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A formal planning application was made by Jason Cooper of Mountcharm Ltd for a change of use for the Wansfell College building in Coppice Row TB (Theydon Bois). The plan also included the alteration and extension of the building to provide 20 residential flats and to demolish the former caretakers house to provide car-parking facilities. An outline plan was also submitted for the erection of a replacement dwelling on the caretaker site. Initial objections were based on the resulting increase in local population density and the generation of additional traffic in a notoriously dangerous stretch of the adjacent road.

There was a large turnout at the TBVH (Theydon Bois Village Hall) for the lighting of the village Christmas Tree. Councillor John Eaton, Chairman of the TBPC (Theydon Bois Parish Council) welcomed all present and then handed over to the MC, Councillor Susan Jones. A short carol service was held with carols sung by the Children of the TBCPS (Theydon Bois County Primary School) and Peter Newton, the village personality of the year, then pressed a button to light the Tree which was the signal for Santa Claus (alias Councillor Bob Glozier) to arrive on his illuminated sleigh; this was secured to the back of a pickup truck as his reindeer were resting before the "Christmas Rush" commenced. The children then “piled” into the TBVH to receive a small gift of sweets from Santa, which had been previously donated by Pravin and Champa Khetiya, the previous owners of the Village Bookshop newsagents; meanwhile the adults took the opportunity to warm themselves with mulled wine, and minced pies donated by the Theydon Bakery.

The TB Music Society held their Christmas meeting in the TBVH where a large audience was entertained by Phil Chilvers (piano), Frances Chilvers (soprano), Mark Hansford (baritone) and Paul Chapman (flute). The quartet played a variety of Christmas music including “The Little Road to Bethlehem” and the popular “Have Yourself a Very Merry Christmas”. The Theydon Singers also held their Annual Christmas Concert where the audience enjoyed a feast of seasonal music and refreshments: Janet Cass conducted and Paul Chilvers was the accompanist.

Pupils from the TBCPS helped the staff of EFDC (Epping Forest District Council) to plant a hedgerow at Great Gregories TB. This project was carried out during National Tree Week, the Tree Council’s Festival to mark the start of the tree planting season and a nationwide celebration of trees and woods. Young cricket enthusiasts from the TBCPS were among some seventy excited youngsters who took part in basic cricket training exercises with Graham Gooch, the former England and Essex cricket captain. The youngsters were selected through the Essex Gifted and Talented Cricket Initiative, backed by playing coaches of the Loughton Cricket Club and Essex County Cricket Club.

Many in TB were saddened to learn that Epping Forest Superintendent, Jeremy Wisenfeld, died at the early age of 48. Initially in management accountancy, Jeremy turned to countryside management with the National Trust at Hatfield Forest and then moved to Epping Forest where he became Superintendent in 2001. One of his proudest achievements was the reintroduction of forest grazing by cattle, which he believed was fundamental in preserving the unique landscape and biodiversity of Epping Forest. Another prime achievement was his work in the innovative Regional Green Arc project in partnership with local councils and other bodies including the Government. For TB, the lovely surrounds of Epping Forest will remain as a perpetual memorial to him

Santa Claus appeared yet again in the village, this time in his Grotto at the PAT (Playground At Theydon) children's playground by the village green for the PAT Christmas Fayre held in the chilly open air of a winter’s afternoon. Many excited children came to see him, and receive a Christmas present. Among the many attractions were a Hogwarts Castle, Christmas Biscuit decorating, sand art and a Christmas Teddy Hunt; light refreshments and hot mulled wine (for the adults) were also available. By nightfall some £400 had been raised to contribute to the cost of replacing the Playground flooring. On another day, the 2nd Theydon Garnon Brownies, led by Brown Owl Pauline Symes, went to the Frank Foster Home in Loughton Lane TB to entertain the residents and distribute presents.

