering in wooded seclusion. This practice gave us the beautiful spiritual “Stear away to Jesus”. In contrast to the meditative songs, which were composed during intense emotionalism, there was the spiritual – a forerunner of present-day syncopated music as used in dance halls. For example, “Every time I feel de spirit”.
Imagination The negro approached religion through his imagination. He had a wonderful way of projecting himself into a situation until he believed it to be true. “Didn’t it Rain” was, perhaps, silly judging from the words of the song, but showed the imagination of the negro.
Religion to the negro served as an escape from the slave life he had to endure, as shown in the song “By and by I’m going to lay down this heavy load “. He saw a better life for him when he passed over, and he would sing about this transition from the slave work to the better world in the spiritual “Swing low, sweet chariot”.
A further example of the imagination of the negro could be found in the spiritual “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” The Rev. C. Fernley Jones sang all the negro spirituals he mentioned in his lecture, and at the conclusion was thanked by the Chairman and the Guild President. There was a collection for Guild funds.
Hay Rick Fire On Friday, Woburn Sands members of the N. F. S. had a call to a hay-rick fire in Station Road field, near to the fire Station. Another call was necessary about 7a.m. on Saturday.
Progress of Woburn Sands British Legion – Record Membership – Band to be Reformed? Sixty new members making a total of 217, has given the Woburn Sand, Aspley Guise and Aspley Heath branch of the British Legion the highest membership since its formation. This was stated at the annual meeting at The Institute, Woburn Sands on 4th November. Mr. W. H. Elliott (President) was the chairman, and on the platform were Lt-Col. A. R. Liddell (of the Benevolent Committee), Mr. F. J. Mann (Secretary), Mr. Hudson (treasurer), and Mr. Arnold (of the Bedford branch of the British Legion).
The Secretary’s report showed that the branch had been more active during the past year, and the financial statement showed a balance of £46, an increase of £14 over last year; the balance standing to the credit of the Benevolent Fund was £198. Both reports were adopted.
Help for Members Lt.-Col. Liddell reported on the work of the Benevolent Committee. Help had been given to some elderly members at Christmas. The deaths of two members had been followed by help given to their widows. He expressed thanks to Miss E. Mowbray for the help she had given during the past 19 years. Mr. R. Neville spoke of the work of the Entertainments Committee, and said the response had been rather disappointing. Mr. C. M. Ball (Pensions Secretary) reported that a few cases had been dealt with during the year, and the branch had secured the granting of a full pension to the widow of a member. One member had been directed to work which had proved unsuitable for him the case was taken up, and a more congenial occupation had been secured.
The Chairman introduced Mr Arnold (of the Bedford branch of the Legion), who spoke on the work of the Legion in connexion with the benevolent schemes. He explained the various schemes, especially Scheme P, by which a permanently incapacitated ex-Serviceman can obtain relief, if he cannot carry on his work and is at least 55 years of age. By quoting cases dealt with by the Bedford branch, the speaker showed what a Benevolent Committee was able to do to help needy ex-Servicemen. Thanks were expressed by the Chairman and Mr. A. W. Parker, after Mr. Arnold had answered questions.
Officers The election of officers and committees were as follows President, Mr. W. H. Elliott; chairman, Lt.-Col. A. R. Liddell; treasurer, Mr. Hudson; secretary, Mr. F. J. Mann; assistant secretaries. Mr. W. Wodhams (for Woburn Sands) and Mr. E. Bates, for Aspley Guise); pensions secretary, Mr. C. M. Ball; executive Committee, Messrs, E. G. Smith, A. W. Parker, F. Woollett, R. N. Smith, E. Faithfull, A. Linnell, E. Watts, F. South. Shaw, Chapman, Rev. F. W. Bowler, and Mr. Enever.
A Service Committee, composed of Miss Mowbray, Lt.-Col. Liddell. Mr. C. M. Ball, and Mr. F. J. Mann, with power to co-opt, was elected. During an animated discussion about the entertainments side of the branch’s activities, members of the committee expressed disappointment about the lack of support. One member suggested that the proposed club be started and opened at least one night a week for indoor games. The following agreed to form the Entertainments Committee: Messrs. Enever, T. Pople, E. Bates, Keetley, and Hart.
For the Festival of Remembrance at the Albert Hall the four tickets allotted to the branch were secured by Messrs. A. W. Parker, E. Last, Yost, and C. M. Ball.
Instruments Available The Chairman raised the question of forming a band for the village, under the auspices of the British Legion. If formed it could no doubt have the use of the instruments of the old Woburn Sands Band. He considered it regrettable that there was a set of silver instruments available, but could not be used because of the lack of a band. Mr. A. W. Parker supported the suggestion, and Mr. E. G. Smith pointed out that it would be necessary to secure an efficient bandmaster. It was left to the committee to explore the possibilities of the formation of a band.
A member asked if it would be possible to hold a dinner for members, as had been done in pre-war years, consistent with present-day catering difficulties. The committee was asked to consider this suggestion.
Public Opinion – Buckinghamshire’s Brightest Jewel Sir, – I see from your columns that the “Hill Men” have been interested in my description of Woburn Sands as the “Koh-i-noor” of the crown of Buckinghamshire. And I claim that it is. We went to Wavendon in the year 1907 because we wanted water and sewerage, and carved the parish of Woburn Sands out of the parish of Wavendon. The people of Wavendon told us they would never want water and sewerage, and anathemized us for wanting it.
There is only 360 acres in the parish of Woburn Sands – not the area of a good-sized farm – but we are assessed at nearly £9,000. Therefore we are the “Koh-i-noor of the crown of Buckinghamshire.” Anybody would think we were in the middle of Trafalgar Square.
Chapel Street will be made up in due course, and I hope before very long, because the District Council of Newport Pagnell are now negotiating for the ground to build on.
A. E. Tomlin. Woburn Sands
Vicars Offer – Hedge cutting begins at Woburn Sands The Vicar of Woburn Sands, writing in the November issue of “Forward” (the Parish Magazine), refers to notes in a recent issue of this newspaper voicing a complaint made by a Chapel Street resident about the height of the hedge in that street. The Vicar says: “I suppose that, until the purchase of the field by the R.D.C. is completed, I am responsible for it. I am sorry for any ill-convenience it has caused.” After giving reasons why be cannot arrange for the cutting of the hedge, he says, “If any people like to cut it. I shall be only too happy for them to go ahead.”
It remains to be seen whether the hedge will be left at its present height, after this invitation to “go to it.” We realize that, like the building of Rome, this work will not be completed in a day; but, if nothing happens we must conclude that the nuisance is one that can be endured.
Since this note was written, a Chapel Street resident has started to cut the hedge and has already made substantial progress.
Legion Progress At the annual meeting of the Woburn Sands, Aspley Guise, and Aspley Heath branch of the British Legion, it was stated that the branch now had a membership larger than ever. It is pleasing to note that the branch – the parent branch of several others in the district – has made such good progress. Obviously it has attracted to its membership a considerable number of young men who served in the Forces during the 1939-45 war.
The branch has always been fortunate in having a live and efficient secretary. Mr. White (of Wavendon) worked hard for the branch as its secretary, Mr. C. B. Stephens was very active for some years in the office, and he was succeeded by the present secretary (Mr. Mann), who, before coming to Woburn Sands, had had considerable experience of Legion work at Bedford, and who has put in much strenuous work during the past two years.
Social Activities The attendance of members at the annual meeting was satisfactory, compared with that of previous years, though it must be pointed out that a good percentage of the 217 members were absent. A feature that augurs well for future progress was that a number of younger members were on their feet, making criticisms and suggestions when various matters were under discussion.
The social side of the branch’s activities was a matter for lengthy discussion. The Chairman of the Entertainments Committee said that his committee had been rather bewildered at the lack of response to the events arranged, especially so with regard to the day outings to seaside resorts. They had had to be abandoned. The Legion Club had not been got under way, though a room had been secured and prepared for indoor games. It is probable that this proposed club for Legion members will definitely come into being, now the matter has been discussed at an annual meeting.
Badminton Club Badminton has been included again among the indoor sports played at Woburn Sands. For many years before the war there was a thriving Badminton Club in the village which was inaugurated by Mr. E. F. Bathurst. Like many other things, it lapsed when hostilities began in 1939.The newly formed Badminton Club has become well established and soon attracted a membership of 30. The Institute has been fitted up, and the club members play in that hall on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Great Need For Bus Service To Newport Pagnell – Wavendon’s Efforts Supported by Rural Council – Boundary Inquiries Next Spring Wavendon Parish Council’s efforts to obtain a bus service between that village and Newport Pagnell were strongly supported by members of Newport Pagnell Rural District Council when they met on Wednesday. It was suggested that the service should start from Woburn Sands, and the Council decided to write to the Ministry of Transport.
