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Construction hitches leave Park Way behind schedule in 2009, while locals gather at their village pub a century earlier

Old Memories Revived: A look back at the NWN archives

The old village pub. Although their numbers are gradually declining, they have been part of country life for centuries.
They were – and still are in many cases – the hub of the local community and the place for a well-earned break.
This week’s old picture shows a fair few locals standing outside the Royal Oak in Yattendon in 1905.

150 years ago - September 23, 1869

There is a general impression that after-dinner speeches are as a rule more remarkable for cordiality and good feeling than for learned argument and sound logic, and that they abound more in complementary allusions and jovial humour than in studied eloquence or scientific instruction.
But on no less than four successive Wednesdays, agricultural shows and ploughing matches have been held in the neighbourhood, and on all occasions addresses have been delivered by the gentlemen presiding, full of sound advice to many present, and touching upon various topics of special interest to the agricultural population.

125 years ago - September 27, 1894

The troubles of mistresses in seeking a new servant are manifold, but they are likely to be multiplied if the following experience of a correspondent is to be repeated.
The lady advertised in the NWN for a domestic, an appeal which invariably results in a host of applicants.
Among them on this occasion was a delicate little girl, who like the patent medicine, was equal to any emergency.
She was told that she would not be strong enough for the work required, but was so persistent in her assertions that at last the good lady said she would let her know if she considered her suitable.
She sent an answer in the negative in two days, and thought it was all settled.
Judge her surprise by the next post to receive an angry letter from the girl’s father demanding a month’s wages and the price of a conveyance hired to convey her to the house.
A County Court summons was threatened unless the money was received by return, but this has not yet arrived.

100 years ago - September 25, 1919

The Town Council have committed themselves to the principle that the most suitable form of a Peace Memorial shall be a town hall, and we must be content to wait until conditions are more favourable to carrying out the proposal.
The most urgent necessity is the provision of housing accommodation and attention must be concentrated on this.
The council are pushing forward with their scheme, in the face of departmental lethargy, and it has to be carried through in spite of obstacles.
This will involve sufficient financial responsibility for the present.
A properly equipped town hall must be provided, sooner or later.
It is only a question of waiting for the time when it can be undertaken without imposing undue burden on the ratepayers, who are finding increasing demands quite as heavy as they can meet.
At any rate, the acquisition of Somerset House can be regarded as a wise municipal enterprise, and although there is no official intimation that the purchase has been approved by the higher powers there can be little doubt that it will be.
Without any extra expenditure this can be converted into a Peace Park, providing a pleasant resort for the townspeople when spring and summer come round once again.
It may be found possible to set up some form of memorial in the grounds in honour of the brave Newbury men who fell in the great struggle.

75 years ago - September 28, 1944

The item of news which will be read most this week is that which deals with the town’s welcome and welfare proposals for the Service men and women when the time comes for their return to their homes.
The idea came first from a committee which had gone into the matter, but upon it being put to them that it was a subject which concerned the town as a whole they approached the Mayor to call a meeting.
This was held on Monday evening at the Council Chamber, and although it was at a time not convenient to everybody, there was a thoroughly representative attendance, which adopted the suggestion of the Mayor that the discussion should be of an
informal and exploratory nature.
Many suggestions were put forward, and a start was made by the appointment of a strong general committee.

50 years ago - October 2, 1969

Fine new industrial premises in Smitham Bridge Road, Hungerford, which were started at Easter for the McLean Research Engineering Company Ltd, were completed in their first stage, including new offices, at the beginning of September.
On Saturday, Mr Alec McLean, head of the company, invited about 100 special guests, customers and other visitors associated with the project to an ‘open day’ to launch the firm’s new programme.
They included the Constable, Mr John Pallett; District Council Chairman, Major JWB Cole, and Mrs RD Kennedy, parish council chairman.
It is indeed a personal triumph for Mr McLean, who for 19 years – after an apprenticeship with the Coventry Gauge and Tool Company – was at the Atomic Energy Research Establishment working as a technical engineer.
Just over four years ago Mr McLean gave up his job and with a few shillings registered his own Company to manufacture
‘planetary swaging’ used by the Atomic Energy Authorities.
With a few pounds borrowed from his friends, he bought a machine and worked by himself in an old condemned house in Newbury behind Bartholomew Street.
He was able to buy a small workshop in a former builder’s yard in the Hungerford High Street and Mr McLean moved there with one employee in May 1965.
From then on he has never looked back.

25 years ago - September 29, 1994

Five-year-old Jamie Masters knew just what to do when his Scalextric set overheated – he dialled 999 and asked for the fire service.
Jamie’s mum, Mrs Debbie Masters, was hanging out the washing near their first-floor flat in Paddock Road, Newbury, when the drama began on Monday morning.
A puff of smoke from the Scalextric handset Jamie was holding sent him running for the telephone.
Mrs Masters said “When I came in, he told me about the smoke, but I could not see any and I just unplugged it.
“He told me he had called the fire brigade, but I wasn’t sure he had done it properly.
“He obviously had, because within five minutes a fire engine turned up. The firemen said Jamie had done the right thing.”
Sub officer Les O’Rourke, from Newbury fire station, agreed Jamie had done well.
“He had been playing with his Scalextric and it looks like the transformer overheated and a little bit of smoke came out.
“When he could not see his mum, he dialled 999. He did not actually give us his address, but making the call was enough. We congratulated him for doing the right thing. It is always best to be safe.”

10 years ago - September 24, 2009

Newbury’s Park Way development will open six months later than planned after construction problems caused it to slip behind schedule.
Financial backer Standard Life Investments (SLI) announced a revised opening date of spring 2011, instead of autumn next year, for the multi-million pound shopping and residential complex.
It added that, following various delays resulting from problems during the initial phases of construction, the programme had started to fall behind schedule.
At the same time, it said that the recession was stopping retailers from committing to taking on units in Park Way, as well as unsettling the residential market.
However, SLI said it believed the revised opening date would have a positive impact on the calibre of the retail lettings and residential sales.
The company said: “There has been a lot of interest from retailers who want to be part of Park Way, but many of the best operators are not able to take on new space at the moment.
“Postponing the opening will help to ensure Newbury gets a high-quality shopping centre which will enhance the town’s retail offer and establish Newbury as a major retail destination.”

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