THE PAST MONTH IN THEYDON BOIS
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING OCTOBER 2017 AND WHICH WERE RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS, THE THEYDON BOIS LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER.
The PTA of the Theydon Bois Primary School held an early November 5th fireworks display in the School grounds to raise funds for a new boiler at the School Swimming Pool. An estimated two hundred people mainly children were present to see £3,000 worth of fireworks expended in a magnificent ten minute display with “bangs “kept to a minimum. Other entertainment was provided by a children’s “disco”, and stalls selling children's novelties, hot dogs and tea/coffee all did well to help make a very successful event on an unusually mild November evening.
The Epping Railway Circle (ERC) held its annual exhibition in the TBVH on cold autumn day which reminded Villagers that Christmas was on its way. There was a large attendance of "young and old" enthusiasts which provided a good boost to ECR funds. Twelve running layouts generated much interest including the smallest 009 gauge to a extensive Hornby 0 gauge tinplate layout which ran both electric and clockwork model trains. However the largest and most popular was the ERC Club Layout “Tanglewood Common of 00 gauge which even ran underground trains and remained a centre of attention throughout the day. A number of stalls were also busy including the ever popular refreshment kiosk manned by the ladies of the ERC.
A Thanksgiving Service to Celebrate the Life of Patricia Jean Pleasant was held in St Mary’s Church following her sudden and unexpected death on the 4th October 2017. She was aged 88, and an active part of the Village community being a member of the TBWI, Bridge Club, Short Mat Bowls Club and the Theydon Singers, among other organizations. She possessed a very pleasant personality, was friendly to all and had a becoming manner. She also had the knack of quickly resolving problems without fuss and with her friendly smile - a lady that will be missed by many. Following the service, a reception for family and friends was held at the Bull Inn in the Village.
The British Retail Consortium announced that high street shopping suffered a 2.2% fall in the previous September, and that shopping centres generally experienced a 1.0% fall. High street trading originated in Victorian Britain with the population shift from country to town during the industrial revolution. Shopping slumped during WW1 and WW2 due to the affects of food rationing and the scarcity of goods. It then peaked in the 1960s and 70s when incomes and living standards were high, resulting in increased consumer spending. However since then, a general decline in high street business has occurred due to the advent of electronic trading, in the comfort of a home, and the related closure of shops due to the high rise in business rates and increasing inflation; the vacant premises are invariably occupied by charity retail outlets, coffee shops, or new shopping centres. Villagers shopping in Epping and Loughton have seen these changes but trading in the Village centre had remained reasonably static while still providing good service.
The 99th Armistice Day celebrating the end of WW1 was remembered on a cold winter’s day throughout the country including the village. Big Ben, which was undergoing a major overhaul, was reactivated for this Remembrance weekend and struck the memorable hour of 11 o’clock when hostilities ceased. The customary two minute silence which followed was observed in most homes, commercial and shopping areas etc as the millions who died in the “war to end all wars” were remembered.
The dead of two world wars were also remembered the following Remembrance Sunday with thousands honouring the glorious dead in an 11 o’clock silence with the main parade at the Cenotaph in London’s Whitehall. However, there was major change with the Prince of Wales leading the nation instead of the Queen who watched the ceremony from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. This switch was probably a further indication of her passing on some of her duties to Prince Charles; an official reason was that she wished to be with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, who was present with her but becoming very elderly. In virtually every year of her reign, the Queen had laid a wreath and led the country in remembering the fallen.
Security at these events was tight in light of recent domestic terror attacks but, earlier the Ministry of Defense had announced that 2016 was the first year in nearly five decades without a serviceman being killed in operations. The subsequent march past included many outstanding veterans with a 99 year old ex Royal Marine, who said that this was probably his last attendance, and two VCs , Bill Speakman in a wheel chair pushed by the younger VC Johnson Beharey. Remembrance series were held in the Village Churches and the memorial parades at Loughton and Epping were well attended despite the biting wind.
The Essex Health Authorities said that plans were being considered to transfer and treat patients with particular medical conditions to three hospitals in South Essex; at Basildon, Chelmsford (Broomfield) and Southend (Southend General). Patients in the local Epping Forest area with cardiac conditions were already being treated at Basildon.
Before 2014, a dated paper disc had to be displayed on the windscreen of a motor vehicle to show that taxation for that vehicle had been paid and that it was licensed for use on the road. The disc was instant proof to the police and motoring authorities that the vehicle was licensed and was also an aid in crime prevention; moreover the disc was a visible deterrent to non - payment of tax. Subsequently this system was replaced with electronic systems with data retained by the DVLA (Directorate of Vehicle Licensing Authority) so to “move into the modern age”. But the tax evasion rate had now trebled and the new system was unduly more expensive. The Government was therefore coming under pressure, to reinstate the old system.
Philip Hammond, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that next week's budget (on 22 11 17) would explain how the Government plans to build 300,000 homes a year. But he also said that there was no single magic bullet to increase housing supply, and that the Government would not simply “pour money in”. Ministers want to speed up developments where planning permission had been granted and give additional help to small builders. The Labour Party claimed that ministers still had no plan to solve the housing crisis. Conservation groups in the Epping Forest District remained alert to any proposed housing development which would adversely affect the area including building on the greenbelt.
A major traffic hazard in the Abridge Road out of the Village was finally cleared when "no parking" restrictions were introduced and enforced in this area. For some time commuters using the Central Line had parked in the nearside lane opposite hazard markings in what had been a central lane of a three lane road constructed in the 1930s as the "green route", the forerunner of the current M25 Motorway. The central lane had been dispensed with and so vehicles proceeding up the hill from the Village were forced, by the parked vehicles, into this old lane and the path of vehicles proceeding in the opposite direction. This hazard had received the attention of the road authorities and the local MP. Now, “no parking signs” had been installed in this road and traffic wardens were out in force to enforce the restrictions and ensure that the removed vehicles were not parked elsewhere illegally, and especially not in the Village.
The Theydon Bois Art Society held a special demonstration evening in the TBVH when the well known artist William Newton gave a practical demonstration of portraiture using ceramic paints. His subject was “Ivor” a local man who had been living a nomadic life in Epping Forest, became ill and was eventually housed in a flat in Epping where he is now a "local character”. William’s remarkable skills as a painter enabled him to produce an excellent portrait from a photograph in just over one hour.
The 27th AGM of the Epping Forest University of the Third Age was held in the TBVH when the following officers were elected; Chairman – Christine Hobbs, Vice Chairman/Speaker Coordinator - Steve Baker, Secretary - Sandra Rosen and Treasurer – Jill Gunter.
At the November meeting of the TBWI, Janet Brewer BEM gave an interesting talk entitled “Queens of Egypt”.
Summary for the Month
At the beginning of November the firework celebrations at the Primary School were well attended, the Epping Rail Circle held its bi - annual model railway event which generated much interest amongst the younger (and older!) members of the community, the British Retail Consortium warned of a 2.2% fall in trading and the resulting closure of many small shops. The Chancellor of the Exchequer outlined plans for the building of 300,000 houses per year, the return of the vehicle tax disc was advocated and the Village lost a popular and valuable member when Patricia Pleasant died unexpectedly. The weather brought the first frosts, mixed with mild spells, and preparations were well underway for the festive season.
THE PAST MONTH IN THEYDON BOIS
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING OCTOBER 2017 AND WHICH WERE RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS, THE THEYDON BOIS LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER.
There was considerable confusion over the introduction of the new £1 coin which had slowly appeared in general circulation during the previous weeks. The Royal Mint had declared a deadline of 15th October 2017 for withdrawal of the “old” coin despite fears that this would create chaos with some 500 million still in circulation. The new coin was brighter”, had a beveled rim with flat sections and differed in weight; it had been specially redesigned to combat forgery. It emerged that despite a 6 months notification of the deadline, some multiple stores were still accepting the old coins and rail companies had warned that some of their ticket machines had yet to be adapted.
The new head of GCHQ had warned that protecting Britain from computer hacking and cyber attacks was now just as important as guarding against terrorism. Jeremy Fleming claimed that the growing task of defending Britain’s “online” political structure, culture and commerce, which had recently come under threat from foreign powers, meant that there was now a prominent role for the agency which had traditionally taken a back seat relative to the MI5 and MI6 organizations.
Local lecturer and writer, Georgina Green, was the speaker at a special meeting of the TBRPS held in the TBVH. Her subject was Keepers, Cockneys and Kitchen Maids, which was also the title of her book and the basis for her talk which was predominantly about Epping Forest and its environs in the early 1900. She explained how the Forest was managed by Keepers responsible for particular areas in which they were also resident. The cockneys were invariably East Enders from London who arrived in droves on most summer’s days and enjoyed the refreshments provided by the Forest Retreats notably those at Theydon Bois. They usually arrived by train or road and some 100,000 passed through Loughton on one particular day. Servant Maids were invariably the staff of the local Mansions at Hill Hall, Birch Hall and Copped Hall, which were the residences of notable families e.g. the Buxtons, Wythes and others. At the other end of the social scale were Macedonian travellers with a fearsome reputation for theft and other crimes who would only depart in their horseless caravans when forcibly removed, by the local authority, to another parish. Georgina also spoke about affects of WW1 on the area including Zeppelin airship raids, the presence of military personnel, including T E Lawrence and the dearth of local manpower due to army recruitment. In a short period of one hour she described a period in English history featuring an almost forgotten age in which the Epping District and its Forest had been an important part.
