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 DECEMBER 2007 AND WHICH WERE RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS, THE THEYDON BOIS LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER.
Lorna Farrell, the Village Postmistress, received an early and most welcome Christmas Present in a letter from Post Office Limited telling her that the Village Post Office would not be affected by the current wave of closures of sub post offices in the Epping Forest District. However 29 of the 31 of those planned for closure in Essex would cease business and so deprive many rural areas in the county of this vital facility. A pertinent comment regarding the closures, generally, came from Villager Brian Austin of Green Glade who said, “The pensioners of today are people who have helped to keep the country going, helped to get us through WWII, with some of them fighting for our country, and who now have to fight to get to the Post Office to get our pensions". But, fortunately, not now in Theydon Bois.
Santa Claus made his first visit early in December at the Playground At Theydon (PAT) children's playground by the village green. The occasion was the PAT Christmas Fayre held in the open air during the early afternoon. Although it was chilly, Santa was safe and snug in his personal grotto where many excited children came to see him, and receive a Christmas present. Among the many attractions were a Fairy Castle, Christmas Biscuit Decorating, sand art and a Christmas Teddy Hunt; light refreshments and hot mulled wine (for the adults) were also available.
Christmas officially arrived in Theydon Bois a few days later when Villager of the Year, Jim Watts, formally switched on the Village Christmas Tree Lights outside the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). A choir of children from the Theydon Bois Primary School sang carols and the Revd Colin Travers from St Mary’s Church told the children about the Christmas story and the birth of the Jesus in a stable in Bethlehem; he then finished with a short prayer and wished the many there a Happy Christmas. Then in “walked” a tall Father Christmas (alias John Field) because his sleigh had developed a puncture on the nearby M25 motorway. He then sat in his special grotto where he was visited by the younger children who each received a present and sweets, the latter kindly supplied by Champer and Pravin Khetiya, the former owners of the Village Bookshop newsagents. Meanwhile, the adults “quickly moved” into the TBVH to enjoy mulled wine, and mince pies provided by the Theydon Bakery. The Theydon Bois Singers led the main carol singing and the Master of Ceremonies was Robert Glozier, Chairman of the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC).
Eleanor Laing, MP for Epping Forest, made a particular criticism of the Government regarding the recent disclosures that it had lost the personal details of many people, which it held on record. In addition to that for Families Data from the Department of Health and Customs, information relating to the driving tests of three million test applicants had now also been lost. However, she was pleased to see that the towns and villages in the Epping Forest area were entering into the spirit of Christmas and reminded people not to forget what Christmas was all about.
In his Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) column in the Epping Forest Guardian, Loughton CAB member and local resident Tony Ames gave the some news of the current procedure for making a passport application. From May 2007, first time adult passport applicants could be required to attend for an interview with the Identity and Passport Service (IPS). Initially, not all first time applicants were called for interview but the number increased progressively through the remainder of the year; however, applications could be still be made by post
The Theydon Bois Singers, comprising some forty singers from the Village, Epping and the local area, held their annual Christmas Concert in the TBVH. The carols including John Rutter’s “Nativity Carol” and a Polish Lullaby “Lullay Lord Jesus”. Christmas readings included an excerpt from Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the D’Urbervilles” as read by Beryl McLellan and Robert Finch’s “The Crib” was read by John Davis. The conductor was the indefatigable Janet Cass and Phil Chilvers provided the piano accompaniment
The Tottenham Hotspur Football Club, which unsuccessfully applied in July 2002 for permission to build a Football Academy in the Green Belt between Theydon Bois and Abridge, had now succeeded in obtaining permission to do so in Enfield. The site is on agricultural land, purchased for the use of Enfield residents, and is in the Metropolitan Green Belt. In Theydon Bois, the owners of Blunts Farm were known to have been trying to persuade the West Ham Football Club to establish a similar academy at Blunts Farm, also in the Green Belt, and the Theydon Bois and Abridge Action Group (TBAAG) were concerned that the West Ham could still have the encouragement of the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC). Tottenham Hotspur intended the project to be aimed at assisting and encouraging young people to play football; TBAAG agreed that young people needed assistance in this respect but not at the expense of our green Belt.
