The Month in Theydon Bois


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Bill Best, 78 and his wife Pat, 73, of Dukes Avenue Theydon Bois (TB) recently celebrated their golden wedding anniversary by holding a service of thanksgiving at which the Canon Rev Colin Travers and the Rev Anthea Cannell both of St Mary’s Church TB, officiated. Because of Bill’s poor health, the service and a subsequent celebration party were held at the St Clare Hospice in Hastingwood. Pat paid tribute to the wonderful staff at the hospice who had not only organised the celebration but were looking after Bill during his visits there.

Laurence Allen, 19, of Coppice Row TB pleaded guilty at Harlow Magistrates Court to the charge of driving a motor vehicle (a motorised scooter) at 12.26 am on 22 06 04 near the junction of the M11 motorway and the A414 main road. He claimed that he was on the pavement and unaware that the scooter, which had a small engine at the rear, was classified as a motor vehicle and therefore required lights and the full documentation necessary for a motor vehicle. He was banned from driving for 12 months, fined £50 and ordered to pay £43 costs. A police spokesman subsequently said that this case highlighted the fact that the drivers of these scooters needed to comply with the full requirements of the law and possess a driving licence, insurance and road tax.

Christmas officially arrived in the village at 6.30 pm. when the Village Christmas Tree was formally lit by Jane and Barry Turner, the Village Personalities of the Year. A large gathering of villagers and friends, together with many children, cheered as the new, living, Christmas Tree lit up the winter sky with its seasonal message of goodwill. After a few words of welcome from the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) Chairman John Eaton and Past Chairman Wilfred Shales, a great cheer went up as Santa Claus (Councillor Bob Glozier in disguise) arrived on his motorised sleigh. The event then moved into the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH), which was quickly packed to capacity, for a Carol Service conducted conjointly by the Rev, David Penegar of the TB Baptist Church and the Rev Canon Colin Travers of St Mary’s Church. Phil Simmance then compared a programme of events which included carols sung by the TB Primary School Choir, the TB Baptist Church Girls Brigade, TB Guides and Brownies, St Mary’s Pathfinders and the TB Singers. TBPC Councillor Sue Jones concluded the occasion by thanking all who had organised the event and particularly the TBWI who worked hard in served mulled wine and mince pies to the many present. Finally, Santa Claus managed to survive the rush (and crush) in the Foyer when he handed out gifts of sweets to the children as they left.

Following the decision of the electorate of North East England to reject a proposal for the creation of a Regional Assembly for that area, questions were now being raised about the validity and usefulness of the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA), which covered the Epping Forest District. Two members of the EERA, Councillor Gerard McEwen and Councillor Robert Glozier (TBPC), were against its existence and appalled at the sheer waste of finance and resources incurred by its operation. Councillor Glozier cited as an example the agenda he had received for the next meeting. This comprised 325 pages and contained for the members perusal and consideration (Regional Assemblies are non decision-making) such topics as; Sustainable Futures – The Integrated Strategy for the East of England, and Centre of Procurement Excellence East – Member Reference Group. The Councillors considered the EERA to be the worst of all worlds being at the same time expensive, unnecessary and ineffective.

Christmas music was on the programme at the December meeting of the TB Music Society and included such items as Little Road to Bethlehem by Michael Head, Xmas Carol by Reinecke and a Fantasy on White Christmas by Irving Berlin. The instrumentalist were Paul Chilvers – Piano, Frances Chilvers – Soprano, Kelly Sharp – Mezzo Soprano and Benjie De Rosario – Clarinet. Seasonal refreshments were provided during the interval to complete the festive occasion.

The same Santa Claus (again incognito) paid another visit to the village, this time to the Christmas Fayre, an open air event, held in the Playground at Theydon (PAT). He was the natural centre of attention being snug in his Grotto while the many parents and children patiently waited in the cold to be welcomed with a warming smile and a small gift. He almost ran out of these but a calamity was averted by helpers who rushed around obtaining further gifts, wrapping paper etc. from the neighbouring shops. Other attractions included a magic castle and stalls selling Christmas items, lucky dip, a grand raffle and, most welcome, refreshments including hot mulled wine and mince pies. The children took to opportunity to use the newly installed play equipment, the centre piece of which was a Jupiter Flexi Stand purchased from donations received from local organisations, particularly the TBWI. The event was organised by the ladies of the hard working PAT Committee, their partners and friends; good neighbour Dave Sims provided the electric power for the illuminations and, most important, the kettle! The PAT Chairman Joy Wainwright thanked everyone for their efforts and was then photographed sitting on Santa’s lap! The Event raised more than £500 which would be used to further improve this wonderful play facility, a registered charity, dependant entirely on voluntary contributions and very popular with children and parents in the local area.

