Wednesday, August 15, 2012

February 15-21, 1941

The ‘disgusting exhibitions’ at a town centre bus stop saw Swindon Corporation agree to install queue railings. Following a complaint made by Stratton St Margaret Parish Council, the Bristol Bus Company confirmed that the queuing system frequently broke down at peak periods and during the blackout. In future bus queues in Regent Circus will be controlled to avoid the bush rushing incident in which an elderly woman was jostled when a delayed Stratton bus arrived late.

Captain Hector Vaughan Slade, elder son of Garrard’s Managing Director Mr H.V. Slade and his wife, married Marjorie Winifred Billington at St Mary’s Church, Reading this week in 1941.  A former Garrard employee, Captain Slade enlisted in the Territorial’s in September 1937 and transferred to the RAOC in May 1939.  He was promoted to Captain in December 1939.  Following a reception at the bride’s home the couple left for a honeymoon in Bournemouth.  The newlyweds made their temporary home at Totton near Southampton.

Swindon’s own Air Training Corps, to be known as 302 (Swindon) Squadron, was launched this week in 1941.  Applications to form flights had also been made by the Commonweal Secondary School, Pinehurst Old Boys and Ferndale Road Evening Institute and it was expected that another three or four other organisations were likely to apply.  About 50 people had offered their services as officers or instructions.  Selections would be made by a special sub committee consisting of the officers and Raymond Thompson, Stanley Hirst, H. Diment and G. Selman, it was reported.

Master tailor and old soldier John Henry Pakeman died aged 79 at his home at 20 High Street, Swindon.  Mr Pakeman had followed his father into the family tailoring business having served with the Wilts Yeomanry for 13 years.  He was one of the first members of the Swindon Town Council when the Borough was granted its charter of incorporation in 1900.  A Freemason, Mr Pakeman was one of the oldest members of the Royal Sussex Lodge in Swindon.  The funeral took place at Christ Church where a Masonic oration was given at the graveside by W. Bro. J.J. Gale.   

 “Potatoes help to protect you from illness.  Potatoes give you warmth and energy.  Potatoes are cheap and home produced.  So why stop at serving them once a day? Have them twice, or even three times – for breakfast, dinner and supper.”
Potatoes received the hard sell as the Ministry of Food promoted Potato Pete in this week’s Food Facts advertisement.

Among the suggested recipes were Surprise Potato Balls, oven baked mashed potato balls.  The surprise was a teaspoon of sweet pickle inserted in the middle before baking.  Or how about Coffee Potato Scones?  Combine a traditional scone mixture with mashed potato.  Rub in 2oz of fat and then blend to a soft dough with ½ a teacupful of strong, milky, sweetened coffee.  Cut into rounds and bake.  And if that wasn’t enough potato for one day the Ministry suggested a breakfast dish of Parsley Potato Cakes covered in brown breadcrumbs and pan fried.

And Swindon marmalade making came to a halt as finding Seville oranges proved impossible for local housewives.  Despite a ban on extra sugar rations, Swindon women were keen to get going on their marmalade manufacture, but apparently there was not a bitter Seville orange in the town.  “Major Frost, of King’s Ltd., explains that he has more than 400 orders on his books and they are still coming in,” reported the Advertiser.  “Last year he disposed of 200 cases, or chests, each containing some 300 or 400 bitter oranges.”

January 18-24, 1941

Photographs released by the censor show Lawn Cottages and children enjoying snowball fights in the first snowfall of 1941. 

Swindon jewellers called time on all watch repairs as they struggled to keep up with demand as under staffed businesses reported a back log of jobs in local workshops.  With Switzerland cut off from trade it had become increasingly difficult to obtain spare parts and new watch movements, Mr P.F. Stevens, manager of a Swindon firm of jewellers told the Advertiser, and bombing in Birmingham, London and Manchester had wiped out other sources of supply.

Mr and Mrs Hillier Lack celebrated their Golden Wedding anniversary this week.  Mr Lack was born in 1866 and grew up at addresses in Havelock and Henry Streets.  His wife, the former Hannah Maria Horsington, was the daughter of James Horsington, a brass finisher at the GWR Works where Mr Lack also worked as an engine fitter.

A keen sportsman, Mr Lack played football and cricket for St Mark’s Church.  “Tactics were not quite so gentle as they are today,” he told an Advertiser reporter, “and as shin guards were not in fashion one had many painful reminders of rousing games.”

The couple celebrated their anniversary at their home in The Mall with their two grandchildren.

Swindon boasted a growing number of moustaches according to an impromptu rush hour census taken at a town bus stop by an intrepid Advertiser reporter.  Out of 18 men who boarded the bus, seven of them were sporting the latest fashion in facial hair - three young officers, an airman, a clerk and two middle aged workmen.

“Today the young Lieutenant likes to hide the fact that he has recently been gazetted,” a local hairdresser told the reporter, “and there is little doubt that certain other young men have an idea that a well kept moustache adds to their charm in the eyes of the fair sex.”

News of the death of aircraftman Ronald Charles Alexander was reported this week in 1941.  His parents, Mr & Mrs T.H. Alexander of 39 Farnsby Street were informed that their youngest son had been accidentally drowned on December 15.  A former Clarence Street schoolboy, 23 year old Alexander had been employed in both the GWR Works and Garrard’s before volunteering for the RAF soon after the outbreak of war.

Tommy Godfrey, star of Garrison Theatre playing at the London Palladium, and radio favourite Band Waggon, made a surprise stop off in town this week in 1941.  Tommy was snapped by the Advertiser photographer when his car broke down in Swindon.

Swindon weddings this week included that of Colin Campbell Clark and Doris Joyce Powell who were married at Faringdon Road Wesleyan Church while Alex Iles of Whiteman Street and Joan Sutton from Broad Street were married at St. Barnabas’ Church, Gorse Hill.

Bridesmaids Joan Hewer and Shirley Sutton at the wedding of Alex Iles and Joan Sutton
Swindon girls were helping to brighten the lives of soldiers billeted at an undisclosed isolated mansion, where they attended regular Friday night dances.

The girls, all Garrard employees, were escorted by Mr T.A. Kemble, the unofficial chaperon.  When asked by an Advertiser reporter of there were any budding romances, Mr Kemble was suitably non committal.  “You never can tell,” he said.