At 06.00 on a quiet Sunday morning a series of explosions occurred at the Brucefield oil storage depot, the fifth largest in the UK, near Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, which generated the largest fire of its type in Europe since the 1945, which continued for some four days. Colossal damage was caused in the immediate vicinity but, mercifully, there were few casualties although some 2000 peoples had to be evacuated from their homes. The explosions were heard for more than 100 miles, including TB, Northern France and the Netherlands. An immense cloud of black smoke extended for some 75 miles from Wiltshire to Kent. The village was unaffected at first but, by nightfall, black clouds of smoke were sweeping across the face of the moon. In TB, it was noticeable that cars were becoming dirty and coughing was heard frequently although the latter could have been due to the usual outbreak of winter colds. Despite assurances that fuel distribution was unaffected, queues formed at many local garages for a time as motorists feared fuel shortages.

A sad occasion at St Mary’s Church was a Service of Praise and Thanksgiving for the life of Gladys Ethel Shales who died suddenly on the 2nd of this month within hours of her husband Wilf being admitted to the Princess Alexander Hospital in Harlow with heart problems. The Rev. Canon Colin Travers conducted the service and spoke of the long association that Gladys and Wilf had enjoyed together, and especially in Theydon Bois where they had been leading members of both the Church and the local community. Wilf was too ill to be present but a representative from the St Mary’s clergy sat with him in the Hospital Chapel for a service of prayer coincident with that at St Mary’s. Their family, representatives of the TBPC and many friends attended the Service. Gladys was cremated the next day at the Parndon Wood Crematorium in Harlow.

Many villagers made the short journey “round the corner” to attend All Saints Church, Theydon Garnon, for the annual service of nine lessons and carols. This happy occasion was enhanced within the Church by the light from many candles, and also by the simplicity of a service in a rural environment. Mulled wind and hot mince pies were served afterwards in the Church “Gatehouse” and the congregation then left down country lanes where the peace of the winter evening was marred by the ever present light and noise from the nearby M25 motorway.

The Buxton Trust received the Best Kept Playing Fields Award for the high standard of the village playing fields. The Theydon Bois Central Line Station was awarded a first class certificate of merit in the Cultivated Garden Section of the Station Garden Competition held by London Underground. It was announced that the Theydon Bois Village News had won the Annual Newsletter Competition held by the Essex Association of Local Councils. After reviewing a number of entries from across the whole of Essex, the Theydon publication was judged as being the best combination of relevant news and information coupled with a genuine feeling of a sense of community. Editor Tony Ames of Hill Road TB is backed by a strong editorial committee comprising Ken Cushing, Sue Jones, Madeline Murphy, Martin Oliver, Trevor Roberts and Jim Watts. The News is published quarterly.

Christmas Day dawned cloudy and relatively mild following the recent hard frosts. In the early darkness, Theydon Bois was silent except where, in many homes, excited children were 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 or early 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 clearing sky to give natural light to the illuminated village Christmas tree, 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 All Saints in the neighbouring parish of Theydon Garnon, and at the Theydon Bois Baptist Church. Here, a special family service was held with children bringing their Christmas presents to show to the congregation and to the officiating Rev David Penegar who, almost unwisely, attempted to ride one young boy’s skateboard; and a delighted young girl was encouraged to ride her new scooter down the centre aisle of the church. But the highlight of the service was the screening of an animated film entitled “It’s A Boy” which told the nativity story through the eyes of three small birds (quails). By afternoon, families were out in force with the favourite destinations being the local inns for a late Christmas Dinner, the village 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 bright afternoon was almost over and most people disappeared indoors for further festivities. By late evening the village was once again quiet lit only by the light of a fitful, crescent, moon and the bright festive decorations, which illuminated the exteriors of many homes. And the snow appeared (two days late) when a light fall of snow covered the village sufficiently to inconvenience motor vehicles and pedestrians for a short time.

