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THE PAST MONTH IN THEYDON BOIS

APRIL 2003

HERE ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH OCCURRED IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING APRIL 2003 AND WHICH HAVE BEEN RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS THE LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER FOR THEYDON BOIS.

Class 5W at the Theydon Bois Primary School took part in the Passport Reading Scheme organised by the Epping Guardian newspaper. The children were tasked to read each weekly edition of the newspaper for ten weeks and to complete set assignments designed to help develop their aptitudes for reading, writing and mathematics. On completion of the task, a group photograph of the Class was published in the newspaper and each pupil received a personal certificate of participation.

At a recent meeting of the Theydon Bois Community Safety Group, set up two years ago, it was reported that the village was one of the foremost Essex villages which promoted community safety. Chairman David White of the Burglary Action Sub-group reported that Theydon Bois was a very safe place to live. He also reported on the action which had been taken to deal with burglary by the circulation to every household of a leaflet giving advice on making homes more secure. Margaret O’Connor from the Anti Social Behaviour Sub-group reported that retailers were following the licensing laws regarding the non-sale of alcohol to youths, and also regarding the co-operation of the London Transport police over anti social behaviour near the station.

The Jiving Lindy Hoppers, a high-tempo dance group, visited the Theydon Bois Primary School to work with pupils in dancing sessions including a variety of dance styles ranging from jive to jazz and including the “Lindy Hop”.

After much criticism regarding London Underground’s alternative travel bus arrangements for the village, a new service was introduced which ran from Theydon Bois station to Loughton station where the Central Line was now operating.

The audience at a musical evening in the village hall travelled down ”memory lane” with a variety of music, songs and comedy. This event was held to raise funds for the Haven House Hospice for children at Woodford Green.

The first of the 2003 monthly walks organised by the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society entitled “A Forest for the Future" took walkers through some four miles of Epping Forest. The Society’s Secretary, Peter Newton, organised the event.

The Epping Villages Team of Midwives based at St Margaret’s Hospital, Epping, celebrated its ninth anniversary. This dedicated team of six midwives provide an essential service of antenatal and postnatal care for local mothers as well as attending at the birth. Since its formation in 1994 its members have looked after some 3,000 patients in the district including Theydon Bois. In normal circumstances, the team replaced the doctor by dealing with the mother directly and Kathy Edwards - the Team Supervisor - explained that some 3% of women now elected to have home births, which was encouraging. However most local births took place at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow and where the team also attended the labour ward. It was rare for births to occur away from these areas although some babies have arrived in car parks and one birth recently occurred in Epping High Street.

The elaborate set created by the Theydon Bois Drama Society for its October 2002 production of the bitter sweet comedy drama “Steel Magnolias”, was once again in the news. Representatives from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA) had attended the production, were most impressed with the set and had nominated it for one of their awards. The set was built in two days and represented the interior of a ladies hairdressers with working sinks and hair dryers.

The Essex Federation Of Women’s Institutes staged a Gilbert and Sullivan evening in the TB village hall. The trio Perfect Harmony, comprising Pamela Baxter- Mezzo Soprano, Ralph Meanley – Baritone and David Mackie – piano, entertained the audience with numerous excerpts from the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas. Audience participation was encouraged and was particularly evident after the interval where glasses of wine had been served. The vocal renderings by the singers were both dramatic and of high quality, and the expert accompaniment provided by David Mackie gave a brilliant lustre to the overall performance

After several months’ absence, Central Line trains once again appeared at Theydon Bois station. It being a Saturday, there was little commuter traffic and the posting of a simple notice in a quiet station foyer announcing the resumption of the service so bringing to a close many weeks of frustration and angry protests from passengers. However, the Replacement Bus Service was to continue for a few weeks yet, until the rail service became fully re established. After urgent talks with Paul Godier, General Manager of London Underground, Eleanor Laing MP said she understood how annoying it was for people from our part of the world to see parts of the Central Line open, but not our section. London Underground were looking very carefully at the position of shopkeepers who hold their leases from London Underground and that they may be able to give them a rent holiday.