A welcome Christmas present to the Village came with the January 2008 Issue of the publication Essex Life. The Village Voice section in this issue featured an article entitled Theydon Bois Blossoms, from Tony Ames the Editor of the highly successful Theydon Bois Village News (TBVN). The article was requested by Essex Life following the TBVN being judged the Best Community Magazine in Essex in a competition held by Rural Community Council of Essex, as sponsored by Essex Life. The article gives a good overall picture of the Village in the present day and, despite the problems and threats of this age, shows that Theydon Bois is fortunate to be located in an area of natural beauty, has a population with a strong community spirit and is a most desirable area in which to live.
With the Christmas Festival imminent, the weather repeated its trick of 2006 with good old fashioned freezing fog to thwart the travel arrangements for those travelling abroad to seek the sun, or to other parts of the UK, to spend Christmas with friends and families. It blanketed much of the South East England and seriously disrupted travel, especially at airports. Worst affected was London’s Heathrow Airport where all short haul flights were cancelled and only limited long flights were operating.
Christmas Day dawned wet, windy, 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 station stood deserted but brightly lit for security reasons with its car park empty, so no rail or 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 thrush, that harbinger of spring, and the calls of the wildfowl on the pond could once again be heard without interruption. Early worshippers emerged in the morning gloom to hurry by foot or car past the Village Christmas Tree outside the TBVH en route to St Mary’s Church, or to the Baptist Church Queen Elizabeth II and the Archbishop of Canterbury each gave their Christmas Messages in which they asked, respectively, for people to care for the vulnerable and to care for the planet. Abroad, the improved relations between the Israeli and Palestinian government meant a large increase in visitors to Bethlehem this Christmas and the European Ski Resorts were also busy. Back in Theydon, the Village came alive at midday with families on the move to enjoy Christmas dinner in one of the several pubs in the Village, or elsewhere with family and friends. But the rain discouraged many from taking an afternoon stroll although the hardy visited the playground and the village green where young legs and lungs could be exercised to the full. By late evening the village was once again quiet, lit only by the bright festive decorations outside many homes.
In complete contrast to ferocious end-of-year weather in 2006, a mild but damp night saw 2007 quietly pass into history. But it was anything but calm in Central London when the New Year was ushered in at the stroke of midnight from Big Ben followed by a tremendous eleven-minute fireworks display on the Thames. The centrepiece of the display was the great wheel of the “London Eye” with fireworks appearing to radiate from it in all directions. This year’s display was the best yet lasting 11 minutes and costing some £1.3m. 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. Rail travel was unavailable for many due to engineering work over the Christmas period. It was also announced that rail fares were due to increase by at least five per cent early in the New Year. A sober ending to an extensive festival season!
Residents driving along a 17-mile section of the M11 motorway were mystified by the sight of plastic sheeting/fencing installed at particular points. Investigation revealed that the fencing was installed to protect crested newts while their habits was being disturbed during motorway maintenance.
A questionnaire on the Village Design Statement (VDS) was distributed with the Winter Issue of the TBVN so giving all Villagers the opportunity to provide input for the VDS This information will be collated and embodied in the overall VDS, which will be the planning guidance document for the Village.
Michael Mehmet, owner of Tikadi Hair Design in Coppice Row, supported the charity Breakthrough Breast Cancer during one month with an interchange of stylists and clients. For a donation to the charity, clients were "let loose” on their stylists own hair - for a cut and colour only. Together with other fund raising activities of Michael’s, the charity benefited by over £5,000 and Michael expressed his special thanks to all who contributed in this way
The metrological office reported that its records showed the year 2007 as being the second warmest in the UK since 1914. The average mean temperature was 9.6 degrees C. (49.5 degrees F.) which was slightly cooler than 2006, but the continuing trend to higher temperatures was maintained.
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING NOVEMBER 2007 AND WHICH WERE RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS, THE THEYDON BOIS LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER.