The row about the Parsonage Golf Development continued unabated. Basically, Blunts Farm Estates through its agents Swan Golf Designs Limited had been given planning permission in April 2000 to build an 18-hole golf course with associated landscaping. In a statement, the TBPC said, “What we have seen in the last few years constitutes nothing less than landfill. This situation has been created by the fact that the EFDC failed to attach appropriate planning conditions when it granted planning permission”. Councillor Roberts Glozier, the EFDC Planning and Economic Development Portfolio holder, conceded that the EFDC Planning Department had been naïve when granting this permission. The Environment Agency acknowledged the receipt of letters from anxious residents and was taking the matter seriously. The Epping Forest Guardian published two pictures showing large and deep excavations, which appeared to confirm the suspicions of extensive landfill. The recently formed objectionable smells from the site and large numbers of seagulls hovering over the strong complaints to the relevant authorities.

In London, the New Year was ushered in at the stroke of midnight from Big Ben with a tremendous ten minute fireworks display on the Thames, which was also intended as part celebration for London winning its bid to host the Olympics in 2012; the centrepiece of the display was the great wheel of the “London Eye” with fireworks appearing to radiate from it in all directions. The images of notable personalities of 2005 were projected onto the OXO Building on the South Bank and these included members of the victorious England Cricket Team who had retrieved "the ashes" from the Australians. The night sky was illuminated for miles around, even as far as Theydon Bois where the display could be seen from high points in the village. The London crowds afterwards moved on the view London’s other illuminations or even ice skate on the several ice rinks created for the occasion eg. at Somerset House. A slight damper on the festivities was the 24-hour strike by London Underground personnel against the planned reduction in staffs due to the increasing automation of booking offices. This could mean the redeployment of personnel and the feared possibility of redundancy. The views of many rail workers and passengers was that unmanned stations would were most undesirable in view of increasing lawlessness on the underground system, and the lack of assistance should machines malfunction. At Theydon Bois however, although the station was unmanned and the barriers left open ( travel was free during the New Year Celebrations), a restricted train service was operating so residents could travel to London and leave their cars in the station car park.

During November 2005, the following members of St Mary’s Church were confirmed at St John’s Church in Epping:

Michelle Arthur, Joseph Bough, Shannon Brundell, Charlotte Debenham, Nicholas Gill, Eleanor Gooch, Amanda Harris, Tina Perryment, Rachel Revel and Christopher Turner.





Richard and Carol Risdon of Purleigh Way TB (Theydon Bois) recently celebrated a unique family occasion. Richard’s father, Norman, reached the grand age of 100 and this was celebrated with a special lunch at the Chigwell Golf Club. Also present were his daughter Rosemary Sweet and son in law Douglas Sweet. Norman was married to Dorothy Sutter at Thorpe Bay in 1934 and the couple were active locally being members of St Mary’s Church and the Chigwell Golf Club. Norman served on the Chigwell Urban District Council, the EFDC (Epping Forest District Council) and is an honorary member of the Loughton Probus Club. Dorothy died in 1988 and Norman moved to Spanbrook in Chigwell, two years later.

A “green fingered ” local resident, Mandy Davies, recently received a “Best Student” award from the Capel Manor Horticultural College in Enfield. This was achieved by studying plant life with “enthusiasm and commitment”. Another resident Lucy Sparks achieved a BA (Hons.) degree in media studies at the University of East London. After having recently travelled through Indonesia and Malaysia, she was now hoping to secure employment in the film industry. Tony Ames of Hill Road TB was present at a recent award ceremony held by Voluntary Action Epping Forest, where he accepted a Certificate of Excellence on behalf of the Loughton and District Voluntary Citizens Advice Bureau.

The Theydon Bois Primary School held a "treason themed” bonfire night, during the Nov 5 weekend which was supported by some 900 parents, children and friends who had to pass down a "treason alley" to reach the firework display. The traditional guy was burnt and other attractions included treasure hunts, safe cracking, a coconut shy and many stalls. The weekend was noisy generally in the village due to a number of firework parties being held here and elsewhere. Once again, minor complaints were made about the intensity of the “bangs” and the general affect of fireworks on domestic animals. However, the police reported only one incident requiring their attention, which was almost a record

The Ladies of St Mary’s Church held a soup lunch in aid of the Church charities. One of these was the “shoebox appeal" where parcels the size of a shoebox were packed with basic items essential for living, eg. tinned food and water purification tablets, and sent to deprived third world countries.

