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Theydon Bois Village Web Site

The Month in Theydon

A Month by Month Report since November 2002 by Trevor Roberts

The Month in Theydon Pages are Copyright (2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12) of Trevor Roberts, Local History Recorder.


December 2011



On a damp and soggy evening of the first day of December, a Christmas Fayre was held in the Forest Road shopping area. This event was organised by the TBPC (Theydon Bois Parish Council) Community Liaison Committee to stimulate seasonal trading in this area and to encourage greater liaison within the community. A number of shops erected stalls outside their premises and the road was closed to traffic so that the many present could socialise and listen to carols sung by local schoolchildren and played by the Salvation Army. Many premises were decorated with Christmas lighting including the magnificent Bull pub which, together with its illuminated tree, provided an impressive background to the occasion.

Government accident statistics for the past ten years revealed that 146 people had died in road accidents in the Epping Forest District. The majority of these fatalities had occurred on the sections of the M25 and M11 motorways which pass through the District; 21 on the M25 and 16 on the M11. A road map of road accidents showed, surprisingly, that Theydon Bois was listed for accidents in the road from Abridge through the Village to the Wakes Arms Roundabout. Speeding vehicles were thought to be a major cause of these accidents and a resident complained that the 30mph speed limit in the Village was often exceeded, both in Coppice Road and Piercing Hill; however a speed camera at the intersection of both roads had helped control the problem.

The Christmas Meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society comprised two separate recitals. The first was a programme of carols well sung by a children’s choir from the Academy Arts Theatre School and then, a recital given by Ken Bartels, silver flute, and his wife Rachel, harpist, who played a number of items with a Christmas flavour. Barbara O'Connor thanked Ken and Rachel for their music, and said she looked forward to seeing the audience at the next Society meeting on 8th March 2012 when the artists would be Helen & Damion Arcolo playing flute and classical guitar.

The Theydon Bois Singers made their mark on the local Christmas scene with a Gala Christmas Evening Concert in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). The Singers had been augmented for this occasion, especially in the male section which gave a good account of itself to help balance a strong choir. The programme comprised a variety of Christmas music including the ever popular “Sleigh Ride” and Hubert Parry's setting of Milton’s Blessed Pair of Sirens, a formidable work which was well performed. During the evening a surprise presentation was made to Joy Wainwright who had now retired from the Singers after many years of faithful support. Once again the Singers were conducted by Janet Cass and the accompanist was the accomplished pianist Paul Chilvers.

Not to be outdone, a choir comprising some fifty pupils from the junior classes of the Theydon Bois Primary School entertained elder members of the Village to a morning carol concert at the School after first serving the audience with mulled wine, coffee and mince pies. The opening verse of Once in Royal David’s City, sung by young boy, echoed round the room and the choir responded with considerable strength and feeling. Music teacher and pianist Tricia Cole conducted the choir and accompanied the children. Elspeth Bonds the head teacher welcomed the visitors, and Essex County Councillor (ECC) and Epping Forest District Councillor (EFDC) Janet Whitehouse congratulated the children on their performance and thanked the School for its hospitality.

The proposed November 'Hearing' into the appeal by EFDC to refuse a commuter car park to the east of the village Central line railway station, and also in the Green Belt was posponed after the Planning Inspector decided that because of the amount of public interest a full 'Public Inquiry' was more appropriate. The closing date for submissions to the appeal has been extended till the 27th December and a date for the Inquiry is still to be set. A previous application was rejected by the TBPC and the EFDC following objections from residents regarding the project. Theydon Bois resident Alan Cox commented “We will certainly be writing to the Planning Inspectorate to reiterate our reasons for wanting the application to be turned down. Peter Newton, Chairman of the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society said that what was needed was a proper integrated and sustainable transport structure. There was already free parking spaces in car parks further down the Central Line, but people were still choosing to park on unrestricted roads to the detriment of residents and the enviroment rather than pay. “I would certainly encourage people to write and express their objections, and also as many as can should attend the public meeting”.

The relative peace of Barn Mead was broken in mid December when a party of walkers from the West Essex Ramblers Group strode into the Mead to knock on the door of two of their members Arthur Thorne. 82, and his wife Joyce, 81. Arthur had been involved with the Group for 30 years and had been instrumental in persuading the parent Ramblers Association to introduce shorter walks that could be completed in a morning. Arthur is no longer able to take part in the walks and so the Group came to thank Arthur for his efforts and to present him with a rarely issued certificate of good service from the Ramblers Association.

Christmas Eve this year was different for some especially the Royal Family who were at their Sandringham Home in Norfolk ready for the Christmas holiday, when the Duke of Edinburgh developed chest pains and was rushed (by helicopter) to the Papworth Hospital near Cambridge. Here, he received cardiac surgery comprising the insertion of a cardiac stent to clear a blocked artery; this is a commonplace treatment but the Duke remained in hospital for observation. This event dominated the media to replace  the welcome news that last minute high street trading had surged back to the usual level for Christmas, despite the economic downturn. And the weather relented by turning off the “cold tap” and bringing record temperatures of 14 degrees C (57 F) so ruling out a repeat of the severe winter conditions of 2010 – and a white Christmas!

As dawn broke on Christmas Day, Theydon Bois was at peace and 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, normally open, were closed for this one day but some premises were brightly lit, possibly for security reasons. The station stood deserted but well lit, with no rail or road traffic, as was usual for Christmas Day, for an early Christmas Day morning. Church goers emerged to hurry by foot or car past the Village Christmas Tree outside the TBVH en route to St Mary’s Church, or the Baptist Church. The Church of the Immaculate Conception in Epping provided a traditional Christmas Lunch for those who did not want to be at home alone.

In her Christmas Message, recorded before the illness of the Duke, the Queen spoke of “courage and hope in the face of adversity”, the Pope exhorted the world to “look beyond the superficiality of Christmas towards the true meaning”, and the Archbishop of Canterbury warned that “social damage and a breach of trust had been caused by the summer riots, and the bankers, who had brought the country to the brink of financial disaster”.

On Boxing Day the Central Line was providing only an intermittent service from the Station, due to a one day strike by the ASLEF trade union, so hampering the efforts of Villagers travelling to London for entertainment or the Boxing Day sales. As the Hunts prepared their Boxing Day activities, despite the Act banning fox hunting, the Agricultural Minister, Jim Paice, said that the Act was not working and should be repealed. The NFU (National Farmers Union) warned farmers to guard their livestock as some 60,000 sheep had been stolen in 2011 and, locally, some had been slaughtered in the fields. In Norfolk, the first sighting was recorded of a Western Sandpiper, a North American wading bird, which appeared to have been blown off course by the recent strong winds.

During the last days of 2011, Meteorological records revealed that the year was the second warmest this century with an average temperature of 9.73 degrees C (49.5 degrees F); 2006 was the warmest to date with 9.62 degrees C (49.3 degrees F). 2011 had the longest periods of high temperature and the warmest April and Spring on record, and this December could also be the warmest for some years.

The year 2011 ended as in 2010 with continuing financial problems and increasing unemployment, especially among young people, taht many considered were the result of the coalition government’s policy of “cut backs” to improve the national economic situation. The efforts of the European Union to contain the its economic crisis due to the increasing debt of some of its members continued but without the influence of the  UK Prime Minster, David Cameron, who had vetoed a European “rescue plan” which  would have disadvantaged Britain. Nevertheless, UK retail trading, true to form, surged ahead during the last days prior to Christmas and a long break which would last until 3rd January 2012. Once again the weather had turned relatively mild to possibly delude man and nature into thinking that spring was around the corner!

More than 250 thousand people, including many Villagers, travelled to Central London to celebrate the arrival of 2012 which was ushered in at the stroke of midnight by Big Ben with fireworks emitting from above the clock. Then followed a tremendous ten-minute fireworks display on the Thames, to music, with the great wheel of the “London Eye” as a centre piece with fireworks appearing to radiate from it in all directions and illuminating the night sky for miles around, even as far as Theydon Bois where the display could be seen from high points in the village. Many stayed on to view London’s other illuminations or even to ice skate on the several ice rinks created for the occasion eg. at Somerset House and Hyde Park. The London Transport system operated until 4 am with free travel to facilitate the return home.  Back in Theydon Bois the sky over the Village was also lit at midnight with numerous private displays, accompanied by the inevitable loud bangs, which lasted  for some time; many houses remained illuminated all night with seasonal decorations, especially where New Year parties were in full swing. So, for many, the Old Year went out on a happy note


Gill Carter, the new Ladies Captain of the Theydon Bois Golf Club, “drove in” to commence her year of office as “skipper”. This long standing tradition is where the new captain drives off along the fairway in front of 60 lady members who place "lolly sticks" along the fairway at positions where they believe the ball will stop. The lolly sticks were subsequently sold in aid of the Captain's chosen charity.



November 2011 



Saturday November 5th (Guy Fawkes Night) was celebrated in the usual way with bonfires bangs and flashes from many pyrotechnics. Numerous firework parties were held some with expensive fireworks costing £250 each, which was surprising in the current national economic problems. The Primary School in Orchard Drive held the usual well organised display the previous Friday evening which was attended by many excited children together with their parents who enjoyed the social occasion. The weather was clear and mild with fog and mist in places. On the M5 Motorway in Somerset, such conditions were held responsible together with bonfire smoke, for the most serious motorway accident to date when a 34 vehicle collision caused a fireball in which 7 died and 51 were injured.

The unique date (11 11 11) with identical numerals for day, month and year appeared unrelated to any particular events or phenomena except, and especially, to Armistice Day which signifies the cessation of WW1 hostilities at 11 am on the 11th day of the 11th month in 1917. The exceptional temperature of 20 degrees C. encouraged many to attend the commemoration ceremonies at war memorials and churches throughout the country, during which a two minutes silence was held in memory of those who died in WW1 and WW2. The continuing fine weather was also welcomed by those attending the two great November weekend events in London – the Lord Mayor’s Show and the Remembrance Sunday Service/Parades in Whitehall. The local closure over the weekend of the Central Line for maintenance work did not deter local residents traveling to London for Remembrance Sunday, which in Theydon Bois, Loughton and Epping was observed by further parades. A short wreath-laying ceremony was held at the War memorial in St Mary’s Churchyard before the eleven o'clock service, with ex service and Village organisations present. Large attendances at remembrance parades, nationally, was partly attributed to a recent disclosure, denied by the government, that a large number of wounded service personnel, now on restricted duties, would be made redundant and discharged from the service.

Early in November, a small gathering of local residents was held to mark the tenth anniversary of the opening of the current Theydon Bois Village Hall. A collection of photographs showing the construction and opening of the building together with a copy of the Local History, and other documents, describing these events brought back pleasant memories to many of those present. Refreshments were served and a toast given to mark the Hall’s previous successful ten years together with wishes for a continuing bright future.

The chequered history of the Railway Inn in Station Road continued. After several upgrade/conversions, it finally became the “Theydon’s” a combined restaurant and public house. A notice on the door now stated that the lease had expired and a For Sale hoarding was displayed. Several pubs in the Epping District had now closed and were the subject of planning applications for either demolition and/or change of use.