The Boundary Commission announced that it was proposing changes to the Parliamentary constituencies in neighbouring East London. This boundary review would not, however, affect the Epping Forest constituency currently held by Eleanor Laing MP. One major proposed change would be the move of Bridge Ward from Ilford North to Chingford and Woodford Green constituency so reuniting the community of Woodford which had essentially been a combined community for some 150 years. The proposed boundary review was a bid to reduce the number of MPs in Parliament from 650 to 600.
Hurricane “Brian” finally reached the UK after crossing the Atlantic by which time it was downgraded to a severe storm as much of its energy was dissipated. Nevertheless some damage and flooding was sustained on the west and south coasts of the country due to the storm’s arrival with the high “spring tides". Here in the east, and the Village, any damage was minimal with the autumn leaf - fall only partly accelerated, but apple crops were damaged by being stripped from the trees by the wind. Consequently this boosted cider making and also filled the resident’s garden – refuse bins.
A parliamentary inquiry was proposed regarding the use of electronic – cigarettes, the significant gaps in the known knowledge about them and how they were regulated. A science and technology committee would examine their effectiveness as a non-smoking tool and their general impact on health due to increasing use. Nearly three million people, a fourfold increase since 2012, are now known to “Vape” (use these cigarettes). However there appeared to be mixed messages regarding this practice.
With Halloween approaching, the mournful and ghostly baying of the Hound of the Baskervilles was heard in the TBVH where the Theydon Bois Drama Society was staging their current production of the same name. The original story featuring Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson was first published in 1902 and since then had been featured on television and in numerous dramatizations, one of which by Tim Kelly was the current Society production. Before a large audience, the cast did well to portray the mystery and suspense of the drama. The production was directed by Bernie Pavevley and supported by a team of fourteen “back room” staff.
On the eve of Halloween, concern was being expressed in medical and opthalmic circles regarding the eye lenses as part of the fancy dress being worn, particularly by children and young people. The current trend was to use theatrical eye contact lenses which, when worn, created a demonic and ghoulish appearance. The normal use of medically designed and prescribed contact lenses requires special care and high standards of cleanliness if eye damage is to be avoided. The College of Opthamology and Moorfield’s Eye Hospital both warned against the use of “novelty lenses.
The St Clare Hospice held a midday “Lite Bite event in St Mary’s Church Hall to raise funds for the charity. For a nominal £5, tea/coffee and snacks were available with a Raffle, Cake and Christmas stalls providing festive interest.
The EFDC and the NHS conjointly organized a one day “Stay Well this Winter” presentation in the TBVH to stimulate interest in good health and general well – being, through talks given by health professionals. The event we particularly aimed at the elderly but members of the younger generation also attended.
The annual St Mary’s Harvest Supper was different this year with all four churches of the new United Benefice taking part. An increased number of “house hosts” were able to offer their services (and hospitality) for the occasion. The participants enjoyed a three course meal with different courses in different houses with different guests, so making this Supper especially entertaining. The final course was coffee and liqueurs served at St Margaret’s in Theydon Bois.
During September 2017 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
09 09 17 Jake Howard Maybe & Rebecca Louise Stanley
24 09 17 Samantha Clare Spencer, Arthur Christopher Wilson and Ivy Joy Wilson
Burial of Ashes
08 09 17 (Iris) Margaret Davis at Theydon Bois Cemetery
Summary for the Month
At the beginning of October there was confusion over the introduction of the new £1 coin, and objections to the requirement to declare sexual gender on national election returns, Atlantic Hurricane Ophelia was downgraded to a severe storm and caused little damage in Eastern England, and another downgraded storm Brian virtually “fizzled out”. There was concern regarding “E Cigarettes” and a parliamentary enquiry was mooted, medical research established that the brain could go into “auto pilot” during the operation of basic tasks, Halloween celebrations were preceded with warnings about the use of “theatrical eye contact lenses", The Hound of The Baskervilles was running amok in the TBVH and there was increased support for the annual St Mary’s Harvest Supper following the creation of the new United Benefice.
THE PAST MONTH IN THEYDON BOIS
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING SEPTEMBER 2017 AND WHICH WERE RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS, THE THEYDON BOIS LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER.
The Local Government Association (LGA) recommended that all restaurants and takeaway outlets should be made by law to display their food hygiene ratings. These range from five to zero and are based on various factors including kitchen cleanliness, cooking methods and food management. Furthermore, the LGA, which represents local councils in England, suggested that this practice should be included in the post Brexit legislation now being prepared by the government; the Food Standards Agency was also reviewing how food businesses are regulated. The Village community has many families where the “breadwinners” have not the time to prepare proper meals and so the three pubs (which also serve as restaurants) are often well patronised. Other popular outlets include two Indian, an Italian and a Turkish restaurant plus an excellent continental coffee shop. In recent years there has been an increasing trend towards people “eating out”, both in the Village and locally elsewhere so the LGA recommendation, if adopted, could be both timely and sensible.
The fourth terrorist attack in London this year took place on a District Line Train at Parsons Green when an improvised explosive device exploded on a District Line train in south west London at breakfast time. Fortunately the device only partly exploded but sent a fireball down the extended passenger compartment which dissipated the force of the explosion. Nevertheless twenty nine people suffered injury, mainly from burns but there were no fatalities. An immediate search commenced for the person or persons responsible. It was thought that, because of the heavy police presence in Central London, terrorists were now planning attacks in the Greater London suburbs instead, and the Metropolitan Police stated that the terrorist threat level remained "critical".
The American - led Cassini space mission to the planet Saturn came to a spectacular end when the probe was commanded to self destruct by plunging into the Planet’s atmosphere where it acquired further scientific data, and then quickly fragmented. It was thought that local astronomers, with the right equipment, could have witnessed its demise. The probe had run out of fuel and NASA did not want it to wander uncontrolled among Saturn and
its moons. During its long life the probe had made many significant discoveries about Saturn and its unique “rings”.
The Theydon Bois Primary School in Orchard Drive celebrated its sixtieth year since moving to its present site in 1957, with a special Open Day. Visitors to the School were welcomed by Acting Head Teacher Kim Williams and she gave a brief introduction to the School, its history and successes. This small and popular primary school of 312 pupils is particularly unique in having its own swimming pool, installed in 1962, which is now equipped with new changing rooms installed this year. These were formally opened recently by an Olympic swimmer and ex pupil. The School was awarded a Laymark Tree award in 2017 and is right up to date in information technology with its own Website managed by Tracy Bullock.
Villager Lloyd Scott, a former professional goalkeeper, firefighter and professional underwater diver was diagnosed with leukemia thirty years ago. He has since raised substantial amounts for charity with some forty feats of endurance through sponsored activities. These have included cycling across Australia on a penny farthing cycle, an underwater marathon in Loch Ness, swimming from John O’Groats to Lands End, and walking the London Marathon in a diver’s suite to achieve the slowest time of 5 days, 8 hours and 29 minutes. He now intended to cross part of the Amazonian region in a marathon seven day walk through the Anavilhanas National Park avoiding crocodiles, piranhas and other dangerous predators. Scott had now raised some £5m for charity since his diagnosis, and was awarded an MBE in 2005 for his services to charity.
Under new government system of planning, the EFDC would now be now be required to build an additional 923 homes annually for the next ten years - an increase of 79.5% over those initially planned. Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing, Cllr Chris Whitbred and Planning Portfolio Holder Cllr John Philip agreed that this news is worrying. The government formula for habitation size is applied to all boroughs and towns irrespective of size of the local population. Mrs Laing believed that Epping Forest will be adversely affected to a greater extent more than anyone else in the country. Consequently she had called for an urgent meeting with the Communities and Local Government Secretary Sajid Javid. In her letter to the Secretary, she said “That because Epping Forest suffers from the same high house process as in London, your formula treats us as if we are in London. We are not in London. Your proposals for Epping Forest are impossible to fulfill”.
At the end of September the religious scene in the Theydon area changed when a new United Benefice, to be known as the Theydon Parishes, came into being. The four churches in this Benefice would be All Saints Theydon Garnon, St Michaels Theydon Mount, St Mary’s Stapleford Tawney and St Mary’s Theydon Bois. The Rev John Fry would now be the officiating priest for this Benefice and in the St Mary’s Theydon Bois newsletter said “Working together, the churches were seeking to provide loving, caring, and welcoming congregations which would nurture each other and grow collectively in faith; the formation of this larger group would therefore bring both benefits and challenges.
A large congregation was present at the Theydon Bois Baptist Church to witness the ordination and induction of Pete Pilavachi of this very active part of the Village Religious Community.
Local cricket enthusiasts acclaimed the Essex County Cricket Club for becoming the county champions for the first time since 1922 by beating Lancashire by seven wickets at their county match at Taunton, Somerset.
The first of a series of Harvest Soup Lunches was held in the St Mary’s Church Hall and was a resounding success being supported by the members and friends of churches in the Theydon area. At one time the queue of diners extended to beyond the Hall entrance, and some £300 was raised for charities supported by St Mary’s Church.
The TBWI held its September meeting in the TBVH when Helen Beard spoke about Pets as a Therapy and brought with her two dogs as working examples.
During August 2017 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
05 08 17 Harrison James Smith & Molly Clare Cowell
17 08 17 Angeline Louise Andrews – Funeral in Church followed by burial at Theydon Bois Village Cemetery
19 08 17 Elvian Susan Lawrence – Funeral in Church followed by cremation
23 08 17 Trevor Ronald Grosvenor – Funeral in Church followed by burial in Theydon Bois Village Cemetery
Summary for the Month
At the end of September a New Benefice was formed comprising the four churches in the District at Theydon Garnon, Theydon Mount, Stapleford Tawney and Theydon Bois with the Rev John Fry as the Officiating Priest. A large congregation was present at the Theydon Bois Baptist Church to witness the ordination and induction of Pete Pilavachi as Minister. A new Government planning system now required the EFDC to build an additional 923 homes annually for the next ten years and the Local Government Association recommended that all eating establishments displayed their hygiene ratings. The Theydon Bois Primary School celebrated its sixty years at the Orchard Drive site, the Essex County Cricket Club won the National County Championship for the first time since 1922 by beating Lancashire, and after many years orbiting Saturn and revealing its secrets, the Casoni space probe expired with a deliberate crash onto the planet itself. The September weather was mild with some rain which did not worry Villager and leukemia sufferer Lloyd Scott who had now raised over £5m with charity “walks” while wearing a professional underwater diver’s suit.