Twenty years to the day that he was admitted to hospital with cancer of the spine, Les Stevens, 56, of Woodford Green took part in the London marathon. Running on behalf of a local charity, the Theydon Bois Cancer Research UK. He took a little more time (5 hours) to fininsh compared with his previous run in 1994. Les, a retired school teacher, attributed this to advancing years but hoped to raise £1,000 for the charity and was more than satisfied to have completed the gruelling 22 mile course run over London’s streets.

The last in the 2003 series of Lent Soup Lunches was held in the St Mary’s Church Hall. A speciality which proved very popular was “cullen skink”, a Scottish soup with Haddock as the main ingredient. The proceeds from the event went to support Christian Aid Week.

The long established Theydon Bois Singers gave an evening Spring Concert in the village hall. The capacity audience enjoyed a performance of Mozart’s Coronation Mass in C and, after the interval and as a complete contrast, an abridged version of Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta Iolanthe. The soloists were Frances Cass –Soprano, Kirstie Mathieson – Contralto, Chris Joyce – Tenor and Gavin Cranmer-Moralee – Bass. Janet Cass gave a masterly performance as the concert conductor and Ellie Morrow was the hard working pianist who helped keep everything together

The Theydon Bois Short Mat Bowls Club advertised for new members. Having existed for nearly 20 years, the Club met regularly in the village hall; play took place throughout the day with morning and afternoon breaks for coffee and tea. Equipment, including woods, was provided free of charge and tuition was also available. The current secretary was Ted Norris on 01992 812104, who would be pleased to receive enquiries regarding membership.

Essex Environmental Awards made a grant of £13,000 towards the current work of underpinning the north wall of St Mary’s Church TB. This work was necessary prior to the construction of new vestry rooms and disabled facilities. Canon the Rev Colin Davis was delighted to receive a grant at this stage of the project, which was due for completion in November 2003 at a cost of £425,000.

It was revealed that Birch Hall, the home of village resident David Sullivan, was now worth fifteen million pounds. The Sunday Times national newspaper listed the building as one of the “Ten Fabulous Homes” in Britain; it was also placed 38th in a similar list published by the Sunday Express. The house contained an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, cinema, ten-pin bowling alley, and a corridor lined with trophies and memorabilia relating to Birmingham City Football Club of which Sullivan was the current Chairman.

Dr Chris Pond from the Loughton Historical Society was the speaker at the Theydon Bois Baptist Men’s Meeting. His subject was the Palace of Westminster where he was currently responsible for the administration of the reference library used by MPs and Lords. He gave a fascinating insight into the history of the building and the current function of the Houses of Commons and Lords. His talk was supported by many excellent photographic slides.

Each pupil at the Village Primary School received a copy of the Bible when by the Bible for Children organisation paid a recent visit as part of its scheme to advance the knowledge if Christianity in schools, and help with financial burden of buying books. Head Teacher Elspeth Bonds said “It’s exciting to be involved in this project and we know that every family will benefit from each child having a Bible. We intend to use the Bibles in the School”.

Theydon Bois Badminton Club was the organisers of a recent fashion show in the village hall. Spring outfits were modelled and supplied by Valerie’s of Sawbridgeworth, and Amy of Matching Green displayed hats for hire. The function raised £400 for Homestart, a local charity concerned with deprived families. £675 was also raised in support of the Theydon Bois Village Hall and brought to a total of £3,500, the amount raised by the Club for this purpose.

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PAST MONTH IN THEYDON BOIS

MARCH 2003

HERE ARE SOME OF THE EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH OCCURRED IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING MARCH 2003 AND WHICH HAVE BEEN RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS THE LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER FOR THEYDON BOIS.

