Bagshot Newsletter : Spring 2008

4 people well wrapped up against the cold surrounded by snow and under a blue skyThe weather is a guaranteed topic of conversation for an Englishman.  So let's be true to form.  The wet theme (you may recall that I spoke of floods in the Christmas newsletter) continued for the rest of the winter and indeed into spring.  It was not very cold though, with only a sprinkling of snow - until April.  We woke on the morning of April 6th to find two inches of the white stuff covering everything. It was my turn to lead a walk for the local Ramblers that day and although the snow had stopped falling by the start time I turned up wondering if anyone else would.  In the event several did, and with clearing skies those who did not come missed out on a delightful walk across Bagshot Heath.  One national newspaper took great delight in contrasting that day's weather scenes with the same day last year - illustrated by a view of Brighton beach covered with people basking in the sunshine.  A month later and we now have the sunshine this year.

a stream meandering through a grass sided hollow with a railway viaduct in the backgroundTeresa Scales (nee Kenna) wrote
"I was most interested to see the pictures of flooding (we even had it here - right at the top of the Cotswold Hills, and for the same reasons - badly maintained drains and culverts), however, I digress, the picture which was most nostalgic must have been taken almost where I had my childhood, 3 Providence Cottages, almost opposite Parkers wood yard. What mischief I used to get up to with Edna and Ethel (they were always better at jumping off the shed than me). Best wishes to you all.".  
Providence Cottages are no longer there. They were demolished many years ago and replaced by retirement flats.

Contrast the image of the flooded stream with that to the right in its normal state. In flood the little bridge was submerged. Those who remember Parker's 'garden centre' will recall that in those days the stream was bounded by sheer concrete walls, offset with a rather token 'rockery water feature' and with their car park on the left of this view.  When the flats were built about 10 years ago the stream was completely re-contoured nearly as you see today.  The difference was that the stream bed was straight.  The designers said that the profile with a wide body and a narrow bed was how steams naturally develop and that with time the steam will naturalise and achieve its own winding course.  How right they were.

Old documents can be fascinating and I've been rummaging through some copies of the Parish Magazine. Now I'm not sure whether I want to admit 1977 as being history, but that was the year of the Queen's Silver Jubilee, celebrated with rather more style than her 50th. I found these write-up in the magazine. The picture is not from the mag but is the only one I could find, three toddlers possibly enjoying their ice creams - though from their looks I fancy they would have preferred to be indoors, in the dry and in the warm. If any reader can offer any better pictures of the event then perhaps the whole lot can be turned into a page in the section of 'memories of Bagshot'.

The Vicar's letter (the late Rev H John Smith)

Our Jubilee celebrations were preceded by a well supported inter-denominational service. That was right and proper. We gave thanks to God first and then we celebrated.

What a splendid time was had by everyone at these celebrations! The day was a little petulant as regards the weather, but in spite of, and not because of, the weather, everyone enjoyed themselves. The organisation was superb, and I feel sure everyone will want to congratulate, through the medium of this letter, if they have not already done so, Messrs. Edward Papworth and John Ford, the two stalwarts who, through thick and thin, finally achieved the magnificent cooperation and co-ordination by so many people which produces such a wonderful array of floats, side-shows and stalls. The ideas were very good. It was indeed Carnival time. I do not suppose residents of Bagshot have seen so many people gathered together in the square and along the road-side and streets of Bagshot for many a day. It was all good. It was very good. And we who watched and enjoyed the fun of the carnival are very, very grateful for all the hard work that went towards that day. The ingredients were all there - feasting, carnival procession, sideshows, stalls, Morris dancing, Karate demonstrations, tugs-of-war, mock bank raid, dancing in the streets. There was spontaneous participation and fun. Once again, congratulations to everyone who contributed in any way to the Silver Jubilee success. It was a magnificent day: one to be remembered.

by E Papworth

3 toddlers wrapped up against teh rain, eating ice creamsDespite an overcast sky on Sunday, June 5th, and a torrential downpour during the afternoon of Monday, June 6th, Bagshot celebrated the occasion of the Silver Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with great style and a wonderful attendance.