Marcus Andrews, pianist, gave a recital of music by Bach, Haydn, Medtner, Ravel and Rachmaninoff in the TBVH (Theydon Bois Village Hall) at the November meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society. His recital was well received and much appreciated by the large audience present. Marcus has enjoyed a varied career as both soloist and chamber musician. In addition to his concert work, he is the staff accompanist for the Trinity College of Music, rehearsal pianist for the London Orpheus Choir and Professor of Piano at the Blackheath Conservatoire.

The Epping Railway Circle held an open day at the TBVH, which resulted in recruiting three new members and gave the public the opportunity to see working model railway layouts; the Club layout comprised a transferable London scene with small station on a London main line and a London Underground route with Tube train stops. There was also a presentation of photographs showing the Club’s activities and outings together with stands selling second hand and new model railway equipment.

Once again Leslie Jerman of Coppice Row TB made an appeal for the support of local shops. He contended that they had suffered a loss of business since the Tesco Metro Express supermarket opened in the village in 2003. For some time small shop trading had been in the decline both in TB and, especially in neighbouring Epping when this problem was becoming acute. However, it was evident that the Tesco outlet was advantageous to many villagers because of its extensive trading hours, provision of cash dispensing machine and accommodation for the village post office.

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 (RBL), EFDC and TBPC (Theydon Bois Parish Council) Councillors together with representatives of many local organisations. A welcome attendee was local resident Eleanor Laing MP for Epping Forest who joined those laying wreaths at the village war memorial. Many young people were present which helped stress the RBL’s emphasis on the importance of this age group in the act of Remembrance. Remembrance Sunday Parades were also held in Lough ton, Epping and North Weald where TB residents also took part. The annual sale of poppies in the village for the RBL, realised £3,338 this year of which £80 was donated by the TBPC.

Members of the Theydon Bois WI together with their husbands and friends visited Westcliffe on Sea by coach to attend a matinee performance of Cole Porter’s musical” Anything Goes” staged by the Southend Operatic and Dramatic Society at the Cliffs Pavilion. The fine but cold weather encouraged many to first visit the nearby Southend resort to shop, have lunch or just walk along the promenade. The musical, based on the humorous activities of passengers and crew on an American cruise liner in the 1930s, was well staged by a company described as being one of the foremost amateur operatic societies in the country, and which lived up to its reputation with this production.

At the recent AGM of the Epping Bowls Club held in the TBVH, Charles Chisholm was made an honorary life member for his continual support for the Club and hard work behind the bar. The AGM was also the occasion for the annual award of the Club trophies to members who had excelled during the previous Club year.

The Woodland and Wildlife Conservation Company based in Coppice Row TB received a special award in the 2005 Cemetery of the Year awards for the best New Green Burial Site in the British Isles. The Company’s site is located at Herongate Wood, Brentwood, and the Awards Director commented that this site had done well and he hoped that more sites would enter the competition, as they were an increasingly important part of the burial industry. The Company specialises in being environmentally aware in allowing trees to grow among single burial plots, marked with a simple plaque, containing the deceased in a biodegradable casket. The company is seeking planning permission from the EFDC for a similar Cemetery at nearby Theydon Mount.

The Roding Valley U3A recently held its first AGM at the TBVH, where it meets regularly. The officers elected were Chairman - Janet Whitehouse, Vice Chairman - Peter Newton, Secretary – Janet Carrington, Treasurer – Tina Harris and Membership Secretary - Martyn Duncumb. This relatively new branch of the U3A is flourishing and now has an increasing number of groups dealing with a variety of subjects.