The Chairman, Col. J. P. Wyness, reported that the Local Government Boundary Commissioners would consider the Woburn Sands and Wavendon area boundary question in the spring of next year.
The bus service question arose when the Clerk (Mr. E. Stapleton) read a letter from Wavendon Parish Council asking for the Rural Council’s support of an endeavour to obtain a bus service from Wavendon to Newport Pagnell. A letter from Capt. J. B. P. Fitzgerald supporting Wavendon’s action and suggesting that the service should run through Walton, Milton Keynes, and Broughton, was also read.
Mr. A. E. Tomlin thought the service should start from Woburn Sands. Aid. E. D. Sykes said that there was a fairly large population at Woburn Sands and anybody who wanted to go to Newport Pagnell had a difficult and roundabout railway journey. There was no direct route.
Koh-I-Noor Mr. A. E. Tomlin’s description of Woburn Sands as “the Koh-i-noor” of Buckinghamshire has been quoted many times in recent weeks. There was an amusing reply when Mr. Tomlin used this same description again at Newport Pagnell Rural District Council last week. The Chairman, Col. J. P. Wyness, said: “Koh-i-noor means ‘ Mountain of Light’ in Punjabi, but Woburn Sands was once Hog Sty End.”
At the meeting of the Woburn Sands Methodist Guild held on 10th, November at the High Street Methodist Church, the series of evenings on the Mission and Message of Methodism were continued. The subject discussed was “Conversion or New Birth.”
Woburn Sands branch of the British Israel Federation met on Wednesday at the Memorial Hall. The speaker was the Rev. T. Sutcliffe, whose subject was “Every Christian a Patriot.”
Poppy Day The annual collection for the Earl Haig Fund raised £107 3s at Woburn Sands and Aspley Heath. The organizer was Mrs. F. W. Lawrence. The total included £18 3s. 4d. (collection in St. Michael’s Church at the united Remembrance service). £3 8s. (collected at the Aspley Heath Schools by Mr. J. R. W. Codd, head master), £2 13s. 4d. (from Edgbury Convalescent Home, by the Matron); and £2 16s. (from the Knoll School, by Mr. Zair, head master).
Public Opinion – Woburn Sands Silver Band “Sir, – It was with interest that I read in The Woburn Reporter of 11th November that a suggestion had been made to reform the Woburn Sands Silver Band. I had often wondered what had become of this Band. I well remember, as a small boy, the old Brass Band under the conductorship of Mr. H. Giles giving concerts in the Square, after leading us children to church on Easter Sunday afternoons.
When the Band reformed after the 1914-18 war I joined it, the Band then being under the conductorship of Mr. H. Seabrooke (“Old Harry” to us). With patience and hard work he soon had a first-class Band, which after about six months took the plunge and bought a set of silver instruments. We members of that Band worked hard to pay for these by giving all fee moneys from engagements to the Band Fund.
So get together, you instrumentalists of Woburn Sands, and, as Wilfred Pickles says, have a go. Being a regular reader of The Woburn Reporter I shall watch for further developments.”
P. V. Whitlock.
The Middle Course Sir, – “For whom shall I vote at the next General Election?” is a question which the average independent voter, unattached as such to any Party, will experience difficulty in satisfactorily answering; for, whilst many of such politically unbiased electors are dissatisfied with the present Labour administration, they would not wish it to be replaced by a Conservative regime.
The comparatively rapid growth of the Liberals in Australia, together with their significant majorities secured at recent elections throughout that progressive Dominion, would appear to indicate that public opinion over there is gravitating towards a form of politics approximately midway between the extremes of “Right” and “Left”; and it may be that increasing numbers of our own electorate will similarly decide to cast their votes for Liberal candidates at the next General Election.
In the Woburn Sands district we have branches of both the Labour and Conservative Parties – but what is the address of the local Liberal Party centre? Charles W. Branscombe. Woburn Sands.
Boundary Question The Bedfordshire – Buckinghamshire boundary controversy has been in the background for some months now, but this is not to say that interest has flagged or even that the position has righted itself. Feeling still runs high and the old arguments will come out as forceful as ever at the first opportunity.
Bedfordshire wants Woburn Sands and Wavendon and Buckinghamshire wants Aspley Heath and Aspley Guise. It will be a tough battle and, at last, we know when the battle will take place. The Local Government Boundary Commission will consider the claims in this area “in the spring, of next year.” We shall know the worst (or the best) within a year at any rate.
Church Clubs The St. Michael’s Church clubs, organized by the Vicar of Woburn Sands, are now going well, and from comments by those who attend one or the other, we learn that some very happy evenings are spent. The club for the children, and the club for young people, had a few weeks’ start on the adults’ club, and so are more settled. We understand, however, that the seniors have made good headway and that their club is now getting into full swing.
The Vicar has announced that visitors to the clubs will be welcomed, particularly visitors who wish to know what he and his helpers are trying to do.
The Young Women’s Fellowship, meeting every Tuesday, in which Mrs. Bowler takes an active part, has proved very successful, and has attracted a good membership, which, we venture to forecast, will increase. At these gatherings, there is usually a talk, followed by discussion among members. The subjects have been varied. The social side has been a success also.
Impressions of China – Missioner’s Address at Woburn Sands At the annual meeting in support of Methodist Missions Overseas, at the High Street Methodist Church, Woburn Sands, on Wednesday, the Rev. W. Hancock gave some interesting facts concerning life in China during the Japanese occupation. He has been a missioner in that country, and is shortly returning.
Mr. H. C. Piper was the chairman, assisted by the Rev. Arthur Manley, who gave the annual report of activities at the High Street Church in support of mission work. Subscriptions, boxes, collections at meetings, collecting cards, and an effort by the Methodist Guild (£16 10s.), had raised £47 5s. 5d. In addition, the Girls League had raised about £62. Mr. Manley thanked all who had assisted in this work during the past year.
Mr. Hancock came to the meeting in place of the Rev. B. Holland, who was unable to present, and described his impressions of China, formed when he first made his acquaintance with that country and its people in 1936. In Hankow, he said, there was what the Chinese called “The Hospital of Universal Love” in other words, the Methodist General Hospital, with 200 beds. During the Japanese occupation this hospital was allowed to carry on with the same staff.
Detained It was at a place about 150 miles from Hankow where the speaker saw the coming of the Japanese army, and from then until the conclusion of the war against Japan in 1945 Mr. Hancock was under Japanese authority. In the first days there were restrictions that proved irksome, but the Japanese soldiers allowed worship in the Christian churches to go on. Some of the Japanese were friendly, but others were not.
When the news came through that Japan was at war with Great Britain and the U.S.A., Mr. Hancock was detained, in his house under a guard of Japanese sentries. After four months, he, his wife, and baby daughter, were sent to Hankow. When leaving his home the Japanese purloined all his property and made a bonfire of his books, with the exception of six, which he was allowed to take with him. After four months in Hankow he was taken to Shanghai, where for three years he was in detention camp. The termination of war meant his release.
He was pleased to be able to report that, though the war in China resulted in much destruction of church premises and houses, the work of the Christian faith, though restricted, was carried on. Mr. Manley thanked the speaker and a collection was taken for Methodist Missions Overseas.
“Haunted House” An Appeal Luton Area Assessment Committee on Thursday received notice of appeal from Mr. B. Key, of Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, against the decision of the Committee at its last meeting not to make any alteration in the assessment of his house, “Woodfleld”, Weathercock Lane, Aspley Guise. One of the grounds of Mr. Key’s objection heard at the previous sittings was that the house was reputed to be haunted. The Clerk (Mr. L. J. Aylett) said the necessary notices had been given by Mr. Key, and the Clerk of the Peace had been advised that the Committee would appear as respondents to the appeal.
India’s Future: Christianity, Or? The Rev. E. Chapman at Methodist Guild The Woburn Sands Methodist Guild met on 17th November at the High’ Street Methodist Church when an address on the probable effects of the changes in the Government of India was given by the Rev. Eric Chapman (Chesham). The Rev. A. Manley was chairman, and was assisted in the opening devotions by Mr. W. Smith and Mr. H, C. Piper. Miss Perry was pianist.