Volunteers who turned out for a Saturday morning “litter pick” around the village collected some twenty large sacks of litter. Among the “rubbish” collected were wheel trims lost from passing motor vehicles and three badly damaged and abandoned road signs. The Chairman of the Theydon Bois Parish Council, John Eaton, said that the litter picks would now be held monthly by popular consent.

The village hall was packed to capacity for an "Elvis Presley" night of song and dance in support of the Playground At Theydon (PAT) charity. The younger members of the audience discovered the delights of the music of the sixties while those much older relived their dancing days. This support was boosted by the current problems of vandalism, which the Playground was experiencing, and more than £850 was raised towards the fund launched to finance the repair of the damage. The Chairman of PAT, Joy Wainwright, expressed her grateful thanks to all for their magnificent support.

At the February meeting of the Theydon Bois Wine Circle, President Alan Witts gave a re run of two slide presentations of holidays in England (1987) and France (1995). During the interval those attending sampled French food and wine.

Ronald Warren, the President of the Theydon Bois Rural Preservation Society, was cremated at Parndon Wood Crematorium in Harlow. He had died suddenly on 21 Feb 03, aged 86, having been in ill health for some time. However he continued to express a strong interest in the Society through which he had helped prevent unwelcome development in parts of TB and the surrounding area. More than 40 friends and family attended his cremation and these included representatives from many sections of the local community including the Parish Council.

The Theydon Bois WI celebrated Shrove Tuesday with a “Pancake Day” event in the village hall. Children from the Theydon Bois Primary School, suitably dressed as Victorian cooks, attended and competed with the ladies, led by President Peggy Cooke, at “tossing the pancake”. The children won hands down and returned to school victorious with each clutching an Easter Egg presented by the WI. The event raised a substantial sum for the Playground At Theydon charity.

The travelling difficulties experienced by the villagers, due to closure of the Central Line, were exacerbated by the proposed withdrawal of the 500 Sunday Bus service which linked the village with Harlow and Romford. This was due to the ECC subsidy for each passenger now exceeding £5, which was unacceptable. It was possible that another, existing, route could be extended to serve the village, but details were not known.

A Women’s Day of Pray was held in the Theydon Bois Baptist Church with the first lesson being read by Eleanor Laing, the Epping Forest MP. The Theydon team leader, Angela Walling, assisted by other church members led the service: Anne Barnes gave the sermon.

Parts of Theydon Bois, Theydon Mount, Passingford Bridge, Toot Hill and Stable ford Abbotts comprised the route for the early morning Sunday cycle race held by the Redbridge Cycling Club. The weather conditions were cold but sunny for the event; Trevor Bedon of Collier Row won in a time of 13 mins 26 secs and Steve Isgar of Loughton was second, his time being 26 mins 28 secs.

The first of the weekly Lent Soup Lunches was held in the St Mary’s Church Hall. The meals were prepared by the ladies of the church and comprised a variety of soups followed by a selection of dessert pies, tarts and coffee. The vicar, the Rev Canon Colin Travers, announced that the proceeds for each weekly event would be used to support the “Aquabox” organisation which provided emergency boxes containing water purifying agents to areas stricken by natural or man made disasters.

Subsequent to the death on 21 Jan 03 of Toby Delderfield who resided in Abridge Road TB, a man from Gidea Park near Romford was arrested and bailed by the police. Toby, 23, died after being struck by a Ford Transit van while walking in Abridge Road.

During the Second Weekly Lent Soup Lunch in St Mary’s Village Hall, the Rev Canon Colin Travis led those present in a fervent prayer for the victims of the Second Gulf War which had broken out in Iraq and for the short duration of this conflict. The proceeds for this lunch went to support the Manna Society, which administered to the homeless and long-term unemployed.

Two talented instrumentalists, Rachel Calaminus – viola and Rachael Buxton – piano, gave a performance of music by Bach, Hummel, Schubert, Schumann and Rebecca Clarke at the March Meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society. The audience gave the players a resounding ovation. but were disappointed because encores were not possible due to the necessary early departure of the artists because of the continuing closure of the London Underground Central Line.