THE PAST MONTH IN THEYDON BOIS
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING AUGUST 2017 AND WHICH WERE RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS, THE THEYDON BOIS LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER.
The current understanding that vehicle generated pollution was increased when vehicles were driven across speed bumps, due to stop/start motion, had encouraged the Government to direct local authorities to remove these road speed limiters and moreover promised that state funding would be made available for this work. However, road safety organizations had pointed out that such action would encourage speeding, increase road accidents and so possibly outweigh the advantage of any reduction in vehicle pollution. The Village is relatively free of speed bumps except near the station.
At a recent meeting of the TBPC, two outstanding Villagers, Carol and Graham James, received the Theydon Bois Rose Bowl Annual Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of their involvement and support for Village activities. The presentation was made by John Philip, Chairman of the TBPC during which it was revealed that the couple had amoung other things been involved with the Village Association for very many years, Carol as Secretary and Graham with general maintenance and practical tasks around the site.
The Village had suffered from a number of burglaries recently and one in Avenue Road TB, on July 2 last, was particularly notable with the theft of an OBE (Order of the British Empire) decoration compromising a gold cross attached to a light red or pink ribbon. The medal bears the image of King George V and the inscription “For God and the Empire”. The award is of significant sentimental value to the owner and the information regarding its whereabouts was being requested by the Police at Loughton CID on 101 or Crime Stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
The beginning of the school holidays and the indifferent summer weather encouraged many UK residents to holiday abroad. There was therefore a greater increase in passenger holiday traffic especially at airports where substantial delays of up to four hours occurred due to a general tightening of security following terrorist incidents this year and new EU border checks which now required passengers to arrive at airports a least three hours before flight times.
Holidaymakers who finally reached their destinations in Central Europe and the Mediterranean experienced very high temperatures caused by the Lucifer heat wave. The holiday spots of Sardinia (106 degrees F), Florence and Zagreb (100 degrees F) and Seville (108 degrees F) were all badly affected; more serious was the outbreak of numerous brush fires. The cause of this extreme weather was the jet stream which had drawn hot air up from Africa and, conversely, moved cooler air towards the British Isles. Nevertheless, British sun seekers abroad, including some Villagers, received greater doses of solar radiation (sun burn) than they had expected.
It was announced that applications to “busk” (provide live musical entertainment) on London Underground Stations, could now again be considered. Busking had become commonplace in Central London and especially in the popular tourist areas like Covent Garden. Only soloists and duos would be allowed to audition for the 1800 bookable slots which are shared weekly by the 250 active buckers on the network. The busiest stations were the most rewarding and so it is doubtful that Theydon Bois station, often deserted during off peak hours, would prove popular”.
With the brilliant August sunshine shining through the windows and the holiday season in full swing, thoughts of Christmas were far off. But not in the St Mary’s Church where its newsletter reminded readers that the Church last Christmas sent 203 gifts -filled shoe boxes to some of the world’s poorest children who had never received such a gift. The Church intended to repeat this charitable activity for Christmas 2017 and was requesting help to do so. Gifts of simple toys suitable for boys and girls in the age groups 2-4 years, 5-9 years and 10–14 years would be most welcome.
The Village Children’s Playground in Poplar Row was nearly 30 years old and remained very popular with young children and parents alike. It was established by former Councillor Joy Wainwright to provide a safe place for young children in the Village to Play. She managed to get the project going without official funding and so many people would therefore wish to keep her legacy alive. The play equipment was now rapidly deteriorating and £113K was needed to secure the site and install new equipment; the TBPC had already donated £40,000 towards this cost and further donations have been made, but more funding is needed before the refurbishment can proceed.
The Theydon Bois Business Group, which held its first meeting in July, had already attracted a “diverse” group of entrepreneurs and trading people. The Group now meets twice monthly and its founder and leader Alison Dawkes, owner of the Glow Happy, business commented “I am very pleased with the interest shown so far and already there are sixty people on our Face Book. There is a gap in the market for a group which can cater for those who are only able to meet at certain times of the day”.
The Government announced that trials will commence in 2018 with driverless Lorries on motorways. A maximum of three lorries would travel in an automated convoy controlled by the driver in the lead vehicle, using wireless technology, to control synchronized braking and acceleration of all three vehicles. The drivers in the other two would be in their individual cabs and able to override and take control in the event of an emergency; this trial would be part of a plan to reduce congestion and pollution on motorways. A group of vehicles, described as "platoons" by the government and “trains” by the more cynical, had been successfully tested in Europe and the USA, but already objections and arguments against this proposed practice were being made. Other critics pointed out that, before the Beeching reorganization, the British rail network carried considerable goods traffic so wasn’t it time to revert to that system?
Village horticulturists and garden lovers were appalled to learn that the widening of the M3 motorway alongside the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) Headquarters at Bisley would affect a considerable part of the site. Many trees would be lost including one planted by the Queen to commemorate her silver jubilee and a number of giant American Redwood trees would also be affected. A principal objector to this proposal was Alan Titchmarsh, the well known gardening TV personality who had vowed to save the Queen’s Tree.
The Bank Holiday Weekend was kind, summery and hot for once, with a record temperature of 28 degrees F. The Annual Show of the Epping Horticultural Society was supported by many villagers with several receiving awards for their entries. The Sunday saw a sell - out attendance at the Copped Hall Open Day with full car parks and luncheon refreshments, provided by the Copped Hall ladies, doing well; the "liquid refreshment" stall was also well supported as were the hot dogs and ice cream vendors.
Theydon Bois is a mere 12 miles from London and on frosty, clear nights before the night time light and noise pollution became commonplace, it was possible for Villagers to hear the chimes of the famous clock at the Palace of Westminster which had continued to sound its timekeeping, message for many years, even during the WW2 air raids, or except for short periods of maintenance. However the dead hand of red tape and political inertia, plus the modern autocratic control of “health and safety", could silence this icon of the British Institution and Mother of Parliaments for some four years. The Elizabeth Tower, which houses the Clock and Great Bell (Big Ben), was due for refurbishment and THREE Parliamentary committees were sat to have agreed the work before subsequent approval by the House of Commons Commission chaired by the speaker John Bercow. There was a growing cross – party revolt by politicians who were unaware of this situation, and an outcry over the time involved as other historic towers elsewhere in Europe had been refurbished in much shorter periods.
It was subsequently disclosed that the Bell would be “switched off” to avoid damaging the hearing of those working in its vicinity and, to avoid this, it was suggested that ear defenders should be worn by the workers involved. Moreover, the engineer now retired, who was previously responsible for the maintenance of the clock for many years, claimed that the Bell could be isolated for short periods as had happened in the past. Finally, the Prime Minister intervened to say that that plans to silence the Bell for four years should be scrapped and ordered the House of Commons Speaker to look at the work proposals on an urgent basis. It was then revealed that the Aryton light at the top of the Elizabeth Tower, which is illuminated when Parliament is sitting, would also be switched off during the Tower’s refurbishment. BUT a subsequent decision was now made to replace this with a temporary light while the work was being carried out.
The Civil Aviation Authority advised that there were 1,258 incidents recorded in 2016 where lasers beams, which could blind pilots, were directed at aircraft. The Government therefore intended to stop this dangerous practice by issuing licences for the sale of powerful laser pens and restrict their advertising. Such devices were often sold as “toys” and could cause blindness when use indiscriminately in the hands of children or others, or pointed at individuals.
Star gazers had the opportunity to see scores of shooting stars from the Persoid meteor shower activity. Shooting stars streaked across the night sky in displays which were easily visible from the Village due to the absence of street lighting. This annual event occurred every July and August as the earth passes through the space debris from the Comet Swift – Tuttle. The local activity peaked around 23.00 on several evenings and the clear local weather provided good viewing conditions.
During June and July 2017 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
14 06 17 Harry Thomas Beckett
25 06 17 Polly Elizabeth June Whelan.
30 07 17 Ava Elizabeth Pugh
19 07 17 Martine Ballard & Terence Butwell
Summary for the Month
The government announced that “speed bumps” were contributing to traffic pollution and where possible should now be removed, burglaries were increasing and an OBE decoration was stolen in a local theft, an increase in holiday travel following the summer closure of schools resulted in long delays at airports and main line rail stations, extremely high temperatures abroad were causing brush fires and were awaiting those holidaying in the Mediterranean region, but the 2017 August Bank Holiday weather at home was also “hot” and dry for a change. Concern was growing over the indiscriminate use of hand held lasers hazarding the crews of overflying aircraft, a political storm nearly erupted over the silencing of Big Ben for “four years” to protect the hearing of workers refurbishing the Westminster Elizabeth clock tower, the Playground at Theydon launched an appeal for financial help to refurbish this popular facility, and horror was expressed by some at the proposal to use “platoons” of three lorries on motorways controlled only by a the driver of the leading vehicle using a radio link!!!
THE PAST MONTH IN THEYDON BOIS
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING JULy 2017 AND WHICH WERE RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS, THE THEYDON BOIS LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER.