Not to be outdone in the current climate of local festive music, the TB Singers gave their Christmas Concert in the TBVH to a large audience. Their programme comprised a miscellany of music and readings including excerpts from Handel's Messiah and carols by a number of composers including Peter Rutter and Edward Elgar; the audience was invited to join in the singing of the popular items. Frances Chilvers was the Soprano Soloist, Janet Cass the conductor and the excellent accompanist, playing with the Singers for the last time after many years, was Ellie Morrow. The proceeds from the concert were made to the PAT Charity.

The police had reported a 70% drop in crime at the station car parks at Theydon Bois, Epping, Loughton and Debden since Vinci Park UK became responsible for their management. Improved lighting, CCTV and customer instant-contact points had been installed with direct links to the British Transport Police. The Vinci organisation had subsequently received a Secured Car Parks award.

The Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) decided to introduce a new domestic waste recycling scheme commencing in October 2005. Most households would be issued with a wheelie bin for domestic waste, sacks for green recycling waste and a box (or the existing blue box) for other recyclable waste. The collection of waste in black sacks would eventually be discontinued, as there was no control over the number of sacks put out by each household.

Theydon Bois was a silent village at first light on Christmas Day. A sharp frost and a cold northerly wind, bringing the promise of possible snow, kept most “early risers” indoors where children were already opening presents and busy housewives preparing festive meals. The Bookshop newsagents and the Tesco convenience store were closed on this one day, as also was the railway station so no rail and road traffic disturbed the peace of this early Christmas morning. Nature was able to assert herself; the twitter of robins in the hedgerow, the song of the mistle thrush, that harbinger of spring, and the calls of the wildfowl on the pond could once again be heard without interruption. As the sun rose in a clear sky to give natural light to the village Christmas tree, and also to the special “best kept village” sign on the green, early worshippers emerged to hurry by foot or car to St Mary’s Church to celebrate Holy Communion. A little later, morning services were held at the Theydon Bois Baptist Church and at All Saints in the neighbouring parish of Theydon Garnon, a short distance away. Here, some villagers celebrated Christmas morning in this historic 15th century church protected by a geological fold from the massive intersection of the M11 and M25 motorways half a mile way. The church was candle lit until the morning sun shone through the ancient windows and the increasing sound of the motorway traffic, much of it bound for the Stansted International Airport, announced that the world was awake. By lunch time, Theydon Bois was astir and the four pubs began to serve their patrons. By afternoon, families were out in force with the favourite destinations being the pond, to feed the wildfowl, or the playground and the village green where young legs and lungs could be exercised to the full. All too soon the lowering temperature warned that the afternoon was over and most people disappeared indoors for further festivities and an evening of television or, even family generated entertainment. By midnight a hard frost had once again fallen on a sleeping village, lit only by a full moon and the bright festive decorations which illuminated the exteriors of many homes.

The ready availability of cheap air travel and the low cost of living in third world countries encouraged many tourists, including some residents of Theydon Bois, to spend Christmas in warm or tropical climates. However, the idyllic holiday for thousands of tourists in the Indian Ocean region of South East Asia was shattered at breakfast time the day after Christmas by a series of tsunamis (giant waves travelling at high speed), caused by a massive underwater earthquake off Sumatra. The coastal regions of Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and even East Africa were devastated. By evening the number of known casualties was 13,000 dead with 20,000 missing and these figures were expected to increase enormously. Many victims were those on the beaches who had been swept out to sea or trapped in wrecked beach hotels and cafes. More than 10,000 tourists were in the region, which had been declared a disaster area, and aid was being sought world wide and from the United Nations. Drinking water, food and especially medical supplies were urgently needed because of the threat of disease from the thousands of unburied bodies. Where possible tourists were being flown home immediately and some arrived clad only in swimming clothes, as all their possessions had been lost. At this time, it was not known if any residents of TB had been involved in the disaster.

