The Month in Theydon Bois
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING SEPTEMBER 2007 AND WHICH WERE RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS, THE THEYDON BOIS LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER.
At the beginning of the month, Theydon Bois commuters were once again faced with difficult travelling conditions when the Central Line, in conjunction with nine other underground lines, ceased to function due to an industrial dispute. The Metronet Organisation, which maintained the track and other support services for the underground system had gone into administration, and the employment and pension prospects for its employees were therefore under threat. The RMT (Rail Maritime and Transport) union called for its members to withdraw their labour in protest. Consequently train drivers refused to operate over non-maintained track. After a day of negotiations between rail and union managements, the union agreed to lift the strike but threatened further stoppages if certain guarantees were not forthcoming.
Theydon Bois was featured, three times in one day on national television when Sue Sowerby, the Chairman of TBAAG (Theydon Bois and Abridge Action Group), made a personal appearance to highlight the continuing controversy over the Blunts Farm development. In the Channel Five News programme” Your News”. Sue, accompanied by her young daughter, complained about the hazard of the deep water filled pits on the site, and then described the five year battle with the developers regarding the extensive dumping of suspect material there, which had now been stopped, and the damage to local roads caused by the heavy vehicles involved.
The decision by the ECC (Essex County Council) to abolish Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) in 2010 and transfer responsibility for such orders to district councils raised fears that the Epping Forest District, especially Theydon Bois, could lose many of its protected trees. TPOs have saved many trees from the hands of unscrupulous developers and fears were expressed that, with growing pressure for green belt development, many trees could be lost during the period of changeover in 2010. However, the ECC has given an assurance that this will not happen and would be arranging for the transfer of TPOs to the EFDC (Epping Forest District Council).
An unpleasant aspect of modern life, usually associated with the “downtown areas of inner cities, had come to the Theydon Bois area of Epping Forest. The area between the two car parks at the top of Coppice Rowl has been listed on a website as a meeting place for “gay people”, usually male. Consequently villagers were now apprehensive of walking thorough this area especially with children and, in some cases, had been discouraged from doing so by those present. It was a great pity that the rights of people to use the Forest for pleasant recreational activities, as was intended when Queen Victoria opened the Forest to the public in 1882, were being adversely affected in this way. Members of the public were requested to inform the police of any problems experienced by them on this area.
A recent photographic survey recorded a large number of motorists driving in the Epping Forest area while using mobile phones, which is illegal. This habit is not uncommon to Theydon Bois and most villagers can recall one instance of experiencing a near accident when meeting one of these inconsiderate drivers. Equally dangerous is the habit of smoking at the wheel, which entails lighting up in the first place and then trying to peer through a windscreen partially obscured by smoke. A new edition of the Highway Code has been published which specifically banns smoking while driving for reasons of safety.
The funeral service of Alfred John Turner Thomson, who lived in Orchard Drive and died on 31 Aug 07. was held in St Mary’s Church. The Church was almost full for a simple but expressive service at which the Rev. Canon Colin Travers officiated and who also gave the address and tribute in which he mentioned that Alfred was also affectionally known as Alf, or even Tommy to his closet friends. Alf was born in Wanstead on 27 Aug 1911 and had lived in this part of Essex most of his life except for an eventful break during WWII when he served in the Army in North Africa and endured several years as a prisoner of war. He married twice; first to Catherine in 1940 and then to Betty in 1974 with whom he spent many happy years in Theydon Bois as a couple much involved in Village life and respected by many.
Sailesh Dawda of the Theydon Bois Pharmacy and a member of the Essex Local Pharmaceutical Committee, introduced consultation facilities in the Pharmacy for customers seeking advice on minor medical complaints. This was in line with the new policy of pharmacists helping general practitioners by giving personal advice about medication and similar matters. A new consulting room will now allow customers to speak to the pharmacist in confidence, which may be quicker than seeking an appointment with their own doctor. However, medical examinations are not available in this way and a customer would be advised to consult a doctor for a medical condition outside the remit of the pharmacist.
Work commenced on the re cladding of the copper spire of St Mary’s Church. The work would take some 10 weeks to complete during which access to the Church would only be possible via the main doors of the adjacent Parish Centre; the footpath to the south of the Church would also be closed. Weekday and Sunday services would be held as usual.