The 2017 AGM of the Theydon Bois & District Preservation Society (TBDRPS) was held in the TBVH on a torrid summer evening. Despite the extreme heat (30 degrees C earlier in the day) some seventy members and friends were present to hear the guest Chris Neilan talk about “Looking after the Street Trees in Theydon Bois". He first commented that Theydon Bois was looking after its trees extremely well through the efforts of the tree wardens and villagers. As Principal Landscape Officer for the EFDC, Chris then embarked on a general discussion with the audience regarding the efforts necessary to heighten tree awareness amongst the residents in the Epping area.
At the previous Society AGM, it was announced that Michael Chapman was now President subsequent to the sad death of Bob Day. It was agreed that the following hold office for 2017/18; Chairman – Peter Newton, Vice Chairman – Martin Boyle, Secretary – Jim Watts, Treasurer – Ivory Chinman, Minutes Secretary – Valerie Suckling. The Executive Committee would comprise: Liz Burn, Barry Frankland, Robert Levene, Caroline Lowe, Hugh Meteyard, Anthony Purkiss and Trevor Roberts.
The 30th Theydon Bois Donkey Derby, organised by the Theydon Bois Scout Group, was again an exceptional success due to the hot and summery weather plus its location on the Village Green, by kind permission of the City of London and the TBPC. This 30th Derby was dedicated to Peter Simmance who resurrected the event in 1987. Once again the Green resounded to the unusual sound of braying donkeys and the laughter of many children. Substantial support and sponsorship had come from Village traders who advertised their business via the usual well produced and informative Race Card and Programme. Seven races were run with titles named after their sponsors ie. Mediterranean Plants, Cooper Paul Chartered Accountants, Stevenette Estate Agents, Philip Macon, Delta Property Maintenance, Linda and Ray Cooney, Richard and Sally Crone.
The Donkey Derby Fairground comprised roundabouts, bouncy castles and other lively activities including sideshows and refreshment stalls including tasty snacks from local restaurants. Field events included the traditional Tug of War between patrons/staff from the two Village Pubs, the Queen Vic and the Bull, a Fun Dog Show and the Pop Choir from Loughton. More than a thousand visitors attended the event and helped raise a substantial sum in support of the Village Scouts and Guides, so that they could continue to develop their activities in the Village. In the excellent brochure published for the event, the Chairman of the Derby Committee, Nick O’Flynn, thanked all those involved including participants and supporters.
With a return to their normal repertoire, the Theydon Bois Singers concert in the TBVH of Songs from the Shows was well received by an expectant audience. The programme comprised a selection of musical treats which included Cole Porter’s “In the Still of the Night”, the Negro Spiritual “Deep River”, Leonard Bernstein’s America and the Lennon/McCartney “Yesterday”. Also appreciated were Liz Weatherstone’s rendering of “How Are Things in Glocca Mora” from Finians Rainbow, Linda Wheeler’s “Henry Higgins” and Lawrence Tatnall's trombone solo; as also popular readings given by Hilary Hedderick (Weeds) and Anthea Astley (Like You Would!). The conductor was the exuberant Lawrence Tatnall and he was backed by Paul Chilvers the ever hard - working pianist.
A warning from the local water supplier, Affinity Water, via leaflets posted to every house in the Village reminded all concerned that a price had to be paid for the glorious summer weather and its minor heat waves. Affinity Water warned that after months of low rainfall, groundwater resources remained well below average. Consumers were therefore asked to help minimize the possibility of water restrictions later in the year by taking water saving measures.
The decline in groundwater resources had been of concern for some time and was partly attributed to the increasing practice of hard - surfacing gardens for car parking and/or property extensions which prevent rain water percolating down to natural catchments. The increasingly hot weather partly responsible for this shortage was continent - wide; in Rome the Vatican fountains were turned off on the instructions of the Pope and countries bordering the Alps had seen a decline in melt water due to climate - warming. A general drought and the hot weather in Europe had resulted in many forest fires and substantial damage in the Mediterranean holiday areas. However, the UK Meteorological Office had now forecast high rainfalls for the next three winters and experts warned that the human factors in global warming could increase the severity of extreme weather in the future.
The Theydon Bois Horticultural Society held its 107th annual show in the TBVH which was well attended despite inclement weather. There were six sections of entry sub divided into 104 different classes covering many horticultural and other activities ranging from vegetables and fruit to handicrafts and photographic; junior entries in separate groups were especially catered for. Twelve awards were presented to the winners of the successful entries. The event included a Tortoise Race which was cancelled at short notice due to the weather; nevertheless many tortoises of varying sizes were brought to the show and their presence enlivened the proceedings generally. This active Society continues as a major feature of Village life with organized talks, for form members and experts on various allied horticultural subjects including Creating a Butterfly Garden, Vegetable Self Sufficiency, and plant growth and care both in the UK and abroad. External visits to places of interest have included Sissinghurst Castle Garden and East Ruston Old Vicarage (in September 2017).
The government’s announcement that production of petrol and diesel fuelled cars will cease in 2040 was received with mixed reactions. Environmental groups criticised the absence of a scrapping scheme for existing vehicles powered in this way, or the non - establishment of clean air zones to counter traffic - generated atmospheric pollution. The manufacturers of electrically driven vehicles had also announced the intention to press ahead with advanced designs and increasing production, ostensibly in support government policy. However electric vehicles was already invoking criticism based on many factors notably limited vehicle range, lack of recharging points and other shortcomings. But the greatest criticism came from the power generation authorities who claimed that an immense increase in output would be needed to cater for electric cars on a national basis, even to the extent of constructing new power stations, possibly nuclear.
A herd of wild deer frequent the Forest and the surrounding district; muntjac and fallow deer are now well established at various locations, and often appear in built up areas and roads at night. Therefore the current newsletter of the St Mary’s Church included an interesting item, and a possible warning, that deer were now frequenting the Churchyard. Apart from eating the flowers left in the memorial garden or on individual graves, they could be a problem for anyone there alone especially during the autumn and the annual “rut” when deer can become territorial.
Joan Francis was the speaker at the July meeting of the TBWI. Her subject was European Gardens, examples of which were shown in a colourful presentation. Doreen Snell made special reference, together with thanks, to members who had taken on the tasks of others who were indisposed or on holiday. This particularly applied to the Books/Magazines tables, the monthly competition and especially to the serving of refreshments and, not least, the subsequent clearing up afterwards.
During May 2017 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
15 05 17 Kathleen Rice – Funeral in Church followed by Cremation at Parndon Wood.
20 05 17 Lilian Carla Parker - Funeral in Church followed
SUMMARY FOR THE MONTH
The speaker at the 2017 AGM of the Theydon Bois & District Preservation Society (TBDRPS) was Chris Neilan the Principal Landscape Officer for the EFDC, who discussed efforts necessary to heighten tree awareness in the Epping area generally. The Donkey Derby on the Village Green was a great success, as also was the Theydon Singers summer presentation of Songs from the Shows. The Theydon Bois Horticultural Society held its 107th annual show and included a Tortoise Race which was cancelled at short notice due to the rain; but many tortoises of varying sizes enlivened the proceedings generally. The government’s announcement that production of petrol and diesel fuelled cars would cease in 2040 was received with mixed reactions and environmental groups criticized the absence of a scrapping scheme for existing vehicles powered in this way. Villagers were warned in the St Mary’s Newsletter of the possible hazards of deer who had discovered the Church yard and were dining on the flora and especially the commemorative flowers on graves. The weather reverted to summer which benefitted outdoor events but resulted in drought warnings before, paradoxically, hot July ended with showery cool conditions.
THE PAST MONTH IN THEYDON BOIS
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING JUNE 2017 AND WHICH WERE RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS, THE THEYDON BOIS LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER.
Following the recent terrorist attacks in Manchester and Westminster, a third took place on a Saturday evening when a white van drove across London Bridge at speed and mowed down pedestrians. It then crashed into some railings and three men left the vehicle, ran into the Borough Market, its adjacent shops and cafes and began knifing people. There were scenes of confusion and extreme terror as many sought cover until the assailants were shot dead by special branch police officers. Eight of those attacked were killed and some forty injured, many seriously. There was an outcry against the attack, which took place just before the General Election, resulting in politicians making political capital out of the dreadful event. Opponents of the Conservative Government claimed that reductions in the Metropolitan Police Force were the root cause of both this outrage and the earlier London incident this year.
At 8 am on 8th June, 140,000 polling stations across the UK opened their doors for the population to register their votes in the 2017 General Elections. St Margaret’s Church Hall in TB was one and a steady stream of villagers began to cross its portals from very early. The six candidates for the Epping Forest seat were: Thomas HALL (Young People’s Party), Alexander HEAP (Green Party), Eleanor LAING – the successful candidate, Conservative Party), Patrick O’FLYNN (United Kingdom Independent Party), Liam PRESTON Labour Party) and Jon WHITEHOUSE (Liberal Democratic Party). The cold light of following dawn revealed that the Conservative Party had lost its overall majority in the House of Commons and was therefore unworkable as a government. One reason claimed for this unexpected change was the last minute drive by the Labour party to encourage eligible young people to vote, a strategy not apparently adopted by other parties. The Scottish Nationalist Party gained seats from those previously occupied by the Labour party and the UKIP party lost its few seats. The Conservatives subsequently entered into an alliance with the Ulster Unionist and Democratic Party to ensure a workable majority in Parliament, but this was considered by some politicians to be a “dodgy” and unsatisfactory arrangement.