The ignominious saga of the demise of Wansfell College in Piercing Hill TB reached its sad conclusion when the Essex County Council (ECC) announced that it had received “several expressions of interest” for the purchase of the now empty premises. The College building occupied an area of 14,607 square feet and there was a landscaped garden of five acres with a four-bedroom house. Former College Governor and professional actor, John Rapley, said, “It’s a desperate shame that such a valuable asset to adult education has been disposed of. It has been standing empty, as far as students are concerned, since August 2004 during which it could have been put to some educational use”. A spokesman for Lambert Smith Hampton, the property consultants appointed to handle the sale, said, “The Victorian house is of significant size due to various conversions since its construction in 1871, and could be converted back to residential accommodation”. The property was purchased by the ECC in 1945 for conversion into a residential educational College. Sir Winston Churchill frequented Wansfell and Patrick Moore, the astronomer, had lectured there for some years.

In London, the New Year was ushered in at the stroke of midnight with a tremendous fireworks display on the Thames, which was also intended as visible support for London’s bid to host the Olympics in 2012. The night sky was illuminated for miles around, even as far as Theydon Bois where the display could be seen from local high points. But before the display, a two-minute silence was observed to commemorate the now 150,000 souls who had died in the Indian Ocean earthquake and tidal wave disaster of 26 12 04. However this figure was increasing continually and it was feared that thousands more would never be found having perished either on remote islands or in the sea; it was now established that at least 100 Britons were officially dead. British tourists were being flown home but, against official advice, many relatives of those dead or missing were flying out to the region to search for or identify loved ones; meanwhile others could only wait for news. For many, the year 2004 went out on a very sombre note.





The Theydon Bois Baptist church helped to provide more than 100 goats for poverty-stricken families in Africa by raising £2,800 in support of the "Get Your Goat" appeal held by the Farm Africa Charity. This organisation aims to make a lasting impression on the lives of poor rural African farmers and their families by providing two goats per family for breeding purposes, providing milk and generating fertiliser. This is a repetitive process as the recipient family donates two of the goat's offspring to another needy family. The appeal was launched at this autumn's harvest festival where a goat from Ashlyns Organic Farm was in attendance and caused great interest.

The Youth Initiatives Committee of the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) held an open meeting in the Theydon Bois Village Association (TBVA) which was attended by Parish Councillors, Essex County Council (ECC) Youth Advisors, villagers and a small number of young people. Councillor Robert Glozier announced that only 43 replies to a youth activities questionnaire had been received from the 150 young people estimated to be residing in TB. The most popular facilities requested, in order, were a cafe bar meeting place, a hall with snooker and table tennis facilities, a live music venue, roller blade/skateboard/cycling facilities. The Chairman, Councillor John Padfield pointed out that these all related to a youth club environment, which no longer existed due to closure of the village youth centre by the ECC.

Bob Day of the TBVA detailed incidents of damage to the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) to the roof and wooden gates; the intimidation of hall users by skateboarders was also cited. A statement from the police was read out in which it reported the two community support officers had visited the village and made 26 behavioural spot checks on young people which had resulted in letters being sent to parents; some parents had reacted favourably, but many had not.

The Gardening Group from the Friends of Wansfell College made a last return to the gardens, not to maintain and improve them, but to help remove shrubs and trees which could be lost when the College is sold. These would be transferred to a memorial garden in St Mary's Church, Shenfield, the gardens of sheltered accommodation in Brentwood and the grounds of Debden House, an educational establishment run by the London Borough of Newham. The larger trees were to be removed by professional arborists, later. Brian Staples, leader of the Group said that in 13 years they had planted trees, shrubs and countless bulbs.

The Friends subsequently held a lecture evening at the TBVH partly to show that the Friends organisation still existed despite the closure of the College. Some eighty Friends and guests enjoyed a joint presentation given by Mary and Doug Hawkins on the subject of Medieval Venetian Music and Art. The music of Vivaldi and other composers provided an appropriate background to a slide display of religious paintings by Italian artists of the renaissance period including those by Titian and Botticelli. Marilyn Taylor, the principal of the now defunct College told the audience of her work in founding a new college but explained that its function would differ due to the lack of a permanent residence; moreover, fees would be much higher because of the absence of financial support from educational and other authorities. Nevertheless, she was continuing with her efforts.

The death, in last September, of villager Terry Steele of Graylands was recorded by the Walthamstow coroner as being "death by accident". Terry had been electrocuted while attempting to repair the cable on his hedge trimmer which had been accidentally severed. It appeared that a circuit breaker installed in his home some 20 to 25 years ago had not disconnected the supply and Terry would not have known this. Professional advice was that modern circuit breakers should be installed during any electrical work at any premises. External breakers, obtainable from electrical shops, should be used with garden equipment; it was also important to unplug any electrical equipment before attempting a repair.