The speaker, who has travelled in India and Burma, pointed out that the population was comprised, roughly, of ninety-one million Mohammedans, two hundred and seventy-five million Hindus, seven million Christians (half Protestants and half Roman Catholics), and Sikhs and Parsees.
Out of every 100 people no less than 90 lived in villages – quite a reversal of the spread of the population in England – because 72 out of every 100 depended on agriculture for their living. The crops mainly consisted of wheat, rice, sugar, jute, cotton, tobacco, and tea, and a large quantity of coal could be mined.
Dominates Everything Religion affected the whole of Indian life; it determined the conduct, the thought, and politics – it appeared to dominate everything. There was nothing in India to give impetus to decency and good living. The people had reprehensible habits, and these made it impossible to bring about a state of cleanliness. For instance, said the speaker, the cleaning up of garbage in the streets may offend a god of the Hindus – everything seemed to offend one or other of the gods. India was a land of filth and squalor, mainly due to religion. Illiteracy of the people was a big problem; only eight per cent of the men were literate and only two per cent of the women.
When British influence came to India, endeavours were made to counteract this illiteracy by starting schools, but, though British rule had been successful in many spheres, the attempt at education had failed. Consequently no concensus of opinion amongst Indians was possible.
Clemency and Fair Play The speaker maintained that British rule in India had always been one of clemency and fair play. Now it had been withdrawn, what would happen? Gandhi, who had always declared that Great Britain had let the country down, had believed in non-cooperation and had advocated it. What would happen if the Hindus carried out a policy of non-cooperation now that India had self – government? This might be one problem. There were others likely to come along – the problem of the future of the Indian rulers and the foreign governments. The greatest obstacle to development was the ignorance of the people and the doctrine of Communism being spread in the country. Wherein lies India’s hopes? Christianity, or – ? the speaker asked in conclusion.
Public Opinion – The Middle Course Sir, – With reference to the letter headed “The Middle Course” in your last issue, I would like to assure Mr. Branscombe and all Liberals of Woburn Sands that they have not been forgotten with regard to the reorganization of the Liberal Party and its activities. Furthermore, the question of an Association in Woburn Sands has been, under review for several weeks. In this connexion we have the great assistance of Mr. Berry, F.S.C., F.Comm. A. Chairman of Lidlington Liberal Association and member of Mid-Bedfordshire Executive Committee. A notice will be published shortly stating the time and place of a meeting, when it is confidently anticipated a strong Association, will be formed, a worthy successor to the vigorous Association of former days. Strong Associations have been formed in the immediate area of Woburn Sands, and, owing to increasing membership and interest, a full-time agent for the North Buckinghamshire area is being appointed this week.
C. R. E. Phillips,
Russell Street, Woburn Sands.
The Weekly Whist Drive in aid of the Football Club funds was held on 17th November, at the Memorial Hall. The M.C. was Mr. A. W. Linnell, and the winners were Mrs. A. Fairey, Mrs. A. E. Pursell, Mrs. Payne, Mrs. C. Creamer, Mrs. Kilpin, Mr. Walker, Mrs. Spring, and Mrs. Chapman.
British Legion Meetings The Committee of the Woburn Sands, Aspley Guise, and Aspley Heath branch of the British Legion has decided to hold a branch meeting in the third week of each month. By the time these notes appear in print, the November meeting will have been held, but this had to be arranged for the fourth Monday of the month.
The formal opening of the Legion Club on that evening will, it is hoped, be the forerunner of pleasant evenings, when members will meet in the Club Room to play various indoor games. It is generally agreed that, as members of an organization such as the British Legion, the members should have an opportunity of meeting frequently, and this object can be achieved by the monthly branch meeting, and the opening of the Club.
Woburn Sands Band With regard to the formation of a Woburn Sands band, every effort will be made to bring this into being. A sub-committee has been formed to explore the possibilities, and it is realized that the primary need is a conductor. Since the Woburn Sands Silver Band went out of existence, the population of Woburn Sands and nearby villages has changed considerably. If there is a potential band conductor in our midst we can assure him that the British Legion Branch Committee will welcome him with open arms. The same applies to musicians; These, it is hoped, will come forward and take an active interest in the project.
A former Woburn Sands resident (Mr. P. Whitlock) writes in a letter published in last week’s issue of this newspaper, of the days when Mr H. Giles conducted the old Woburn Sands Band. Whether Mr. Giles would become conductor of the proposed new band we cannot say. This gentleman’s musical ability is well known – his enthusiasm is great – but, during the past 18 months, he has been engaged, in training the choral and orchestral sections of the Woburn Sands and District Musical Society. This entails two practice evenings each week, and under Mr. Giles’s conductorship the Society has made great progress this season.
Welcome Home The balance sheet which has been displayed in the Woburn Sands Post Office reminds us that the “Welcome Home” Fund (launched about two years ago to provide a gift to each of the men of H.M. Forces who joined up from Woburn Sands) has at last been wound up.
The last act of the Welcome Home Fund Committee was to arrange the provision of the new Memorial Tablet on the War Memorial to commemorate the sacrifice made by the Woburn Sands men who lost their lives in the 1939-45 war. There was a surplus of 13s. 7d. left, and, by passing this over to the British Legion Benevolent Fund, all the Welcome Home Fund money has been disposed of.
Chapel Street Hedge The cutting of the Woburn Sands Chapel Street hedge has been completed. (We almost wrote “the Chapel Street hedge has disappeared” so thoroughly has the work been carried out). It is pleasing to record that the whole of the work has been done voluntarily by a resident of the street, and those who considered the hedge a nuisance will heartily agree that Mr. Saunders has been a benefactor to his fellow residents.
It looked a formidable task (almost Herculean to those who are not versed in hedge-cutting), but Mr. Saunders tackled the job light-heartedly and with great speed. Not only has he given the houses more daylight by cutting the hedge, but has helped pedestrians using the street at nights, for, by lopping branches from the holly trees, the street lamp at the High Street – Chapel Street junction now gives the maximum light.
Characters in Village Life – Vignettes of Former Residents – By A. Norris – William Hall Few people were better known arid more widely esteemed in the closing years of last century than William Hall, who came to the Woburn Sands district as Overseer for the Friends’ Meeting House, A new place for public worship was erected at Woburn Sands and consisted of a large hall and smaller convenient rooms.
The Adult School, under his supervision, made great strides. Its membership included some of the best-known men in the district. Mr. Hall preached with great acceptance at villages in the district, but his greatest work was given in connexion with the Adult School, which got crowded meetings. Occasionally the members held an early Sunday morning breakfast. Its membership included a great assortment of men who rarely attended a place of worship. These were made very comfortable and were well looked after. Mr. Hall was a clever man and gathered into the Adult School all kinds of men and kept there for the greater part of his ministry.
W. G. Hall Junior William Hall’s son, now a financial secretary to a Government department and known throughout our area as W. G. Hall, junior, spent his early life in Adult School work. He was quickly proclaimed a leader of men. His work among ordinary village men proved very valuable. Few school meetings were held in which W. G. H. was not prominent.
We remember there were over 80 men present when he said his conviction was that “school teaching must go to the very heart of men.” He stated, at a breakfast meeting, that men’s souls must be reclaimed. It was little use trying to reform men otherwise. If a bad man was given a good home he would quickly make it a bad one unless his soul was reclaimed and his character changed.
After leaving the district, Young Willie Hall became an M.P. for an industrial constituency, and, we cannot help feeling, that he will reach great heights in his calling.
County Junior Cup – Disputed Goal Gives Woburn Sands Draw In the first round of the County Junior Cup, Woburn Sands and Aspley Guise visited Dagnall on Saturday. The game was drawn, each side scoring a goal in the second half. Woburn Sands were under strength, C. Sneddon again being absent and A. Seaby, who was injured against Ridgmont, was unfit to play. The first half was not very exciting. Dagnall’s strength was mainly in their defence, but Munt (outside-right) was very speedy and a source of danger. A strong cross-wind spoilt the game.
Dagnall pressed at the start, but found Wade and Breedon at their best, with Hawley and Hollier sound in the half-back line. When Woburn Sands broke away Webb had a shot well saved. West saved a hard shot from a free-kick near the penalty area. In the main Woburn Sands had the better of the play, but Dagnall often looked dangerous in breakaways, especially on the right. In the second half Woburn Sands were on the offensive. A shot from Dolton almost found the net, and from a pass by Whittaker, Webb all but scored. Woburn Sands failed to convert a penalty, but they opened the scoring when, from Weir’s pass, Webb shot. The Dagnall goalkeeper partly saved, but the ball went over the line. The goal was disputed by Dagnall, whoso equalizing goal was scored by Munt. Though both sides worked hard for a winning goal, the defences stood firm.