An appalling fire in a London Chelsea High Rise Block (Grenfell Tower) caused the deaths of some 70 people (at the time of writing) and an outcry over the fire precautions employed and ,especially, the materials used in the construction of the building. The fire was understood to have started in a domestic appliance in a lower flat which spread to the external cladding of the building which then became completely enveloped in flame. Standing fire precaution instructions for residents were to close doors and windows and await rescue from the fire service, even from the very top floors where many were trapped and subsequently died; other residents opted to escape down the main central staircase and so survived. The subsequent repercussions resulted in the evacuation of similar blocks elsewhere. A further outcome was the appointment of a retired high court judge to conduct a public enquiry.
The last night of Alan Ayckbourn's play Snake in the Grass, presented by the Theydon Drama Society in the TBVH, was well attended. The plot concerned Annabel Chester who returns home after the death of her father to be confronted by a blackmail plot which quickly gets out of hand, with serious consequences.
The Benefice Women’s Breakfast was held in the St Mary’s Church Hall and was well attended by many ladies who enjoyed an excellent meal without being involved with the preparation, clearing away and washing up afterwards. The “Wise Woman” on this occasion was Heather Higgins who related some of her life story.
The Theydon Bois and District Rural Preservation Society held an afternoon’s walk from the TBVH entitled “Theydon’s Hidden Rhododendrons”.
A short two day heat wave in mid month saw record temperatures of plus 30 degrees C reached so resulted in many people needing hospital treatment from affects of excessive heat and dehydration.
At the TBWI June meeting in the TBVH, the speaker was Ian Kirby who described “London’s River Front”.
During April 2017 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
25 04 17 Alexander John Weldon – Funeral in Church followed by burial in the Village Cemetery
28 04 17 Mavis Mary Purkiss - Funeral in Church followed by burial in the Village Cemetery
28 04 17 Keith George Brewer – Funeral in Church followed by Cremation at Parndon Wood
Internment of Ashes
O3 04 17 Joan Whitmarsh - In Village Cemetery
20 04 17 Rita Smith – In St Mary’s Churchyard
SUMMARY FOR THE MONTH
Two major incidents in London indirectly affected those who worked “in town” and sent shockwaves through the country. The first was the terrorist incident in the London Bridge area where three men in a van deliberately ran down pedestrians and then began to attack passersby, diners and shoppers; they themselves were almost immediately shot dead by armed police. The second was the appalling fire at the Grenfell high - rise residential tower block in the Chelsea/Kensington area where more than 70 people died in circumstances which could affect local housing and public buildings throughout the country. The general election resulted in the Conservative party losing its overall majority in Parliament. The TB Horticultural Society enjoyed an outing the National Trust house and gardens at Sissinghurst and the TB Rural Preservation Society held a successful summer’s afternoon walk around the Village. The weather was both wet (initially) and hot with short heat waves which ran on into a hot July in time for The All England Tennis Tournament at Wimbledon.
THE PAST MONTH IN THEYDON BOIS
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING MAY 2017 AND WHICH WERE RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS, THE THEYDON BOIS LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER.
A cold and windy day for early May did not deter the many who turned out to elect a new member for the Epping Forest seat on the Essex County Council (ECC). Seven polling booths across the District were open from 7am to 10pm and the one at St Mary’s Church Hall in the Village was highly active during the day. The four candidates for the vacant seat were: Simon Bullough - Labour, Barry Johns - UKIP, John Whitehouse - Lib Dem and Chris Whitbread - Conservative who polled the greatest number of votes at 2419. Chris Whitbread said it was an honor to be elected as the new County Councillor for Theydon Bois and a number of residents have already raised issues on which he was currently working.
Conservative Leader and Prime Minister Theresa May thanked all the party's supporters and workers for their efforts but stressed that Party victory in the forthcoming national elections was not a foregone conclusion. The Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn said his party faced a huge challenge with the loss of 387 seats and the Liberal Democrats remained defiant despite substantial losses. The UKIP Party lost all 9 seats in Essex but a spokesman said that UKIP was not spent force and that voters and supporters would return.
The North London and Essex Transport Society held its regular Bazaar in the Theydon Bois Village Hall (TBVH). Once again the car park was very active with well maintained examples of public transport buses which once served the Epping Forest countryside; these monarchs of the road were providing nostalgic rides along these long lost routes during the day. Inside the Hall were many stands displaying extensive amounts of memorabilia and models, mainly bus related.
During a sunny Friday and Saturday, in mid May the Theydon Art Group held its 56th Exhibition in the TBVH. Twenty nine artists exhibited some one hundred and thirty seven different works in varying styles including water colour, acrylic, oil, batik on silk, line and wash, pen and wash, collage and
mixed media. The event was well supported and many works were sold. The Group meets monthly and its officers are Barry Turner - Chairman, Mary Springham - Treasurer/Secretary, and Derek Springham - Exhibition Secretary.
A most serious and unexpected violation of the storage and use of electronic data occurred nationwide over the weekend when National Health Service (NHS) hospital records were “hacked” or cyber attacked electronically (stolen for ransom) by persons unknown with financial payment demanded for their return; moreover some 150 countries were affected. The immediate result was the virtual paralysis of hospital functions – particularly Accident and Emergency with ambulances diverted to the few areas unaffected. Medical operations were cancelled and even pharmacies were drawn into the crisis. A meeting of Cobra, the government defence council was called and the National Cyber Agency was giving advice to businesses commencing operation on the Monday morning. A general problem was that the software used by many organizations (including the NHS) was outdated and lacked adequate protection against ”hacking”.
The TBWI Resolution Meeting was held in the TBVH during which the members were reminded that the officers appointed at the recent AGM were: President – Doreen Snell, Secretary – Daphne Ruffell, Treasurer – Marion Oliver, Mutual Services - Carol Browning, Refreshments - Phyllis Pritchard, Committee Members – Mary Leng, Janet Slater and Audrey Hill. The two resolutions debated were, firstly, the banning of “Plastic Soup” comprising Micro Plastic Fibres which were infiltrating our oceans, damaging the environment and harming the fish stocks which we eventually eat and, secondly, the Raised Awareness of Loneliness to which are linked depression, blood pressure, dementia and even suicide. Both resolutions were passed unanimously.
The TB Short Mat Bowls Club held its annual prize giving luncheon which was attended by 48 members and guests. The Club Chairman Frank Sparks and the Competition Secretary Marie Hammond presided. The absence of Past President Joy Wainwright, who died in early December 2016, was particularly noticeable. Before the awards were made, Brian Parker received Life membership in recognition of his services to the Club. The winners were (runners up in parenthesis): Men’s Singles – Mathew Furlong (Jack Wilmore), Ladies Singles – Barbara Langford (Sylvia Thomson), Men’s Pairs – Matthew Furlong/Ron Gomm (Derek Earey/John Langford), Ladies Pairs – Barbara
Langford/Joy Franklin (Pat Whaymand/Marie Hammond), Mixed Singles - Mathew Furlong (Peter Pell), Mixed Pairs - Matthew Furlong/Ivy Parker (Sylvia Thomson/Peter Pell) and Target Bowls – John Davies.
An appalling atrocity in Manchester produced repercussions throughout the country and even down to the Epping Forest District. Twenty two people including children were killed and fifty nine, including twelve children, were injured at a popular concert at the Manchester Arena when a suicide bomb was detonated just as the large audience of mainly young people and mothers with children were leaving: they had been enjoying a concert featuring the singer Adriana Grande. There was an immediate shut down of the area, including a railway station, and support services from a large area were drafted in to help generally. Of major concern was the number of children who had been separated from their parents/minders in the mass exodus from the Arena and so an adjacent hotel became a temporary shelter for them.
The Prime Minister appeared outside 10 Downing Street to make a strong condemnation of the atrocity saying that the population of this country would not be intimidated by this terrible incident. She then announced that electioneering for the forthcoming general election would be on hold for 24 hours and that national security had now been raised to critical, the highest level possible. The police revealed that the bomber, who died in the explosion, was Salman Abedi, 22, of Libyan descent and that members of his family and some associates had been taken into custody. Moreover Abedi was now known to be part of a network of bombers and that further attacks were likely. Consequently troops were assisting the police at specific vulnerable points (Buckingham Palace and 10 Downing Street) and at some major events; army personnel were last used in this way in 2003. In the Epping Forest District the election hustings planned for St John’s Church, Epping, were replaced by a service of remembrance.
A two minute silence was held throughout the country in memory of the victims of the Manchester bombing. This was observed in the Marks & Spencer multi store in nearby Epping and the silence was sincere and almost uncanny. Elsewhere there were was civic representations and in some instances, the last post was played. It was now established that a network of terrorists had been responsible for the outrage. Arrests continued to be made and the national security level had now been downgraded to “high”; but the general threat of a further incidents remained.
The St Mary’s Flower Festival weekend commenced with an evening
reception in the Church on the Friday evening which enabled villagers and guests to view the floral displays and enjoy a pleasant social occasion. Special interest was expressed in the photographic display of the past history of the Village, organised by the TB Preservation Society, which featured personalities and buildings which have sadly now gone. The guest speaker at the family service on the Sunday morning was the Rev Canon Edward Carter, the Canon Theologian at Chelmsford Cathedral. The Church was again open in the afternoon for further viewing of the Floral Displays, with light refreshments provided, and the day ended with a Church service in the early evening. On Bank Holiday Monday the church visits to view the Floral Displays were again popular but the accent was on a holiday atmosphere at the Church Hall with sideshows, barbecues and entertainment for children.