Eleanor Laing MP was at the TBVH to receive a petition containing more than 13,000 signatures of Epping Forest District residents objecting to Government housing plans which threatened the local green belt. This petition had been organised by the Council for the Protection of Rural Essex through a group comprising the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society (TARPS), the Epping Society, the Friends of Epping Forest, the North Weald Society and the Ramblers Association. Village support came from Peter Newton, Alan Giles and Trevor Roberts. The objections were based on the Eastern Regional Assembly's (ERA) recommendation that Essex should take 123,000 new homes by 2021 with the Epping Forest District having 11,000 homes. North Weald was earmarked for 6,000 and Harlow for 8,000. A major objection was that the ERA was a non-elected body directly responsible to the office of the Deputy Prime Minister; a proposal for a similar body in the North East of England had been massively rejected by the residents of that area. Eleanor Laing was subsequently televised at the House of Commons presenting the petition to the Speaker, and reading a section, part of which was worded; "The petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the government to review the research on which plans for new housing in the Epping Forest District are based and confirm that the principle of protecting the green belt will be upheld". She invited anyone who had not signed the petition to write to her at the House of Commons; she would add any new names to her list (not the petition).

The usual fireworks displays and a few bonfires commemorated the arrest of Guy Fawkes and his conspirators (who nowadays would be called "terrorists") in 1605. This saved King James 1 and members of parliament from a "bomb outrage" at the Houses of Parliament, which would have changed the course of English history. In the village, some residents were outraged by the use of the now vacant Fairytale Flowers shop in Coppice Row as a temporary outlet for fireworks sales. The garish signs detracted from the appearance of the neat line of shops and representations against this enterprise were made to the local authority. The Theydon Bois Primary School (TBPS) held its own display in the school grounds which was organised by the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) and raised over £3,000 for PTA funds. Safety was paramount with the fireworks kept well away from the onlookers. A best guy competition was won by school pupils Chloe Kingscote, Molly West and Henry Massey.

Remembrance Sunday was commemorated in the village on a fine morning with the usual parade to St Mary's Church. In attendance were the Royal British Legion, Epping Forest District Council and TBPC Councillors and representatives of many local organisations one of which, the tennis club, was represented by Richard Risdon who laid a wreath. Most important, a large number of young people took part especially Cornet player Sian Cornwell, a pupil from the TBPS who played the last post. A particular comment was made by a member of the older generation regarding these youngsters; "In the national press we hear so much about wrongs the young have done. These are the youngsters we should be hearing about; they represent the future of our country".

Following a disclosure that the intelligence services had thwarted a plot to crash an aircraft into the Canary Wharf Tower in the London Docklands, concern was expressed as to how well the EFDC emergency planning procedures would cope. The Epping railheads featured prominently in the evacuation plans due to the major link with the metropolis via the Central Line. It was envisaged that some 5,000 people would arrive by train during the first hour and have to be accommodated; and if contamination was involved due to a nuclear incident or similar, only 400 people could be treated in the decontamination tents which would be set up. The leader of the EFDC, John Knapman, said that he had real concerns how well the District could cope if there was a significant emergency.

The village pubs continued to be featured in local good food guides. An assessor found the Railway Arms to be a clean, traditional, hostelry with high-backed seating and numerous alcoves; a bar billiards table was in keeping with this old fashioned interior. The few customers there were not eating so the Green King IPA beer was critically examined and found to be reasonable; so the Railway got a good rating. But the sixteenth century Bull Inn was almost a horror story. The assessors were so unimpressed by type of clientele, poor beer, lack of food and the excessively high level of sound (music ?) that they curtailed their visit and adjourned to a nearby Indian restaurant for a meal. Happily the Inn is now under new management and a radical improvement has taken place. Enough said!

The large audience present at the November meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society heard Rachel Calaminus - piano and Rachael Buxton - viola, give a recital of chamber music. Items particularly appreciated were the Suite in C Major for solo viola by J S Bach, and the Romance by M Bruch. The usual raffle was held and the Chairman, Barbara O'Connor, congratulated the players on their fine performance

At the AGM of the Theydon Bois Woman's Institute, Doreen Snell was re elected to office as President. The Treasurer Daphne Bowe stood down and was replaced by Mary Leng, Minute Secretary Ann Washer did likewise and Peggy Cooke took her place; Beryl Evans continued as Secretary. The Committee now comprised Margaret Davis, Doris Hill, Beryl Mcleod, Ruby Parrott, Jackie Robertson, Marjorie Roberts, Kay Rush and Pat Williamson. The members had enjoyed a very successful year and all were congratulated on the smooth running of this very successful Institute which now had over 100 members.

