Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Your letters

Perfect site for housing

Perfect site for housing

Sir, — I was interested to read your coverage of the developments on Thames Farm (Standard, November 13). In an ideal world, few people would want more houses in the area and no one would want them in their own back yard. However, there is no doubt that South Oxfordshire needs new housing, including affordable housing for key workers and the Government and South Oxfordshire District Council will impose it upon us if we are unable to agree our own plans. Under the neighbourhood plan, the vast bulk of new housing is to be built within Henley’s town boundaries, or on sites that immediately adjoin Henley, but which are technically part of Harpsden parish, for example Highlands Farm. The most cursory glance at aerial photos shows that Henley has little green space beyond a handful of playing fields at Gillotts School and Lucy’s Farm.

Developing these would mar the views from the Harpsden Valley (one of the area’s jewels) and may even result in run-off and flooding in the valley as well as removing virtually the only green space on the south of the town.

These sites are also not easily accessible from existing main roads. Moreover, it is only right that the parishes of Shiplake and Harpsden (both of which are relatively sparsely populated with abundant space) should shoulder a share of the burden of new housing. In Thames Farm, we have a patch of scrappy land that is too small to be used for commercial agriculture and that is hemmed in by the main road, the old Engbers nursery (rapidly becoming an eyesore) and the millionaires’ row that is Woodlands Road, with its influential residents. But it is a great site for housing development. Within easy walking distance of Shiplake station, it is adjacent to a main road and is well placed for a road commute to Reading, while traffic from it to the nearby Tesco would not further add to the horrible congestion on Reading Road in Henley itself. My understanding is that Shiplake qualifies as a small settlement, with particular protections, only because of the “sleight of hand” that artificially separates Lower Shiplake from Shiplake Cross. But despite its proximity to Shiplake and attempts to move it within Shiplake’s boundaries in order to prevent development, Thames Farm is in Harpsden and therefore could be developed. When I was on the UNITED! committee, we looked long and hard at all of the available and likely-to-be-available sites for housing development.

To my mind two sites stood out as being natural choices.One was Highlands Farm, which could take more houses than are currently planned, though it will cause traffic problems on Greys Road, and could cause problems on Gillotts Lane.

The other was Thames Farm. The site’s suitability is clear and its advantages many, while Clare Engbers seems to be a genuinely altruistic and community-spirited woman who is committed to mitigating any potential problems. I therefore wish Mrs Engbers every success with her planning application and deplore the narrow and selfish attitudes of Councillors Kester George, Tudor Taylor and David Bartholomew.

Should it fail, I hope that Thames Farm becomes a pig farm, a motocross track, or, perhaps, a travellers’ site, all of which might exercise these gentlemen even more than a well planned and modest housing development! — Yours faithfully,

Jon Lake

Blandy Road


Like David and Goliath

Sir, — I hope we are all viewing with interest the “Big Fight” concerning Thames Farm.

Naturally we all expect calm on the farm but this is more like the “Rumble in the Jungle” for all parties.

In the blue corner we have a mighty heavyweight, hardened in the training camps of Oxfordshire County Council, South Oxfordshire District Council and Harpsden Parish Council, in Kester “Sniffer” George and Shiplake parish councillor Malcolm “Bruiser” Leonard.

They are now joined by Greg Clark, the communities minister, and John Howell, our very own MP, who is showing his fighting colours at last.

In the pink corner we have Claire Engbers, who trains alone and has a family to  support.

The referee in this fight is an independent judge who will want to see scrupulously fair play.

In their last fight, the pink lady gave the blues a bloody nose and, much to their surprise, the referee accused them of hitting below the belt and gouging their opponent.The referee even awarded a large purse to the pink lady as recompense and wished her well in her next fight.

The fighters are sponsored in different ways. The blues have a seemingly unlimited resource of money exceeding six figures from us, the taxpayers, while the pink lady is self-made and fights with her own limited resources.