At the end of the month the holiday arrangements for many were effectively ruined by a complete breakdown of the British Airways (BA) computer systems caused by a power surge and failure of a backup system. This not only affected UK flights but many others on a global basis with some 75,000 travellers affected by the thousands of flights cancelled over the Bank Holiday period. The major affect was felt at London’s Heathrow Airport where the situation was exacerbated by the partial closure of rail transport systems during the holiday period and the inevitable road travel chaos. On the Tuesday, BA management finally announced the return of a full flight passenger schedule but warned that it would take some time to reunite passengers with their baggage.
During March 2017 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
12 03 17 Penelope Demetrious
01 03 17 John Walter Turner – Service in Church and Cremation at Parndon Wood
20 03 17 Rita Smith – Service in Church and Cremation at Parndon Wood
SUMMARY FOR THE MONTH
At the beginning of the month, cool an almost wintry weather persisted, local businessman Chris Whitbread, Conservative, was elected as a member of the ECC, and the Northeast London Transport Society held a popular bazaar in the TBVH with elderly ex London Transport buses providing local rides from the car park. The Theydon Art Group held its 56th Exhibition in the THVH with 137 works by 29 artists on view, and a serious breakdown of the computer systems in local hospitals resulted in the cancellation of operations and severe delays in consultations. The TBWI was set to continue for another year now that the principal offices were filled and the TB Short Mat Bowls Club held its anniversary lunch. The month ended with an appalling bomb incident in the Manchester Arena with 22 people killed and 59 injured - many being women and children attending a "pop concert" and, in direct contrast St Mary’s Church held a successful Flower Festival over the Bank Holiday Weekend. But a May “sting in the tail” was the complete computer breakdown at British Airways, with global implications, which ruined many holidays and resulted in much misplaced luggage .It was hoped that these events were not a bad omen for the General Election due to be held early next month.
THE PAST MONTH IN THEYDON BOIS
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING APRIL 2017 AND WHICH WERE RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS, THE THEYDON BOIS LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER.
On a bright April evening, the Theydon Bois Singers commenced their 2017 season with an ambitious performance of Handel’s Messiah. Thirty seven singers under their conductor Lawrence Tatnall gave more than justice to the New Novella Choral Edition (Shaw) version of this great work in which they were joined by soloists Frances Childers - soprano, Rebecca Leggett - mezzo soprano, Guy Elliot - tenor and Simon Tatnall - bass. Paul Chilvers was the hard working piano accompanist. During the interval, the large audience enjoyed light refreshments and the use of a bar, which provided the icing on the evening's musical cake.
A premature burst of summer arrived early when the local temperature reached plus 23 degrees C for one day only! A sudden drop of 10 degrees the next day brought warm clothing out again and a return to early spring. A cold drying wind was also back to continue the drought conditions which were beginning to affect gardens and the countryside in general. But the fine weather brought tragedy locally when Ernie Payne of Hatfield was killed on the B179 near the Village when a white/black Lambretta scooter collided with a silver Chrysler vehicle and a Black BMW.
Some 51,000 young people in the UK, many them girls were reported to be unable to join the Scout movement due to a growing lack of adult leaders. Reasons given for this problem were volunteers being unable to give the necessary time, the improved child protection procedures now in force and the distraction for adults of other interest and commitments of modern life. The Chief Scout Bear Grylls said “Our challenge is to keep recruiting even more adults-volunteering changes us all for the better –so please join me". There are currently some 154,000 adult volunteers with the movement including youth workers, charity trustees and activity instructors; but an estimated 17,000 more were needed.
A Business Fair organised by the Epping Chamber of Commerce was held in the TBVH. The function was formally opened by Eleanor Laing, the MP for
Epping Forest who is a Deputy Speaker at the House of Commons and also a Patron of the Chamber of Commerce, which she praised for organizing the event. She also added; “It was very important not just to have individual businesses thriving but to bring them together to exchange ideas”. The Fair comprised a number of stands for businesses to present and promote their products; a number of business gave related demonstrations, and seminars were held during the day. A local business, the Queen Victoria Public House, provided light refreshments.
The Easter Weekend began with dry but cold weather which deterred many from following outdoor activities. The usual Easter Services were held at St Mary’s’ and the Baptist Churches. On Good Friday, both Churches combined in a Walk of Witness from the Baptist Church along the Village Green to the Village shopping area where a short service was held.
The Mayor of London pledged support for London’s Pubs which are slowly declining at a rate of 27 each week. Indian restaurants were also declining similarly possibly due to changes in the capital's immigrant population. Twenty years ago there were four pubs in the Village, the Bull, Queen Victoria, Railway and Sixteen String Jack; residential development now occupies the site of the Railway, and the Sixteen String Jack is closed and due to suffer the same fate; however the remaining two pubs are popular venues, possibly due to the restaurant facilities provided. However the Belgique, a continental style coffee shop, is busy as it caters for the current “coffee shop clientele”, small families with young children and provides snack type meals at reasonable prices.
With the local County Council elections due on the 4th May, political candidates and party workers least expected the "political bolt from the blue "when Prime Minister Theresa May announced a snap National Election for the following 8th June. The reasons cited for her decision was that she needed a strong hand of a parliamentary majority in order to defeat the opposition parties which had threatened to jeopardize the Brexit process. She had previously promised that such an election would not take place before 2000, but waiting another three years for this to happen would cause uncertainty and instability, just as the country should be preparing to seize the opportunities which lie ahead. The Labour opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said that he welcomed the decision to hold an election while the Liberal Democrat Leader Tim Farron said it was a chance to avoid a disastrous "Hard Brexit". Epping Forest MP Eleanor Laing was very pleased as the decision was the right way to provided stability for the country
following the EU Referendum. Nicola Sturgeon leader of the Scottish Nationalists claimed that the PM had made a huge political miscalculation as the election would help strengthen the case for a second Scottish Independence referendum. Later that day, the PM’s decision was approved by the House of Commons.
The majority of mankind, especially those embroiled in the current political situations, were possibly blissfully unaware of a cosmic threat to civilization when Asteroid JO25 passed the Earth by just a million miles at a speed of 73,000 mph. This was an astronomical near miss with an asteroid some 1400 feet high and so nicknamed “The Rock” after the Rock of Gibraltar. This the closest an asteroid had passed in the last 13 years; its impact could have caused significant damage and wiped out certain species, as with the dinosaurs some 66 million years ago. Near the end of the month, Spring almost literally flew out of the window when a strong depression brought Arctic winds down from the north country where there were significant snowfalls. The daytime temperature in the Village hovered just above freezing and spring blooms began to suffer. However a brighter aspect were the wintry (April) showers which broke the long dry spell; but substantial rainfall was still needed to help the countryside and farming to recover generally.
In mid month, the first rail - goods service from the UK to China left the freight terminal in Stanford Le Hope, Essex, hauled by a Chinese DP Locomotive. Bound for the Zhejiang province in Eastern China, the train would take 17 days to complete the 7,500 mile journey passing through the Channel Tunnel and seven other countries before its planned arrival on April 27. The train carried thirty containers of British goods, which included soft drinks, vitamins and baby products. This departure was the first of a planned regular service which established a new and overland trading link between the two countries.
The sixth and last of the Lent Soup Lunches organised by the St Mary’s Church was a great success with many "diners" crowding into the Church Hall to enjoy this “lunch of lunches”. It was announced that a total £2,000 had been raised for charities by these six lunches, and a total of £3,000 during the similar period during the previous year.
The speakers at the April meeting of the St Mary’s Mothers’ Union in the Church Hall were Diana and Hugh Meteyard who gave an interesting account of trekking in North Vietnam.
Police in nearby Loughton seized four motorcycles following complaints about excessive noise and the antisocial behaviour of riders who drive dangerously (perform wheelies) in built up areas. The following day seven motorcycles were also seized in neighbouring North Weald in a police trap set to deal with similar bad driving. Speed traps elsewhere in the District also caught 97 speeding drivers.
During February the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
12 02 17 Ellis Adam Frederick Muretti and Damien Ricardo Muretti
15 02 17 Lauren Tanya Muretti
23 02 17 Edward Samuel Markham – Cremation at Parndon Wood
Burial of Ashes
21 02 17 Leonard Charles Pearce and Jasmine Audrey Isobel Joan Pearce
27 02 17 Bessie Evelyn Mott at Loughton Cemetery
SUMMARY FOR THE MONTH
Early April began with a one day spell of “hot” weather (23 degrees C), the Theydon Singers commenced their year with a concert including an ambitious performance of Handel’s Messiah, the police confiscated a number of motor cycles following complaints of excessive noise and dangerous driving, a scooter rider died in an unrelated road accident near the Village, 97 road users were caught speeding and the first Chinese/UK rail goods service departed from S.E. Essex. It was reported that some 51,000 young people, many of them girls, were unable to join the Scout movement due to lack of qualified leaders, Epping Chamber of Commerce held a Business Fair in the TBVH, the 2017 St Mary’s Lent Soup Lunches concluded with some £2,000 raised for charity, and Easter Weekend was
cold and wet but did not prevent the combined churches holding their Walk of Witness and service in the Village. Political parties preparing for the local elections in early May were set a double task when the PM announced a national "snap election" for June 8 next, the Earth experienced a near miss of only a million miles with an Asteroid passing at 73,000 mph and the weather finally reverted to normal at the end of the month with heavy April showers.
THE PAST MONTH IN THEYDON BOIS
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING MARCH 2017 AND WHICH WERE RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS, THE THEYDON BOIS LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER.
A report by the RAC road vehicle recovery organisation claimed that some 3,200 road bridges in Britain were not in an adequate condition to support the heaviest lorries now in use, which can weigh up to 44 tons. This number of sub standard bridges had increased by 36% in the last two years and this was due the lack of maintenance. An estimated £3.9 billion was required to finance this work but local councils were only spending one eighth of that sum per year. The small bridge at Abridge on the road to Theydon Bois was now seeing a substantial increase in road traffic.