The Blunts Farm issue literally burst onto the national scene when the Sunday Express national newspaper gave front page coverage to the disputed development. The paper disclosed that huge swathes of Britain were being turned into landfill rubbish dumps by developers who had planning permission to build golf courses but who had no intention of allowing golf to be played. Many planning applications for golf courses were just a means to exploit a loophole in the planning laws, and even green belt land was not safe. The Theydon Bois problem was central to the article with a photo of the dumped rubbish at Blunt’s Farm and with the comments made by leading protesters Mike Emmett (with photo) and Jacqueline Dodman of the Theydon Bois And Abridge Action Group (TBAAG). Later in the month, the Appeals against the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) Enforcement Notices were withdrawn by the developers of Blunts farm who were now required to fill in the pits using existing material on the site.
There was considerable concern regarding the redeployment at Theydon Lodge, adjacent to the Village Green, and the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) had objected to the demolition of the building.
Concern over the proposed closing of sub Post Offices (POs) in Epping continued. Although the Theydon Bois PO was unaffected at present, the view of Eleanor Laing MP was that district POs in the Epping area would eventually close and this prompted many villagers to sign a petition against closures, as raised by the Epping Guardian and supported by Eleanor Laing. Together with Editor David Jackman she presented the 1,500-signature petition to Downing Street recently and the MP took the opportunity to attack Government policy on this matter claiming that communities such as Epping were in a “no win” situation when it came to POs. In Theydon Bois, the staff at the village PO were requesting villagers to petition the government directly and individually using locally produced proformas because many single petitions were more influential than blocks of signatures. Note: In Dec 07, the Postmistress of the Theydon Bois PO received written confirmation that this PO would remain open.
Villagers attended the Remembrance Sunday Parades held in the Village and also at Epping and Loughton. These events were very well supported and it was interesting to see that, as the numbers of attendees who had experienced WWII were declining, their places were being taken by the younger generations especially those in their teens who either paraded with youth organisations or were genuinely interested in that momentous period of history, and so wore their Royal British Legion poppies with pride.
There was a general consensus in the Village that criminal activity was getting out of hand. The Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) had suffered, local buses attacked and two sheds on the allotments set on fire. Because of the lack of police response, Villagers were not reporting incidents and the Village was therefore not shown to be a “Problem Area” on police records. It was crucial that every incident be reported and an incident number obtained in order to “officially highlight” criminal activity in the Village.
The Fifth November Fireworks Night weekend commenced with a grand display at the Theydon Bois Village School, which included many rockets and “bangs”. However, in common with other displays, there was no bonfire so as not to annoy local residents, and to help reduce carbon emissions which are partly responsible for the increasing problem of global warming. Many other displays and firework parties were held during the following days and the Hindu Festival of Diwali was also celebrated with fireworks, both in the Village and the surrounding area.
A young couple from Loughton, Ken Bartels – Flute- and Rachel Bartels – Harp- gave a semi formal recital for the TB Music Society’s November Meeting in the TBVH. They played a selection of music in a light vein, much of which was based on folk songs particularly suited to the harp. However their repertoire, surprisingly, included some lively jazz numbers in which Ken excelled.
Nearly 200 devotees of the Gilbert and Sullivan (G&S) operettas, together with supporters of the Copped Hall Trust and their friends, packed into the TBVH in mid November, for a memorable G&S evening as given by the New Savoyards of London. The six vocalists with leading and extensive operatic backgrounds were Yvonne Patrick- Soprano, Pamela Baxter – Mezzo Soprano, Barry Clark – Tenor, Stephen Godward – Baritone, Ralph Meanley – Bass Baritone and David Menezes – Tenor. Pianist David Mackie’s wide experience as chorus master and conductor helped to provide a strong musical base for the singers and the success of the evening. The event was compered and produced by Garth Gwyn – Jones.
By mid November, local motorists were seeing a substantial increase in the cost of diesel and unleaded fuels for their vehicles. Over the past month diesel had risen by 5.6p to 105.4 p per litre and that for unleaded by 3.8p to 101.5p per litre. The basic reason was the increased cost of Brent Crude oil, the basis of motor fuels, which had risen to a high level of $90 a barrel at the beginning of the month.