Will loads of taxpayer money outwit family money? We all watch expectantly as the fighters sweat and strain to gain an advantage.

My ringside observation from my formative days is that four fighters on to one is not the British idea of fair play.Henley needs to be interested in the outcome of this promotion. If the pink lady wins it will mean that the neighbourhood plan volunteers were misguided by the blues in 2014 and that Thames Farm could have been considered for housing development after all. Our neighbourhood plan deliberations would undoubtedly have led us to a different conclusion for site allocation.

This poses the ultimate question — does this misguidance make the neighbourhood plan a flawed document and could it be a knockout blow for a referendum in January? This judgement is outside my pay grade and I wait for adjudication from higher learned authorities.

Personally, I am going to have a little wager on the pink lady. She is determined and has her dander up.

She puts me in mind of “The Lady in the Van”. God help Shiplake if she comes and parks on the road in Shiplake — all hell would break loose. Somehow I think that British fair play will sustain Clare Engbers in her fight for fairness. — Yours faithfully,

Barry Wood

Stoke Row Road,


Plan won’t be recognisable

Sir, — I have just read the independent examiner’s review of the joint Henley and Harpsden neighbourhood plan which Councillor Will Hamilton says requires “minor changes” (Standard, November 13).

While the examiner has good things to say, such as “well presented”, “interesting and informative” and “attractive and easy to read”, the “minor changes” have been necessitated by the examiner using negative words such as “confusing”, “unnecessary”, “replace”, “change”, and “delete” well in excess of 100 times. The reality of these “minor changes” is that we are now to be asked to vote on a neighbourhood plan that bears little relation to either of its two predecessors on which we have expressed our views.

For example, we will now vote on the addition of at least 500 houses rather than a maximum of 450, an increase of perhaps 20 per cent, and also on a document in which a dozen or more policies have been torn up! This will, of course, result in a much shorter document which many will welcome but to describe them as “minor changes” stretches credulity to its limits. It also raises questions over the quality of the advice the town council received from its consultants. —Yours faithfully,

Mike Jones

Makins Road,


Gym was essential

Sir, — The application for a care home at the former LA Fitness site in Henley is contrary to the local plan and would result in the loss of an essential recreational and health facility. The closure of this facility has taken the provision of such facilities in Henley well below the national average provision of such facilities. The closure has not occurred from business failure and, in fact, from personal experience, I would say the gym was a very intensely used facility and likely to have been highly profitable.

This profitability was demonstrated by the tenant, LA Fitness, stating that it wished to renew its lease. The gym’s closure is completely contrary to the ethos of a town that punches so far above its weight in sporting reputation and can only jeopardise one of the seed beds of that success. — Yours faithfully,

Richard W Moyle


Our work continues

Sir, — In a few weeks the new Townlands Hospital will open, followed next year by a care home, assisted living accommodation and residential properties.Ten years ago we would have thought this a dream come true and in many ways it is just that.

However, the loss of the beds from the hospital remains a grave concern and the top floor of the new hospital still has no occupants.Having said that, it is clear overall that the Townlands saga could have ended up with a much worse result than we now have.Having secured the opening of the new hospital, things are different.

How do we make sure that the new services meet patient needs in both the short term and the foreseeable future? When the beds in the care home open, how do we make sure that there are enough to provide the care that is needed and that there are enough staff with the right qualifications? How do we make sure the adult social care and healthcare are available to patients being looked after at home, which is the aim of the new ambulatory care model? Perhaps the most important question is to ensure the long-term sustainability of services at Townlands. The announcement of the delay in opening the new hospital shows that, even at this very late stage, we need to keep focused on what is happening to our hospital.

We have a right to understand what the delay means and be provided with a new date for the opening of the new hospital.We might hope that the NHS would simply get this right but I think the community has shown that we have an important and continuing role to play in working with the NHS in ensuring that health services are provided as needed by patients.