The November Meeting of the Theydon Bois WI (TBWI) was followed by the AGM which was chaired by Sylvia Keith. Kay Rush gave the Committee Report for the previous year and Mary Leng presented the Annual Accounts which were adopted. Mary then made a small presentation to the Independent Examiner, Allan Cox, together with a vote of thanks for his help. The President, Doreen Snell gave her report and thanked all for their hard work and commitment. She announced that Kay Rush, Marjorie Roberts and Sheila Gymer would be retiring from the Committee and that Margaret O'Connor, Carole Browning and Phyllis Pritchard would be taking the places vacated.

Christmas arrived at the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) when members of the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) hosted an afternoon party for some thirty Theydon Bois Seniors. The musical entertainment was provided first by a large choir of children from the Theydon Bois Primary School, who sang a number of Christmas carols, followed by members of the “Singing 4 Fun” Group from the Epping Forest U3A who sang some traditional songs and well loved old time favourites. Pat Robbins, a member of the Group then entertained the audience with several vocal items while accompanied by pianist Norman Lansdowne Davis; both were warmly applauded.

A soup lunch in support of the charity Operation Christmas Child was held in the St Mary’s Church Hall. This is a “shoebox charity” where shoe boxes are packed with donated toys and other items needed by children in deprived areas overseas (in some instances they cannot attend school unless equipped with writing materials). The boxes and contents were being provided by the church and the local community, and the proceeds from the lunch would pay for the postage

The large Churchyard at St Mary’s Church is basically a large garden with a number of attractive features; these include a Lich Gate in Coppice Row and a smaller iron gate providing access to a wooded footpath leading up to the Church. It is ideal for quiet contemplation and the opportunity to wander through, and appreciate, part of the natural world in which the Village is located. The Churchyard is kept in good order by a team of volunteers. However, more help was now needed and the Church was appealing for people to join the team and so help preserve this small haven of peace


The Epping Forest Group of the Alpine Garden Society met in the TBVH where Peter Sheasby spoke about "Spring in South Africa".

The Theydon Bois and District Cancer Research UK charity held a Quiz Night with a fish/chicken and chips supper in the TBVH and the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society also held its AGM with a Friendly Quiz Night in the TBVH.

A party of members and friends from the TBWI attended an afternoon matinee of Beauty and the Beast, the current production of the Southend Operatic and Dramatic Society, at the Cliffs Pavilion.

A party from the Theydon Bois Music Society, travelled by coach, to attend an evening concert given by the Forest Philharmonic Orchestra at the Walthamstow Assembly Hall. The programme had a Christmas flavour with Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty Suite, Elgar’s Nursery Suite and Dvorak’s Symphony No 2. 

At the end of the month, Trade unions called a general one day strike in opposition to the Government's plans for public sector employees to pay more for their pensions, and work longer before official retirement. Consequently, schools, hospitals, nurseries, government offices and other services were badly disrupted throughout the UK; in the Village a few strikers demonstrated outside the Doctor's Surgery in Thrift’s Mead. Mothers stayed at home to look after children who should be at school or nursery; but the County Primary School in Orchard Drive remained open as it has during several union disputes in the past. However high street trading increased markedly with increased Christmas shopping resulting from an “enforced” day’s holiday for many.

Apart from one unexpected and early frost, the weather continued mild and dry such that the Anglian Water Authority had been granted a drought order to extract water from local rivers, following the driest Spring and September for 80 years. Otherwise the onset of Christmas gained pace in the Village with the TBVH and its Christmas Tree decorated with coloured lights, and numerous Christmas Fayres being held both locally and in the District.


During the months of October and November 2011, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois:                                                                  

Holy Matrimony

22 10 11   Luke William Wakeley and Rachel Elizabeth Turner

Burial of Ashes

05 10 11   Iris May Gough       

22 10 11   Andrew Mark Haliford

Memorial Service

25 10 11   Patrick Arthur Davies

Confirmations (at Waltham Abbey)

09 11 11  Kay Arthur, Daniel Cannon, Elliot Mahony-Fox, Jessica

 Sheehy, Clare Drew, Joe Bradley, Thomas Collins, Dominic Merrett,

Phoebe White and Sarah Rochester.



October 2011 



The late Indian Summer and heat wave of September continued into early October with temperatures peaking at 29.9 degrees C (85.8 degrees F), the highest recorded for October since 1985. But the heat did not deter a capacity audience in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) from enjoying a musical afternoon given by the Harlow Concert Band and the “Singing 4 Fun Singers”. The Band was formed in 1969 with a military background and so was quite “militant” in its performance. The Singers, formed in 2010 from the Epping Forest U3A Group sang a number of quieter but still lively numbers. As a finale, the Band and Singers combined with the audience in a rendering of old favourites including White Cliffs of Dover and We’ll Meet Again.

On the 23rd October, St Mary’s Church was packed for a Service of Thanksgiving held in, memory of local resident Patrick (Pat) Arthur Davies who was cremated on 31 August 2011 at Parndon Wood, Harlow. In addition to members of his family, the congregation included many golfers, especially members of the Theydon Bois Golf Club where Pat had been a past Captain, and Old Bancroftians of the school which Pat had attended. The lesson, the 23rd Psalm, was read by Claire Robson and tributes to Pat were made by Anita Riggs, Steve Hipperson and Peter Rank OBE. The eulogy was given by the Reverend Stephen Walker who also officiated at the Service. Music played during the Service was Cavatina, as an introduction, a recording of the well known Flanders and Swann song “An Ill Wind” and the Service ended with Jesu Joy of Mans’ Desiring. A retiring collection was held in aid of the Alzheimer’s Society charity and many then attended a large reception held at the Theydon Bois Golf Club. Regretfully, Pat’s wife Carol was unable to be present due to failing health.

The Government's proposed radical reform of planning law was giving rise to concern. The Daily Telegraph "Hands Off Our Land” campaign continued and numerous professional voices were joining protest against the proposed reform. A royal protester was Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, patron of an association concerned with playing fields and green spaces. It was claimed that many green spaces were under threat from developers and so urged the creation and/or preservation of 2012 open spaces to coincide with the year 2012. The National Trust complained about a campaign by property developers, with a large “lobbying interest to get planning laws changed in their favour”. Critics feared that the changes posed the greatest threat to the Town and Country Act since its introduction in 1947. Tricia Moxey of the Epping Forest Campaign for the Protection of Rural Essex (CPRE) said “Obviously David Cameron (the current Prime Minister) and his team are very keen to see economic growth and they have latched onto this idea that we need to revise the planning system”. She was also concerned that the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) had yet to produce a local plan detailing which particular local areas needed protection.

At the autumn meeting of the Theydon Bois and District Rural Preservation Society, Tony O’Connor the Curator of the Epping Forest District Museum gave a talk entitled “The Iron Age and Roman Occupation in the Epping Forest District from 500 BC to 500 AD”. Tony explained he was an active archeologist in his early days and has since remained interested in this subject. He described the great ridge which runs from near Harlow to the Leyton/Wanstead area and separates the two rivers, the Lea and the Roding. This was a natural divide between the two local tribes, the Trinovantes in the east and the Catuvellauni in the west. Amesbury banks and Loughton Camp could have been possible fortifications of even trading posts associated with these tribes. However, Bodicea the great ancient British leader did not make her last stand here against the Romans, as reputed, but possibly well to the North. A prominent Roman local feature is the road running from London, Leyton, through Theydon Mount and Tawny Common to Dunmow and beyond, sections of which can still be seen and even used today. Tony suggested that perhaps, on a misty winter's night, Roman soldiers might be seen marching along it!

The residents of Baldocks Road, Woodland Way, Morgan Crescent, and especially Orchard Drive, whose properties surround the playing field of the Theydon Bois Primary School, were surprised to learn, somewhat belatedly, that a planning application had been lodged for a modular building to house a 23 place Eden Day Nursery at the School. This would be located adjacent to the gardens of Morgan Crescent with a limited pedestrian access via the School car park. Surprisingly, the application had been made via a private individual and objections were immediately forthcoming based on the dangerous access for infants via the car park, the lack of adequate parking for nursery staff, the increase in foot and vehicular traffic in an already congested Orchard Drive, the loss of School recreational (and green belt) space and the possibility that the nursery building could become permanent and lead to further development at this site. The application was subsequently withdrawn.


Several large herds of deer, mainly fallow, were now well established in the District, especially Epping Forest and tended to move around the local area. The annual rut, where stags fight for dominance of a herd, had now begun and so the deer had become more active. Essex Police therefore warned motorists to be especially careful as many road accidents involving deer occurred at this time. Deer seen crossing roads were to be considered as a hazard and drivers should slow and be alert for the “tail end Charlie” rushing to catch up with the deer already across, and which were often the cause of an accident; injured deer can be dangerous, should not be approached and the Police informed of any such incident. Pedestrians should be equally careful as stags could consider them as “rivals” and attack. The smaller muntjac or water deer are equally aggressive, used their needle sharp antlers and could “bite”. So a Sunday Morning stroll in the Forest could be quite an experience!

The Epping Forest Guardian reported that local residents were concerned that a once picturesque footpath and public right of way at Blunts Farm, between Theydon Bois Station and Theydon Garnon Church, remained in a poor state and was almost blocked in places. Alan Cox of Hill Road said “On parts of the route you take your life into your own hands; it is very difficult to get past. On one stretch there are bits of brick and lumps of concrete all over the place; other parts are overgrown with thistles and weeds. Peter Cozens, the Epping Forest District Footpaths Secretary for the West Essex Ramblers, said” We have urged the Essex County Council (ECC) to make the path a priority in the cutting programme for the District’s footpaths”.

The last Saturday evening of the month saw a large attendance for the "last night" of George Bernard Shaw’s “Pygmalion”, the current production staged by the Theydon Bois Drama Society in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). This well known and popular play could not fail to be a “sell out” and a licensed bar helped to generate a true theatrical background for the occasion. The cast gave a memorable performance and comprised Professor Higgins (John Haylett), Colonel Pickering (Martin Oliver), Eliza Dolittle (Sophia Norris), Mrs Higgins (Kay Rush), Mrs Eynsford Hill (Nicola Keegan), Miss Eynsford Hill (Rebecca Allen), Freddie Eynsford Hill (Tom Donoghue), Mrs Pearce (Jo Shephard), Alfred Dolittle (Dave  Bennett), Parlour Maid (Sue Gawne), Bystander (Ian Shaw) and another Bystander (Norma Jones). The production was directed by Carol Freeman who was supported by a hard working back stage production team.


A concert entitled “Harvest for the World “was held in St Mary’s Church. The music was provided by the Camel Thomas Youth Singers, the Davenant Community Choir and the St Mary's Church Choir with support from Rachel Roberts and Joanna Gunnell. The proceeds from the event were divided between the Church and the East Africa Famine Appeal.

Maggie Ratcliffe was the speaker at the first meeting in the winter programme of the Theydon Bois Baptist Church (TBBC) Men’s Forum. Her subject was Lawrence of Arabia and she spoke extensively about the man behind the popular Arabian image. Among the many fascinating facts which emerged was that Lawrence had been engaged in the design of high speed air/sea rescue launches used for humanitarian purposes.

Members and friends of the TBBC attended a “Pampered Chef” evening – & fun night for the ladies – at Birchwood House, St Mary’s Hospital, Epping. The evening included cookery demonstrations and free recipes; kitchen equipment could be purchased during the evening. Excess income from the function was donated to the Breast Unit “Probe” appeal.

