Friday, 04 December 2020

Turning Back the Pages

Ten years ago: A NEW Year’s Eve party-goer was in hospital yesterday (Thursday) with serious head, back and pelvic injuries after crashing 15ft on to a balcony from a riverside flat in Henley.

10 YEARS AGO: January 2, 3003

A NEW Year’s Eve party-goer was in hospital yesterday (Thursday) with serious head, back and pelvic injuries after crashing 15ft on to a balcony from a riverside flat in Henley. John Britton, 38, was at a dinner party in the apartment at Royal Mansions in Station Road, when he and another guest fell out of the front window while talking.

Triple Olympic gold medallist Matthew Pinsent has called on the Government to “be brave” and support a British bid for the 2012 Games. Pinsent, who rows for Leander and lives in Henley, issued his call to arms after hearing sports minister Richard Caborn say Britain might already have been priced out of making a bid. Pinsent said: “We have got to be brave. Olympic athletes, sports people around the country and people who watch sport don’t expect our athletes to be scared of failure. We don’t operate like that and we don’t expect our Government to either.”

A family of six spent two-and-a-half hours battling to save their home from being engulfed by floodwater after a mains burst in Ancastle Green, Henley, last Friday. The burst sent thousands of gallons of water cascading down a footpath and into Deanfield Road. As the torrent came within inches of the family’s front door, John Miles called the fire brigade.

25 YEARS AGO: January 1, 1988

THIEVES stole a box of jumpers worth £175 from a Henley shop on Christmas Eve. The theft happened at the Henley Pet Shop in Bell Street as staff were busy dealing with the rush of last-minute shoppers. Owner Bill Richardson is hoping that the distinctive design of the sweaters will lead to their recovery.

A new manpower crisis is facing the fire service in Henley and Watlington. Oxfordshire Fire Brigade has warned that fire engines currently operating in the towns may have to be taken out of use because of a shortage of volunteer firefighters. Station officer Geoff Smith said: “We’re getting down to our minimum levels and if we don’t do something we are going to have a situation where only one of the two fire appliances will be able to turn out.”

A picnic spot on the steep hill behind Turville is out of bounds. The hill’s new owner, Transom Holdings, has requested walkers to keep strictly to the footpath. The hill is popular with picnicking families due to its famous windmill, which featured in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The windmill also featured in The Pumpkin Eater and the wartime classic Went The Day Well, which was shot almost entirely in and around Turville.

50 YEARS AGO: January 4, 1963

A SEVERE blizzard developed over the southern part of England early on Sunday morning and brought with it conditions the like of which had not been experienced since the big freeze of 1947. The fine snow penetrated crevices and some people found a white covering on inside sills of windows that appeared to be tightly closed. Roads were covered to a depth of several inches and much deeper still where there had been drifting.

Arrangements for the clearing of snow from Henley came in for criticism and praise at Tuesday’s meeting of the town council. Alderman Luker said he had heard a “Dickens of an argument” when someone contended that Henley was the worst place he knew as far as the clearance of snow was concerned. Mr Luker said he thought those who had the job of snow clearance did good work in difficult circumstances.

Despite the terrible weather conditions, the New Year was rung in on Monday night at Shiplake church tower. A narrow track was channelled out of the snow to the belfry door which was almost completely covered by a snow drift. It was impossible to muffle the bells this year because the beams were wet and icy and a slip would have had disastrous results. So the ringers rang out the old year very slowly.

100 YEARS AGO: January 3, 1913

SIR FRANK CRISP, of Friar Park, Henley, has been made a baronet in the New Year honours list. Sir Frank is senior partner of a firm of solicitors. Born in 1848, he was the only child of the late John Shalders Crisp and Harriet, only daughter of the late John Childs, from Bungay, Suffolk, who opposed the Church Rates and Queen’s Printers’ Bill monopoly. He was made a knight in 1907.

A happy New Year’s Eve was spent by the children attending Greys School who were all treated to a Christmas tea by the rector. After hymns were sung, a curtain was drawn and a splendid Christmas tree with tapers and presents was revealed. The gifts were given to each child in turn and the rector presented a silver watch to Edward Tipping, congratulating him on his remarkable attendance at school for the past seven years.

Henley town hall was the scene of a very joyous and festive gathering on Monday evening when Sir Frank and Lady Crisp entertained at dinner numerous company, including the Mayor. The large ball, during which dinner was served, presented a very charming appearance, the hosts’ admirable taste in all that appertains to horticulture being well-reflected in the dainty floral decorations which graced the various tables.

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