Yet another road vehicle accident occurred at the lower end of Piercing Hill when a stolen VW Polo car hit a post and rebounded into thick undergrowth; the driver fled the scene before the police arrived. A mobile police speed camera had been used on a random basis in order to deter speeding but without any apparent affect. Local resident Clare Pollock told of four crashes in this area since August. She feared for the safety of pedestrians using the narrow footpaths, as did the Rev Canon Colin Davies who was concerned for his parishioners going to St Mary’s Church nearby. An equally serious situation existed in neighbouring Coppice Row where the fixed speed camera, the subject of much complaint from lawless motorists, had been destroyed by fire and the ineffective hulk still remained after some weeks. This camera, sited near the dangerous cross roads of Piercing Hill and Coppice Row, had probably saved a number of people from injury or death during its years of use.

During November, the following entries were recorded in the registers of St Mary’s Church:


12 11 05 Joanne Leftly and Robert Bird



11 11 05 Kathleen Gould `17 11 05 Gladys Orme 25 11 05 Martin Hogg





On the last day of September two innocent passers-by aged 17 and 23 were set upon, in the early evening near the village green, by a group of some 15 youths. Both were taken to hospital; the 23 year old was discharged after treatment for cuts and bruises but the 17 year old was detained for an operation to repair a broken jaw. Three youths were questioned and released on police bail.

Extensive cloud cover prevented the residents of TB (Theydon Bois) witnessing an almost total eclipse of the sun by the moon, which occurred in the morning of 3 Oct 05. Further south, the shadow of the moon could be seen progressing across the face of the sun to provide the unusual sight of a crescent shaped sun. This shadow then progressed further until perfectly centred within the sun's image, which then took the form of a ring of bright light. This resulted in partial darkness for a short period of time, which was apparent in TB despite the clouds.

The Victorians Petanque Club of Theydon Bois recently became the first National Clubs League champions of the English Petanque Association. They beat Coventry in the semi final and went on to defeat their old rivals, The Plough and Chequers, 4-1 in the final. The successful team members were Brenda Wilmot (team manager), Ritish Lungut, Phil McCrostie, Raj Tupsy, Patrick Dennis, Dinesh Seetahul and Keith Flack. The Victorians are associated with the Queen Victoria Pub in Coppice Row and play on a pitch in the pub car park.

The Sixteen String Jack Pub in Coppice Row recently took advantage of the new relaxed licensing hours by obtaining permission to remain open until 01.30 am on Fridays and Saturdays, and until 12.30 am on other days including Sundays; however, pub games were excluded from this extension. The tenant, Alan Compton, said that he was planning to install TV and to join Pubwatch, a community scheme to identify troublemakers. The operations manager of McMullens and Sons, the brewers, commented that this was not a particularly busy pub, which focussed mainly on food during the week.

The early appearance one morning of heavy earth moving equipment and chainsaws at Wansfell College brought a sharp and prompt reaction from local residents, and particularly Councillor Janet Whitehouse of the EFDC (Epping Forest District Council). She alerted the Council to the work, which had already commenced on the clearance of the grounds, and enforcement officers were quickly on the scene to prevent the felling of many listed trees. However the pond was filled in and the tennis court cleared in what was claimed to be a cosmetic exercise prior to a planning application being made for the conversion of the main building into 22 apartments, the replacement of the grounds man’s house with dwellings and the building of a new house on the tennis court. Chingford based developer Mountcharm Ltd had purchased the site on 19 Sep 05 according to Stuart Mowle, director of real estate consultancy Lambert Smith Hampton

A vocal recital by Carl Murray, Baritone, was the feature of the Theydon Bois Music Society October meeting. He gave a fine performance of songs and arias by a variety of composers ranging from Aaron Copland to Noël Coward. The audience particularly appreciated his singing of several evergreen songs written by that incomparable pair Michael Flanders and Donald Swann, especially the ever-popular “The Gnu”. Martyn Heald, whose fine playing would have justified a musical recital in his own right, expertly accompanied Carl on the piano.

An intrepid Theydon Bois lady recently added a 15,000 foot sky diving plunge to her list of unique charity fund raising events. Jenifer Cresswell, 67, a resident of Forest Drive TB and a retired schoolteacher, skydived over the Kent countryside to raise some £1,000 for research into the disease of multiple sclerosis from which her husband Roger suffers. She was strapped to an instructor for the jump.