Concern was expressed over the revision of the parking restriction times for the proposed Village parking scheme due to be adopted, especially on the TBVH side of the Village. Implementation was therefore delayed, as the changes had to re-advertised. However, additional roads were now earmarked for parking restrictions and the waiting time for parking in the shopping areas would be increased from one to two hours.
The City of London (COL) reported that, in the last financial year, it received some £11,000 from film companies for using Epping Forest as a location for 29 films and 18 photoshoots. The COL Open Spaces Committee was currently reviewing the cost of providing licenses for these activities with a view to charging an administration fee as well. An equally popular and local location for filmwork continues to be the attractive Copped Hall Mansions and grounds, which has been the location for the production of popular films and some advertisements.
The Land Registry has granted an absolute freehold title to the TBPC for the land used by the Playground at Theydon.
The TBPC has provided financial help in installing the new fence by the Scout Hut. New grass cutting equipment has been purchased, 60% of the cost for which has been defrayed by a private donation.
The well known avenue of oak trees across the Village Green, which were planted to commemorate the accession of Queen Victoria to the throne, was the subject of a report from the City of London which stated that the trees “were in poor and declining health” with a number having already been felled during the past year.
HAPPINESS AND SADNESS
During November, the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
18 11 07 Robert Davenport
02 11 07 Fred Reynolds
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 three members of the editorial committee of the Theydon Bois Village News (TBVN), Tony Ames (editor), Jim Watts and Madeline McCarthy, attended the community awards ceremony for the best village magazine in Essex as organised by the Rural Community Council of Essex in conjunction with the Essex Life magazine. The TBVN had been entered on a regular basis in this competition and this year was one of 13 finalists in a record total of 90 entries. The award for the best quarterly news went to the TBVN. The judges also considered the TBVN to be “superb” and therefore awarded the accolade of overall winner to this publication (and the Village). The three representatives came away with two certificates and a cash award of £150. The remainder of the editorial team, Ken Cushing, Sue Jones, Martin Oliver and Trevor Roberts who could not attend were equally pleased. The TBVH was supported by excellent sponsorship from James Sears Estate Agents (lead sponsor), The Theydon Bois Pharmacy, The Theydon Bois Balti House, The Woodland and Wildlife Conservation Ltd and the Bull public house.
An agent of Blunt’s Farm Estates Limited, a subsidiary of the Aitch Group, informed the Planning Inspectorate that they wished to withdraw their appeals against the two enforcement notices served by the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC). The TBPC Chairman, Robert Glozier, said, “We believe that seeing the weight of evidence against them they (the appellants) have decided to withdraw. We hope that they will now obey the rules and we will be looking very carefully at any negotiations, which take place, to ensure that they’re in the interests of the residents”. The Theydon Bois and Abridge Action Group (TBAAG) warned that, although this was a victory for the Village, residents should be on their guard for any other moves which could ruin the Green Belt and pollute our countryside.
Andrew Newman, the new owner of Theydon Lodge situated on the corner of Coppice Row, and the Village Green, complained of the theft of a fireplace from the Lodge which is currently under renovation. However, Susan Warren of Woodland Way was quick to point out that the property has been gutted over the last few months and reduced to a shell; moreover a planning application was pending to demolish the building and replace it with a three-storey property with a swimming pool in the cellar. The Lodge is a lovely Victorian building over 100 years old and on the local list. Jacqueline Dodman of TBAAG confirmed that Mr Newman had officially applied via planning application EPF/1737/07 to demolish and rebuild the Lodge. TBAAG must therefore assume that Mr and Mrs Newman were not interested in preserving this important corner stone in Theydon Bois. Mr Newman’s response was that, as a local lad, he was delighted to have been able to purchase the Lodge with the intention of restoration. The planning application was for a replica building. However after further structural investigation it was clear that the job was far greater than ever anticipated and that was the reason for a planning application to rebuild. The Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) had objected to the proposal and a final decision will be made by the EFDC. A late comment came from Leslie Jerman of Coppice Row who thought that the building, and the “barn” which stood next to it, was an eyesore. It was only locally listed and the site, in his opinion, was good enough for a block of six flats when the country was desperately short of housing.