The closing stages were played in very bad light, and this made it impossible for extra time to be played. Woburn Sands: J. West; Wade, Breedon; Hollier, Hawley. J. Hunt; Dolton, Bridgman, Webb, Whittaker, Weir. The replay will be played next Saturday at Woburn Sands.
Methodist Target Likely to be Reached The target at a sale of work and a concert held at the High Street Methodist Church, Woburn Sands, on Thursday, in aid of the Church Restoration Fund, was £50. It was announced that, with £40 having been raised, it was expected that the object would be realized.
The concert attracted a large audience, and an enjoyable programme was given by the Bletchley Road Methodist Church Choir. It included “The Chase” (Edward German), two other songs by the same composer, “Orpheus with his Lute” and. “O, Peaceful Night”, “The Lost Chord” as a part-song, and “Song of the Gale.” Mr. Clifford Steven, who accompanied all the musical items, was the conductor.
The programme opened by Geoffrey King, whose piano solo, the first movement of the Moonlight Sonata, was excellently played. He also gave “La Paloma” (Yradier). Mr. H. Allen (baritone) sang “Stonecracker John”, and Miss Marjorie Breedon (soprano) gave a good rendering of “Ladybird.” Other vocalists included Mrs. Lubbock (with the song “Will you go with me”) and the Rev. C. A. Selman (who sang “The Gay Highway”). Miss Roberta Pickard (soprano) sang “Dandelion” and contributed a humorous recitation. Miss Dovey and the Rev. C. A. Selman rendered a humorous duet. A recitation, “November”, was given by Miss M. Sibthorpe, and two recitals by Mr. Cecil Breedon.
The Rev. Arthur Manley, when thanking the choir and soloists, stated that all who had taken part in the concert had paid their own travelling expenses.
A Ready Sale The sale of work, arranged by Mrs. A. Manley and members of the Ladies’ Working Party, was opened by Mrs. G. F. Adkins, of Bletchley. Mr. Adkins was chairman for the opening ceremony. The stalls were well laden with articles made by the Working Party and with gifts from tradesmen and other friends, and there was a ready sale.
A cake competition was judged by Mr. W. Smith, and the winners were: 1 Mrs. W. Faulkner, 2 Mrs. W. P. Hawes. There were various sideshows, and the winners of other competitions were: Darts, Mrs. J. Small; golf, Colin Manley; bagatelle, Mrs. Weekes; quoits, Mrs. Best.
British Legion’s Social Side – Woburn Sands District Development The Club room of Woburn Sands, Aspley Guise, and Aspley Heath branch of the British Legion will be formally opened on Saturday, when the first of a series of socials will be held. Members’ wives will be invited. This was decided at a meeting of the branch at the Club room in Woburn Sands on 24th November, when suggestions for activity at the Club room were invited and submitted. A periodical social evening, with community singing, the frequency of which could be decided by members who attended the initial event, was among the latter; the Secretary (Mr. F. Mann) said the Entertainments Committee would like some guidance, and would discuss the suggestions and carry them out if possible. Members, it was stated, should be asked to help in the entertainment.
Satisfactory Turn-out Lt.-Col. A. R. Liddell, who presided, spoke of the “very satisfactory” turn-out of members -about 70 – at the Remembrance Day services, both at the War Memorial and at St. Michael’s Church. The Secretary stated that Mr. C. M. Ball (vice-chairman) and Mr. Hudson (treasurer) would be present at the County Conference on 6th December, at Aylesbury, as delegates of the branch. Visitors would also be welcomed. The membership of the Legion in Buckinghamshire had, it was reported, increased considerably, and was more than double the 1939 figure. Applications for membership had been received from four ex-Servicemen.
No Lack of Entertainment at Woburn Sands Leaving the Club Room of the Woburn Sands, Aspley Guise, and Aspley Heath branch of the British Legion, where a branch meeting was held (on 24th November), we walked down Woburn Sands High Street. The street was deserted, it being a cold night, and we began to wonder how Woburn Sands people spent their evenings (those not listening to broadcast programmes). However, it was obvious there was no lack of entertainment in the village. At the Memorial Hall there was in progress a whist drive, which accounted for nearly 90 people. A few yards down the road we found the Institute in use, and this was occupied by members of the Badminton Club. Near by, at the High Street Methodist Church, there was a meeting of the Methodist Guild, where a goodly number of members were engaged in a more serious (but nevertheless just as important) side of life. They were discussing “Fellowship in Worship.” Across the road, a little off the High Street, we could have visited the Woburn Sands Social Club, where residents of the village (and nearby villages) were spending the evening, playing billiards, snooker, and other games.
The Following Evening The reader may say, “That was one evening, but what about the other five week-nights?” Space prevents details of every evening. On the following evening (Tuesday), both Memorial Hall and Institute were again in use. At the former it was ladies’ night – the Women’s Fellowship was being held; and at the Institute, badminton players again held the stage (or floor). The Methodist Church had no meeting to attract residents, but, investigating further, we found that a percentage of Woburn Sands parishioners were gathered at the Friends’ Meeting House. They were members of the Woburn Sands and District Musical Society engaged in the pleasant task of music-making, under the baton of Mr. H. Giles. At the Social Club, proceedings were much the same as on the previous evening. It may be thought that those whose interest tends towards whist have an off night on Tuesdays. Not so, for they (if not engaged at one of the gatherings in Woburn Sands), travel to an adjoining village. The keenness of the ardent whist player appears to be limitless, and the journey of a few miles in order to participate in a whist drive is a mere detail.
The foregoing outline of gatherings in Woburn Sands on two evenings of the week gives some idea of how a number of people spend their evenings Nothing to do? Is village life dull? It need not be.
Where Is Your Music? The Woburn Sands and District Musical Society will hold its first concert of the season on 18th December. Appropriately, a programme of Christmas music will be given, and will include excerpts from the “Messiah” (Handel), carols, and orchestral items. Miss P. Berridge and Mr. Tom Neale will be the soloists again, and the conductor, of course, will be Mr. H. Giles.
This concert over, the Society will start practices for its second concert of the season, at which “Merrie England” (German) will be given. It may be remembered that appeals were made for copies of the music of “Merrie England” some months ago. These, it was suggested, could be lent, or given. It is many years ago since the old Woburn Sands Musical Society gave a delightful rendering of this work, but it is probable that copies of the music used at that time are still in existence. They may be in out-of-the-way parts of people’s houses.
When the appeal was first made we ourselves searched for a copy which, we were convinced, existed in our home. Eventually we found it in the barn among some old periodicals dated 1931-1933, and we handed it to Mrs. G. Hunt (Secretary of the Society). Not an ideal place to keep a copy of good music, such as “Merrie England”, we agree; however, as the result of diligent searching, it came to light, little the worse for its experience, and we were able to assist the Society (to a small degree), to fit itself for the future rendering of a popular work. Perhaps others can do the same.
Salvage in Woburn Sands During the war years, a number of Woburn Sands residents assisted in the war effort by the collection of salvage. This was hard work and was not always pleasant work, especially when the sorting was carried out. The collectors sometimes discovered that paper was not as clean as it appeared. After the war, this work ceased, and on days prior to the 5th November residents with an accumulation of paper and old material – in fact, anything burnable – were glad to dispose of it to youngsters who collected it in order to make a bonfire to celebrate the occasion.
We have been wondering since this unofficial salvage collection whether this paper, etc., could not have been used for a better purpose. If it can assist the post-war reconstruction (even in a small way), whv not revive village salvage collections as they were carried out during war-time?
Legionaries’ Club-Room Opened The Woburn Sands, Aspley Guise, and Aspley Heath British Legion Clubroom, at the Fir Tree Hotel, Woburn Sands, had its formal opening night on Saturday. Mr. Enever and Mr. V. Carlile had made the arrangements and were in charge. A large number of members was present and a happy evening was spent. Mr. Enever, at the piano, played popular tunes and in a brief speech he declared the Clubroom opened. He outlined the aim and objects of the venture – to provide a room in which Legion members could meet for a free and easy evening. It has been decided to hold a fortnightly social evening, unless members express a desire to meet more frequently.