The NHS is clearly under pressure both financially and from the new structures put in place by the NHS re-organisation of 2013.

It is clear that the new NHS organisations such as the Oxfordshire Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS Property Services and others have governance arrangements which are more complex than under the old primary care trust.

It is also clear that the commissioning group and others are less transparent and accountable than their predecessors and the Townlands Steering Group has not found them as productive and easy to work with.Since 2003 the steering group has acted both to represent the views of the community to the NHS as well as to help inform the community about what is happening to our health services.

These roles have played an important part in helping to achieve the rebuild of Townlands. I believe health services in and around Henley will be protected and enhanced by an active and informed steering group working with the NHS to ensure we get the reassurances in response to the questions above.

Over many years the steering group has been the acknowledged voice of the community and has established credentials as a positive force for healthcare. Recently there has been a less coherent community view which has had some negative effects.

A year ago some people felt the steering group no longer had a purpose and should be disbanded. While those involved have been proved wrong, this distraction was unhelpful.It is as important as ever that the community provides a unified voice on Townlands which must transcend other pressures and the steering group remains free from unwelcome political pressures.

The recent distractions have reduced the effectiveness of the steering group. We must not allow ourselves to forget why the group has been successful in achieving its aims and we must continue to hold to the values which have worked so well for so long.

Despite the difficulties, it remains important to monitor and scrutinise the provision and commissioning of healthcare in and around Henley.How the steering group continues to do this is a key question which we will be tackling over the next few months. — Yours faithfully,

Councillor Ian Reissmann

Chairman, Townlands Steering Group

Better off than most

Sir, — I count myself among those who most fervently wants good quality health provision from the new Townlands Hospital.

I do fear, however, that we are in danger of putting this all at risk.Over many years the project has been carefully steered by our MP working alongside the council bodies and public.

I think we should be very clear that the result that has been so finely negotiated is a good one for Henley.

Across the country, while investment is increasing, centralisation and hub creation is distancing patients from their local hospital. In Henley this will not be the case.I have personal reasons for feeling so strongly that this outcome is an important victory for our area.

My own experience of the care given at Townlands is far more important to me in informing my view than any political posturing so I, for one, applaud the work of our MP and residents in securing the hospital’s future against a national trend. — Yours faithfully,

Councillor William Hall

South Oxfordshire District Council,

New Street,


Stop playing politics, Dick

Sir, — Once again Dick Fletcher, from a neighbouring shire, finds it necessary to mount a personal attack on John Howell (Standard, November 13).What Israel, pilots and George Osborne have to do with Townlands Hospital only exists in the mind of Mr Fletcher.

Yes, our MP has worked hard on the future of Townlands and through his efforts, and others like him, we still have a hospital which will give us excellent, modern healthcare in the centre of our town. Healthcare services have moved on since the conception of this hospital and the financial and operational demands of a modern health service indicated that some changes had to be made. We now have to monitor and see that the hospital runs in the way it is promised.However, let’s not forget what we do have and please, Mr Fletcher, stop playing politics as our MP continues to work hard on our behalf. — Yours faithfully,

Dieter Hinke

Elizabeth Close,


Forget foreign affairs, John

Sir, — Although I am not one of John Howell’s constituents, I agree with your correspondent Bill Jackson (Standard, November 6) that his local MP should not be spending an inordinate amount of his time on international affairs, even more so if it is seeking to whitewash the ongoing acts of the Israeli state. — Yours faithfully,

Clare Booth


Worthwhile bus service

Sir, — As a resident of Sonning Common, I pay my council tax to South Oxfordshire and I should like to be able to shop locally at Henley or Wallingford, supporting local business.

But there is no bus service to Wallingford and the daily bus to Henley leaves Sonning Common at 10.15am. The return service leaves less than an hour in which to shop, the alternative being a four-hour wait to return.

Since the closure of the NatWest bank in the village we need access to Henley more than ever.