A fire broke out one afternoon in the roof of a house in Coopersale Lane. Fire appliances from Epping, Loughton and Chipping Ongar attended the scene and the loft was well alight on their arrival. The fire crews extinguished the fire and spent some time turning over smouldering material and “damping down”. No one was injured in the incident and the presence of three appliances gave assurance that, although the area is rural, the essential services can be quickly on the scene when required.
The Theydon Bois Music Society commenced its new season with a recital in the TBVH (Theydon Bois Village Hall) given by the Agon Piano Trio which comprised Victoria Sutherland – violin, James Cheung – piano and Tim Wells – cello. Formed as recently as 2004, the Trio has played extensively in the UK and abroad, with concerts in the Far East planned for the near future.
The Theydon Art Group visited the ancient fishing port of Old Leigh and its famous cockle sheds where artists and friends enjoyed a dry but windy day in the fresh sea air. The general scenario was good for painting and sketching as the tide was out and the exposed mud was an easier subject, as opposed to water, with boats firmly set in the position. Some of the completed paintings will be on view at the Group’s annual exhibition in May 2008.
Debbie Palmer, the proprietor of the Montessori Nursery held in the TBVH received a certificate of graduation after successfully completing a three months graduate level program organised by the Children’s Workforce Development Council.
HAPPINESS AND SADNESS
During August and September, the following entries were made in the registers o St Mary’s Church:
02 09 07 Lucy Stockill 23 09 07 Ryleigh Perriment
07 09 07 Bryony Carfoot and Alex Young
04 08 07 Michael and Diane Ayton (25 years)
02 09 07 John and Brenda Minkey (25 years)
10 09 07 Alfred Thomson
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING JULY 2007 AND WHICH WERE RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS, THE THEYDON BOIS LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER.
It was announced that Jason Cooper would be appealing against the rejection by the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) of his revised plans for the redevelopment of the previous Wansfell College building, in Piercing Hill, into 14 flats. The EFDC claimed the this would be an inappropriate development of the green belt with the proposed car parking adding further building development which would harm the openness and character of the surroundings. Mr Cooper’s response was that the revised proposal actually reduced the amount of hard surfacing on the overall site given that a large area of hard standing previously used for parking would now be replaced with grass.
Leslie Jerman of Coppice Row expressed the view that the developments at Blunts Farm could now become a national issue. Under the current planning regulations, the dumping of soil to make golf courses was permissible. However, with Blunts Farm, he claimed that local planners failed when they applied no limit to the amount of soil being dumped. He further claimed that if the regulations are not changed by law, there will be more applications to construct golf courses when, currently, existing courses are up for sale. A planning enquiry into Blunts Farm development is planned for Jan 08 and he requested the owners and occupiers of properties near the site, and others concerned, to lodge their objections in writing to the Planning Inspectorate in Bristol.
The news of the proposed abolition of the East of England Regional Assembly (EERA), the government body set up to deal with regional affairs, was greeted with relief by many local authorities; the EERA had been the source of grandiose plans for substantial residential development which, in the local area, threatened the green belt and especially North Weald Airfield. The Assembly was not totally democratic embodying only a minimum of elected members from local authorities and was answerable to the office of the Deputy Prime minister. However, it was pointed out that the government now proposed to replace the EERA with a Regional Development Agency (RDA) under a new government- appointed Minister for the East. This un-elected body would overrule local authorities and impose government policies without regard for democratic principles and due accountability; and under the new European Union (EU) treaty, local government would be controlled directly from Brussels.
A Villager who complained about the lack of emergency dental treatment highlighted the shortcomings of dental services in the local area. On two occasions, this resident had sufferer severe pain from wisdom teeth during the evening and had contacted National Health Service (NHS) Direct to seek emergency treatment. Each time the complainant was informed that such emergency treatment was not available in this area and was advised to contact a dentist first thing the next morning. Dental treatment was fast becoming the Cinderella of the NHS with many dentists now opting out of the Service and only accepting private paying-patients.