At the October meeting of the Theydon Bois WI in the TBVH, Mike Logan Wood spoke about “The Secret Lives of Garden Birds”. Kay Rush, as the TBWI representative on the TB Village Association, advised that charges for the TBVH would be increased for 2012 and Marjorie Roberts reported on the Autumn WI Essex County Meeting held at Chelmsford. The recent Fish and Chip Lunch was a success and Jim Robertson and Dick Leng were thanked for arranging the tables and seating generally.

A visit from a professional photographer was an interesting item at a Little Cherubs group meeting run by the TBBC. Regrettably, Claudia Slater had now relinquished the group leadership after having done a great job under difficult personal circumstances; Hannah Seagood and Alison Girling have taken her place.

At the October meeting of the Epping Forest Group of the Alpine Garden Society held in the TBVH, Tim Ingram gave a talk about Alpines in a Dry Garden”.

The subject of the talk given at the October meeting of the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society in the TBVH was “Potage to Peacocks”. A pumpkin weighing competition was held and a prize awarded for the tallest sunflower grown.

The Sixth Anniversary Service of the TBBC Woman’s’ Meeting was held at the Church. The speaker was Lillian Davison of the Mulberry Prayer Line. There was an open invitation for all to attend and tea was provided after the Meeting.



September 2011 



Residents in the Epping Forest District who have the misfortune to be suffering from cancer, were dismayed to learn that they would be losing a vital support service provided by the charity Macmillan Cancer Relief. Although this registered charity is widely supported by contributions from various sources, including a very active Theydon Bois group, most of the funding for its service is derived from NHS West Essex; this source is now being reduced from £105,000 to £45,000 so making the current level of service no longer viable.

Recent statistics published by the British Transport Police (BTP) for crime incidents on the London Underground in the North East London/Essex area showed that Theydon Bois Station was a low 13 out of 17 for decreasing areas of severity. The highest (no.1) was Leytonstone with 48 incidents and the lowest was Roding Valley with just one. Theydon Bois had seven incidents which appeared to relate to the low off peak use of the Station.

Concern about local policing continued following recent announcements regarding the apparent closures of public counters at local police stations. In fact the desks at Epping and Loughton would have reduced hours of opening and that for Waltham Abbey would be closed. Assistant Chief Constable Tim Newcomb admitted that the changes would have an impact locally but claimed that this was not a “withdrawal from the streets” and that normal policing and emergency response services would continue.

Local residents were among the many that travelled up the Central Line to visit the Westfield Stratford City trading complex (retail centre) on its opening day. This complex is the largest in Europe, occupies a 1.9 million square foot area, contains more than 300 shops (including branches of the major retail outlets), 70 restaurants, a 14 screen cinema, three hotels, a bowling alley and the largest casino in the UK. It is located on the doorstep of the 2012 Olympic site, the source of considerable future business, in an area of social deprivation and high unemployment which contrasts sharply with the relatively luxurious nature of the trade in the complex. There was therefore criticism that this development did not cater for local residents although it had created some 10,000 jobs.

The remnants of Hurricane Katia which had earlier ravaged the East Coast of North America, finally arrived at the UK with winds in excess of 80 mph. Although the north of the country was the most seriously affected, in the south the storm made driving and walking difficult, damaged buildings and particularly trees which were still in full leaf; consequently a number were brought down especially in Epping Forest. Wild life was affected as migratory birds were blown off course and some ended up in bird sanctuaries to recover before being released to continue their journeys. Extensive rainfall soaked lawns and gardens and power supplies were affected by the failure of some overhead distribution systems.

The Department of Communities and Local Government, through the Epping Forest District Council, was encouraging the owners of run down properties which had been empty for six months to refurbish them for occupation by the homeless. The owners could be in receipt of grants of up to £50,000 for this work and the new occupants offered tenancies on a six months contract basis. The EFDC reckoned that 600 homes in the District could be eligible under this scheme but with more than 5,000 people on local housing waiting lists, critics  dismissed the scheme as an expensive waste of money as it  would not appear to solve the local housing crisis.


Parliamentary changes proposed by the Boundary Commission,, could have a significant affect on the political scene. The number of MPs could be reduced from 650 to 600, and there could also be a move to equalise the number of voters in each constituency. With this equalisation, it has been suggested that the Lambourne Ward, which includes the Village of Abridge, could be moved from the Brentwood Constituency held by Conservative MP Eric Pickles to the Epping Forest Constituency held by Conservative MP Eleanor Laing.

Villagers were asked to write to their local MP expressing concerns regarding the Government’s proposed replacement of the existing planning system with a National Policy Planning Framework which, although at the consultation stage, appeared to be already affecting plans for local development. Shaun Spiers, the Chief Executive of Council for the Preservation of Rural England (CPRE), warned, in the Daily Telegraph that the emphasis on the new policy, which is the biggest change in planning law since the 1947 Town and Country Planning Act, would be on economic growth rather than protecting the countryside. The new policy would encourage decision takers at every level to assume that the default answer to development proposals is “yes”. The Green Belt would be threatened by a new “community right to build” that would allow local referendum to overrule protection of the countryside; what is proposed will weaken Green Belt protection. The Daily Telegraph had launched a “Hands off Our Land Campaign” against the proposed revision, other objectors to which included the National Trust, CPRE, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI).

It was reported in the local press that the London Olympic Games Organizing Committee (LOGOC) had ordered the organisers of the proposed temporary 150 pitch - plot camp site at the Old Foresters site near Theydon Bois railway station to remove the 2012 Olympics Logo from their website. The site had been advertised as a “temporary campsite” in a quiet location with luxury showers and toilets, CCTV and secure storage facilities, for use during the Games at Stratford which will be only “15 minutes away” by train. There was fierce opposition from residents and village organisations, generally, regarding the site’s location on the green belt and the precedence which it could establish for future development at this location.

A study carried out by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) revealed that, for the nine English regions, bird populations in the south were declining whereas the opposite applied to those in the north. Further research into bird life on farmland, woodland, wet lands, towns and moorlands showed that all groups were not thriving in the South East of England. In Theydon Bois, a general decline in garden birds was noticeable at this time of year but falling temperatures would hasten their return

The government announced that £250 million would be made available to local authorities so that regular weekly collections of domestic waste could recommence. The general reaction was mixed as some authorities claimed that this amount would not be adequate while others claimed that the return of the weekly collection would discourage householders from continuing with the now well established recycling collections.

September went out in a blaze of glory as the Indian summer and heat wave of the last few days persisted with temperatures of 27 degrees C (80 degrees F) and dry light winds. Nature was at an impasse with trees and shrubs still laden with fruit while retaining their summer foliage. Many Villagers visited coastal resorts and high street retail business suffered, with a decline in shoppers and autumn/winter sales. Barbecue grills re emerged from their winter storage and the aroma of grilled meat pervaded many gardens. Elsewhere the north and west of the country experienced cold winds and rain.


The Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) held an afternoon social event in the TBVH for the senior residents of the community. A light tea was provided and the Loughton Ladies Choir sang during the afternoon. Parish Councilors were present to act as hosts and discuss local matters generally.

Astrokyds, the junior branch of the Loughton Astronomical Society, held its regular meeting in the St Mary’s Church Hall. The theme this month was” The Sun – Our Nearest Neighbour”.

Paralympics swimmer and local resident Emma Hollis was preparing to compete in the London 2012 Paralympics. After her first year at Loughborough University she is now settling down into a new training regime with her sights on the trials for the 2012 Paralympics and the 2012 British Championships She has already proved her potential by winning a silver medal and four bronze medals at the 2009 European Championships.

A special evensong was held in St Mary’s Church to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the hymnal Hymns Ancient and Modern. During the service, a talk was given by Professor Jeremy Dibble of Durham University, a former choir boy at St Mary’s and Musical Editor of the forthcoming Canterbury Dictionary of Hymnology, about how the use of the hymnal had shaped worship in the Anglican Church.

Forty two members and three visitors were present at the 21st September meeting of the Theydon Bois WI. Details were given for a Chicken/Fish and Chips Lunch on 19 Oct next and a visit to the Cliffs Pavilion, Westcliff, on 19 Nov next to attend a matinee performance of the musical Beauty and the Beast.

During the months of August and September 2011, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois:                  

Holy Baptism

21 08 11   Erica Bishop                                       

28 08 11   Rupert Henry Gregory                                                   

04 09 11   Imogen Darcy Allen and Matilda Ann Bryan

10 09 11   Ella Louise Wilkinson 

11 09 11   Katie Louise Wallace

18 09 11   Oscar Eaton

28 09 11   Poppy Mollie Wallace

Holy Matrimony

05 08 11   Elliott James Lawlor and Nicole Laura Gunn

20 08 11   Dean Edward Lester and Jolene Ann Curd              

 17 08 11   Wlliam Anthony Warran and Emma Margaret Philips


09 08 11   Victoria May Smith

               (Funeral in Church/Interred at TB Civic Cemetery)

18 08 11   Amy Constance White

   (Funeral in Church/Cremated at Forest Park)

22 08 11   Jean May Brooks

               (Funeral in Church/Cremated at Pardon Wood)

31 08 11   Patrick Arthur Davies

               (Cremated at Pardon Wood)

01 09 11   Dorothy Rosena Riddle

   (Cremated at Parndon Wood)

Also Dennis Redfern aged 97 who died at Great Cornard on 02 08 11and was buried with his wife Mary in the Theydon Bois Village Cemetery. He was Church Warden at St Mary’s in the 1970s, was later Church Warden Emeritus and was much respected and admired by all who knew him.



August 2011 



Although not directly involved in the riots and lawlessness which had spread across the London Area during early August, the grim reality of these events was bought directly into the home of Villagers via the medium of high definition television and mobile communication systems. The trouble began when a man was fatally shot in a police incident in the North London area of Tottenham. A demonstration outside the local police station became a riot with cars set alight and businesses looted. Several night later, this simmering situation literally “exploded” with total anarchy spreading across London as groups of youths rampaged through many separate areas extending from Ealing to Woolwich and Enfield to Croydon. By this time the rioters were, invariably, mobs of young people some just teenage, intent only on pillage and destruction; one ruined shop owner described them as "feral rats”. The police were outnumbered and so were able to could deal only with threats to life and property.

The Prime Minister and the Mayor of London both terminated their holidays early and returned to the UK to deal with the crisis. The Prime Minister David Cameron made a statement in which he warned the rioters that they would experience the full force of the law, and also called on the police for a more robust response to the law breakers. Parliament was recalled for one day and an additional 7,000 police officers were moved into London as a precaution against further trouble. But many businesses closed early and staffs made arrangements to work at home. Some Villagers became apprehensive when it became known that Chingford Mount some five miles away, and then Buckhurst Hill and Loughton, had experienced vandalism and this concern was not diminished by the sight (from the village) of the  smoke rising from  the still burning Sony distribution centre at Enfield in North East London.

In mid month summer came to an abrupt halt when an acute depression moved along the South Coast of England and up across the country. Substantial flooding occurred in Dorset especially at Bournemouth where an air show was washed out. The “storm” finally reached Theydon Bois about mid afternoon when almost a half an inch of rain fell in a short time. Surprisingly, there was little flooding but the deluge damaged many gardens by demolishing blooms, damaging tree foliage and breaking bushes. In the evening the temperature fell sharply with a "threat of frost” and central heating systems switched on. The August Bank Holiday was relatively fine but with a cool wind. Consequently many villagers took the opportunity to attend local events especially those held within easy driving distance of the Village. One example was the “Open Day” held by the Copped Hall Trust at the Copped hall Mansion and Gardens near Epping. These events are very popular and by early afternoon more than a thousand visitors had passed through the gates of this historic Mansion. The now extensively restored Mansion and the popular Georgian Walled Garden were open to view. Entertainment included music from a Scottish pipe and drum band, demonstration flights by birds of prey, wool spinning and steam engine rides. Children were entertained by a suitably attired court jester.