The political fallout over the 2017 Budget delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 07 03 17, continued, over two major issues. The first was the increase in National Insurance contributions which was contrary to the election promises made by the Conservative government, and which was promptly "dropped” the following day at the direction of the Prime Minister. The second was an increase in taxation for the self employed which was also subject to strong opposition by government back benchers and was consequently, a week later, also overruled by the Prime Minister.
Underground trains which run in tunnels beneath residential areas can cause some disturbance through vibration and possible noise. This was not always evident during the day due to other existing influences. However, with the recently introduced night time services, train disturbance had became more pronounced especially in the quiet small hours and resulting in sleep disturbance. Transport for London advised that modifications to rail tracks were being carried out to deal with the problem. Central Line night services to the Epping Forest District progress no further than Loughton so Villagers were unaffected by this problem.
The “Third Week In August”, the current production by the Theydon Bois Drama Society was staged in the TBVH to audiences comprising regular supporters and others enjoying a pleasant social occasion. Playwright Peter Gordon, could have derived the plot from the “carry on” comedy
productions which were popular in the sixties. Sue (played by Kass Allen) decides to get away from everybody on a solo caravan holiday but little realises that she has booked into a remote and run down site from hell. She is taken under the wing of an expert but inadequate caravanner Neville (Bernie Pavely) who is often at odds with his wife Mary (Angie Becket - Franks) or else trying to cope with his recently separated sister in law Liz (Gill Newly). This culminates in an unsuccessful barbecue with sausages being thrown around. The production was directed by Suzie Correya backed by the usual ”army” of willing back stage workers, and was presented by special arrangement with Josef Weinberger Plays.
The sale of a “tiny house” (cottage) in London’s Chelsea typified the acute housing shortage and desperation of those seeking a home. The property sold for £713,823, nearly £100,000 more than the asking price and was in need of complete renovation. Despite being only 23 sq meters (250 sq ft) in size, it contained a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen and a reception area.
The 21st of March (the historical Spring Equinox) brought only cold and gloomy weather to the local area which was not surprising as wintry weather was expected to move south from a frosty and snowy North of England. The previous days had been bright with increasing warm sunshine which had encouraged some spring flowers and plants to display their bright colours despite the random and cold winds blowing. March was known for being a “treacherous weather month” and some were therefore taking short holiday breaks to seek warmer climes.
Reverberations continued in the aftermath of a believed terrorist incident outside the Palace of Westminster on Wednesday 22nd March 2017. Khalid Masood, a British born and violent criminal converted to Islam, drove a car at high speed along the pavement of Westminster Bridge mowing down pedestrians and then crashing into the railings of the Palace of Westminster where Parliament was sitting. He then ran through the foot entrance, stabbed the unarmed police office on duty and was finally shot by armed police officers before he could enter the building. In the short period of thirty seconds three people were dead and twenty six injured, several seriously. Despite recriminations from some quarters there appeared to be general agreement that the response by the essential services was immediate and highly efficient. Marches and rallies in support of those affected were held in central London at Trafalgar Square and elsewhere. A week later (29 March) at the exact time of the incident, a formal tribute was held on a traffic - free Westminster Bridge attended by representatives of the police, ambulance and hospital services and those associated with the victims.
Britain’s formal exit from the European Union (EU) was triggered by the signing of Article 50 by the Prime Minister (PM). Problems immediately surfaced when France and Germany refused to begin trade talks before the UK had agreed to pay a “Brexit Divorce Bill”, and the PM threatened to consequently withdraw cooperation with the EU on security. But already the government was beginning to transfer into UK law thousands of EU laws, ranging from workers rights to the environment. It also announced that a Great Repeal Bill would allow the UK Parliament, Welsh, Scottish and North Ireland administrations to scrap, amend or improve laws. The jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice would also end.
The first of the 2017 annual Lent Soup Lunches was held in St Mary’s Church Hall. A choice of nine soups was available together with a homemade sweet course and coffee, for the sum of £7.50. The Hall was full for this first Lunch, organized by the ladies of the Church in support of the “Fair Trade “charity.
A new twelve-sided one pound coin came into circulation. The coin embodied a hidden security feature making it difficult to counterfeit when electronically scanned, being counted or used as payment. Other features included an image that functioned as a hologram, and micronized lettering inside both rims. The coin was also believed to contain other particularly unique features not disclosed by the Royal Mint.
The Marine Conservation Society downgraded the Haddock in its Good Fish Guide to “sustainable fish to eat” after stocks in Scottish waters were reported to have fallen. But the Scottish Fisherman’s Federation insisted that haddock quotas had only been reduced in line with stock assessments, and stated “You can continue to buy your fish (and chips) supper without worrying whether there will be enough fish left in the sea”.
Skin creams containing a paraffin base had been found to cause a number of deaths from burning. At risk are people using creams for treating eczema and psoriasis etc who do not change clothing or bed linen on a regular basis,
and who could suffer burns or self ignition due to the paraffin soaking into the relevant material. Some products were found to contain up to !5% of paraffin and health authorities were requesting that these be marked with warning lables.
During January 2017 following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
22 01 17 Calum Daniel McCauley
18 01 17 Eric Roland Smith – Funeral in Church followed by Burial
19 01 17 Bessie Evelyn Mott – Memorial Service preceded by Cremation
24 01 17 Stephen William Michael Crouch – Cremation followed by Funeral Service
SUMMARY FOR THE MONTH
On a momentous 28th March Britain began its formal withdrawal from the EU. The government was forced into an embarrassing turnaround on the budget proposals to increase national insurance contributions and taxation on self-employment, and a terrorist driving a car along the pavement outside Parliament killed three people and injured 26 in just 30 seconds. The NHS cut back prescriptions for minor medications (aspirin), and users were warned that skin creams containing a high percentage of paraffin could self ignite clothing. The EFDC reassumed responsibility for the district’s 18 car parks, some 3200 road bridges in Britain were deemed inadequate for heavy vehicles and night running tube trains were disturbing the sleep of those near tracks or tube tunnels. Haddock was downgraded as a sustainable fish and the housing shortage was highlighted by the sale for £714,000 of a Chelsea mini house with only 239 square ground footage. The weather remained cold and gloomy brightened only by the emerging bright colours of the early spring flowers; but the St Mary’s Lent Soup Lunches began – a sure sign of approaching Easter.
THE PAST MONTH IN THEYDON BOIS
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING FEBRUARY 2017 AND WHICH WERE RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS, THE THEYDON BOIS LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER.
In early February, a four year old boy was hit by a car as he crossed Coppice Row near the Tesco store. A light blue Nissen Juke stopped briefly after the incident but drove away before the police could speak to the driver. The child was taken to hospital with a broken leg but his injuries were not believed to be life threatening. The Chigwell Roads - Policing Unit was seeking witnesses, or any other information, regarding the incident.
The EFDC was set to "freeze" the Council Tax Precept for the seventh year in succession. The average payment required from a Band D property was set to remain at £148.77 per month until at least April 2018.
A research organization reported that the incomes of pensioners, after housing costs, were now greater than those of working age people. The Resolution Foundation also said that pensioners were more likely than their predecessors to be working, own a home and have generous private pensions. Growth in pensioner incomes had now been coupled with a weak income growth for working age people. Pensioner households were now £29 a week better off than working - age households; but in 2001 the reverse applied when there was a minus £70 a week differential.
There was increasing concern about the proposed changes in business rates to be announced in the March UK Budget. High street trading was suffering because of the increase in electronic trading where consumers ordered goods direct instead of shopping from retailers. Consequently High Street trading was falling and shops were closing. An average increase of 40% in rates would close more businesses and the nature of high streets change radically. Large retail chains would also be affected. The Chief Executive o the Sainsbury Food giant called for “fundamental reforms” to the business rates system. He was quoted as saying that it was pegged to property valuations, was archaic and ignored the rise of online shops in out of town warehouses. The affect of the rate revaluations would be felt in April and business groups were already calling for help. The government’s response
was that the majority of business would pay the same amount, or less. But objections and concerns, from leading politicians and business organisations, continued to be expressed.
In mid month the UK enjoyed an early spell of spring weather and the warmest day of the year so far with some areas experiencing 18.3 degrees C: a mass of tropical Atlantic air blowing across the country was responsible. Higher temperatures for February had been recorded in the past but the 1978 record of 19.7 degrees was not reached.
Once again passengers using the Central Line at Theydon Bois were affected by travel disruption when drivers of the RMT Union went on a 24 hour strike in protest at the relocation of Tube train drivers; some other underground lines were also affected. A similar but unconnected strike by maintenance workers on the London Underground system over industrial relations was planned to take place later.
Investigations revealed that hospital services in nearly two thirds of England could be cut or scaled back. This would be part of a programme to radically change health services in forty four different areas, as a part of cost saving. Twenty eight proposals would affect hospital care from full closures to centralising and relocating services, such as A & E and stroke care, to fewer sites. NHS England contended that patients would receive better community care to compensate for hospital cuts.
Storm Doris struck the UK in the early hours in mid month and caused considerable disruption with 80 miles per hour wind gusts, heavy rain, flooding, snow, power cuts and general damage to town and country alike. The storm was unusual as the low atmospheric pressure resulted in spasmodic wind gusts of high intensity making local roads hazardous to negotiate; Epping High Road was blocked for a short time by fallen trees and the school Bus to St John’s School Epping was withdrawn. Several parked aircraft at North Weald Airfield were damaged, one severely. Fortunately, the storm was greatest in the north and midlands of the UK and the Village appeared to have escaped its worst affects.