The rebuilding of part of St Mary’s Church TB had commenced with the demolition of the vestry and cloakroom. However, this had revealed that further underpinng was necessary entailing further costs; the £425,000 already raised for this work would have to be increased.

The Central Line closure at TB continued although a service was now running between Bethnal Green and Woodford. Mysterious lights at night along the railway line this weekend revealed that the rail authorities had taken the opportunity to renew a mile long section of the track from TB Station back towards Debden. London Underground spokesman, Donai O’Reilly explained that there was a huge delay in repairing the trains; this entailed fitting 5,600 brackets and 11,200 bolts, which were designed off the drawing board and then manufactured. A typically frustrated commuter was Miles Foster, of The Weind TB, who had spent the last few weeks battling for many hours each day to make a round trip to Leytonstone to take his daughter to nursery and then proceed to his work in Westminster. To exacerbate his difficulties, the replacement bus from Epping to Stratford now ceased to call at the TB Station so entailing a further bus journey to Epping Station from where he then commenced his journeys, but using three replacement buses. He had protested strongly to London Underground about this, and the lack of information regarding the reopening of the line, without receiving any satisfactory response.

A special written “SOS – Save Our Shops” was circulated by the TBPC to all residents in the village. Despite contentions from some that commuters using the station contributed little to local business, the closure of the Central Line had resulted in a substantial loss to most of the village shops. Together with the current economic decline, this was adversely affecting trade so much that some shopkeepers were considering closure. Commuters forced to find new routes, and perhaps better parking facilities elsewhere, were unlikely to return to the village when the Line reopened. This general situation also brought into question the wisdom of discouraging commuter parking in the planned revised parking arrangements for the village

The owners of retail businesses in Forest Road TB complained collectively about their loss of business through the two-month closure of the Central line. Pravin Kheitya of the Bookshop, Eren Mustafa from Premier Valet Services, Debbie Rutland from Theydon Beauty and Darren Tonkin from the Market Garden were all furious that London Underground had not extended its now limited service to Epping; commuters were driving to other stations (eg. Chingford). Another trader, Mark Scrace from Quality and Excellence Butchers, said that his takings were down 40% while Beverly Miles who traded in Coppice Row as Venus Flowers said that the business was not doing well and “struggling”. The business owners were considering legal action to try and recover their lost earnings.

Peter Smith of Theydon Park Road TB claimed that the absence of commuters and subsequent loss of trade was directly due to the “stupid” bus system run by London Underground to convey London commuter to other stations. Those travelling from TB were first taken to Epping (away from London) before having to transfer to other busses taking them to stations nearer the metropolis. This could entail three separate bus journeys with a minimum of one hour’s extra travel.

The war in Iraq launched by the coalition forces of America and Britain to remove

the tyrannical dictator Sadaam Hussein, and now in its second week, began to affect the local populace. The Home Office had advised people to stock up with water and non-perishable food and goods in case of terrorist attack (as a result of the war). Consequently, supermarkets and stores across the district experienced heavy sales of these goods such that urgent restocking was necessary. This affect was not readily noticeable in TB but residents were known to be heeding the Government’s advice.

The Playground At Theydon (PAT) finally reopened at 10.00 and was immediately back in business with children enjoying the play facilities in this wonderful playground. During the previous week, the play equipment manufacturers had been repairing the damage caused by vandalism and misuse. The PAT Committee which runs the Playground had been hard at work in cleaning off the graffiti, levelling out the protective bark and clearing up the site generally. This charity had received financial help from many sources to help repair the damage and residents had monitored the site and informed the police of any incidents; consequently there were now regular police patrols in the area. The Central Line was finally reopened through London and out to Loughton. This considerably improved the travel situation for London commuters but the poor alternative bus arrangements for TB still applied.