I have a bus pass and would prefer the money is paid to my local council service rather than to another authority. Surely this would make it possible to run a bus service for us, keeping our local economy going? If a bus company ran a reasonably timed return trip to Henley each day it would be well used and pay for itself.

As well as supporting local producers and traders, shopping in Henley is a pleasure — I find everything I need there and the shop staff and market stallholders are so helpful and friendly. — Yours faithfully,

Betty Freeman

Beech Rise,

Sonning Common

How to ease congestion

Sir, — In relation to the recent correspondence about traffic and air pollution in Henley:

(a) Could Oxfordshire County Council be asked to change the traffic lights at the junction of Greys Road and Reading Road? To get to my allotment I drive down Greys Road and always have to wait at the lights at the bottom, usually for two changes of lights because so few cars are allowed through, then I will have to wait at the lights at the end of Duke Street and usually at the bridge.

If I am really lucky I can also be obliged to stop at the pedestrian crossing in Hart Street.

(b) Cast your mind back to February/March. Southern Gas Networks were replacing gas mains at the bottom of Greys Road and the road was closed from the junction with the car park to Reading Road.

Where did the traffic go that each day queues through Greys Road car park to turn left on to Greys Road? I do not remember there being a great deal of congestion anywhere else in the town while these roadworks were in place.

Am I being naive to suggest that this bit of road be closed to traffic permanently and then there would be no need for the traffic lights by the junction with Friday Street? (I do realise that this would mean a different route to my allotment). — Yours faithfully,

Mike Hails

Blandy Road,


Our road is already busy

Sir, — We read with interest your report of local reactions to the proposed main access in Mill Lane for the proposed care home in Newtown Road, Henley, (Standard, November 13).

Looking on South Oxfordshire District Council’s planning application site, we are the first Mill Lane residents to have objected formally to this plan.

Our reasons, which include those mentioned by other residents in your report, are:

1. Mill Lane is a cul-de-sac. It is narrow at the point of the proposed entrance and indeed all the way to the river, with room for only one large vehicle.

2. Mill Lane is heavily used for parking when the car park is full. This arises frequently at weekends and when there are football matches or both.The increased seating at the ground will make this more frequent. At these times, cars are parked opposite the proposed entrance as this is one of the few lengths of Mill Lane which does not have double yellow lines.

This will not be possible with the entrance there, especially as the entrance will, we presume, be used more at weekends with visitors coming and going.

If this length of Mill Lane is also made no-parking, people wishing to go to the football or walk by the river will not be able to park in Mill Lane.

Also, any overspill parking from the home would have to be further away from Mill Lane.

3. LA Fitness had far more visitors than the old people’s home would be likely to get and functioned perfectly well with the entrance on the Newtown estate. We presume that the reason for the change is the more residential aspect of Mill Lane.

4. We live next to the railway line and are well aware of the potential effects of the proposed electrification on the line, notably the plans to clear trees near the track and raise the height of the bridge. It is essential to consider their implications for this proposal.

We would urge other residents and all those people that use the car park in Mill Lane for the football club and to walk by the river to add their support to our objections or raise their own objections officially.

While comments in the Henley Standard are important, official objections ultimately carry more weight, especially on appeal.

The proposed development will already deprive Henley of a very significant, heavily used and much-missed sports facility. It is adding insult to injury to allow it to also, totally unnecessarily, interfere with another basic Henley facility — access to the River Thames. — Yours faithfully,

Paul and Michele Whitehead

Mill Lane,


Reflection of ‘me’ culture

Sir, — After a second week in which the chorus of drivel defending the Mayor’s questionable behaviour reached breathtaking levels of sycophancy, please allow me to reflect a more measured opinion and an alternative view.

Contrary to the opinion expressed by Tony Norman (Standard, November 6) that the Henley Standard had “sunk into the gutter with the red top tabloids”, our local paper was doing the community a public service by prominently featuring the story of the Mayor, a leading public official, causing gridlock in the town centre by her actions.