The Epping Railway Circle held its 17th model railway exhibition in the TBVH. Ten working layouts of all gauges from all over the country drew a large attendance, many of whom were "young boys" well past retirement age. The Railway Circle's layout "Tanglewood Common" proved popular, as also were the trade stands and the refreshment facilities.

The Theydon Bois Branch of the Epping Forest Conservative Association held a wine tasting evening in the TBVH which was attended by some seventy members and guests. Bob Glozier, Branch Chairman, hosted the evening and Colin Hooker gave a most informative and expert presentation of four white and three red wines for tasting. All had been obtained from the Epping Tesco Supermarket and were currently on sale there at very reasonable prices. Martin Oliver set a clever but exacting quiz, which baffled not a few drink fuddled minds. The ladies provided an excellent snack supper and a raffle raised some £250 for Branch funds.

A local press photographer in the village was surprised to see a rat attacking a mallard duck by the village pond and promptly recorded the fight on camera; the pictures appeared in the national press. It was possible that the rat was either defending its territory or else competing for bread left for the wildfowl which, during the current "warm" period, was unlikely to be taken by the birds. However the incident highlighted the problem of pond pollution and pest encouragement resulting from overfeeding.

During November the following baptism was recorded in the register of St Mary's Church:

07 11 04 Jason Dean





The leader of the EFDC (Epping Forest District Council), John Knapman, was present at the October meeting of the TBPC (Theydon Bois Parish Council). This was part of his tour of parish and town councils in the Epping Forest District and the meeting was well attended by the general public. He was informed about the lack of traffic calming measures in the Abridge Road and Loughton Lane, and he consequently implemented action to give priority for traffic calming action to these thoroughfares. The issue of the large number of lorries carrying earth along the Abridge Road was also raised together with parking problems within the village.

Forty eight men were present in the Theydon Bois Baptist Church Hall for the first 2004/2005 meeting of the popular Theydon Bois Men’s Forum. The speaker was Chris Pond, the librarian at the House of Commons, whose subject was (surprisingly) the railways of SW Essex. He particularly talked about the railway lines which ran from London out to Chingford, and from London to Loughton and eventually Chipping Ongar and how they opened up residential areas for those working in the City. He also dealt with the electrification of these services and how this change actually increased travelling times, due to the absence of “expresses” as in the days of steam, due to trains now stopping at every station. The officers of the Forum for this season were David Walling – Chairman, Vic Dowsett – Vice Chairman, Geoffrey Hooper – Treasurer, and Committee Members – Vic Dowsett, Keith Duggett, Alan Hollingbery and David Walling.

The Theydon Bois Primary School was the recent scene of fashion and glamour when the Katwalk Company held a ladies fashion show. Clothes from leading high street stores were modelled by six ladies; three mums, an older sister of a school pupil, a member of the teaching staff and the Head Teacher Elspeth Bonds. Hayley and Alice from the local George Hairdressers styled the "models" hair and parent Deb Snow took care of their make up. £250 was raised for school funds.

An almost capacity audience was present at the TBVH (Theydon Bois Village Hall) to hear an interesting lecture given by Tony O’Connor, Curator of the Epping Forest Museum, on the “Retreats “of Epping Forest. The talk was arranged by the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society.

Local residents Mary Glozier, Pat Pleasant, Ted Norris and Harry Memory attended a recent presentation at the premises of the Epping Bowls Club, given by Prakash Aurora, a volunteer of the Essex Air Ambulance Service. Mary, of Orchard Drive, serving in her capacity as the Club Ladies Vice Captain, together with the Ladies Captain Margaret Mealing conjointly presented a cheque for £300 to Prakash in support of this charity, which is an essential component of the Essex Ambulance Service.

Villager Gervase Dawdwick, together with his son Richard, 12, were among the first passengers to travel on the North Weald to Chipping Ongar railway since its closure ten years ago. At that time, the service was provided by the Central Line underground trains working at the extremity of the Line in rural Essex. Before then, steam locomotives worked the railway but today’s transport was a DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) operated by the Epping Ongar Railway (formerly Pilot Developments). It was hoped to extend the service to Coopersale and then on to Epping with conjoint use of Epping station, which is part of the London Underground system.