James Skerrett, a former Royal Worcester Painter, gave a demonstration of china and porcelain painting in the TB Scout Hut in Loughton Lane. The occasion was the March meeting of the Loughton China and Porcelain Painters Club, which used the Hut as a regular venue.

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THE PAST MONTH IN THEYDON BOIS

February 2003

HERE ARE SOME OF THE MANY EVENTS, NOT NECESSARILY IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER, WHICH OCCURRED IN THE VILLAGE OF THEYDON BOIS DURING FEBRUARY 2003 AND WHICH HAVE BEEN RECORDED BY TREVOR ROBERTS THE LOCAL HISTORY RECORDER FOR THEYDON BOIS.

Peter Byatt of the Toybox Charity of Guatemala was the speaker at the February meeting of the Epping Forest U3A which was held in the Theydon Bois Village Hall. He gave a moving account of the living conditions of the homeless street children who inhabited the streets of Guatemala City. He explained how the charity worked with poor communities to break the cycle of poverty and prevent children from becoming homeless. His talk prompted a number of questions, some resulting in financial support for the charity.

Sarah Hannibal, 18, who lives in the village with her parents Liz and Mick and her sister Emma, 14, planned to spend three weeks in Uganda as part of the Guide Association’s Project Gold which entails training the country’s Guide leaders and setting up Brownie Packs. She will travel throughout most of the country during the rainy season and in temperatures of 25 degrees. A pupil at Bancroft’s School at Woodford, Sarah has a place at Oxford University and the trip will introduce her to different cultures, which could help her studies. The cost of the trip will be £2,000, raised through sponsorship.

Following complaints that the roads had not been gritted during the recent cold spells, the Epping Forest District Council Chief Executive, John Burgess, paid tribute to the teams which had battled to keep local roads open. All the seven main routes through the District (including the village) had been gritted three or four times at the height of the bad weather. Two gritting vehicles, with fitted snowploughs, had dealt with drifting snow in the country areas; digging vehicles had cleared snowdrifts up to four feet high elsewhere. However, it later emerged that a failure of the radio link between the gritting vehicles operating on the M11 and M25 motorways had resulted the lack of gritting on these routes and their subsequent closure.

The contractors refurbishing the main water supply in the village had installed safety fencing and warning lights around the work areas. However, in many cases, a group of mindless vandals in the village soon got to work by throwing both fencing and lights into the workings and also into the village pond. One incensed resident called for a return of the village police officer, and the personnel in the mobile police caravan received a number of complaints about this problem when it next called at the village on it's fortnightly visit.

At a recent meeting of the Theydon Bois Wine Circle at the village hall, Don Seaborne presented an excellent commercial tasting of German wines. Some of these wines, which included excellent reds, were purchased when on a trip to the Ahr Valley in Germany.

Members of the Theydon Masonic Lodge met in the held in the village hall to see the Immediate Past Master of the Lodge, Peter Lowe, present a cheque for £750 to the Rev Canon Colin Davis, the Vicar of St Mary’s Theydon Bois. This sum brought to a total of £1,000 the amount raised by the Lodge members in support of the Church Vestry Appeal. The Lodge had also contributed a further £1,000 to the appeal launched by the Essex Provincial Grand Lodge for Freemasons to help with the restoration of Chelmsford Cathedral.

The renowned Russian concert pianist, Yekaterina Lebedeva, gave a recital of music by Brahms, Tchaikovsky and Prokofiev at the February meeting of the Theydon Bois Music Society. Before playing each item, she gave a short description of the work and the background of the composer. Yekaterina graduated from the Kiev Conservatoire in 1993 and, after performing widely in Russia, moved to London to establish a European base from which she has played throughout Europe, and also regularly at the South Bank Centre in London.

It was announced that the Epping Rotary Club has raised over £6,100 with their Christmas 2002 charity collections in Theydon Bois, Epping, Epping Green and North Weald. This money would be used to support local charities.