Father Christmas at Woburn Sands More than 200 people visited the Christmas sale held at the Memorial Hall, Woburn Sands, on Saturday, for the funds of the Universities’ Missions to Central Africa. It was organised by the members and associates of the St. Michael’s Church Coral League. The hall was decorated, and there was an illuminated Christmas tree decorated with a variety of articles, which had a quick sale. The toys, calendars, and other articles on sale were made by the members of the League, and showed much ability on the part of the young people. During the afternoon “Father Christmas” (Mr. E. G. Smith) paid a visit to the Hall. A cake competition was won by Roger Gurner, and a Christmas hamper was won by Betty Boon.
Annual Effort for Children – Successful Concert at Woburn Sands A concert arranged by members of the Woburn Sands Women’s Institute and held at the High Street Methodist Church on 1st December, attracted a large audience. It was the Methodist Guild’s annual effort for the National Children’s Home and Orphanage, and Mrs. A. Manley presided. £6 10s. was realized.
The first part of the programme consisted part songs by the Women’s Institute Choir and miscellaneous items by three artists. The choir conducted by Miss M. Palmer, with Mrs. Carter as the accompanist, sang “Art Thou Troubled”. “The Gentle Maiden”, and “Let the Fifes and the Clarions”, for the first group. Later the choir sang carols, and concluded with “Greensleeves.”
The Rev. Arthur Manley played piano solos, which included “Bells Across the Meadow” (Ketelby), and the “Mermaids’ Song” (from “Oberon”) Mrs. Pacey, Bletchley (soprano), sang “The Lass with the delicate air” (Arne), “Where’er you walk” (Handel), “Lullaby” (Brahms), and “Who is Sylvia” (Schubert).
Christmas Miracle Mrs. Pickard, also of Bletchley, gave recitals, including “Domestic Trouble”, “Just for Christmas”, and “The Story of an Egg.” A play, “Christmas Miracle” (written by Miss M. Palmer), comprised the second part of the entertainment, and those taking part were members of the Women’s Institute and some children. It was produced by Mrs. K. Griggs and was well acted. The characters were played by Mrs. Bott, Mrs. S. Wooding, Mrs. J. Goff, Mrs. K. Griggs, Miss J. Bodley, Mrs. White, Miss Banett, Mrs. H. Potts, Mrs. F. Sillem, Mrs. Chapman, Mrs. E. G. Smith, and Mrs. G. Hunt; children taking part were Madeline Brown, Barbara White, Pamela Barcham, Colin Manley, Peggy Farrington, and Geoffrey Farrington.
At the Parish Church Sunday the preacher at morning prayer was the Rev. John Nickels (Metropolitan Clerical Organizer of the Church of England Children’s Society). Collections throughout the day were for the Society.
Whist At the weekly whist drive for Football Club funds on 1st December at the Memorial Hall, the M.C. was Mr. A. W. Linnell. and the prizewinners, Mrs. Soustar, Mrs. White, Mrs. E. Last, Miss Blackburn, Mr. Alley, Mr. Dolton, Mr. D. Tyers, and Mrs. A. Linnell.
A Dance, arranged by the Woburn Sands and District Youth Club, was held on Friday at the Memorial Hall. The attendance was good.
The death of Mrs. Alice Atkinson, of Aspley Hill, occurred on Friday in hospital. She was a daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. J. W. Pratt, and much sympathy has been expressed for her husband. Mr. F. C. Atkinson.
Koh-i-noor of Buckinghamshire Mr. A. E. Tomlin’s description of Woburn Sands as the “Koh-i-noor of Buckinghamshire” (made at a recent meeting of Newport Pagnell Rural District Council), certainly caused comment and doubts have been expressed about the accuracy of the statement. Residents of the parish have, in the main, appeared indifferent to the statement, though it may be remembered that this is not the first time Mr. Tomlin has made it. On this occasion, however, it received wider publicity and people began to sit up and ask themselves, “What sort of place is Woburn Sands?” We have heard Mr. Tomlin describe the parish as “a jewel in the Newport Pagnell Rural Area”, referring, of course, to its value to the Rural District Council because of its high rateable figure.
One critic, evidently presuming that Mr. Tomlin’s description applied to the beauties (natural or otherwise) of Woburn Sands, suggested that the natural beauties of the district lay outside the borders of the parish. He gave as an example, the woods and heath on the Duke of Bedford’s estates, none of which is situated in the Civil parish of Woburn Sands.
Former Beauty It may be pointed out that Woburn Sands was, at one time, not lacking in arboreal beauty, but a good percentage of this has disappeared, having given way to buildings and premises deemed to be necessary for the maintenance, and probable advancement, of our present civilization.
Station Road has, in past years, lost a number of trees, the pink blossom of which was a perfect picture during the month of May. This main road has been partly shorn of this annual beauty, owing to the removal of trees during building activities, and the dislike of “branches overhanging the public highway”. In fact, the removal of some May bushes at one period, created such a gap in the trees of Station Road, that we were constrained to quote words used by the Olney poet, William Cowper, written by him when some favourite poplar trees at Lavendon Mills were felled:
“Short-lived as we are, yet our pleasures we see
Have a still shorter life, and die sooner than we”.
Fellow Sufferers Woburn Sands is not the only place to have suffered in this respect. Aspley Guise may be cited as a fellow-sufferer over a period of years. Here again, the erection of buildings has been the main cause. Described some years ago as “the second prettiest village in Bedfordshire”, Aspley Guise was noted for its horse-chestnut trees, and these were a pretty picture along the main road when in bloom. But these have gone, and with them much of the attractiveness of the village.
Probably, some readers of these notes will explain “Why worry, there are plenty of trees to admire in the woods adjoining the two villages!” That is so, but we would point out that building activities in our villages do not always tend towards making them attractive. A certain amount of natural beauty has to be sacrificed. But the erection of buildings increases the rateable value of a parish – hence the fact that though Woburn Sands can be described as a “Koh-i-noor of the County” or “a jewel in a Rural District Council’s area” the parish must be excused if it “has lost the perfect beauty which we would associate with anything likened to the “Koh-i-noor”. As we have tried to point out, “You cannot have it both ways”!
A Prize Worth Having When referring to the high rateable value of Woburn Sands the proposed revision of the boundaries of Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire is called to mind. Nothing definite appears to have been settled, and the rival claims are still the subject of investigation. It is not surprising that Woburn Sands should be regarded as a prize worthy of retention by Newport Pagnell Rural District Council, or as one worthy of acquisition by Ampthill Rural District Council (if the village is transferred to Bedfordshire it will doubtless be in the Ampthill Rural Area). So far as we can ascertain, Woburn Sands people appear to be satisfied with the government and administration of Newport Pagnell Council, except for minor grumbles which are always levelled at Rural Councils by local residents.
A Brighter Building As can be gathered from the published report of the last meeting of Woburn Sands Parish Council, there is a scheme under consideration by which the Institute will be made more attractive. If this work is carried through it will not only make the exterior of the building look much brighter but should result in a general improvement of the High Street at that particular spot. We shall hear more of this proposed scheme when the findings of the Sub-Committee appointed to deal with the matter have been put before the Parish Council.
Farmer and Former Cricketer The death occurred last week in a nursing home at Hawkhurst, Kent, of Mr. William Charles Pickering, who will be remembered as a farmer, first at Woodleys Farm, Woburn Sands, then at White Horse Farm, Hockliffe, which he left for Gaddesden. He retired from farming a few years ago and settled in Kent. As a young man Mr. Pickering was a well-known cricketer, being for some years captain of the village team. When his father left he took over the old coaching-house known as the “White Horse” and there were lively times there with catering for weekend parties first of cyclists and then of motorists. Both Mr. and Mrs. Pickering were members of old local trade and farming families.
Music and Drama – Girls’ Effort for Overseas Missions A Christmas Evening, held on Wednesday at the High Street Methodist Church, Woburn Sands, was arranged by the members of the Woburn Sands Girls’ League. The proceedings took place in a decorated schoolroom, and there was the illuminated and well-laden Christmas tree. A large number of people were present. The Chairman, Mrs. J. S. Griffith, was welcomed to the gathering by Mrs. A. Manley, and stated that the Girls’ League hoped to raise £15 to make up their quota of £40 for the work of Overseas Missions.