A recent proposal by the EFDC Cabinet that households across the Epping District could be issued with “Wheelie Bins” instead of black sacks for the disposal of domestic waste resulted in strong adverse reaction. Two bins would be issued to each residence for containing household and garden refuse respectively; the existing blue box scheme would now cover glass and sacks provided for other recyclable materials such as paper and cans. John Gilbert, the EFDC Head of Environmental Services said, ”Landfill is a rapidly diminishing resource and it is essential to find new ways of dealing with the ever increasing levels of waste generated in the District. We must recycle more or be faced with other kinds of refuse disposal ie. incineration. The Village had just received a Best Kept Village Award, partly due to its attractive appearance which would undoubtedly be marred by badly kept and smelly bins emptied only once a fortnight.

Theydon Bois is “blest“ with four pubs. One, The Sixteen-String Jack, is near the top of the hill in Coppice Row and the others, The Bull, The Railway Arms and the attractive Queen Victoria comprise a group of three in the village centre. The Queen Victoria was the subject of a customer survey by the reporter of a local newspaper who paid a Sunday lunchtime visit. The writer was complimentary about the building with its three bars, the largest of which served as a combined bar and dining area and was decorated with a selection of Victorian china, horse brasses and copper ware, with the latter lacking a good polish. The second Victoria Bar was very neat but, like the dining bar, packed with customers. It was therefore a surprise to find the last and smaller bar completely empty but a real jewel. Here, combed wood boards rose to the ceiling to finish in a dado with the remaining wall and the ceiling painted a warm “tobacco” colour associated with warm cosy evenings. A visit to the Pub was therefore recommended.

The shopping facilities in Theydon Bois were greatly improved when the refurbished Theydon Pharmacy was formally reopened. The small old world chemist with varnished woodwork and small glass cabinets was replaced by a large modern pharmacy of clinical appearance with enlarged dispensing facilities and a consulting room. Eleanor Laing MP, who formally opened the new premises, members of the TBPC and the EFDC together with leading members of the community and the medical profession, attended the event. The owner of the pharmacy, Sailesh Dawda explained how the pharmacist had become an essential part of the health service by supporting doctors with medical advice to patients, hence the new consulting rooms. Sailesh and his wife Rakesha were well established in the village, providing medical advice and support for villagers which extended well, beyond the normal scope of their business.

At the October meeting of the TBWI, Mrs Louise Reed gave a very amusing and informative talk entitled “Behind Harem Walls” (which quite a few husbands would liked to have heard!). Eileen Tyrell gave an account of the cookery course which she attended at Denman College. The TBWI cake stall at the recent St Clare Hospice Autumn raised nearly £250 and plans were in hand to assist with the Village Tree Lighting Ceremony next December.

The American practice of knocking on peoples’ doors on Halloween (the evening of the 31 Oct) and requesting a ”Trick or Treat” is now firmly established in the UK and popular among children. However, the friendly aspect of this practice was becoming lost with acts of intimidation or even violence against householders who do not wish to participate, especially the elderly and infirm. Consequently, Essex police have been circulating window or door posters for display which say “Sorry, No Trick or Treat Tonight”.

At a recent meeting of the EFDC Planning Committee, an application by the Theydon Bois Tennis Club for the floodlighting of its courts was rejected. The Epping Forest Conservators, the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society, and the Friends of Epping Forest were among the 41 objectors; the application had already been rejected by the TBPC and a similar application had been turned down some ten years ago. The current application also included an extension of clubhouse hours to permit greater use of the club’s playing facilities by members and young people under training. It was pointed at that this extension alone would have a serious and deleterious impact in a quiet area of some 40 local residents. EFDC Councillor Janet Whitehouse said, “The darkness of Theydon Bois is a unique situation. The application is right next to the Forest. Another Councillor Robert Glozier said, I would like to increase the amount of tennis the youth can play. However, we have to balance the effect on local residents; the glow from the sky will be visible from all directions”.

A new village sign was erected on the village green to commemorate the success of the village in wining the Rural Community Council of Essex Best Kept Village competition, and the Village of the Year Compton sponsored by Calor Gas. The occasion was marked by a small ceremony attended by the TBPC Chairman, John Eaton, Parish Councillors and representatives of village societies.