The increasing and dangerous practice of vehicles parking in the busy Abridge Road just south of the rail bridge resulted in local and district councillors calling for action by the ECC Essex County Council) and the NEPP (North Essex Parking Partnership). The problem was being caused by rail commuters parking in a small lane and then onto the main road. It was later disclosed that the EFDC (Epping Forest District Council) had now taken back control of local off - street parking from the NEPP.
Brass Band enthusiasts, and especially local residents who had originated from the Redbridge area, enjoyed an evening concert in St John’s Church, Epping, given by the Redbridge Brass Band in Support of the Bloodwise Cancer Charity. Their “Big Band” performance featured the music of Glen Miller and others in a concert of some fourteen musical items which included favourites such as Moonlight Serenade, American Patrol and Pennsylvania 6 – 5 000, which had many in the audience tapping feet and reliving their youth. The band that evening comprised some twenty seven muscisans conducted by Jeremy Wise. The Band originated from the Redbridge Music School in the 1960s and some of the original pupils and members were playing in the Band that evening, so some friendships were rekindled afterwards when refreshments were served.
Police were called to a property in Coppice Row after reports that two males had made criminal threats to a person and demanded property. During the incident a moped was stolen, but had since been recovered. A 16 year youth from Loughton was arrested and police were now looking for another male. A number of recent burglaries in the Village and the increasing anti social behaviour in Epping High Street, which were attributed by some to the closure of the Epping police station, were also causing concern.
Forty one gun salutes were fired in London’s Green Park, and also in Cardiff, Edinburgh and York, to mark the Queen’s 65 years on the throne. She had now become the first British Monarch to reach a sapphire jubilee. The Queen became the UK’s longest - reigning monarch in 2015 when aged 89.
Closure of the Theydon Bois Women’s Institute was averted when members came forward to stand for office/committee at the Annual Meeting in April 2017.
Tumble dryers marketed under the brand names of Hotpoint, Creda and Indesit have been blamed for a number of fires including one in a London tower block. The manufacturers have advised millions of purchasers to unplug the dryers from the mains supply but have refused to issue a general safety recall of the product. Therefore more than 40,000 people have signed a parliamentary petition to force the Whirlpool organization to recall three million potentially dangerous machines; the government must respond to a petition containing more than 10,000 signatures.
During November and December 2016 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church:
20 11 16 Jeanette Lucy Hazel Davison
17 12 16 Steven Edward Shelly and Georgina Worboyes
SUMMARY FOR THE MONTH
In February, road traffic through the Village was increasing and possibly caused a pedestrian accident outside Tesco Express, the ECC became involved in the dangerous parking situation in the Abridge Road and commuters were affected by a drivers’ strike on the Central Line. Council tax was again frozen for the seventh year but there was grave concern about the pending increase in business rates, a survey claimed that pensioners incomes (after housing costs) were now greater than those in employment, closure of the TBWI was averted but closure of the Epping Police Station was attributed to increasing crime in both the Village and Epping, a possible re organisation of local hospital services was being considered, and residents were warned not to use certain makes of tumbler dryers due to possible fire hazards. The spring - like weather at the beginning of the month was replaced by a short but very strong Storm Doris whose exceptionally high winds and lashing rain brought fallen trees, flooded roads and dislocated transport. But gardens and birds sensed that spring had arrived - almost.
THE PAST MONTH IN THEYDON BOIS
THE FOLLOWING ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH TOOK PLACE IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING JANUARY 2017 AND WHICH WERE RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS, THE THEYDON BOIS LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER.
Villagers who were watching on TV saw the New Year celebrated well before midnight in other parts of the world, with recorded reports from New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Middle Eastern Countries. But the UK’s turn came as Big Ben struck midnight when a magnificent fireworks display exploded into the sky before an audience of some of tens of thousands in Central London. 12,000 fireworks from moored barges on the Thames complimented the centre piece of the London Eye in a glorious fifteen minutes display. Celebration parties in the Village joined in with their own displays to the accompaniment of Auld Lang Synge as 2016 faded into history.
The problems with overhead rail passenger rail services continued on from 2016 and to add insult to injury, the rail companies announced rail fare increases of 2.3% (1.9% for season tickets) from the beginning of this New Year. In early January the London Underground system was totally immobilised by ticket office staff , (who are members of the RMT and TSSA Unions) going “on strike” for 24 hours. This caused an almost total disruption of the London bus and overhead train services as commuters struggled to find alternative transport into London. Many used their motor vehicles so the road system, especially in Central London, became “clogged”; this was exacerbated by partial closure of the M25 Motorway due to a traffic incident.
For some time, concern has been expressed regarding the adverse affects of atmospheric pollution on the general population, especially that generated by motor vehicles during hot and fine weather conditions; under these conditions those suffering from pulmonary and cardiac conditions had often been warned to stay indoors and not travel to Central London where the health risk was high. The Village is particularly vulnerable to such pollution, with the M11 and M25 motorways in close proximity, and increasing road traffic in Coppice Row. However, dementia, a new element of risk has now
been revealed. According to a major study carried out by the medical journal Lancet, exposure to traffic pollution had been found to increase the risk of dementia by up to 12%. In mid month, the first air pollution alerts in Central London introduced in August 2016 were posted on bus stops, tube stations and prominently at roadsides.
Wintry weather in the north arrived overnight in midmonth and continued into the morning leaving a layer of snow on top of a frozen ground. Flood warnings of high spring tides on the East Anglican coast prompted the evacuation of people from Yarmouth down to Jaywick near Clacton, and here flood relief centres were occupied by local residents as a precaution. A change in wind direction diverted the storm surge away from the coast and averted any major flooding.
During the previous days, nearly half the hospitals in England declared major alerts as the National Health Service (NHS) winter crisis continued to increase especially in the Accident and Emergency (A&E) Units. Due to an acute shortage of beds, patients were being accommodated in hospital corridors and also the ambulances which had brought them to the hospital. In some areas, local GPs were called in to make preliminary diagnoses and treat patients, if necessary, to avoid the need to admit them. Reasons given for the crisis included the continuing increase in the population (especially with the elderly), and overloads at GPs' surgeries where time lapses of four weeks between requesting and seeing a doctor were now common place.
The three day production of Noel Coward’s comic play Blithe Spirit staged by the Theydon Bois Drama Society in the TBVH was a great success. The play was based on the intention of the socialite and novelist Charles Condomine (played by Paul Daynes) who invited the eccentric medium and clairvoyant, Madam Arcati (Sue Seward), to his house to conduct a séance in order to gather material for his next book; his scheme backfires when the ghost of his first wife, Alvira, materialises. Within earshot of his two wives, Charles announces that he is going on a long holiday to escape them and flees the house through a barrage of their poltergeist activity including a near miss from a falling chandelier. All the cast received wide applause from the audience. The production was directed by Simon Gilbert and presented by special arrangement with Samuel French Ltd.
Concern was growing over the structural changes being made to the old primary school building in Coppice Row. This had been used for business purposes for some years and then as residential accommodation. An
application for its change to two separate residences had been previously rejected by the local authority. Currently, internal redevelopment was taking place with the upper sections of the structure being modified to increase living space. However, it was reported that sections of the walls had now collapsed and a substantial part of the building demolished. It was feared that this could be another situation where "unintended demolition" could result in the loss of a building and its replacement by a new development. The local planning authority was investigating the situation and it was hoped that the building could be returned to its previous state.
Scientific research into the problem of “getting to sleep” at night time established that modern life was one reason. The distraction of light from electronic devices and electrically lit homes could also affect sleep quality and duration. A suggested solution was to live outdoors and sleep under the stars for a short period, as this can shift the body’s internal clock by some 2.5 hours so that the individual became sleepier earlier in the evening; it was thought that the absence of sunlight and artificial illumination accelerates this shift.
A unique “railway first” was the arrival in London, at Barking Freight Depot, of the East Wind a Chinese freight train from the City of Yiwu on China’s East Coast. The journey had taken 18 days over a distance of 7,500 miles (12,000 km), based on the historic overland Silk Road to Europe. The freight carried comprised 34 containers of clothing and high street goods and would be carrying British exports on the return to China.
The “women shopping in pyjamas” activity emerged once again when a Tesco supermarket manager (not in Theydon Bois) was given permission to eject from his store women so attired. Customers had complained about feeling uncomfortable when seeing other shoppers wearing unsuitable clothing in stores. This behaviour caused considerable controversy in 2010 when a Cardiff store adopted a complete ban on “pyjama shopping”; and a school headmaster wrote to parents asking mothers not to come to the school clad in dressing gowns and carpet slippers.
During October and November 2016 the following entries were made in the registers of St Mary’s Church
20 11 16 Jeanette Lucy Hazel Dawson & Joely Jay Minnis
12 10 16 Joan Whitmarsh
SUMMARY FOR THE MONTH
January began with the usual New Year celebrations but backed by increased police vigilance in London, fog alerts were issued in Central London due to high atmospheric and traffic pollution, the latter possibly being linked with dementia, hospitals were once again at maximum capacity due to winter illness and the now common - place four week waiting period for a Doctor’s appointment, the number of unwanted dogs possibly given as Christmas presents was up by 24%, the TB Drama Society’s production Blithe Spirit was a popular success, concern was expressed regarding structural changes to the Old Village School and a goods train from Eastern China rolled into nearby Stratford heralding a new (rail) link with the Far East. The weather was very cold which probably quickly ended the re - emergence (not in the Village) of women shopping in their pajamas and scientists advised that sleeplessness could be combated by sleeping outdoors – but preferably not during the English winter!
Earlier (2016) Months
Last Updated: 4th January 2018