The results were announced of an Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) survey of the local population to establish what the Council’s priorities should be over the next twenty years. It emerged that that the protection of the green belt was thought to be more important than the need for new homes. Of the 1,500 people who responded 32% supported the protection and enhancement of green spaces, 11% were in favour of the provision of local housing and 24% thought that new housing and related employment should be located close to public transport facilities. It was understood that these facts will be taken into account by Council Planners in preparing the core planning strategy which will set guidelines for future development in the District.

Once again the Blunts Farm site was in the news and this time the 2012 London Olympics appeared to be the reason. The site near the former Old Foresters Sports Club and the Theydon Bois Central line Station was being promoted as a “temporary campsite” in a quiet location with luxury showers and toilets, CCTV and secure storage facilities, for use during the games at Stratford which will be only “15 minutes away”? by train. Bookings were invited for the period July 25 to August 14 in 2012. Peter Newton, Chairman of the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society said “It’s green belt at the moment and the railway line is effectively the boundary between the Village and the green belt, so any development that occurs on the other side of the line in what are now fields is always a concern. We understand that they (the promoters) do not require planning permission for this (campsite)”. The fear of many Villagers was that the campsite would not be temporary and remain after the Olympics. It was interesting to note that, in June, the Caravan Club had withdrawn plans for a temporary 1,300 pitch campsite elsewhere in the Epping Forest  District at Chigwell, after local residents had banded together in protest.

The Theydon Bois Neighbourhood Action Panel (TBNAP) held its bi - monthly meeting in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). The meeting was told that the new 101 phone system for the Essex Police, which the public were now requested to use for general enquires and calls of a non-urgent nature, was well established in Essex and functioning well. The charge incurred for using the 101 number has been set at the low cost of 15p per call irrespective of call duration or time of day. Other counties were now using this system and a countrywide network was expected to be established by 2012. Calls of an urgent nature should still be made using the 999 number.

The proposed reduction in local police services due to financial cutbacks meant that the front counter service at Epping and Loughton Police Stations would be open to the public for fewer hours and that for Waltham Abbey Police Station would be closed. These changes should be implemented by March 2012 and would save the Essex Police Authority £2.5 million annually. Local residents expressed concern at this loss of facility; however, a spokesman for the authority said ”It was crucial for residents to understand that, even when the front counter service desk is closed, in many cases officers will still use the buildings as a base".

Colin Freeman, the Essex Police Watch Administrator advised that burglaries had increased during the recent months and he therefore advised property owners to ensure that their buildings and gardens were secure especially when the occupants were absent. Other suggestions were to leave house lights on , via a time switch if possible, not to leave valuable items in cars, which themselves should be securely locked, and to also remove garden ornaments where possible. Mobile phones, keys and credit cards should never be left lying around. Rural crime was also on the increase with heavy equipment (tractors) being stolen, and sometimes recovered from Central Europe or further a field! Farmers were therefore forced to secure their farming equipment in farm buildings, especially at night, and not unprotected in open fields.

The national press reported that Dartford Council in Kent had found that playing classical music in particular areas associated with criminality, especially among young people, tended to discourage antisocial behaviour and vandalism and disperse unruly groups. The music of the Austrian composer Gustav Mahler was found to be particularly calming, especially his Fifth Symphony. Theydon Bois is fortunate in experiencing few anti social problems but should these occur, perhaps the services of the Theydon Bois Music Society might be called upon?

An item in the national press reported that the nation was changing its eating habits regarding snacks. It appeared that the traditional snack beans on toast was being replaced by herring roe on toast. This change was probably due to many people now following a healthier diet including fish, as the population was becoming more diet conscious. The absence of a fishmonger in Theydon Bois (and Epping) was a disadvantage to village housewives but an enterprising fishmonger from Grimsby, trading from a van, now visited the village weekly with clockwork regularity to provide fresh fish of high quality. He leaves Grimsby around 3 am in the morning, drives down to the Epping area and then returns home later that day – a true tradesman who deserves to be successful.


The Ladies of the Theydon Bois Baptist Church (TBBC) held a “Ladies Who Lunch” at the Belgique Coffee Shop in the Village shopping area in Forest Drive.

Members of the TBBC attended a “Day Retreat” in High Ongar at Mulberry House which is run by the International Christian Trust. The venue is also a popular hotel and conference centre which is open to all.

The Buxton Road Fellowship Group of the TBBC held an afternoon cream tea at the Church. All were welcome and special arrangements were made for those requiring assistance with travel to the Church.

During the months of June and July 2011, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois:

Holy Baptism

26 06 11 Rohan Joseph and Surinder Bhardwaj- Sharp      

10 07 11 John Alexander Ledwell and Jamie Patrick Ledwell

 Holy Matrimony

25 06 11    Matthew Demaertelaere and Karen Alford

09 07 11Chris Hamilton and Louise Halford



23 06 11    Tony Alfred Cooke (Forest Park Crematorium)




July 2011 



In early June, at the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH), Sue Jones the Chairman of the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC) made a number of awards to members of the community. The Villager of the Year Cup was jointly presented to Liz Hannibal and Beryl Frankland for their services to the local guide and scout groups. Community Awards were presented to Elspeth Bonds, for her outstanding thirteen years service as the Head Teacher of the highly successful Theydon Bois Primary School, and to Ellie Bedwell for her contribution as the Theydon News Desk Youth Editor.

Also in June, Senior citizens from the Village were entertained to an afternoon of hospitality and entertainment in the TBVH. While enjoying tea and homemade cakes served by TBPC Councillors and volunteer helpers, they watched a display of country dancing presented by the Theydon Bois Folk Dance Club led by “caller” Tricia Haslehurst. A “faces from the past and present” quiz then followed and the afternoon ended with Bingo session run by Councillor Peter Hammond.

In July the green belt adjacent to Theydon Bois station, once again came under threat. A proposal in December 2010 for a commuter car park off the Abridge Road on the site of the Old Foresters Club was rejected by the Epping Forest District Council (EFDC). However the developers, Parkeng Ltd, had now asked the Planning Inspectorate to over rule this decision. The EFDC rejection was based on 200 objections from the Village, the impact of the car park on the green belt and the resulting increase in passenger traffic on the Central Line in the District.

In mid July, the Annual General Meeting of the Theydon Bois & District Rural Preservation Society was held in the TBVH when it was agreed that the following would again hold office for the current year. Officers President- A Gillies, Vice President – M Chapman, Chairman – P Newton, Vice Chairman – M Boyle, Treasurer – G Haslehurst, Meetings Secretary – J Watts. Executive Committee R G Day, B Frankland, S Gymer, R Levene, H Meteyard, A Purkiss, L Ratcliffe, T Roberts and C Shears. The speaker at the AGM was Arthur Everett from the Essex Wildlife Trust and his subject “a lighthearted look at the natural world around us”. His slide illustrations included flora and fauna with many mammals, including the black fallow deer kept under protection here in Theydon Bois, badger families living in close proximity to humans and, most surprising, the common dormouse. He explained how this charming creature lives in the upper branches of forest trees, especially where they inter link so that the mice seldom venture on to the forest floor.

A sudden “monsoon squall” just prior to the Summer Concert of the Theydon Singers did not prevent a large audience attending this evening function in the TBVH. The choir, comprising fifteen sopranos, eight contraltos, six tenors and six basses, gave an excellent rendering of Samuel Coleridge - Taylor’s “Hiawatha’s Wedding Feast” which was no mean achievement for a choir of this size. The second half of the concert comprised some thirteen musical items relating to weddings or courtship with solo items from Chris Joyce, Irene Jones and Linda Wheeler who, dressed as a bride, was left “Waiting at the Church". Pianist Paul Chilver's playing of Grieg’s “Wedding Day at Troldhaugen” was greatly applauded. The choir was conducted by Janet Cass, the hard working accompanist was Phil Chilvers and the two together produced a memorable musical evening.

The 24th Annual Donkey Derby in mid July organised by the Theydon Bois Scout Group was a great success due to the fine weather and its truly “village location” on the Green, by kind permission of the City of London and the TBPC. The events proceeded at a spanking pace under the direction of the Master of Ceremony Phil Simmance, Clerk of the Course Phil Koczan, Start Official Andy Bowles and Stewards Terry Bennett, Paul Gunnell, and Pat Gill. Seven races were held with titles relating to their sponsors eg. “Run for Your Wife” sponsored by Ray Cooney and “Lauren Louise Limbo” sponsored by the Lauren Louise Hair Salon. Many interesting steeds were raced including “Say Again” by Hearing Out of Ear” and “Hannibal Out of The Mountain”. This year other events were also held in the Arena including children’s races, a dog display team, a scout versus guide challenge and a dog show. Popular amusements and attractions kept the children, and therefore their parents, happy. Substantial support and sponsorship had come from Village traders who advertised their business via the usual well produced and informative Race Card/Programme. More than a thousand visitors attended the event and helped raise some £11,000 in support of the Village Scouts, Guides, Youth Club and other organisations.

The Essex County Council (ECC) revealed that was it considering reducing the speed limits on roads throughout Epping Forest to minimise the risks to cyclists, horse riders and walkers, as generated by speeding traffic. One particularly hazardous road is the B172 from the Wake Arms to Theydon Bois which is currently unrestricted. Thirteen minor accidents, one serious and one fatal, had been recorded here in the past three years and the increasing use of this road by cyclists, especially at weekends has added to the problem.

There was national concern following the announcement that British Gas would be increasing its charges by an average of 17%. This would raise the cost of the average domestic price for gas and electricity from the current £1,096 per annum to £1,288. British Gas, which made a reported profit of £740 million in the last financial year, defended this increase by claiming that it had been selling its energy at a loss for the last four years. Fears were expressed that the increase would penalise those on low incomes, particularly the elderly who would not heat their homes properly because of the cost and so possibly suffer from hypothermia. The Consumer Group uSwitch advised customers to seek alternative suppliers with lower charges but historically, other suppliers would soon introduce similar increases.

In mid July, Mr M Darlington of Coppice Row had filed a planning application for the demolition of the Coppice Row (Darlington) Garage and the subsequent construction of a two - storey block on the same site to provide seven two – bed and one one - bed apartments with ground floor patio areas and balconies. Associated work would include closure of the existing vehicular access, formation of a new vehicular access with electronic gates, pedestrian access, and provision for 13 car parking spaces, communal open space and landscaping. With the excellent views of much of the Village and its Green that this new development will provide it could prove to be popular if it gains planning consent.

At the end of July after many years of use by the motor trade, the once busy site on the corner of Coppice Row and Orchard Drive was now clear of motor vehicles and business signage following the closure of E J Darlington (Garages) Ltd at after fifteen years of trading in Theydon Bois. Before then, a motor dealers and garage/filling station had occupied the site for many years and Darlington was the last of three motor businesses, which had previously served the Village, The firm had, reportedly, now transferred its trading and staff to the main business at Harlow. As the only Renault car dealer in the local area, the move would adversely affect the many Renault vehicle owners and others in the area.