A large audience was present at the October meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society to hear a piano recital given by Nigel Clayton. A professor at the Royal College of Music in London, Nigel’s recital included works by Scarlatti, Beethoven, Debussy and Chopin. His versatility was illustrated by a unique and accomplished performance of a Nocturne by Scriabin for the left hand only; and his spirited performance of a selection of pieces by George Gershwin was almost “magic”.
Prior to Halloween residents were advised on action they could take to guard against unwelcome callers demanding a trick or treat (TORT) on Halloween eve. The most important action for the elderly to take was to have an emergency alarm system installed in their home which would link the occupants with an operator in the Epping Forest Careline system. This would not only provide a general security link but could also be used as an emergency call system to cater for emergencies in the home eg. a sudden incapacitating fall. A further discouragement against the TORT nuisance would be to display a “NO TORT” poster, available from the EFDC or Police, in a prominent position. Some residents were quite happy for young children to call early for their TORT but nevertheless care had to be taken.
As part of national reorganisation, Post Office Ltd announced that some of its branches in the local area, especially at Moreton, Epping (sub branches), Chigwell and Buckhurst Hill will be closing and this caused consternation to the many local residents who use Post Office services. These branches were apparently selected because they were within one mile of an alternative branch. The Theydon Bois branch seems to escaped closure because the nearest alternative is the Epping main branch more than one mile distant. However some Post Office services, including making payments for car taxation, have been switched to electronic facilities now commonplace in the home and this has been the thin end of the wedge for local branches. Moreover, the recent postal strike affecting local deliveries of mail has only exacerbated this situation being another nail in the coffin for postal services generally. Local MP Eleanor Laing was taking up the issue of the local closures and the Epping Forest Guardian launched a “Save Our Post Offices” campaign. The trend is to now allow large stores in towns to open sub offices and so a rural centre of business and social activity is lost to many villages. The future of the Theydon Bois Post office appears safe for the immediate future but this cannot be certain when the forces of privatisation are on the move.
The Theydon Bois Horticultural Society held a pumpkin competition at its October meeting. The winners, according to pumpkin weight, were First Place – John Mynott at 51.00 kg, Second – Barry Turner at 31.35 kg and third – Geoff and Tricia Haslehurst at 28.75 kg. An interesting, informative and humorous talk on sweet peas was given by Alan Gillingwater, who is an authority on this subject and a judge at the Society’s horticultural shows. Members were able to view the plan of the proposed site for the apple trees to be planted on the Village Allotments and purchased by plot holders, the TBWI and the TBPC.
In his Citizen’s Advice Bureau (CAB) column in the Epping Forest Guardian, Loughton CAB member and local resident Tony Ames gave advice about the rejection of claims made against insurance cover taken out for the loss of employment due to ill health or redundancy. Later in the month he also advised about obtaining free prescriptions from the National Health Service (NHS).
The Playground At Theydon (PAT) charity received a publicity boost when the Twofour Communications (TC) organisation spent the morning filming the playground with children at play. TC would include the playground scenes in a publicity video being prepared for the Big Lottery organisation, which had recently made a substantial grant to PAT for its ongoing maintenance.
Karen McCann of Hornbeam Close joined more than 700 participants in a 17 mile all night walk though the centre of London to raise a personal £450 in support of the Maggie Cancer Caring Centres and the London Open House charities. The walk commenced at London’s Guildhall, progressed though the West End and even included a night trip on the London Eye, all by moonlight.
HAPPINESS AND SADNESS
During October, the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
21 10 07 Antony Girling and Hanna Hobbs
10 10 07 Robert Twine 12 10 07 Leslie Osborne
Burial of Ashes
07 20 07 Gwen Neal
Copyright 2006/7/8. Trevor Roberts, Local History Recorder.
Last Up Dated: 22nd January 2008