A comprehensive slide presentation on the History of the Pantomime was given by Donald Walker at the October meeting of the Theydon Bois WI. He described its various forms and told of evidence that such entertainment existed in Roman times and even earlier. A special visitor to the meeting was Sister Maureen Shaw of the Princess Alexander Hospital Cardiac Care Unit in Harlow. She was presented with a cheque for £1,000; which had been raised by the members through their 2005 "Special Efforts" events.

Excessive vehicle speeds in Piercing Hill TB had now become a serious problem with six accidents, including one death and one near fatality, over a period of three years. In a 24-hour speed survey of last year, 70% of the 8,000 vehicles monitored were exceeding the 30 mph speed limit with almost 650 of these at speeds of 45 mph or more. Local resident Stephen Philips commented that the road was like a rally circuit at the brow of the hill with drivers struggling to keep control and leaving skid marks on both the road and pavement. Plans to use a mobile speed camera as a deterrent were welcomed by the residents but considered to be only a partial solution as opposed to installing physical measures and fining speeding offenders

The Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society presented a lecture in the TBVH (Theydon Bois Village Hall) given by local historian and writer Georgina Greene. Her subject was the “Trees of Hainault Forest” but she also embraced a wide range of related topics including the origins of the Royal Forests, especially Epping and Hainault, and the wonton destruction of the latter in the nineteenth century. She also took her audience on a pictorial tour of the area today showing where parts of this Forest still existed, either as trees in suburban streets or as crown lands still under cultivation. Interesting and historic buildings were also featured in her talk specifically “the Old Maypole” of Charles Dickens fame.

A Trafalgar Weekend on the 21 10 05 celebrating the 200th Anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar and the death of Lord Nelson commenced in the village with union flag being flown from the TBVH together with others elsewhere in the village. The major activities were in the car park of the Queen Victoria Pub in Coppice Row and the event commenced with a "Round the Village Treasure Hunt" for pictures relating the Nelson and Trafalgar with questions requiring answers. Meantime a friendly game of boule (petanque) took place and the Moorhen Model Boat Club from, Harlow, set up a magnificent exhibition of radio controlled model boats. A hot dog/burger stall did brisk business and a hog roast was prepared with the luckless pig being donated by local Butcher J Phillips. A display of nautical dancing was given by children from the Theydon Bois Primary School (the School had previously held a special Trafalgar Assembly to commemorate the occasion). Other activities during the afternoon included a tug of war competition and the Queen Victoria pub was open throughout the day to provide liquid refreshment. These festivities lasted until early evening when a beacon on the Green, representing those lit in 1705 to signal Nelson's victory, was formally lit by Peter Simmance, Chairman of the Event Organising Committee. The profits from all these events were donated to two charities; the RABI Supporting Farming Families, and Seafarer UK. The Trafalgar Weekend concluded on Sunday with the Church Bells of St Mary’s being run throughout the day, during which a special service of celebration and thanksgiving was held in the Church.

Small scooters with an engine at the rear (mini mopeds) and ridden by children had become a source of annoyance in the village; these were illegal when used on footpaths and roads and were a particular hazard at night when driven without lights. Concerned residents complained to the police about two boys aged 10 and 11 who were consistently creating this nuisance. The police confiscated the machines, issued warnings to the boys and their parents and informed them that £250 each would be required to retrieve them. A police spokesman expressed his disbelief that parents would allow their children to be imperilled in this way.

Dudley Chignall was the speaker at the meeting of the Theydon Bois Baptist Men’s Forum. He described his “off the beaten track walking tour” of New Zealand which was illustrated with an extensive collection of excellent slides depicting the natural beauty of that part of the world.

The last night of “The Roses of Eyan”, the current production staged by the Theydon Bois Drama Society, was played to the usual full house and proved to be another success in this eightieth year since the formation of the Society.

During September, the following was recorded in the registers of St Mary’s Church: Marriage 30 09 05 Linda Nicholson and Neil Carpenter.


Copyright 2005/6. Trevor Roberts, Local History Recorder.


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Last Up Dated: 20th January 2006