Local resident Brenda Dowsett of Dossett’s Retreat revealed that she had benefited considerably from a long term study group set up to deal with the common and disabling complaints of osteo arthritis and osteo porosis. In 1989, haematologists Dr David Doyle and Dr Tim Spector approached a GP practice in Chingford with the aim of setting up a long term population-study of women aged between 45 and 64 who were probably most at risk from developing bone and joint conditions. In a “Chingford Study” some 750 women, including Brenda, attend for annual check ups. General fitness including mental health is checked and every few years a full-body scan and a full-body x-ray are carried out. As part of her personal treatment, Brenda would regularly climb the full flight of 67 steps at the Theydon Bois Station until her use of the handrail was unnecessary. Brenda has finally had both knees replaced, is now quite mobile and plays bowls.
British Telecom (BT) customers in the Village were left without the use of their phones for some nine days. To add insult to injury one resident found that he was still being charged line rental during this time. A BT spokesman advised that some 50 businesses and residential lines were affected by “third party damage” to cabling and ducting on the Village Green. The resident was given a £1.32 credit on his account; however, this was not necessarily applicable to the other users affected who would have to make individual applications for adjustment of their accounts.
St Mary’s Church held an Open Day early in the month for those who wished to escape from the stress of modern life, and spend some time in peace, quiet and prayer. Refreshments were provided in the Parish Centre.
The Essex Police were criticised for plans to centralise their nine county switchboards into one at the Police Headquarters in Chelmsford. It was contended that calls for police should be made to a local switchboard where personnel would be familiar with the locality (eg. Theydon Bois) as opposed to those at Chelmsford.
In the local golfing world, Theydon Bois won through to the final of the Norman Plum Trophy after beating Boyce Hill. Theydon will play Crondon Park in the final.
In his Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) column in the Epping Forest Guardian, Loughton CAB member and local resident Tony Ames gave advice about maternity leave and changes which have taken place. Expectant mothers now have the right to take up to 52 weeks of maternity leave regardless of length of service with her current employer.
Residents were reminded to complete, and return, the electoral register forms currently circulated to all households in the area. This annual requirement was necessary to establish the eligibility to vote by being listed in the register of electors
A government-funded survey found that Essex residents could healthy life in a community blessed with low levels of violent crime. Men and women in the county could live longer than the national average for early deaths from cancer, heart disease and stroke.
The EFDC extended its recycling scheme to include the collection, on a three monthly basis, of the many types of dry batteries currently used in many electronic and other devices. Residents would be supplied with cardboard boxes in which the disposal items can be left by the roadside for collection on specified dates.
HAPPINESS AND SADNESS
During June, July and August, the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
30 06 07 Richard Oates and James-Ann Hockley
Richard Burton and Luan Gillespie
21 07 07 Roger Nichols and Lyndsey Westwood
17 07 07 Alfred Taylor
Burial of Ashes
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING JULY 2007 AND WHICH WERE RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS, THE THEYDON BOIS LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER.
In a repeat of the Village’s success in 2004, Theydon Bois was once again the winner in Class 2 of the Calor sponsored Best Kept Village Competition organised by the Rural Community Council of Essex (RCCE). This award, the Whitmore Trophy, for villages with a population of between 2,000 and 5,000 residents, comprised a commemorative plaque and a cheque for £125. Two members of the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC), Councillors Robert Glozier and Anthony Purkiss, received the awards on behalf of the Village at the AGM of the RCCE held at Little Waltham near Chelmsford. A sign confirming the status of the Village in this respect will be erected on the Village Green.
In early July disaster struck on the Central Line when a train was derailed in the tunnel between Mile End and Bethnal Green Stations. The frightened passengers thought that this was a repeat of the terrorist action several years ago when a bomb was detonated in a Northern Line train near Warren Street in London and several people lost their lives. This current incident was due to maintenance material being incorrectly stowed and falling from a cross tunnel recess onto the track. No fatalities occurred but some 37 people suffered injury and there was a major dislocation of the system with trains backed up in the tunnels. Passengers, including Theydon Bois commuters, had to endure excessively high temperatures for several hours until being led along the track to the nearest station
Campaigners against the closure of the Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone, which is used by Theydon Bois residents, were disappointed when David Cameron, the Conservative Party leader made a recent visit there. He refused to give any guarantees when asked about the Hospital’s future and was reported as saying, “No politician can ever make a blanket promise about every hospital in every community”.