The Theydon Bois Cricket Club held its Colts Day early in the month when twenty eight under twelve youngsters competed in a number of matches. The event was widely supported by the usual band of adults who contributed to a successful day.

In late July the TBWI held a Sherry and Coffee Morning in the TBVH. Some forty people enjoyed a pleasant social occasion which, with a raffle, and helped to raise funds for this very active WI.

The Victorians One Petanque Team from Theydon Bois finished first in the qualification matches played at the Bocking Sports Club for the petanque inter - regional tournament to be held in Somerset next September. Representing the Victorians One were: Phil McCrostie, Dave Tarling, Francois Bourqui and Andy Wilmot – Keith Flack, Dean Little, Gus Garland and Matt Smith – Colin Roper, Eric Taylor, Peter Way and Graham Penn.

Historian Nick Holder led a walk from the Village to the Purlieu Bank. This is one of the District's interesting and historical tumuli which was dug in the thirteenth century and marks the edge of the Royal Forest where medieval monarchs enjoyed exclusive rights to hunt deer. The Bank had been subjected to a recent survey and research to identify the associated surviving earth works.

The Theydon Bois Horticultural Society held its 102nd Annual Show in the TBVH. There were five major sections in the Show which covered 129 classes of entry: Horticulture (Theydon Bois), Horticulture (Open), Handicraft, Photographic and Cookery. A number of awards were made to the successful exhibitors. Entries were also invited for two subsidiary events; a Sunflower Competition to take place in the coming September and a Pumpkin Competition in the following October.



June 2011 




A report by the National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA) organisation warned that, for decades, the national emphasis has been on producing food and other goods to the detriment of parts of nature that generate hidden wealth for the nation i.e. parks, lakes, forests and wildlife worth billions of pounds to the national economy. Moreover, the benefit of living close to green spaces is now worth up to £300 per person annually. The government intends to use the NEA Report to reshape national policy.

Villagers without personal transport are often at a disadvantage when shopping outside the Village due to the lack of a frequent and reliable bus service. Fortunately the often criticised but equally appreciated Central Line provides access to Debden, Epping or even Romford for this purpose. However this situation will be greatly improved in September when a vast new shopping centre is opened at Stratford. The Westfield Stratford City complex straddles the Stratford rail junction and is intended to cater for retail shopping in the adjacent London 2012 Olympics Stadium, and a large area of East London.

The current production staged by the Theydon Bois Drama Society in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) was William Douglas - Home’s black comedy “Lloyd George Knew My Father”. The writer of several other successful plays including the  Chiltern Hundreds, William was a brother of the once Prime Minster, Sir Alec Douglas – Home and served as a Captain in the Army during WW2 where he had the dubious distinction of being court martialled and imprisoned for refusing to attack a French port where civilians were still present. In this two act production, the plot is set in Boothroyd Hall where Lady Boothroyd (played by Jo Shephard) learns that the government is planning to build a bypass through the grounds of the ancestral home. She therefore announces that she will kill herself at the precise moment that the bulldozers move in. The other characters/players who all helped to keep the production at a high level comprised Robertson the Butler (Martin Oliver), Sir William Boothroyd (Dave Bennett), Hubert Boothroyd MP (David Littlejohn), Maud Boothroyd (Nicola Keegan), Sally Boothroyd (Jane Littlejohn), Simon Green (Tom Donohue) and the Vicar (Richard Clayton). The Production Director was John Haylett who was backed by a production team of twenty two drawn from the Society and other helpers.

The new avenue of trees on the Village green, which were planted in late 2010 to supplement and eventually replace the existing and elderly oaks, was formally opened on a fine but cool day. A more formal opening attended by representatives of the City of London Open Spaces Department and the Superintendent of Epping Forest been held earlier this year. This subsequent opening was intended to be a Village event intended for its residents and especially, the younger generation. Consequently many were present on the Green to be welcomed by Susan Jones Chairman of the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC). Especially welcome was Forest Verderer Michael Chapman, and local representatives of the Epping Forest management. The Vicar of St Mary’s Church, the Rev Stephen Walker, then formally cut a ribbon placed across the avenue. The young children present enjoyed a Teddy Bear’s party on the Green organised by child entertainer Xanthe Bearman and refreshments for all were provided in the TBVH.

The summer edition of the Epping Forest Newsletter, Forest Focus, announced the introduction of a new trial bus service in the Loughton and Chingford areas of the Forest. This serves the Epping Forest Centre at High beach with regular runs to/from Loughton Station and Chingford Station with intermediate stops along the two routes. This new service is intended to supplement the current road and rail transport in the Forest area. However, already there were suggestions for extensions of this service to other important Forest locations, notably Epping Town and particularly Theydon Bois where the Central Line Station is frequently used by visitors to the attractive village, and its Green which is part of the Forest.

The June meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society was a special event in memory of Joyce Eynon, the Society’s previous Chairman . The Backman Trio, comprising Frida Backman – violin, Ruth Beedham - cello and Marcus Andrews – piano, played a variety of works by Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Sibelius, Grieg and Piazzolla. At the end of the evening, the current Chairman Barbara O’Connor thanked the Trio for their excellent performance and then explained that Joyce had made a financial bequest to support the Society, and that this evening’s concert had been funded from that source. The Society’s Committee had especially requested that an item by Edward Grieg be included in the programme as Joyce was especially fond of music by this particular composer.

A serious burglary occurred at a residence in the Coopersale Lane area of the Village during an early evening. Two men apparently dressed as police officers called at the residence, said that they were investigating a series of jewellery thefts and claimed to have search warrants for the premises. A woman, who was the sole occupant at the time, let them in and while one man kept her occupied, the other admitted two others similarly dressed. They searched the house and began collecting jewellery. The woman’s partner then arrived and suspecting a hoax, ordered the men to leave. Realising that their cover had been blown they attacked the partner and escaped with jewellery worth some £10,000. It was believed that they used a car or van parked in Hobbs Cross Road, Abridge Road or Coopersale Lane.

Residents of Theydon Bois were among the many who visited the Epping Town Show at Stonnards Hill Sports Ground in Epping  one Sunday. In addition to the many stalls run by the local community, an arena featured a number of events including musical performances by the Epping Town Band and the Ivy Chimneys Primary School, displays of country dancing, dog training and, most popular, demonstrations of falconry with a variety of birds of prey. The Frank Church Butchers did a steady business with sales of their popular hot dogs and burgers and a beer tent proved equally popular. The Epping Art Society held an exhibition of paintings and a funfair provided a carnival atmosphere.

Some forty nine members of the Theydon Bois Men’s Forum and their ladies were present in the TBVH for the last Forum meeting before the summer recess. Sylvia Keith gave a fascinating and illustrated talk about Iceland “The Land of Fire and Ice”. She described the country as a large volcanic island, on the Arctic Circle, with settlements along its coast now served by a motorway; the main industries are fishing and tourism.  Iceland sits on the junction of the Asian and American geological plates which are moving apart at the rate of 2 cm a year. One of her unique photos showed a swimmer in the water between the two plates. The capital, Reykjavik, has a magnificent cathedral build of concrete, as are many other buildings, due to the absence of trees. An interesting social feature is that the schools are open for continuous education throughout the dark days of Arctic winter but then close and become hotels for the summer.

The Theydon Bois Primary School held its annual summer fete as a Wild West Summer Fair held in the School grounds. The many attractions included "bouncy castles” disguised as a ranch house and a saloon, a very mean - looking mechanical bucking bronco which few seemed able to ride, coconut shy and pony rides. A majorette group –the Amethyst Flames and line dancers from the School gave demonstrations in the arena. Numerous other side shows/stalls included a hog roast, soft drink sales from several "bars", ice cream and hot dogs and archery, although there was no sign of Red Indians; however the school staff helped to set the scene by being suitable disguised in Wild West outfits. An extensive programme and brochure was prepared by Jane Smith a working mum with little time to spare. In it, Keely Halcro and Michele Arthur of the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) advised that it had now raised more than £7,500 to date for the  benefit the children. Also included was a message from Head Teacher Mrs. E Bonds in which she thanked the parents of ex pupils for their help and especially to the PTA for its continued enthusiasm, hard work and commitment.

The 31st Theydon Bois Open Gardens Day commenced at 11.00 on a glorious and hot Sunday with some 657 visitors buying their event programmes at the TBVH and then setting off around the Village to see the eleven magnificent gardens which were open to view. The garden tours were again well organized by Karen Collins and included a new garden, Larkmead Hall in the Abridge Road owned by Inam Gardezi which proved very popular; in addition to a large formal garden, this residence also featured a stunning Chinese water garden. Once again Gardens Day was managed by Thea Buisson, with a team of helpers including some “Younger Villagers” from the Village Youth Club. The “old hands”, including members of the Village Association, also helped with the general administration including ticket sales, car parking, table and chairs etc. Refreshments were served in the TBVH by Thea’s friends and associates.. A minibus was in constant use conveying visitors to those gardens some distance away. The day concluded with Theydon Churches holding a Songs of Praise Service on the Village Green with music provided by the Harlow Salvation Army Band. The event raised nearly £3,500 for the Theydon Youth Charity No. 7515732.


The Theydon Bois Baptist Church (TBBC) held its Church Anniversary over the weekend of 5th June. Tony Rich was the guest speaker.

On a fine Friday evening, some forty members and associates of the Epping Rail Circle enjoyed their annual dinner which was held in the attractive Bull pub, one of the oldest buildings in the Village.

The speaker at a Wednesday morning meeting of the Theydon Bois Men’s Forum held in the TBBC was Forum member David Yeadon who was in Civil Engineering before his retirement. David gave a very interesting insight into the construction industry and some particular projects including the London City Airport and London Bridge.

A fine late spring evening encouraged many enthusiasts, and others, to visit an evening Train and Toy Collectors Fair held in the TBVH. Refreshments were available from the kitchen and the adjacent patio was well used by those who chatted about the hobby of model collecting and the bargains which they had purchased. Another of these popular events is planned for the coming autumn.

Gareth James, 19, of Barn Mead and a student at Birmingham University received an award in recognition of his impressive performance of 127 runs when playing for Bancroft’s School against the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in 2010. He was presented with a cricket bat during the tea break at Lords Cricket Ground on the third day of the second test match between England and Sri Lanka.

The Epping Forest Chamber of Commerce held a Quiz Night in the TBVH. Teams; teams of eight were encouraged to enter at £8 per head with a buffet supper provided. The prizes included an hour - long family photo shoot in Epping Forest. 

During the months of April, May and June 2011, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois:

Holy Baptism
05 06 11            Heidi Annabelle Carroll    

23 04 11            Winfred Law

08 06 11            Sandra Arter

Burial of Ashes
26 05 11            Stanley Duckworth Johnson

01 06 11            Stanley James Johnson        



May 2011 




The St Mary’s Church Hall opened early on 5th April for use as a polling station taking part in the UK Referendum on the issue of changing the way MPs are elected. Villagers were asked if they wished to keep the “first past the post system” for Westminster elections, which had been used for many years and which was the basis of most parliamentary elections world wide, or switch to an alternative (AV) vote system where instead of voting for one candidate, voters could rank candidates in order of preference. A simple Yes or No was required to be entered on voting slips and the fine weather insured a good turnout at the voting booths. The BBC announced that nationally of the electorate that had voted a clear majority had voted “No”, so the current election system would remain unchanged.