During October and the previous months, the following were recorded in the registers of St Mary’s Church:

Marriages 25 09 04 Mark Taylor and Melanie Philcox

Baptisms 26 09 04 Claudia King

Funerals 20 09 04 Pat Schofield
Burial of Ashes 10 10 04 Pat Schofield





The state of some village roads and footpaths, especially Forest Drive and Woodland Way, were causing concern generally. Numerous potholes were appearing possibly caused by the extensive use of four-wheel drive vehicles. Broken kerbs were also evident and were invariably due to goods vehicles mounting or backing onto footpaths. ECC (Essex County Council) member Janet Whitehouse and EFDC (Epping Forest District Council) member Kay Rush, both local residents, were pressing the ECC to rectify this state of affairs.

Residents were reminded of the pending onset of autumn and then winter when electric blankets were tested free of charge at the TBVH (Theydon Bois Village Hall). This service was provided by the EFDC a spokesman for whom said that a faulty electric blanket could be the cause of a house fire and testing such items was a quick and easy way to prevent this.

Tragedy struck the Steele family of Graylands in the village when Terry Steele 30, was electrocuted while working in his garden with an electric hedge cutter. He had married his wife Saffron only some three months previous; the couple had met while trekking in Nepal. Terry, who was a medical addiction specialist, worked as nursing director for the Seagrave Trust overseeing detoxification programmes particularly within the HM Prison Service. His colleagues paid tribute to his dedication to his patients and his profession, and said that he would be sorely missed. after someone, he was that kind of person.

The village was reminded of its World War Two experiences by the 60th Anniversary of the commencement of the bombardment of this country by intercontinental ballistic missiles. These were German 7-ton V2 rockets, 46ft long and 11 ft wide, which descended from the stratosphere at supersonic speeds of around 3,500 miles per hour. They were ground launched from the Continent (mainly Holland), left a crater 10 ft deep and devastated the surrounding area. The first two landed at Battersea in London and at Parndon Wood in Harlow where the crater can still be seen in the nature reserve. These missiles arrived without warning and such was their speed that, after the roar of the explosion had faded, the sound of their descent through the atmosphere could then be heard. There was no defence against them and in certain areas, eg. Ilford, some ten fell in one square mile and as each could demolish much of a street, the damage and loss of life was substantial. The worst incident was in South London, where more than 200 people were killed when one fell on a Woolworth’s store on a busy Saturday afternoon. Theydon Bois was fortunate with only one incident when a rocket fell in the Abridge Road near the Station but fortunately caused little damage due to the open nature of the area.

The 2004/2005 series of concerts presented by the Theydon Bois Music Society got off to a grand start with a recital given in the TBVH by Alison Gillies, cello, and Masachi Nishiyama, piano. They played works by Beethoven, Brahms, Rachmanioff, Saints Saens and Gaspar Cassado. They finished with an accomplished and powerful performance of Caesar Franck’s Sonata in A major for cello and piano, for which they received a resounding ovation from the large audience present.

TBPC (Theydon Bois Parish Council), Epping, Magdalen Laver, Lambourne and Chigwell received a grant of £16,000 under the Parish Transport Grants Scheme. This will allow Community Transport Epping Forest organisation to operate a service from Epping through Theydon Bois, Lambourne End and Chigwell to Loughton, and another from Epping to Magdalen Laver and the surrounding areas. This action follows the loss this year of underused bus services following the withdrawal of financial support from the ECC. These new routes should operate on a twice-weekly basis and supplement the current Community Transport.

The speaker at the September meeting of the TBWI (Theydon Bois Womens’ Institute) was Mrs Joy Shippcott who talked about her “moving experiences” which related, not to moving house, but to dealing with the harrowing experience of subsidence to the foundations of her home. A one-minute’s silence was observed in memory of Pat Scholfield who had died recently. The members were informed of two pending outings; on the 22 Oct 04 to the Bluewater shopping complex, and on the 20 Nov 04 to Southend to attend a performance of the Rogers and Hammerstein Musical “The Sound of Music”, given by local operatic group SODS.

Police coverage for Theydon Bois and Epping was sharply criticised at a meeting between the Essex Police Authority Chairman Robert Chambers and councillors and residents from the two areas. ECC Councillor and local resident, Janet Whitehouse, said that she had received numerous complaints from residents who had experienced difficulties in contacting the police, especially over non-emergency issues, and/or obtaining a satisfactory response. Mr Chambers replied that he would follow up these matters with the Assistant Chief Constable and would subsequently give a response to Councillor Whitehouse. He further advised that his three priorities were to improve visible policing (with more community support officers), improve call handling at police stations and tackle anti social behaviour more effectively.