The first part of the concert was carried through by three artists. Mrs. Lubbock, of Bletchley (soprano), sang “How lovely are Thy Dwellings”, A Czech carol, “The Birds”, and “The Virgin’s Lullaby”; she was accompanied by Mr, Clifford Stevens, also of Bletchley. A piano solo was given by Miss B. Ash, and Mr. S. K. Hathaway baritone) sang “The Blind Ploughman” and “Thanks be to God.”
A play, “The Former Treatise”, by Hylda Whitmore, was well acted, and the characters were taken by the following members of the League: the Misses Elsie Burgess, Doreen Hunt, Jean Sinfleld, Anne Blackeby, Mildred Horley, Joan Bodley, and Maisie Smith. During an interval a gift stall was besieged by a good crowd. There was also a stall with attractive calendars for sale.
The weekly whist drive, held at the Memorial Hall on 8th December, was for the Football Club fund. Mr. A. W. Linnell was the M.C. and winners were Mrs. J. Goff, Mrs. Robinson, Mrs. J. Hart, Mrs. White, Mr. White, Mr. Rand, Mrs. C. Cracknell, and Mr. E. Cox.
The Methodist Guild met on 8th December at the High Street Methodist Church. The subject for discussion was “Fellowship in Thought and Prayer”, and an introductory address was given by the President, the Rev. Arthur Manley.
A whist drive held at the Memorial Hall on Friday was arranged by the Conservative Association. The M.C. was Mr. A. W Linnell.
British Israelites The Woburn Sands branch of the British-Israel World Federation met on Wednesday at the Memorial Hall. Mr. Tom Price spoke on “prophetic Light on World Reconstruction.”
At the November Examination of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (Bedford Centre). Eileen Woods, pupil of Miss Lily Wodhams, passed in Grade IV with Credit.
Public Opinion Evening Activities at Woburn Sands Sir, – In your recent notes under “The District Week by Week” it appears that the British Legion Club is surplus entertainment for the Woburn Sands District. Why? You mention the whist drive at the Memorial Hall, but you want to look in some time and see the number of ladies playing as gentlemen. The Methodist Guild next – this is for Chapel people only. Then the Social Club – business men only. You do not mention the local inns and hotel, which are open every night as the only club for working men.
I’ve travelled all over the world and have now come home to roost. In the jungles of Ceylon, the bush of East Africa, and the hinterland of South America, the youth of the villages have some kind of meeting place for themselves. Here the ladies have Women’s Institutes to talk of matters of interest to them; why shouldn’t the men have somewhere to recall the past and discuss life in their own way? Live and let live, and long life and success to the new and a much-needed venture.
A. W. Linnell, Station Road, Woburn Sands.
“Hillman’s” Reply A copy of the above letter has been forwarded to the writer of the notes in question, and he replies as follows: The notes to which Mr. Linnell refers appeared in The Woburn Reporter of 2nd December. They were based on evening activities at Woburn Sands on 24th and 25th November and these were considered typical of how a percentage of Woburn Sands people spend their evenings. Had there been a British Legion Club open on either of those evenings it would have been mentioned. The long-talked-of British Legion Club was formally opened on 6th December, and on that Saturday evening the initial gathering was held. The writer of the notes (a member of the British Legion) was present at that gathering, and did not regard it as “surplus entertainment.”
The Woburn Sands Methodist Guild is not, as Mr. Linnell suggests, for Chapel people only. Any resident of the district – whatever religion, or no religion – is welcomed to the meetings, either as speaker, entertainer or listener. The Woburn Sands Social Club, it may be pointed out, has a good number of members who are not business men, but just working men. Membership is offered to both classes.
The gatherings referred to in the notes were selected as examples because they take place every week on either Monday or Tuesday during the winter months. Some, in fact, are carried on through the whole year.
Bus Shelter Needed In a recent issue of The Woburn Reporter we learn, from the report of a meeting of Toddington Parish Council that the Eastern National Bus Company have no bus shelters in hand and that they are over-whelmed with requests for them. This is sad news, for Woburn Sands Parish Council has, during its present term of office, made two applications for the erection of a bus shelter in the Square. It was hoped that this request would be granted at a fairly early date, because it was considered that the Bus Company would take into account the fact that the number of people awaiting the arrival of buses was considerable.
The phrase, “overwhelmed with requests” suggests that Woburn Sands may have to wait a long time before a shelter is provided, unless the village is placed “in priority “. So, like the passengers who stand on the kerb waiting for buses, we must wait patiently. Until a shelter is erected, protection against rain and snow will have to be found in the doorways of the nearby shops, as heretofore.
Serial Cup-Tie Woburn Sands and Aspley Guise Football Club’s “serial” cup-tie with Dagnall has been concluded. Three matches, entailing no less than 292 minutes of play, were required before a decision was reached. Though this is not a record time for a cup-tie, it was quite long enough for local teams who have many league fixtures. The Woburn Sands players were naturally pleased that the encounter on 6th December ended in their favour. Dagnall who had lost only one match this season before this cup defeat, were worthy opponents and will have consolation in further successes in league fixtures. Woburn Sands qualified to meet Wootton Blue Cross at home.
It is many years since a Wootton Blue Cross team came to Woburn Sands, but the name of this well-known club will bring to the minds of old-time players and followers of football memories of stirring encounters between that club and the Woburn Sands team of years ago.
“Tis an ill Wind” Much has been said of the congested condition of Woburn Sands High Street and, as is well known, Buckinghamshire County Council has decided to take steps to ease the situation by restricting the parking of vehicles to one side of the road only. On 6th December (the first Saturday of the Government’s new petrol restrictions), we observed that standing cars were fewer than before and that this made the road safe for travelling vehicles.
We sympathize with the many car-users whose journeys to Woburn Sands shopping centre have been curtailed, or entirely stopped, but we noted with satisfaction this improved state of affairs.
Tuesday Evenings Our statement, in a recent note dealing with evening activities in Woburn Sands, to the effect that there was no meeting at High Street Methodist Church on Tuesday evenings was not accurate.
It has been pointed out that the Woburn Sands Girls’ League hold weekly meetings on that evening. This organization is composed of a number of young women who are very active and helpful at the High Street Methodist Church. Their main object is to raise money for the furtherance of the work of overseas missions. They have arranged a number of functions at the Methodist Church which have been carried out very efficiently.
Christmas Sale The Christmas sale, organized by St. Michael’s Church, Woburn Sands, Choral League was noteworthy for the large number of people who attended. Mr. Neville, who officiated at the door, told us that the sum of money taken by way of a small charge for entrance to the Hall, suggested that about 600 people paid for admission. This large attendance was doubtless the reason for another feature of the sale, viz., that all the articles for sale were disposed of at a very early hour in the afternoon.
It was suggested that the sale would not be over until about 6 p.m., whereas it was concluded about 3.30p.m. – less than half-an-hour after the opening!
Characters In Village Life Vignettes of Former Residents By A. Norris – Mr. F. Wingeave One of the most prominent traders in Woburn Sands at the beginning of this century was Mr. Frederick Wingrave, whose shop and premises were in the High Street. He was also closely connected with the religious and political life of the village. He was a prominent official of the Wesleyan Church, but he held a licence to sell beer and spirits, and his right to do this was greatly challenged. We remember him particularly in connexion with his strong support of Liberal and Radical principles. He gave active support to the Verneys at that time.
Having some trouble over the granting of the old-age pension to an old villager. Mr. Wingrave took me to Mr. John Burns, at that time in charge of the Pensions Department. John Burns quickly adjusted the matter, and my old friend was soon in receipt of the 5s. per week. Mr. Wingrave was one of the best and would help anyone in need.
Mr. W. H. Inwood Another tradesman who did good for the villagers was Mr. William Harry Inwood. He, too, lived at a business house in High Street, Woburn Sands. He was known as the Man’s Outfitter and Draper, and he had distinguished brothers in the Free Church ministry.
He was a keen musician, and for many years he was organist at the High Street Methodist Church, where he had a very fine choir. After the first Great War, he was deeply interested in the young men of the district, for whom he held a weekly meeting, with Mr George Hunt as pianist. The room at his home was quickly filled up and the meetings were later held in a separate room in his business premises. Mr. Inwood, too, was a strong supporter of Sir Edmund Verney when he was M.P for North Bucks.