To the possible strains of ”Hold very tight please - Ting, Ting”, a number of omnibuses, large and small, made their stately way to the TBVH car park, there to rest until called upon to take passengers along the Epping Forest roads – at no charge. The occasion was the Annual Theydon Bois Transport Bazaar and Bus Running Day organized by the North London Transport Society. Waves of nostalgia swept across the site as the older residents viewed the local routes of past years displayed on these vehicles; 20A - Debden, Theydon Bois & Epping Station, 38 – Theydon Bois & Chingford Station and 167A – Chigwell Station, Debden & Theydon Bois.

The Village Parish Meeting was held in the TBVH where TBPC Councillors and Villagers had the opportunity to socialise over refreshments before the presentation of the Annual Review and discuss past, current and future matters relating to Theydon Bois.

The audience at the May meeting the Theydon Bois Music Society was treated to a wealth of music in an evening recital given in the TBVH by Kokila Gillett – violin and Caroline Ratnam – Piano, two talented young ladies who are well established in their musical careers. The brilliance of Caroline’s playing was more than apparent in her interpretation of Mendelssohn’s Andante and Rondo Capriccioso for Piano.  Kokila’s violin almost sang at times and she poured all the fire and colour of gypsy music into her performance of Ravels’ Tzigane. Their recital will long be remembered by those present.

The Theydon Art Group held its 50th Exhibition in the TBVH. One hundred and thirty five paintings were on view and covered many diverse subjects ranging from local scenes to abstract interpretations. These were executed in water colour, pastel, oil, acrylic, and graphite. The event was also a social occasion for many Villagers and also other art lovers from Epping and the local district. A number of paintings were sold to the satisfaction of the artists. The exhibition, undoubtedly of a very high standard, was organised by the Group’s Chairman Roy Lees, Treasurer Mary Springham and Secretary Brenda Harris, together with other members of the Group's Committee.

The Salaam Namaste Indian Restaurant was formally opened by Sue Jones the Chairman of the TBPC. The proprietors are two brothers who wish to bring Fine Indian Dining to Theydon Bois. This new business, which occupies the site of the former Spa Grocers, brings to three the number of Indian restaurants in the Village. The premises are attractively illuminated with two lines of chandeliers and also feature a glass walkway which stretches the length of the interior and covers an extensive fish tank. It was expected that this would be popular with family customers especially the children who would “come to see the fish”.

History was repeated in mid May when, once again, air travel in the UK was interrupted by volcanic ash clouds. Again the culprit was an Icelandic volcano which, although still further away to the west, produced an ash cloud which spread over the whole of Scotland and parts of the Northern England. Its affect was less serious than in 2010 but the Met Office was, nevertheless, forecasting heavy ash clouds at between 35,000 and 50,000 feet over the UK. Flights were at first delayed or cancelled for the affected areas but the skies over Central and Southern England, including Theydon Bois, remained clear. However, with the Spring Bank Holiday weekend approaching, many air travellers were concerned about flights for their planned holidays. Lessons had been learned from the 2010 ash disruption and, after a few days the Civil Aviation Authority allowed limited flights to take place - possibly because the Ryanair and British Airways air lines had already successfully flown aircraft, without passengers, and had not experienced any flight difficulties. It therefore appeared that wider and more flexible international regulations were needed to deal with these unusual but natural phenomena.

On 26th of the month, the long dry spell which was tantamount to a drought was ended by substantial rainfalls and thunderstorms. But as usual these were short lived and the clearing skies overnight resulted in what the Meteorological office termed “lawn frosts” which to the average gardener meant “heavy dew”. The dry weather returned the next day to the concern of farmers and others who were seeing only limited growth in their crops which might therefore have to be harvested as early as June.

On the 28th of the month at the bi monthly meeting of the Theydon Bois Parish Council (TBPC), Susan Jones was once again elected as Chairman of the Council. Mike Hannibal was also reelected with specific responsibilities for planning.  


At the meeting of the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society in the TBVH, Christine Walden, a TV and radio horticultural expert, gave a talk about UK Gardens.

The Epping Forest Group of the Alpine Society met in the TBVH to hear Andrew Bannister talk about Hardy Orchids.

St Mary’s Church held a “Pampered Chef Evening” in the Church Hall which included a demonstration of the latest cooking equipment. Some wonderful food was available for purchase in addition to the refreshments provided.

On 21st May St Mary’s Church held a Plant Sale in the Church Hall which was well supported.

The speaker at a Wednesday meeting of the Men’s Forum held in the TBBC was David Williams whose subject was the City Livery Companies.

During the months of April and May 2011, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois:

Holy Baptism

17 04 11    Harry Christopher Byrne       

30 04 11    Jasmine Rachel Dix

01 05 11    Henry Williamson Simmance


04 04 11      Gwendoline Alice Irene Rae – Funeral and Cremation at Epping Forest Burial Park.

04 04 11      Anthony Rutland – Funeral in Church, no burial 



April 2011 



At the beginning of the month to the delight of the younger generation, the “Traditional Sweet Village Stores” opened to sell confectionery in variable quantities, on request, from a variety of "displayed jars" instead of in pre sealed packets and predetermined amounts. The proprietors Penny and Lee Gerrish were very pleased to have so many excited children, and their elders, buying a variety of selected sweets, albeit in grams and not pounds and ounces as in the “good old days. The premises were previously occupied by a kitchen equipment supplier and much earlier, a branch of Barclays Bank which is still a much missed facility in the Village. And history was repeated as the immolate site was once occupied by a number of early Essex cottages, one of which was “The Cabin” a business which also sold confectionery and was equally popular with school children nearly a century ago.

The Theydon Bois Village Association (TBVA) held its AGM, in the TBVH which was followed by a presentation regarding telephone masts, and then the six monthly council of management meeting. The AGM was chaired by the Martin Oliver who advised that 2010 had been a successful year for the TBVA during which a new booking system for the TBVH had been introduced, the Beech and Poplar Rooms had been refurbished and lockable gates now secured the car park to prevent any unauthorized use. The Theydon Youth group had successfully managed the 2010 Village Open Gardens event. The Treasurer advised that TBVA finances were in a healthy state and the TBVA had made some £27,000 available over three years to the TBPC in connection with the new Community Centre. The Chairman Martin Oliver, Secretary Carol James and Treasurer Allan Cox would remain in office for another year. The following Full Members were re elected en bloc to serve on the Council of Management for the ensuing year viz. Bob Day, Peter Fitch, Graham James, Christopher Jones and Norman Stanley.

Ian Humphreys of Oakway Acquisitions then gave a presentation on behalf of the Vodaphone and O2 mobile phone organisations for the installation of a telecommunications mast at the TBVH. The Chairman stressed that there was no agreement at this stage but this purely an opportunity for the TBVA and Villagers to assess this idea and comment accordingly. It was pointed out that other masts were already installed in the Village and fears were expressed about the visual impact and possible health hazards, especially to children (the Montessori Nursery is held in the TBVH). The Trustees of the TBVA subsequently rejected the proposal.

In mid April cold northern winds associated with snow in Scotland brought the local temperature crashing down from the record 70 degrees F. experienced the previous day when balmy winds from Southern Europe had made spring a short reality. However, higher temperatures returned a little later to help make April the warmest for 100 years. However little rain had fallen for some time and drought conditions were developing.

Natasha Day, a Scottish soprano, accompanied by pianist Alisdair Kitchen, gave a recital at the April meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society held in the TBVH. A graduate of the Royal College of Music (RCM) and the recipient of many awards, Natasha had sung before Royalty on number occasions and had appeared in various operatic productions. Wearing a stunning green gown she entertained the Music Society to an extensive programme of vocal works by composers ranging from Handel to Janacek. Her finale was Donizetti’s "Quel gardo’il cavalleri" during which she left the stage to sing in the centre of the Hall and so fully utilised its excellent acoustics. Alisdair Kitchen also studied at the RCM and is an operatic conductor of high standing.

An inquest was held at Croydon Coroner’s Court into the unfortunate death of Andrew Ferrie 26, of Hornbeam Close TB who died at Kimpton Park Industrial Estate in November 2007 when working on a dumper truck. The vehicle’s tipper section, which was raised, but “unpropped” as in normal procedure, fell on him causing multiple head and neck injuries. The Court heard that Mr Ferrie was employed by HypHose as a hydraulic hose engineer and allowed to work unaccompanied. The inquest jury returned a verdict of accidental death.

Forty four members and two visitors were present at the April Meeting of the TBWI held in the TBVH. The meeting first stood in silence in memory of two members, Gwen Rae and Margaret Harrigan, who had passed away in March. Notice was given of two resolutions, regarding local libraries and factory farming, respectively, which would be debated at the May meeting

With Easter in the offing, the Theydon Bois Singers gave their Spring Concert in the TBVH where they performed John Stainer's “Crucifixion” and Joseph Haydn’s "Nelson Mass”. The soloists were Frances Chilvers – soprano, Helen Stanley – mezzo soprano, Chris Joyce – tenor, Mark Hansford – bass and Josh Emdon – Bass. The singers were augmented for this occasion by a number of additional voices. Janet Cass was the conductor and Paul Chilvers the hard working and indispensable pianist and accompanist.

Good Friday was celebrated in the Village by members of the St Mary’s Church and the Theydon Bois Baptist Church with a “Walk of Witness”. Those from St Mary’s walked the short distance to the Baptist Church and, after a short prayer, members of both Churches walked together along the Avenue and across the Green to the Village shopping area. Here a short service was held to commemorate the crucifixion of Christ and to also remind those engaged in their daily business, of the significance of Good Friday.

Easter Sunday was celebrated with services at the local centres of Christian worship; at St Mary’s Theydon Bois and All Saints Theydon Garnon where the Revd Stephen Walker officiated, the Theydon Bois Baptist Church -  Revd Sue Barclay and at the Catholic Church of the Immaculate Conception, Epping, - Fr James.

The ongoing glorious weather made Easter the sunniest for some years with temperatures rising to 28.7 degrees C (83.6 degrees F) - higher than parts of the Mediterranean. Consequently many residents holidayed at home, with barbecues in the garden or else visited coastal resorts. However these conditions generated air pollution, especially in cities, from motor exhaust fumes and so health warnings were issued. Although the Village is in a rural environment, this hazard appeared above the local M11 and M25 motorways until cleared by freshening easterly breezes.

On Friday 29th April 2011 many Villagers sat down in front of their televisions to watch the unfolding of the most magical and majestic event to date in this 21st century - the wedding in Westminster Abbey of Prince William of Wales, the elder son of Charles Prince of Wales and Diana Princess of Wales (deceased) to Catherine (Kate) Middleton, a commoner and the elder daughter of Michael and Carole Middleton. The day had been declared a Bank Holiday and some Villagers, especially the relatively young with considerable stamina had travelled up to London to join the crowds now lining the processional routes along Whitehall, the Mall and, most popular, the front of Westminster Abbey. Others went to Hyde Park where a televisions link gave full coverage of the marriage service. The bridegroom, a Royal Air Force Flight Lieutenant serving as a helicopter pilot on air sea rescue duties, arrived wearing the smart red uniform of an honorary colonel of the Irish Guards and he was accompanied by his brother Prince Harry in the uniform of a major of the Household Cavalry. With the guests seated the Queen arrived and then all awaited the arrival of the bride.