On another occasion, Loughton Councillor Stephen Murray also adversely commented on police services in the Epping Forest District. He cited one incident when a victim of a serious assault had to wait three days for a police visit. He also claimed that there was a total breakdown of the ward-based community policing team. He pointed out that the Epping Forest District paid 45% (a massive £5,226,747) of the police bill as opposed to 29% for Brentwood and 26% for Harlow. The conclusion he drew was that the District was not getting a fair share of police resources.

Stuart Smith of Loughton Lane took a leading role in the current theatrical production presented by CROADS (Chigwell Row Operatic Society) at the Victory Hall in Chigwell. The Society’s staging of the comedy/farce Trivial Pursuits gave Stuart the opportunity to portray the entertaining and effeminate character Teddy, to the delight of the audience. Stuart had been a member of the Society for many years taking many roles and also producing a number of popular shows.

The application by former EFDC Councillor and village resident Roy Newlands to register land in Loughton Lane as a village green, was accepted by the ECC as being sound and this authority had therefore publicly advertised the application with objections being invited. This land is the site of the building, which housed the Village Youth Club, now closed by the ECC who wished to sell both building and land. However, a strong factor in support of registration was that local people had used the land for recreation purposes for the last 30 to 40 years including the local scouts whose building was also on this site.

The annual Business Golf Day held at the Theydon Bois Golf Club raised £6,000 for the dual charity appeal being made by the current Chairman of the EFDC, Councillor Richard Morgan, during his year of office. He was supporting the Ongar and District League of Friends, which was committed to improving patient's facilities at the Ongar War Memorial Hospital. He was also supporting the Essex Air Ambulance which, so far, has been deployed on over 4,000 life saving missions. The event was supported by Derek Higgins, head of the Higgins Group PLC of Loughton. The overall winner of the individual competition was Mike Perry from Epping; Matthew Carleton, John Wren, and Paul Field of Triangle Leisure from Waltham Abbey won the team prize.

The National Farmers Union announced that the grain harvest this year was better than that for 2003 with yields of wheat and barley being particularly high. Poor results had been forecast due to the exceptionally wet weather in August, but a fine spell in early September allowed crops to dry out and be harvested quickly.

The ECC had offered the Wansfell College site to the TBPC for a sum in excess of £2.5m on terms to be agreed. The offer was open for six weeks from 27 Aug 04 following which it would be placed on the open market.

The TBPC had requested that the old road between the old railway crossing site and the Abridge Road be designated “Station Hill”. London Transport had also applied to the EFDC for a road stoppage order on the old road and the subsequent erection of gates or bollards to prevent fly tipping. Pedestrian access would not be affected and provision would be made for bona fide users.

The Deed of Gift, which provided proof that the TBPC owns the allotments, had been found in the TBVH archives by Jill Oakley and Joy Wainwright. The TBPC Chairman, John Eaton, thanked them accordingly for their efforts

EFDC Highways had agreed to the replacement of the dilapidated road signpost at the junction of Coopersale Lane and the Abridge Road, and to the reinstatement of the old oak finger post which had once stood there. An anonymous local resident would meet the cost of £595. The TBPC agreed to find the ongoing maintenance of the new sign, which should not exceed £100 per annum.

The Chairman of the Theydon Bois Preservation Society, Peter Newton, invited villagers to sign a petition against the building of 18,600 homes in the Epping Forest District. Eleanor Laing MP would present the petition to Parliament. The petition had been raised by the Epping Branch of the Council for the Preservation of Rural Essex and was also being canvassed throughout the Epping Forest District and was receiving substantial support. The major concern was the threat to the green belt and, indirectly, Epping Forest.

During September and the previous months, the following entries were recorded in the registers of St Mary’s Church:


04 09 04 Stephen Fisher and Sara Demetriou

John D’Ercole and Aimee Cooper


27 07 04 Archie Turner

01 08 04 Lauren and Harry Tebbutt

08 08 04 Emma McSpadden

22 08 04 Horatia and Anouska Duggan

05 09 04 Anna Sagoo


19 08 04 Carlo Terry 07 09 04 Sheila Chalk

14 09 04 Terry Steele 16 09 04 Alice Allen



Copyright 2004. Trevor Roberts, Local History Recorder.


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Last Up Dated: 18th January 2005