Legion Club Room Success – Appeal to Younger Members It was reported at the monthly meeting Of the Woburn Sands. Aspley Guise, and Aspley Heath British Legion branch, at the Fir Tree Hotel, Woburn Sands, that success had attended the opening of the new club room eleven days previously. Referring to the progress of the club, Mr. V. Carlile stated that 42 members, wives, and friends were present. He appealed for better support to justify the hard work carried out when preparing for these social evenings. During a discussion on developments of the club room, Mr, C. M. Ball pointed out that it was for the younger members of the branch to support the venture.
“Personal Affairs” The Treasurer (Mr. Hudson) gave a report of the County Conference at Aylesbury. He had been specially interested in two resolutions brought forward. The first concerned the publication in the Press of items of British Legion news, dealing with such matters as pensions, house purchase, etc. He had not supported the resolution because publication touched on personal affairs. The resolution was defeated. The other resolution, which was carried, asked that branch resolutions for the annual conference be first submitted to a County Conference and then to the Area Conference, thereby, it was thought, preventing a large number of resolutions from overlapping.
Col, A. R Liddell was the chairman, and those present included Mr. F. J. Mann (Hon. Secretary), Mr. Hudson, Mr. C. M. Ball, Mr. W. Wodhams, and Miss E. Mowbray. It was reported that five new members had been enrolled.
Death of a Child The death occurred recently, at the age of two years, of Joan Violet Coleman, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. J. Coleman, of Woburn Road, Woburn Sands. The funeral took place at Woburn Sands Parish Church, the Vicar officiating. The mourners were: Mr. and Mrs. Coleman (parents), Mr. Harold Coleman (brother), Miss C. Horn (aunt), Mrs. W. Henman, Mrs. Horn (grand mother), and Miss J. Crowther. Others present were Miss Barrett. Mrs. Rashleigh, Mrs. King, and Miss Farmer.
Floral tributes were received from: Mother and Father; Harold. Arthur, and George; Her playmates, Gillian and Graham: Granny Coleman; Granny, Auntie Clara, and Beryl (Ridgmont); Auntie. Uncle, and Mary (Wavendon) Auntie Beat. Uncle Will, and David (Husborne Crawley); Auntje May and Auntie Mary: (Lidlington; Grace, Tom, Derick, David, and Auntie Annie (Luton); Mrs. Henley; Auntie Doris, Uncle Tom, and Brian; Mrs. Breedon and family; Winnie, Pip. and Joyce; Members of the Infant Welfare Centre; Mr. and Mrs. Hughes: Mr. and Mrs. Widdows, and staff; E. Farrell; Mrs. Lunnon and family; Mrs. Rashleigh.
Liberal Activity in Woburn Sands During the year the two political organizations which contested the Buckingham Division at the last General Election have been active in the Woburn Sands district. The Labour Party (which captured the seat from the Conservatives, who had held it since 1918) has endeavoured to consolidate its position by the formation of a branch of the Labour Party in the village. On the other hand, the Conservative Party has formed a Conservative Association in Woburn Sands, and has been actively canvassing for new members amongst the residents. The prospective candidate addressed an open-air meeting several months ago.
But the two parties are not being left to fight the next Election on their own. Endeavours are now being made to revive the people’s interest in Liberalism. The Liberal Party has been in the background in the Buckingham Division for many years, and no candidate was put forward in 1945. However, a prospective candidate has been adopted now. What will be the effect of a third candidate on the result of the next Parliamentary Election in the Buckingham Division is difficult to say, but one thing is certain – the other two parties will have to be prepared to lose some votes. It remains to be seen which will be the biggest loser.
Prospective Candidate The prospective Liberal candidate is Mr. F. J. Long, a young man who may appeal to some of the younger voters. Mr. Long was in Woburn Sands on Saturday, 13th December; and, having heard of the possibilities of Liberal Party activity in Woburn Sands in the near future, we inquired as to the Party’s progress in the constituency. Mr. Long agreed that it may be uphill work, but said there had been some encouraging signs during a series of meetings held in a number of villages.
Unfortunately, he said, it was not found possible to include Woburn Sands and nearby villages in this tour, during which twenty meetings had been held. Brill, Winslow, Stewkley, and Stoke Hammond appear to be places at which Liberalism has a good following, and, at the present time, the Buckingham Division is 63rd in membership strength of the constituencies throughout the country. Mr. Long is expecting good support in Woburn Sands. Woburn Sands will have an opportunity of meeting Mr. Long in January, when he hopes to address a public meeting.
The Club On 6th December there were added to the numerous clubs operating in Woburn Sands, the British Legion Club. On that evening, the Legion clubroom, at the Fir Tree Hotel, was formally declared open. This initial gathering of members augured well for future success, and the continuance of the venture. The proceedings were quite informal. Those present could play games (dominos, darts, etc.), indulge in ordinary conversation, or entertain by rendering a vocal or pianoforte solo, a monologue, recitation, or relate humorous stories, with Mr. Enever ready to accompany at the piano if necessary.
In short, it was the members’ clubroom, and it was up to them to provide the kind of evening they wished it to be. We understand that the organizers have decided to open the clubroom at 7.30 every Saturday evening. Those wishing to be present can walk in at any time during the evening.
“The Gladdening Light” – a Nativity play at Woburn Sands “The Gladdening Light” – a Nativity play – was presented on 22nd and 23rd December in St Michael’s Church, Woburn Sands. On both evenings there large congregations and the play was excellently acted. Mr. C. Griggs and Mr. P. Amos were responsible for the lighting effects and the violinist was Miss G. Parker. Mrs. H. White was the organist.
Those taking part were the Rev. F. W. Bowler (the prophet, sub-deacon, and deacon). Mr F. A. Henley (a watchman) Mr. Joseph Purcell (first voice), Mr. Roland Kilpin (second voice), Mrs. Rashleigh (third voice), Mr. Devine (fourth voice), Mrs. F. W. Bowler (Gabriel), Mrs. K. Griggs (Elizabeth), Mrs. Smith (Our Lady), Mr. Devine (St. Joseph), Mr. W. Johnson, Mr. Joseph Pursell, and Mr. David Large (Shepherds), Dorothy Cook, Phillipa Leadbeater, Freda Capp, and Jill Large (Angels), Mr. E. G. Smith, Mr. R. Kilipn, and Mr. R. Janes (Kings), Mary Pursell, Helen Jones, and Nina Wright (Pages), and Mrs. E. G. Smith. Mrs. Johnson, Miss Stevens, Mrs. Devine, Miss Summerley, Pat Linnell, and Doreen Linnell.
“A Highland Wedding” Pipes Play as Couple Leave Church The wedding took place on 20th December at Oatlands St Bernard’s Parish Church, Glasgow, of Miss Janet Weir, only daughter of Mr. and Mrs. A. Weir, of Glasgow, and Mr. William Jones, eldest son of Mrs. C. Jones and the late Mr. C. Jones, of 11 Hardwick Place, Woburn Sands. The bride was attired in a gown of white slipper satin with tulle veil held in place by a coronet of orange blossom, and carried a bouquet of pink chrysanthemums tiled with white tulle. She was attended by three bridesmaids and a train-bearer. The chief bridesmaid was Miss E. Veitch. The other bridesmaids were Miss J. Thomson and Miss L. Johnstone, and the train-bearer was Miss F. Paterson. Mr. T. Paterson was best man.
The bridal party left the church to the strains of “A Highland Wedding”, played on the pipes by Mr. lan Cameron. A reception was held at the Coupar Institute Hall, Cathcart, Glasgow, and the honeymoon is being spent at Largs (Scotland) and at Woburn Sands. Until 1939, when the war put a stop to local sport, the bridegroom was secretary of the Aspley Guise and Woburn Sands Football Club.
Heath Fire Woburn Sands Fire Brigade was called out at midday on Christmas Day to deal with a heath fire on the Duke of Bedford’s estate. It was a small) blaze, but some time elapsed before danger was passed. The firemen returned home after about three hours. On 21st December the brigade was called to a fire at Brogborough.
Happier Left at Home – W.I. on Problem of Old People Members of a brains trust which formed a feature of the monthly meeting of the Woburn Sands Women’s Institute considered that old people were happier left undisturbed in their own homes, provided help could be given with shopping, cleaning and other duties. A room to themselves in a hostel, with a matron and staff to look after their individual needs, was also advocated. Mr. C. Hutton said he was strongly against old folk being separated, and that they should be allowed to end their days together, at all costs. This view, also, was endorsed.