It is a pity that the Standard felt the need for balance the following week by publishing several photos showing other vehicles illegally parked in the loading bay under the headline “You’re not alone, Madam Mayor”.

The point that the toadies and the Standard’s follow-up report missed is that the Mayor parked adjacent to a lorry that was half on the pavement and on double yellow lines but whose gang were clearing a blocked drain.

It took someone lacking any sense of awareness or consideration for others not to appreciate that any vehicle larger than a car would be unable to get through the gap. Inevitably, a log jam quickly ensued, while the Mayor shopped for her “essential” supplies. This is just another example of the “me, me” culture that is so pervasive these days. Needless to say, far from criticising such behaviour, the Mayor’s followers were out in force to support it! I noticed that the Mayor didn’t really apologise for her thoughtless action, only stating that she had “made a mistake”.

What a sad reflection it is on the society we live in today. Not only that the Mayor felt no shame but that such inconsiderate behaviour is widely accepted and even approved of. —Yours faithfully,

Richard Rule

Church Avenue,


Let’s all be considerate

Sir, — I feel I must respond to the letters regarding our Mayor Lorraine Hillier parking in a loading bay (Standard, November 13).

It appears that these few people who have written to the Henley Standard don’t use Facebook and have completely missed the point of the original Facebook post by Rob Strike.My understanding of Mr Strike’s social media rant is that it was not a personal attack on Miss Hillier at all. In fact, I don’t believe he even realised it was the Mayor’s car when he took the photograph and I don’t believe his post was expressing his shock and horror that a person had simply parked in a loading bay in Henley’s Bell Street — let’s face it, that wouldn’t have been much of a story as hundreds of people do that every day.

I believe the point that Mr Strike was making when he took his photograph was to highlight the fact that a person (who just so happened to be the Mayor) had parked in such a way that they caused an obstruction.

You see, this person had parked opposite a large sewage tanker that was parked, partly on the pavement, to perform an emergency drain clearance and, in doing so, traffic could not pass between this person’s car and the tanker.

His dismay expressed in his Facebook post, with mild humour and surprise, was that during the five minutes that this person was away from their vehicle they had caused the town to come to a complete standstill.

As we know, it doesn’t take much to bring our town to a standstill with our delicately planned one-way system and narrow streets and the fact that it was one of our councilors that was causing the blockade was amusing.

I would like to think Miss Hillier felt a little red-faced when she came out of Sainsbury’s to find that her thoughtless actions had caused the beloved town that she has given up so much of her time for to become gridlocked.I see similar examples of this type of thing happening every day, where drivers abandon their vehicles and cause obstructions, usually during school drop-off, and have little thought for other road users.So here’s a plea to your readers. I appreciate everyone leads busy lives but please, when you are going about your day-to-day business, give a little bit of consideration to those people around you, so that everyone can get from A to B with minimum fuss and stress.

And to those of you that resist using Facebook, try it, it really can be good fun. — Yours faithfully,

Philip Booth


Ban parking on the kerb

Sir, — Pavement parking continues to blight streets up and down the country.

Cars parked on pavements act as an obstruction, particularly for those who are blind or partially sighted, parents with buggies and people in wheelchairs. At its worst, it puts people’s safety at risk by forcing them into the road.

I am urging people to write to their local MP, asking them to vote for the Pavement Parking Bill in the House of Commons on December 4 to put a stop to pavement parking. Let’s save our pavements for people and make our streets better places to walk for the whole community. — Yours faithfully,

Julia Crear

Regional director (South),

Living Streets,


Not everyone is so selfish

Sir, — I believe that your correspondent David Silvester would lose his wager that “there is not one car owner in Henley” who has not used the loading bay in Bell Street as a parking spot while popping into Sainsbury’s (Standard, October 13). Of course, it is usually half empty because that is the point of it — loading and unloading, not parking.