Theydon Bois and the majority of Eastern England were spared the tragedy of extensive flooding when torrential rain (4 inches in one hour) fell across most of Central England on already saturated ground. Gloucester, Cheltenham, Pershore, Evesham and Upton upon Seven were badly flooded and Tewkesbury, on the junction of the Rivers Seven and Avon, was isolated. The civil emergency services and the armed services were all called upon to save lives, and property where possible. The flooding of a power station and a water treatment plant in the Gloucester area were major disasters in themselves and the lack of drinking water caused great hardship especially to flood victims; thousands of bottles of drinking water were distributed in a major relief operation. However, more insidious, was the flood surge, which moved relentlessly downstream over several days and into the Thames until Oxford was affected. Fortunately the surge petered out before nearing London but contingency plans were considered for evacuation of the south west of the metropolis. Several thousand homes were made uninhabitable over an area 50 miles long and it was expected that insurance claims would exceed some 2.5 billion pounds.
Because the exceptional rainfall waterlogged the Plain in Coppice Row, the annual Donkey Derby held by the Theydon Bois Scout Group was moved to the Village Green. The events proceeded at a spanking pace under the direction of the Masters of Ceremony and Race Commentators Brian Revell and Andy Bowles. Seven races were held with named riders eg. “Flash” by Lighting Out of Cloud – most ominous. The donkeys were very lively with many throwing their riders, resulting in some sore bottoms, while other steeds had to be “encouraged” to finish in order to provide three winners. Popular amusements kept the children, and therefore their parents, happy; most popular was the hot dog and burger stall provisioned by local butcher John Phillips and the Theydon Bakery. The Derby ended with a heavy thundery shower (thanks to a certain runner) but this did not detract from a very successful event. Because of the Village Carnival atmosphere generated, it was hoped that the City of London, the responsible authority for the Green, might allow use of the Green for the 2008 Derby.
And Old Man Weather continued to make his presence felt. At around midday in mid July, a flash and a loud explosion, which reverberated around the area, startled the Village. Fortunately it was this Gentleman reminding us of his exceptional powers with a lighting strike on a mature oak tree in Poplar Row by the pond. One side of the hapless tree fell across the Row narrowly missing some property and wood splinter were spread over a wide area. Because of the many trees in the area, including Epping Forest, lighting strikes are not uncommon but this incident within the confines of the village and during the day could have had serious consequences.
The Theydon Bois and Abridge Action Group (TBAAG) fired a warning shot across the bows of those concerned when it became known that the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) Planning Department and the Blunts Farm Developers had a second meeting regarding the possible use of the site by the West Ham United Football Club. TBAAG commented that although the talks were “exploratory” and that the Football Club was not committed to the project, whatever the outcome (of the discussions) a football academy would further compromise the Green Belt and be a disadvantage to Theydon Bois. It was later reported that the Club was no longer interested in this project – eternal vigilance is the price of freedom?
Theydon Bois youths were among four who were questioned by the police following a spate of graffiti incidents in Debden and surrounding areas. This current wave of graffiti featured the words “CODES, SHOK, NERO, ELLS and VIPER” among others. The police officer leading the investigation said, "Damage caused by graffiti costs the community thousands of pounds each year for its removal”.
Concerns were raised regarding the decision of the City of London to reduce the number of keepers in Epping Forest from 16 to 12. Epping Forest Superintendent, Matt Roberts, denied that security levels in the Forest would suffer and that former keepers will be reallocated to other roles. The current view was that protection of the Forest is the responsibility of all staff and not just the keepers. Epping Forest is facing some very substantial changes and there are big threats to the Forest through property development, pollution and climatic change.
Leslie Jerman of Coppice Row advised that the Essex County Council (EEC) was intending to effect “emergency preventative repairs to stabilise the condition of the road bridge over the River Roding at Abridge”. This structure is both listed and historic possibly dating back to 12th century. It is also part of an important road link for Theydon Bois residents, and for several years was extensively used by heavy lorries carrying thousands of tons of soil for the Blunts Farm Development.