Visitors were present at the meeting, and the brains trust consisted of Miss Tanqueray, J.P., Mrs. Lyons Miss E. Mowbray, the Rev. H. Clothier (Rector of Aspley Guise), Mr. E. D. Sykes, and Mr. Hutton. Mr. Mann was question-master. The questions, some very amusing, were of topical and general interest, and a number dealt with the welfare of other people. Three new members were welcomed – Mrs. Bailey, Miss Perry, and Mrs. Sibley. Mrs. G. Hunt gave a report of the annual Council meeting held at Bedford.
Other Events Miss Foster was in charge of a bring-and-buy stall, proceeds of which were for the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children. An iced cake given for the hospital was sold for £1, and raised a further 10s. 6d., after the purchaser had returned it for auction. Mrs. Lambourne was in charge of a competition for homemade sweets, which was won by Mrs. C. M. Ball and Mrs. Barnwell.
The social half-hour consisted of a play, “Christmas Miracle”, written by Miss Palmer, hon. secretary of the Institute. It was produced by Mrs. K. Griggs. Those taking part were Miss J. Bodley (Mary), Mrs. K. Griggs (Joseph), Mrs. White (an angel), Mrs. Bott (matron), Mrs. S. Wooding (nurse), Mrs. J. Goff (Mrs. Neweigh), Mrs. H. B. Potts, Mrs. F. Sillem, and Mrs. A. Manley (shepherds), Mrs. E. G. Smith, Mrs. Chapman, and Mrs. G. Hunt (kings), Ann Kitchener, Brenda Smith, Pamela Barcham, Peggy Farrington, Barbara White, Madeline Brawn, Colin Manley, and Geoffrey Farrington (children). The pianist was Mrs. Carter.
The Parish Church was effectively decorated for Christmas. Congregations at the services throughout the day were good. Midnight mass was celebrated at the Catholic Church and during Christmas morning there were two celebrations of Mass.
A Year in Retrospect – A Period of Progress in Woburn Sands At the threshold of a new year we look back on the past 12 months and, speaking generally, conclude that 1947 as been a period of progress for Woburn Sands. There have been difficult times for residents, especially during the severe wintry weather experienced in February and March. This caused much worry and dislocation of business and domestic affairs. Woburn Sands experienced an acute shortage of two household necessities – coal and potatoes – and the shortage of the former was aggravated by the need for economy in electricity.
The bitter weather also resulted in work on Council houses being brought to a standstill, much to the disappointment of the many applicants needing homes. However, we are pleased to learn that at least eight applicants have received notification of allotment of a house, and trust that, before the New Year has advanced far, others will receive a similar notice.
The inconvenience caused by these early months faded into the background when potatoes became more plentiful in the shop and the coal lorries restarted regular deliveries of coal rations. Summer brought recompense with a long period of glorious weather, and the only trouble encountered was the heath fires on the Duke of Bedford’s estate. These resulted in Woburn Sands firemen being called upon to give much of their time and energy. The fires caused a short cut in water supply, but apart from one evening the supply has been uninterrupted during the year.
Old and New Organizations All the various organizations in Woburn Sands appear to have ended the year stronger than at the start. The local branch of the British Legion reported a large increase of membership, and several more have joined since the annual meeting in November. The Women’s Institute has also increased its number of members, and the annual slower and vegetable show in August was a great success. The Woburn Sands and District Musical Society can boast of a larger choir, and concerts given have been attended by very appreciative audiences. The Methodist Guild (one of the oldest organizations in the village) has a satisfactory membership.
The Parish Church has greatly benefited by the untiring efforts of the Vicar (the Rev. F. W. Bowler), and space does not permit even an outline of all he has done in the parish during his first full year as Vicar. The choir and the Sunday School (both very important to the progress of a church) have been reorganised. The summer fete, besides being a very pleasant social gathering, was a remarkable success financially – over £300 was raised. With the coming of the dark evenings the St. Michael’s Church clubs were started, and these, with the Young Women’s Fellowship, have fully justified their existence.
Parish Affairs The Parish Council has dealt with a number of matters beneficial to the village. It has pressed for various improvements to be made, but the necessary authority has not always been granted them. The request for a speed limit through the main street was not granted, but, the Council having pointed out the dangerous condition of the High Street owing to standing vehicles, Buckinghamshire County Council decided to restrict the parking of vehicles to one side of the road only. This order, however, is not yet in force.
A request for a bus shelter in the Square for bus passengers brought no result, but a request for better police supervision in the village, after an outbreak of hooliganism, met with better results, the Superintendent of Police stating that he had made arrangements for the local constable to spend more time in the village.
The Council has stated that it is opposed to the transference of the village into Bedfordshire, and supports the proposal that the ecclesiastical parish of Woburn Sands becoming the civil parish of Woburn Sands in the County of Buckinghamshire. Various improvements made in the village during the year included the adjustment of the Leys Terrace, thereby making that road safer for pedestrians and vehicles. The street lighting, which at the end of the 1946-47 lighting season was entirely suspended, had to be reduced by 50 per cent for the 1947-48 season, but by the end of the year residents had grown accustomed to this half-lighting.
Sport Sport (both outdoor and indoor) has flourished during the year, and has been extended in scope. The Woburn Sands Bowling Club and Tennis Club provided the main summer sporting activity, and both had good seasons, helped by the real summer weather prevailing. Most members of the Tennis Club switched to Badminton when indoor sport became the rule, and the winter was marked by the formation of a Badminton Club.
The Football Club has been going strong and, though knocked out of the County Junior Cup, are still contenders for League honours. Local rivals in Cranfield and Husborne Crawley are serious challengers for the title. Strong darts teams connected with the “Weathercock” inn and “Royal Oak” are doing well in the Aspley Guise Darts League, and this indoor sport appears to be taken very seriously.
Obituary The year has been marked ay the loss to the village of several well-known residents Mr. W. H. Bazley, a highly-respected resident and churchwarden of St. Michael’s Church, died in February at the age of 90. Mr. George Healey, who, at the age of 96, was one of the oldest residents of Woburn Sands, died in January. During that month the village also lost by death Mr. J. Mitchelmore (82). Mr. S. J. Moore, Miss R. Powell (75), Miss Hallworth (73); whilst in February (when there were nine deaths) the village lost Mr. A. Dunkley (a well-known tradesman), Mrs. M. A Kingsley (86), Miss E. Tansley (86), Mrs. S. A. Sanders (83) Mrs. E Settle (73), Mr.. A H. Scurrell (79), and Mrs. E. M. Pritchett (67). Other well-known residents who died during the year included Mrs. S, J. Bass (82). Mrs. E. Barton, Mrs. R. Chester (69), Mr. A. Curtis, Mrs. H. Pratt, and Mr. J. Hooper.
Other Events On 28th May two plays, “Little Glass Houses” and “Abu Hassan pays his debts”, were performed. This evening was noteworthy because of the splendid acting by the W.I. members who took part, and can be described as an outstanding event of the year. These amateur actresses have not been seen on the stage since this performance, but it is hoped that 1948 will witness another similar evening.
Two parish socials, arranged by the Vicar, were held on New Year’s Day and 29th September, and these, having been successful, will be annual events on these two days in succeeding years. The Vicar also inaugurated the ceremony of the blessing of the crops and the procession of choir and congregation of St. Michael’s Church through the village. The singing of hymns and saying of prayers at appropriate spots roused great interest. Politically, the village has not been neglected. During the year a branch of the Conservative Association has been formed, and the prospective Conservative candidate made his first appearance at Woburn Sands by addressing an open – air meeting in July,
A comparatively new feature in the village has been cage bird shows, and these have proved of much interest to residents. The number of Woburn Sands men whose hobby is the keeping and rearing of cage birds appears to be large, and they take great pride in their pets. A rabbit show – another new feature – was also an interesting event. This outline of the large number of events shows that variety has not been, lacking and that village life is interesting.
Vignettes of Former Residents By A. Norris – The Ven. F. Bathurst The Ven. Frederick Bathurst came to Hardwick House, Woburn Sands, and was resident there for some time. After being appointed Archdeacon of Bedford, he travelled the County and became a popular man in both religious and social work. He had a number of residences in our area and did a good deal of work in connexion with the Church Schools. In fact, while at Ridgmont, he organized a very successful sale in the Vicarage grounds, opened by Mrs. Howard Whitbread, raising a good deal more than £100 for the funds.
He supported the principles of reunion, and was very friendly with leading Nonconformists in our area. He was exceptionally good in pulpits and a much loved visitor all over the St. Albans Diocese.
…and that was the news for Woburn Sands in 1947!
Page last updated Jan. 2019.