I obviously have more faith in my fellows than he does and find most people less selfish than he does. — Yours faithfully,

Melanie White

Emmer Green

I don’t park unlawfully

Sir, — David Silvester has lost his wager since I for one have never parked my car outside Sainsbury’s (bit of free advertising there, I suppose) as I either walk around town or, when I have the big shop to do, park in one of the South Oxfordshire District Council car parks. — Yours faithfully,

Councillor David Nimmo Smith

Henley Town Council,

South Oxfordshire District Council and cabinet member for environment,

Oxfordshire County Council

Hideous and hurtful crime

Sir, — Surely one of the most gruesome stories to reach the local press was the death of Irene Rodriguez-Caballero at the hands of two drivers racing each other in Caversham Road, Reading, (Standard, October 30). Over many years there have been many similar incidents and each one causes the worst hurt.

It reminded me, a cyclist, that I had been staying at a guest house only a stone’s throw from where the incident happened months before.

The public should be able to walk the streets in safety and without the threat of a hideous crime such as this. — Yours faithfully,

Peter M Adams




Excellent hostelry

Sir, — A couple of weeks have passed and I’m still chuckling at a recent letter.

This kind soul from somewhere north of Watford (and therefore only marginally in the main thrust of the UK) wrote that he had had a lovely stay in the town but he was greatly disappointed that there was nowhere to eat.Maybe he was an extraterrestrial and doesn’t recognise a restaurant or a brasserie or a coffee shop or a gastropub or a bar or any of the other array of English, continental, Chinese, Indian, Thai, Portuguese, Italian, French and myriad other eateries in town — all within almost arm’s length of the town centre square. Some people! So, to help out our very welcome but misguided visitor, let me mention just one of our excellent selection of hostelries. The Bull is a pub/restaurant in history-rich Bell Street, site of many skirmishes in the Civil War.

It’s located in a building dating back to the 15th century. With improvements and redesigns over the years it is now eclectic both in its buildings, its layout and its quirky distressed furnishings.

The food is always good, often exceptionally good, both in the restaurant setting, the more relaxed conservatory, the garden/patio and the bar itself.

Service can be slow, particularly at busy times, but both the core professional staff and the casual students that are often in attendance over the weekend are friendly, chummy even. It all works exceedingly well as a local for us residents and for a meal out to take friends and visiting family.

Always involved with the local community, the Bull often has live music and is active in promoting the Brakspear Jazz and Blues Festival, which is currently on. Sunday lunchtimes, when I’m often there, is to be recommended.

For the curious there’s also a micro brewery on the premises. Hey ho, there’s never gonna be a shortage of beer! — Yours faithfully,

Jose Goumal

Bell Street,


Touchline banter only

Sir, — With reference to David Gobbett’s letter entitled “Ill-informed rubbish” (Standard, Novmber 6), I am really very sorry that I clearly so incurred his righteous wrath and indignation with my letter about the Henley Hawks that he felt it neccessary to pen a whole column of vitriol against me.But provoke his wrath I clearly did and for that I apologise to him unreservedly. Despite what Mr Gobbett implies, I have been an admirer and sometime supporter of the Hawks since the Nineties.

It is not a nice feeling to be thrashed 46-0 and 54-5 in successive weeks and the fact that one is a minnow among giants is no consolation. When losing heavily, the fact that they are minnows and the patronising sympathy that engenders is hardly much compensation.

In this often sad world, there is one thing worse than having no guts (and I’m the first to agree that the Hawks’ performance, especially in the first half, against Hartpury College was magnificent and full of both guts and determination) — having no sense of humour.Did Mr Gobbett seriously think I was suggesting that promoting Councillor Sam Evans’s dog Humphrey to full -back and changing the name of Dry Leas to Wet Leas would positively help the Hawks in their Richmond match the following week? How utterly ridiculous can someone get? I should have thought that this was so obviously friendly banter that even the vitriolic Mr Gobbett should have seen it a mile off. Banter was all it was.