The bride’s wedding dress, a closely kept secret, produced gasps and cheers when seen in public for the first time. The marriage ceremony proceeded with only a small hitch, when the bridegroom had a little difficulty in placing the wedding ring on his bride’s finger. After receiving a blessing from the Archbishop of Canterbury the now married couple moved to the door of the Abbey to a tremendous ovation from the waiting crowds. They were then conveyed in an open carriage, with a full escort of the Household Cavalry, through cheering crowds to Buckingham Palace. The wedding party which now included the four bridesmaids, two pages and family members, who came onto the famous balcony to wave to the crowds and see the Lancaster, Spitfire and Hurricane from the Royal Air Force Battle  of Britain Flight fly overhead in royal salute. Then came the moment which all had been waiting for when the couple briefly kissed to a background of tremendous cheers from the crowds; so for good measure they kissed a second time to create a royal precedent.

After a lunch time reception at Buckingham Palace, the crowds were delighted to see the couple drive down the Mall to Clarence House in Prince Charles’s Aston Martin sports car, suitably decorated with coloured balloons and “learner plates”, while a Sea King helicopter from Prince William’s Squadron hovered overhead with a final salute. The couple returned to the Palace for a full evening function lasting into the early hours following which they left for a brief holiday as the Prince was due back on duty shortly. It was announced that the Queen had conferred on the couple the titles of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge thus elevating them as a couple to truly royal status.

It was estimated that some 5,000 street parties were held throughout the country in celebration of the Wedding. At least five were held in Theydon Bois; in Theydon Park Road, Black Acre, Barn Mead, Purlieu Way and Elizabeth Drive. Here the roads were closed, awnings erected for protection from the weather (which eventually proved perfect) and tables laid out for refreshments. In Elizabeth Drive, games were played and competitions held including a tug of war. Villagers converged on these locations and special parties were also held in various places including the Queen Victoria Pub, which helped and to reestablish strong community links. And children generally were especially  catered for as this was really a young person’s day; to quote from one of the national newspapers which gave full coverage, and more,  it was “ A day filled with romance, pageantry and playfullness sealed with a kiss (or two)”.

April 2011 finally moved away leaving the countryside fully dressed in the greenery of a true English spring and an April month which had the highest temperature and lowest rainfall records for many years.


At the meeting of the Theydon Bois Horticultural Society in the TBVH, Christine Walden, a TV and radio horticultural expert, gave a talk about UK Gardens

The Epping Forest Group of the Alpine Society met in the TBVH to hear Andrew Bannister talk about Hardy Orchids.

During the months of March and April 2011, the following entries were made in he Registers of St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois:


16 04 11    Jonathan Keen and Robyn Law


04 04 11    Gwendoline Alice Irene Ray – Funeral and Cremation at Epping Forest Burial Park

14 04 11    Anthony Rutland - Followed by Cremation                                     

Burial of Ashes

30 03 11      (Philip) David Evans

08 04 11      Philip Steven Jeal – At Theydon Bois Cemetery



MARCH 2011 



The Vodafone and O2 mobile phone companies have approached the Theydon Bois Village Association regarding the possible installation of a phone mast in the grounds of the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). Some village groups and individuals immediately raised their various concerns about the possibility of a mast that would be erected very near the Montessori Nursery and close to our Primary School. It is likely that this will be the most important topic at the Village Association AGM on 13th April. The VA has said "It has been discussed in Committee and more information is being sought. No decision will be taken until a thorough consultation has taken place". At present there are 3 masts already located around the village and recently the Buxton Trust were also approached to locate a mast on the sports field off Loughton Lane but refused the offer.

On the 11th March, a typical winter’s day but with spring just emerging from a severe winter, a memorial service was held at St Mary’s Church for Peter Sawdye Lowe who died on the 26th February at his home in Elizabeth Drive, Theydon Bois, after along illness. A small congregation gathered to remember this quiet and dignified man whose soldierly figure had been part of the Village scene for many years especially at St Mary’s Church where he was a member and where he helped to look after the churchyard. In addition to his family and friends, also present were members of the Theydon Bois Parish Council, the Theydon Masonic Lodge, St Mary’s Church, other Village organizations and his many friends and associates. Peter’s Granddaughter Isabel Lowe read a poem and his son John gave the eulogy which included a fascinating and in depth account of Peter’s life from his early days in Stratford, East London, his career in the family dry cleaning business, his wartime service with the army in India and his subsequent return to the business and family life in Theydon Bois. Peter was subsequently cremated at the Forest Park Cemetery at North Weald.

With the 2012 London Olympics only months away, rental charges for property in the Epping Forest District were soaring. A great attraction for “Olympic Tenants” was the Central line which provided quick and easy access to the Olympic site at Stratford. In Theydon Bois the rental for a three bedroom house which would normally be £1,100 a month was being advertised at £3,000 a week. Other advantages for Olympic visitors attracted to the Village were its pleasant rural aspect, close proximity to Epping Forest and to the Olympic White Water site at nearby Waltham Abbey.

 The pianist Samantha Ward was the soloist at the March meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society which was held in the TBVH. Her recital included works by Scarlatti, Schubert, Beethoven, Ireland and Schumann. Samantha’s dynamic performance almost proved too much for the Society’s well maintained piano which suffered from foot pedal failure, probably during one of the Beethoven Bagatelles. Nevertheless the audience thoroughly enjoyed Samantha's performance and gave her an appreciative round of applause at the end of the evening

The Oyster card fare - paying system used by passengers on the Central Line was apparently malfunctioning at times. The Card has to be “swiped” across a special sensor at the station of departure or interchange as used by the passenger to ensue that the fare charged was cheaper than the full rate for a ticket purchased from a ticket machine or ticket office. Failure of the card to record correctly meant that the full rate or a penalty fare applied. Apparently the penalty fares for journeys from Theydon Bois station in 2010 amounted to £18,000.

The TBVH was packed (as usual) for the last night of The Beaux Stratagem by George Farquhar, the current production staged by the Theydon Bois Drama Society (TBDS). Set in the town of Lichfield, the plot moved between an inn and the house of Lady Bountiful. Two characters, Aimwell and Archer, down to their last £200 and posing as a master and servant arrive in Lichfield intending to restore their fortunes by marriage for at least one of them, to a rich heiress. The staging was unusual for a TBDS production in having a rotating set, designed and built by the Society, which accommodated the two separate rooms featured in the plot. The Director was Jo Shephard and Tom Broomfield was Stage Manager.

Following the successful campaign during the last December and January by the Essex Police to catch motorists who have been drinking and/or speeding, their attention was now turned to those who use their phones while driving. Recently and during three days, 48 motorists were apprehended for this offence across the county. Those guilty were usually fined £60 and had three points set against their driving licence; a total of 12 points usually meant the loss of the licence.

Once again the precocious British climate excelled in producing balmy weather with a high March temperature of 68 degrees F (20 degrees C). These conditions had existed for at least five days and were better than those in Ibiza and the Costa Blanca in Spain. In addition, no rain had fallen for some time but the spring flowers remained colourful and long- blooming despite moderate frosts.

Another sign of the coming spring was the arrival of British Summer (?) Time, with clocks being advanced by one hour. Pressure was growing for clocks not to be reset back again in the autumn so that Britain could experience the same time zone as most of Europe and therefore  enjoy an extra hour of daylight in winter evenings; but this would mean darker winter mornings. However the government had dispensed with the idea due to objections from Scotland where winter would be even darker due the more northerly position of the country.


The Lee Valley Farm in Waltham Abbey which is a popular venue for Villagers to take their children, announced that the lambing season was well advanced. Unfortunately this year, there were a number of orphaned lambs due to rejection by, or the death of, the mother ewes. Hand rearing was therefore necessary; the lambs were so numerous that a feeding control system was adopted and they were given numbers which were painted on their coats.

The Epping Forest Group of the Alpine Garden Society met in the TBVH to hear Ian Butterfield talk about Plant Hunting in Western China.

The WI held a coffee morning in the TBVH on the occasion of Shrove Tuesday (Pancake Day). A WI Pancake Race in Loughton Lane across the Village Green had been regular event for many years but in recent times, children from the Theydon Bois Primary School had competed with the WI members in a pancake tossing competition. The latter had proved very popular but, sadly, did not take place this year.

The Women’s World Day of Prayer was celebrated in St Mary’s Church. The theme this year was written by the women of Chile and was entitled ”How Many Loaves Have You?”.

The Theydon Bois Pre-school Group held a Newly New Sale in the Scout Hut, off Loughton Lane, which was well supported.

The St Mary’s Events Committee held a Quiz Night in the TBVH. Tickets were £10 which included a fish and Chips supper; those attending were asked to bring their own liquid refreshments and glasses.

The 2011 Lent Soup Lunches prepared by the ladies of St Mary’s Church were held in the Church Hall. For the low price of £5.00 a lunch of nutritious soup (seven varieties to choose from), dessert and coffee/tea could be enjoyed. This lunch was being used to support and promote the Fairtrade Charity which helps farmers and producers overseas to receive stable and sustainable prices for their products.

Local resident Philippa Dooher of Graylands was seeking sponsorship for her charity walk to raise funds to help women being treated for breast cancer at St Margaret’s Hospital, Epping, and at the North Middlesex Hospital at Edmonton for post operative radiotherapy. She intends to scale the highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales during her walk, all in 24 hours.

Local resident Barry Turner was the speaker at the mid March meeting of the TB Baptist Men’s Forum. His subject was “wood though thick and thin” and related to his hobby of wood carving, examples of which were on view. Barry explained that in his early days he suffered from a serious illness and took up this hobby during his subsequent convalescence. He talked at length about wood and the techniques involved in wood working. He showed examples of his work which included marquetry and some superb wood carvings of birds and abstract subjects.

Local Hairdresser and hair stylist, Hannah Skinner, a member of the Tikadi hairdressing team in Theydon Bois, secured a place in the new 2011 Scharzkopf young artistic team. Hannah competed against hundreds of applicants and she will receive specialist training, photographic shoots and mentoring from top names in the industry.

Children attending the Montessori nursery school, which is based in the TBVH, took part in a fundraising activity in support of the Comic Relief appeal. The two to four year olds hopped, skipped and bounced their way around a mini course which included a small tunnel. Nursery Teacher Debi Palmer said “It was organised chaos but they (the children) all did it very nicely and everybody completed the course. When previously held in 2010, this event raised some £400 and it was hoped to better this figure this year.

During the month of March 2011, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois:


11 03 11 Peter Sawdye Lowe


15 03 11  Peter Sawdye Lowe



February 2011



On 20th February 2011, a Celebration of a New Ministry in the Chelmsford Diocese took place at the Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin in Theydon Bois. This Celebration was held for the licensing of the Reverend Stephen Patrick Walker as Priest in Charge of the United Benefice of Theydon Bois and Theydon Garnon. The Ceremony of Licensing was carried out by the Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Reverend Stephen Cottrell, and the Installation by the Archdeacon of Harlow, the Venerable Martin Webster. Also present were Lady Ministers, Ecumenical Partners, Visiting Clergy, the Area Dean, the Nominating Officer for the New Priest, the Bishop’s Chaplain, County, District and Parish Councilors, representatives of local organist ions and, especially, members of the congregations of St Mary’s Theydon Bois and All Saints Theydon Garnon which are now linked by the United Benefice. St Mary’s Church was packed to maximum capacity for this unique and important occasion.

The new Priest, Stephen, had moved into Theydon Bois with his wife Jackie at the beginning of the month and they were already becoming part of the local community.