The Village Design Statement (VDS) Group had held its first promotional event at the Donkey Derby and the level of interest was rewarding. Although not legally binding, the VDS would be a useful document in planning terms, and could be promoted elsewhere in the Village.
The allotments, originally given to the village by Lord Buxton pursuant to a Deed of Gift in 1930, had now been registered at the Lands Registry in the name of the TBPC. This will safeguard the allotments for the future benefit of the Village.
The 98th Annual Show organised by the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society was held in the TBVH. It was the best show for many years due to an increase in entries resulting from the popularity of the recent television series “The Great British Show". The fruit, flower and vegetable entries were up by 80% and that for allotments holders increased by a third due, probably, to new holders of allotments in the Village. The photographic section was well supported with some 80 photographic entries, many of high standard. The Trophy winners were as follows: Banksian Medal, John Monkhouse Cup, Secretary’s Cup and William Way Cup (Sections A&B most successful exhibitor) – A. Holingbery; Frank and Josie Way Memorial Cup (best fuchsia exhibit) – G. Hazlehurst; Ted Lock Memorial Cup (best cactus) – H. Bird; Gazette Challenge Bowl (best fruit or plant exhibit) – P. Taylor; Gerald Buxton Cup (best flower or plant exhibit) – J. Turner; Elcee Cup (best handicraft) – A. Pollard; Committee Cup (photographic) – B. Turner; Keswick Cup and Silver Spoon (best cookery entry) – M. Kitson; Buxton Cup (wine) - D. Seaborne; Garden News Shield (most successful junior) – L. Howland; Mini Shield (junior runner up) – L. Penegar; RHS Certificate (best junior entry) – Theydon Bois Primary School.
Both the TBPC and Eleanor Laing MP are supporting a Private Parliamentary Members Bill to remove gardens from the definition of brown field sites.
The Village Neighbourhood Watch Action Panel meets regularly in the TBVH and volunteers are needed in Theydon Park Road and Morgan Crescent to help with the Neighbourhood Watch Scheme.
The revised street parking scheme for the Village is still in the assessment stage with responses from Villagers being considered.
A new contractor for the collection of domestic waste is being engaged by the EFDC. It is hoped that kitchen waste will eventually included in future collections.
During late June, the infants at the Theydon Bois Pre School Nursery raised some £500 for the Barnardo's Charity with a sponsored walk. The youngsters had to walk (or toddle) ten laps around a course laid out on the green in front of the Theydon Bois Scout Hut, where the Nursery is held.
The Theydon Bois Singers gave their Summer Concert entitled ” An English Serenade” to a large audience in the TBVH. This vintage company once again gave a performance where the singing was melodious, robust and most enjoyable against the background of a quiet English evening. The conductor and accompanist were, once again, Janet Cass and Paul Chilvers. The resounding applause, which the Singers received at the end of the evening, was more than well earned.
It is hoped that the “green fingered” efforts of the staff at Theydon Bois Central Line Station will result in the Station being well placed, if not the overall winner, in the best kept station competition on the London Underground (LU) network. The competition aims to reward LU employees who spend much of their free time creating a pleasant environment for their colleagues and rail passengers.
A recent jazz evening at the Gaynes Park Barns, Epping, raised over £10,000 for the Theydon Bois Friends of Cancer Research UK. Some 150 people attended and enjoyed a Pimms and canapés reception followed by dinner and wines to the accompaniment of music by the Hugh Rainey Jazz Band.
Early in the month, the Epping Forest U3A was host to other branches of this organisation at a Friendship Day held in the TBVH. The U3A is a national association which brings together people over 50 for collaborative learning through group activities and lectures embracing a variety of subjects. Examples of these were on display and included painting, photography and handicrafts. Presentations were given on classical music, modern languages and Shakespeare and, surprisingly, aerobics that showed the benefits of good breathing and exercise for older people. After lunch, a questions and answers session included details of the U3A courses whuch are available to members and the opportunity for study visits both in the UK and overseas.
Copyright 2006/7/8. Trevor Roberts, Local History Recorder.
Last Up Dated: 30th October 2007