So Mr Gobbett, my advice to you is to try to lighten up a bit. — Yours faithfully,

David Silvester

Luker Avenue,


Denmark’s war heroes

Sir, — Soren Nielsen is quite right to wear his poppy with pride (Standard, November 13). Three Danes have been awarded the Victoria Cross since 1914 (one posthumously), a remarkable achievement given Denmark’s size and non-Commonwealth status. — Yours faithfully,

Antony Martin

Sheephouse Farm,


I was born at waterworks

Sir, — I live in Australia, and my son has recently given me a copy of the Henley Standard dated July 3. I could not believe what I saw — a letter asking if anyone knew about the Henley Waterworks Company. I was born at the waterworks in 1939 as my father (Sydney Rogers) was the maintenence engineer and we lived there for many years. I would like to be put in touch with Lewis Every, of Swiss Farm, Henley, as I have some photographs that I can forward and hopefully answer any questions. — Yours  faithfully,

Marian Gurney (née Rogers)



Ode to a small dog

Sir, — Here is a short poem on the death of a small dog from Nettlebed. — Yours faithfully,

Sophie O’Sullivan


Your basket is empty. The Aga has no companion. Quarry tiles stark dry red. Rabbits just waddle. The muntjac is not worried, she can have all the roses, every one. Molehills by the greenhouse unmolested. Squirrels, bored, chew on the lawn. No dashing white peril with joyous flashing eyes. The kite in the ash whistles but you will not come. I see you everywhere, my good boy under the oak.

Sir, — I’m an Italian woman from Bari now living in Henley and I’d like to share my beautiful experience of “flying” an RAF helicopter with your readers.

Thanks to Captain Douglas Hale, a qualified instructor and member of Phyllis Court Club in Henley, I was one of two employees of the club lucky enough to be able to use a helicopter simulator at RAF Benson, together with Adam Hare.

The simulator is a replica of the instruments in a real helicopter and provides special effects like lightning, bad weather and turbulence.

Capt Hale showed us how to fly a helicopter in different circumstances, day and night. Inside the simulator it is possible to see the runway and the exact location of the cities you “fly” over.

In bad weather and at night you have to have complete trust in your on-board instruments. It is also very important that the two pilots communicate with each other.

Capt Hale has many years of experience in the RAF and now trains pilots.

Thanks to him, we had a wonderful experience — a dream come true — and I would like to say a huge thank-you for the kindness he showed us. — Yours faithfully,

Antonella Salerno


Do you recognise my old relations?

Sir, — For years I have been trying to find the location of and identify the family members seen in these two photos in front of their house, said to be on the banks of the River Thames and which may be known to readers of your paper.

The photos were taken in the Thirties and feature my grandfather’s relations.

My grandfather’s sister is in the front seat of the car, with his niece in the back seat with the dog. The driver is probably the husband of my grandfather’s niece. The other photo shows his niece at the same house with her two sons.

A sign on the gate at the entrance to the house reads “...ulverton” — the first letter or letters are obscured but Bulverton or Dulverton are possibilities.

His sister and niece’s married names are not known.

On the left hand gate post just above the man’s shoulder are some barely visible letters that read “TWN or R” or “WN & a 8 or B”. The significance is not known.

My grandfather’s family (Crossen) in New Zealand said his father met his wife Julia Anna Blowman while travelling for the Singer Sewing Machine Co. in Russia but years of research using numerous genealogical/history resources have failed to find anything, so recognition of the people/house in the photo is so important to me and would be greatly appreciated.

I can be contacted by email at trevaller@xtra.co.nz — Yours faithfully,

Trev Nelson

New Zealand

Not quite delivering

Sir, — With reference to the sign outside the Smoky (sic) Flame at the bottom of Greys Road, Henley, could anyone please explain what Eliver has done wrong and where he/she is being held? — Yours faithfully,

Dick Fletcher

Mill End,


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