Hard on the heels of the Essex County Council’s “Shaping the Future” document relating to widespread development across the Epping Forest District, came the announcement that the government also planned future development in this area. The Deputy Prime Minster, John Prescott, announced government proposals to develop the London to Stansted M11 Corridor, which would see the construction of 500,000 homes with many located in the Epping Forest District. Epping Forest MP, Eleanor Laing, said that John Prescott’s proposals would put the Green Belt land across the area under serious threat. The Epping Forest District Council feared that the District would disappear under a blanket of tarmac and concrete if the development plans went ahead in full. John Prescott had said that he would guarantee to maintain or increase Green Belt land in every region of England. Eleanor Laing's response was that she did not want to see a new bit of Green Belt designated in Colchester which was supposed to make up for a bit of Green Belt which was lost on the outskirts of Epping, Loughton or Waltham Abbey.

Jeremy Wisenfeld, the Superintendent of Epping Forest, which is managed by the Corporation of London acting as the Forest Conservators, commented regarding the Essex County Council’s plans for development across the Epping Forest District. He assured Eleanor Laing that the Forest would continue to be vigorously protected by the Corporation. Today, the Forest was under threat from increasing road traffic and air pollution, degradation of the landscape by inappropriate development, and anti social abuse. For these reasons the Corporation had been working hard to forge strong partnerships with the Epping Forest District Council, the Essex County Council and those London boroughs within whose boundaries a significant portion of the Forest lay. It would be foolish to believe that no development would ever take place in and around the Forest.
But, mindful of the importance of this unique landscape to the quality of life to the local community, the Corporation had been heartened by the sympathetic and supportive response from its partners. Nevertheless the Forest should not be taken for granted. The conservators knew that, should the Forest again come under threat (as in 1878) it would be the passion and commitment of local people, which would offer the Forest its greatest protection.

The Limes Medical Centre in Epping gave an assurance that it was not closing its sub surgery in the village. This sub surgery offered a minimum of three morning surgeries a week, provided practitioner nurse sessions, a travel clinic, physiotherapy, phlebotomy and diabetic clinics. A spokesman stated the surgery would continue these services in the village and, moreover, was working with the Epping Forest Primary Care Trust to obtain funding to increase them. The Epping High Street Surgery which had used the same village premises, withdrew its services last September and its practice manager Sue Surridge explained that this had been due to recruiting problems which left only two doctors to mann its three surgeries at Epping, Theydon Bois and North Weald. Patients from the village were welcome at the Epping surgery.

London Underground announced that a full service of the Central Line would not commence until the end of March 2003. An initial limited shuttle service was due to start on Thursday 20 Feb (a date not met) extending to a 50% service by mid March 2003. Meanwhile, travellers from the village continued to be conveyed by bus, indirectly, to either Chingford or Harlow for travel to London via the overhead system, a “trek” which increased journey times by up to one and one half-hours.

A Peugeot 206 motor vehicle, colour green and of W registration was stolen from outside a house in the Graylands area of the village where the owner had left it with the engine running. This type of opportunist crime was becoming commonplace, particularly when drivers were purchasing their morning paper or effecting a quick transaction at shops in the general area.

The recent approval by the Epping Forest District Council of a 14% increase in the authority’s share of the council tax bills, resulted in the resignation of the leader and deputy leader of the Council. Both were senior members of Conservative Party element in the council, which had proposed a lower 9.67% increase, reduced to 9.04% if councillors had agreed to freeze their basic allowance payments. The new rate adopted meant that householders with properties in the D Band, including the village, would have to meet an increase of £15.03 per month to a new figure of £122.23. Epping Forest Conservative MP Eleanor Laing said, “The resignations of both members from office were the right thing. This (the adopted increase) was not a trivial matter. For most householders in the Epping Forest District, the increase which the Labour and Liberal Democrats wanted, had been forced by the financial strategy of the Labour Government which had given Essex the worst settlement of any county in the whole of the UK and was a substantial amount because a lot of people paid the high band council tax. It was also a matter of principal because the Conservatives believed in low taxes”. A subsequent national survey revealed an average increase of 12.9% for D Band households in the South of England.