On the Sunday a crowd of over 500 people gathered in the centre at the village for an open air inter-denominational service led by the leaders of the local churches and with music provided by Bagshot Band, assisted by John Conry at the electronic organ on stage. Many of those attending expressed the opinion that the service of thanksgiving was most appropriate to the national feeling of togetherness which the celebration of 25 years of the reign of our most popular Queen has engendered.

Monday, June 6th, at 2 p.m. saw the start of a very fine procession, headed by the Mayor, Mayoress and other local dignitaries riding in a remarkably well-kept fire engine of yesteryear, followed by a large formation of dressed floats, several providing music, and a very smart turn-out by the band and gun carriage team of Camberley Sea Cadets. Also in the parade were numerous fancy dress entries and by the time this assembly returned into the village square it was estimated that upward of 4,500 people had jammed the village centre to capacity.

During the afternoon a tea party was enjoyed by 450 children of ages from 1 1/2 years to 8 years old, and this was followed by a Punch and Judy show which delighted children and parents alike. The stalls which had been assembled by the various village associations were almost overwhelmed, and the tug-of-war contestants were occasionally helped by a surreptitious tug from the crowd who were pressed ever closer to the centre of activities.

A number of very fine displays were put on for the enjoyment of the huge crowd. The rainstorm at the height of an exciting afternoon decimated the crowd but only highlighted the work performed by the St. Johns Ambulance Brigade. This intrepid band of people continued their mock accident display as though attending to badly injured people while the heavens opened was just an every-day occurrence; in fact, their leader was heard to say later: "Well, when it is for real we can’t just pack up". Which shows the truly wonderful spirit these people have.

After little more than half an hour the rain stopped, and contestants who had reached the finals of the Haybale tossing immediately attracted a large crowd again with fine examples of a mixture of skill and strength in reaching prodigious heights before the champion was found. This was followed by tug-of-war semi- finals, then a most interesting display by Missouri Raiders, depicting a bank raid in a small Southern American town and with a most realistic gun fight between the desperados and Confederate soldiers. Then the tug-of-war final was won by the most motley crowd seen in Bagshot for a very long time. With the pavements almost dry and the crowd perceptibly growing, the Judo club gave a fine display of the martial arts and demonstrated most ably the question of mind over matter with their beds of nails. The final display was a well executed series of dances by the Yateley Morris Dancers, which provided all the atmosphere of an old time village fete.

At this stage the evening’s entertainment took over and Gordon, who had kept the crowd amused by disc and by mike during the afternoon, really came into his own by providing the ever swelling throng with a disco that was enjoyed by all, and in its final stages saw the return of our Mayor and Mayoress, Councillor Ian and Mrs. Goodchild.

During this wonderful evening, refreshments were served from the Barbecue run by the Venture Scouts and students from Weybridge Tech., under the professional eye of Mr. Ward; and even here the traditional touch was kept by the serving of Bagshot Lamb in the form of Lamburgers and Bagshot Cherry Pie, both dishes being well known in Bagshot in a past age when the village was renowned for its stage coach hostelries.

When the final strains of the National Anthem died away at midnight the crowds melted into the darkness, having enjoyed a day which is now widely held as being a red letter day in the village history, and one that will long be remembered.

Rapley Lake

If you are an ex-pat what are your recollections of Rapley Lake.  I'm sure you have never seen this view of it.

cut undergowth in teh foreground beyond which is a lake.

bluebell flowers The lake used to be surrounded on three sides by dense rhododendrons. I am told that the problem with water-side rhododendrons is that their fallen leaves poison the water. Whatever the reason, Crown Estates have had a major cut-back, removing the bushes all the way round. It will have been a very long time since anyone stood where I took this photo from. I am sure that in a couple of years sufficient growth will have re-established itself to make the lake look attractive again, and perhaps be a lot better for it.

This is not the only work that has been done in this area. A lot of logging has been going on clearing out dead and fallen trees and thinning where overgrown. Again a very good thing, but the consequence of bringing heavy machinery into the woods is that the paths and tracks have been cut up terribly, a problem compounded by the encouragement of cycling, making many paths almost impassable to walkers. However perseverance pays dividends with this marvellous show of native bluebells.
a wood of grey tree trunks rising from a carpet of blue and green flowers


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With best wishes to you and those you hold dear.

The opinions expressed here are those of the author, writing on his own behalf and not representing anyone else or any organisation.

The previous newsletter was at Christmas.

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