It was announced that Eleanor Laing, the MP for Epping Forest and a resident of Theydon Bois, had been appointed as a special government representative for Gibraltar. Her function will be to act as a go-between for the Ministry of Defence and the officials of this British territory, on a range of security issues. The Conservative MP has a long standing interest in this British possession on the coast of Southern Spain and in the region generally. She disclosed that she will be working with the Governor of Gibraltar and the Commander of the British Forces there. However, she only expects to visit the territory three or four times a year and her appointment would not distract her from her constituency work.

The traffic lights which had been controlling the traffic through the one way system on the railway viaduct during the last fourteen months, while the structure was being repaired, had caused considerable traffic congestion along Coppice Row. Another set of lights had now appeared at the junction of Piercing Hill and Coppice Row while road works were carried out at this location. The resulting traffic congestion became extensive during peak travel times resulting in vehicles short circuiting the delays by using Orchard and Elizabeth Drives and Morgan Crescent. Fortunately the work on the viaduct was now almost complete and that on Piercing Hill was of short duration. But this situation highlighted the general increase in traffic which now passed thorough the Village.

The Central Line was once again in trouble when the communication link between drivers and controllers failed over most of the system. Trains were stationary for some time, in some instances for several hours and in tunnels!  The following day the Line was again inoperative when, this time, signal failure caused substantial delays. Commuters from Theydon Bois were among the passengers affected who also had to contend with the overcrowding and difficult journeys which were now commonplace during the rush hour.

The Theydon Bois Conservative Association held a Wine Tasting evening in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH) which was supported by some seventy members and friends. Six wines, four white and two red, were presented for tasting and comments from the “tasters” The presenter Colin Hooker then identified the wines and gave a short description and background for each. The ladies of he Association served refreshments and the Association Chairman Richard Risdon gave a short vote of thanks to all for their support, and announced that the evening had raised some £900 for the Association funds.

The TBVH was packed for a Saturday Quiz Evening held by the Copped Hall Trust in support of the ongoing restoration of the Copped Hall Mansion near Epping. Twenty tables were occupied by some 142 participants who enjoyed a pleasant evening answering questions (or trying to) as put by Quiz Master Vic Knope and set by Quiz Expert Georgina Green. Sylvia Keith organized a raffle which contributed some £300 towards the substantial amount raised by the event. Margaret Gervis and Helen  Caterer organised a Ploughman’s Supper. Other Friends and supporters helped with the seating and general arrangements.

The Epping Forest District Council (EFDC) Chairman’s annual charity quiz was held in the TBVH. A number of teams comprising councillors, council staff and youth councillors competed for the winner’s trophy by answering questions on various subjects including Harry Potter, Sport in 2010, Shakespearian Quotes and Doctor Who. Many teams wore fancy dress and the Hawaii Beach team won the best dressed table competition. Ian White and Ian Willett were the comperes for the evening. The event raised almost £1,000 in support of Chairman Anne Gregg’s support for Cancer Research UK, St Clare Hospice, Chigwell Riding Trust and the Air Ambulance based at North Weald.


The February Meeting of the TBWI in the TBVH was attended by 54 members and 2 visitors. Kay Rush informed the meeting that the Royal Horticultural Society Gardens at Wisely, Surrey, and Hyde Hall, Essex, would be open to all at no charge on 04 03 11. A TBWI Shrove Tuesday Coffee and Cake Morning will be held in the TBVH on 08 03 11. The TBWI had received an invitation for its members to attend the Epping WI Spring Group Meeting on 06 04 11 when the Essex WI County President will be present and Peter Adams, an Epping Forest Verderer will talk about ”A Canter Through Epping Forest”.

Pupils from the Theydon Bois Primary School recently carried out their annual tree planting, which had been delayed by the severe winter weather, and so helped with preserving the local environment. With the assistance of Tree Officers from the EFDC and Staff from the City of London Corporation (Epping Forest), and despite the muddy conditions, the children succeeded in planting 125 metres of hedgerow at the Great Gregories Farm on the outskirts of the Village.

Peter Lowe, a long serving and loyal member of St Mary's Church and the community, died at his home in Elizabeth Drive, Theydon Bois, on 25 02 11 after a long illness.

During the months of January and February 2011, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church Theydon Bois:

Holy Baptism

26 02 11    Lowri Philips


25 01 11 Betty Constance Stokes

04 02 11 Henry Edward Mosley (at Epping Forest Burial Park)           

16 02 11 Mary Lille Pearce

Burial of Ashes

30 01 11 Joan Margaret Palmer

06 02 11 Sonja Halford



January 2011



Residents who were early risers on New Year’s Day found the hard, cold, light of a full moon illuminating a virtually deserted Village covered in a layer of light snow and ice. The Tesco Express store and the Bookshop newsagents were open and shop fronts were still decorated for the festive season, as were some private residences, and staff were already busy in the Belgique coffee shop. Some Villagers attended the further celebrations in London where half a million spectators watched the New Year's Parade in Westminster. Marching bands, American cheerleaders, many floats from London Boroughs, all comprising some 8,500 performers proceeded along a 2.5 mile route along which included well known London landmarks which consequently appeared on TV, especially in America

There were concerns for the economy resulting from the proposed increase of Value Added Tax (VAT) from 17.5% to 20.0% to take effect early in the month. This produced a surge in “beat the VAT increase” high street trading similar to that experienced during the previous 2010 Christmas. Although food and children’s clothes were still free from this tax, its affect was soon to be felt generally especially for families who had an “expensive Christmas”.

Of greater concern was the immediate pre planned increase in fuel tax which, together with the vat increase, created a surge in the price of fuel at the pumps. Furthermore, the petrol companies had increased the basic price of fuel during the recent bad weather following an increased demand over the Christmas period, and the rise in the cost of crude oil exacerbated the problem further.

The annual outbreak of flu (influenza) occurred together with increasing deaths from this illness. The 2010 outbreak involved a particularly virulent strain emanating from pigs and termed “swine fever”. So a vaccine giving protection against this strain was used in the 2010 annual vaccination program for the elderly and those at medical risk. However swine fever emerged again last Christmas and the government therefore encouraged young people and pregnant women to seek vaccinations urgently. As vaccine supplies became depleted via official medical sources (NHS), flu suffers or those just seeking immunization (the “worried well”) exacerbated the shortage by seeking vaccination in the private sector. Otherwise the national vaccination programmed carried out the previous autumn seemed to have helped the elderly and at risk groups to keep well.

On a bleak and cold morning, friends of Christopher (Chris) Paul Frankland gathered at Forest Park Crematorium in Hainault, for a service of celebration for his life, which was conducted by the Reverend Anthea Cannell, formerly of St Mary’s Theydon Bois. The entry music was “Funeral for a Friend”, the tribute was given by Chris’s two sons Dean and David and James Gilmore gave the reading. Chris was a popular figure in the Village and had lived in Orchard Drive for many years. He was a central heating engineer with a friendly disposition and a caring manner especially towards the older generation; he would often turn out in the small hours (in winter!!) to help the elderly with domestic heating problems. Such was his popularity that all the standing room at the crematorium was taken and the Bull Inn in the Village was packed for a subsequent reception.

Following the recent snows came the thaw together with much rain (which could have been snow) and floods. The depression which had brought ice and snow to the UK moved away from the south (although the north of England and Scotland were still affected) and warm Atlantic winds were bringing in rain – lots of it! Some 50 inches had fallen in the Village during the last ten days. Water “run off” from local fields was causing some minor flooding and rivers were in danger of overflowing especially the Roding at Abridge. A Met Office forecaster explained that “the air coming to the UK is from the subtropical Atlantic; not only is it mild and warm but there is a lot of water in it”. So with an unusually high temperature of 15 degrees C, as opposed to a low of minus 6 degrees only several weeks ago, Villagers could be deluded into thinking that spring was just around the corner!

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) announced an increase in inflation that surprised economic experts. The consumer price index rate of inflation rose from 3.3 % to 3.7%; the reason appeared to be the surge in the price of petrol and rising utility bills. Inflation was expected to rise even higher in 2011 because of the new VAT rate of 20% and the increasing cost of domestic and motor fuels; and an increase in National Insurance contributions would be due

this coming April. Despite this alarming situation, the Bank of England was keeping the base rate of interest at 0.5% where it had been for many months. Pensioners, of which there are many in the Village, had been badly affected by the national economic crisis due the low interest rates for their investments, especially where their investments were an important source of income.


Once again fears were raised about passenger safety on the Central Line. It was claimed that stations including those at Theydon Bois Debden and Chigwell were, on several occasions, unmanned especially for two hours late on Sunday 23 Jan 11. Rail users related their experiences including on one occasion at Chigwell when the station was closed early and passengers had to “climb their way out of the station”. At Theydon Bois, it is understood that the station barriers are kept open to allow passengers to leave when the station is unmanned. The policy of Transport for London (TFL) is to have stations staffed whenever they are open, but the RMT Rail Union claims that cuts to staffing levels means that passengers are increasingly left to manage on their own.


The TBVH was packed for the last performance of the three night Viva Variety show staged by the Theydon Bois Drama Society. This was the Society’s annual “pantomime” which this year took the form of a Music Hall type review comprising a series of scenes with monologues, music from the shows, dancing and comic turns, the latter bordering on the burlesque. The stage craft was excellent and the fast pace of the production kept the audience highly entertained and on its toes.  

The Bull Inn in Theydon Bois was used recently as a backdrop for a feature length film being made in the Epping District. Entitled “Lost in Italy” the film’s theme relates to a man who wakes up n 1964 and has no idea what is going on. The producer was TV actor, Glen Murphy who also starred in the film; he said “I was an Epping lad until a few years ago and wanted to make it (the film) as local as possible”. Other local locations used were the Club 195 and the Unico Italian restaurant both in Epping.

The Theydon Bois Music Society held a coffee morning in the TBVH. The event was well attended with a bring and buy stall and a raffle with numerous prizes. The proceeds were in aid of the Society’s funds.

At the January meeting of the Theydon Bois WI, fifty four members and one visitor were given an excellent talk by Colin Street about Charles Dickens in London. It was here that, as a journalist, Dickens saw at first hand the appalling social conditions of the great City in Victorian times, which undoubtedly influenced him in the writings for which he subsequently became famous.

St Mary’s Church reported that, as part of Operation Christmas Child, volunteers acting as shoebox packers and wrappers or item donors were able to dispatch 175 boxes of gifts to the world’s poorest children living in Belarus. The proceeds from the Church’s Autumn Soup Lunches was used to fund additional gifts such as toiletries and essential school items and also helped with postage costs (£2.50 per box).

A large Christmas Box was also sent to the Mission to Seafarers. This contained woollen items knitted by members of the Church, together with  toiletries, jigsaw puzzles, books and other items for use during leisure time when at sea. The cost was partly defrayed by the sum of £310 raised at a previous Ploughman’s Lunch.

During the months of November, December 2010 and January 2011, the following entries were made in the Registers of St Mary’s Church, Theydon Bois:


03 12 01 Mary Edith Grayling         14 12 10 Joan Palmer

31 12 01 Marie Paul Coade–Jarroid

04 01 11 Philip Stephen Jeal          21 01 11    Alice Holt

Burial of Ashes

28 11 10    Edith Amelia Thomson (also known as Betty)




Earlier (2010) Months

Last Updated: 10th August 2011