The proposal put forward by the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club for a football academy in Epping Lane, at nearby Abridge, was unanimously rejected by the Epping Forest District Council Development and Control Committee. After surveying the plans for 24 football pitches, a large central building, car parking and perimeter fencing, the Committee agreed that the impact on the environment and landscape would be unacceptable. It would also be a major intrusion in the green belt and create serious road traffic problems. Typical comments from local councillors regarding the proposal included “unacceptable, wholly inappropriate, overwhelming” and the rejection as “a triumph for local democracy”. Stephen Metcalfe, the Lambourne Councillor who campaigned against the proposal said he fully expected the Club to appeal. This action had not been confirmed but the campaigners had vowed to fight any appeal all the way. Tottenham Hotspur director Paul Kemsley said “We remain committed to developing a new football academy and we still think that the Epping Lane site is a very strong candidate”.

Ten years ago, the branch of Barclays Bank in the village closed for business. Despite representations made since that time to Barclays Bank and other finance houses, the village remained without this important financial facility and many residents were forced to go elsewhere for banking, eg. Epping and Loughton, and so deprived the local shops of business. Cash withdrawal facilities were now available from an electronic cash point located in the Quix newsagency in Forest Road, and the post office in the One Stop shop in Coppice Row provided limited banking facilities. However, the TESCO hypermarket chain had now acquired this shop and the Parish Council was discussing with TESCO the future of the post office. The Bank originally occupied a small building in Station Approach and then moved to new premises in Coppice Row in 1968. The site of the later building was verified when the frontage of the “Cinderella’s” bridal business in Coppice Row was removed to reveal the name Barclays Bank beautifully engraved across the stonework. Cinderella’s had now closed and the premises was being taken over by the Walker Blakely Kitchens organisation who would soon obscure the old name with their new shop front.

The local historian for Chipping Ongar, Dr Michael Leech, gave a presentation to a large audience at the February meeting of the Theydon Bois Mens' Forum. His subject was a short history of public health and “killer drains”, in particular, which were responsible for many deaths throughout the country, even as late as the beginning of the twentieth century. He explained how the population of Epping suffered from many water borne diseases, even cholera, in the middle of the nineteen century; and how the local Dr Clegg had campaigned for a proper water supply and sewage system for the town, against strong resistance from the local authorities. A fresh water supply eventually replaced the many wells and the famous Epping Water Tower was constructed as a part of this scheme.

Essex County Councillor Janet Whitehouse, a resident of the village, was one of several Liberal Democrats who visited Parliament recently to present a petition against post office closures. This document was signed by more than 1,000 people as part of the Liberal Democratic Party's nation wide campaign against the Government’s plans to close a third of the country’s urban post offices. With 12 such post offices in the Epping Forest District, it was feared that up to 4 could close if this policy was adopted locally.

Having entered the year on the back of a Siberian winter, February left in fine spring weather. Many trees were decked in blossom eg. in Elizabeth Drive, daffodils had begun to flower, birds were becoming more territorial and looking for nest sites and the grass was getting greener. The purr, whirr and grinding of many a lawn mower could now be heard earlier each year confirming that spring was also arriving early. Most farmers, horticulturists and gardeners accepted that the growing season was continuing to extend. Global warming was held to be the reason and those who disputed this could not deny that local rainfalls were now more intense and substantial. However expert opinion claimed that this was just another upturn in global weather patterns which had existed for many years, possibly before the arrival of man. Nevertheless, the opportunity to turn down the domestic heating and discard heavy outdoor clothing was as welcome as the flowers in May –but that month is still a long way off!

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Copyright 2003. Trevor Roberts, Local History Recorder.

 

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Last Up Dated: 22nd May 2003