Thu, 12 Jul 2018
How times change! This picture, taken from the top of St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church tower, shows the works being prepared for the new roundabout junction with the relief road in 1962. Hardly a car to be seen.
But move on 56 years and the Robin Hood roundabout is the busiest traffic spot in Newbury.
150 years ago - July 2 1868
Blue Gown’s victories were celebrated on Cannon-heath, Kingsclere, yesterday, with great rejoicings, the chief feature of which was a sumptuous entertainment provided by Sire Joseph Hawley and Mr Porter, and partaken of by more than 100 of the principal residents in the parish.
Mr Porter presided, and Mr John Wells, who rode Blue Gown to victory in the Ascot Gold Cup, occupied the vice-chair.
The healths of Sir Jos Hawley, Mr Porter, Mr Wells, Mr Tweed, the Stud Groom, etc, were cordially drunk, and the mention of Blue Gown was followed by loud cheers. The remainder of the day was spent in sports of a rustic character.
125 years ago - July 6 1893
Before the Mayor (A Jackson, Esq), JP Jackson, JF Hickman and HJ Midwinter, Esqs, at Borough Police Court on Friday was James Thwaites, a soldier charged with being drunk on the highway, on the 29th June.
Defendant pleaded guilty.
Mr Perry, the landlord of the “Railway Tavern”, said on the previous night about half past eleven he heard somebody in one of the bedrooms, and on going upstairs he found the defendant in bed.
He sent for the police and detained the defendant. PC Holliday said he was sent for and took the defendant into custody. He was not drunk, and was very quiet.
Supt. Bennett complained of the conduct of the soldiers at the “Railway Hotel,” and Mr Perry said he was not always able to get them quite out by eleven o’clock, as he did not want to be always sending for the police.
The Mayor said it was mistaken kindness on Mr Perry’s part, and he promised to see that the house was closed at the proper hours in future.
100 years ago - July 4 1918
Mr Ed Gaskin, who completed his 75th year on Wednesday, June 26, celebrated the event by a long bicycle ride from his home in Firacres-road, Oxford, to Witney, Northleach, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Tewkesbury and a mile further on to see the picturesque iron bridge over the Severn, built by Telford, the great Scottish engineer in 1824, then back to Cheltenham, and had the delight of seeing his old College of St Paul with its splendid new chapel, and then home by the way he went.
Cycling over the glorious Cotswolds Hills is not an easy matter, but Mr. Gaskin accomplished the feat without excessive fatigue.
Mr Gaskin’s only beverage since the rationing of sugar, is water as it comes from the tap, which is quite sufficient to keep him in the prime of life and in splendid health and vigour.
His birthday spin this year totalled 118 miles for the day.
50 years ago - July 4 1968
Two small kittens, not old enough to feed themselves, were abandoned in a box on the doorstep of the bird sanctuary alongside St. Nicolas Church, Newbury, on Monday. They were found by Mr and Mrs LH Veness, who run the
sanctuary when they came home from a day out on Monday. RSPCA Inspector Brian Sanders collected the kittens on Tuesday and took them to someone who will care for them until they are old enough to go to good homes.
25 years ago - July 8 1993
Heritage minister Mr Peter Brooke has been asked to help save Newbury’s crumbling Elizabethan mansion, Shaw House.
Last Friday, Newbury MP, Mr David Rendel, asked the minister what funds are available for repairing heritage buildings owned by country councils.
The question seeks to find government money for Shaw House, which cost Berkshire County Council £40,000 in maintenance funds last year.
Mr Rendel said “It’s not fair that this should be a charge on education funding.
“I want to find out if there are any sources of funds available, other than straight education funds.”
During the Newbury by-election campaign two months ago, Conservative candidate, Mr Julian Davidson, had pledged that, if elected, he would bring the heritage minister to look at Shaw House and ask what could be done.
Mr Rendel said he was unaware of his rival’s pledge, but said “I should be delighted to see the heritage minister down here.
“However, it’s important to find out if there are funds available in the first place.”
During the by-election campaign, Mr Rendel spoke to staff at Shaw House School, housed in temporary classrooms in the shadow of the mansion.
In May, the school’s headmaster, Mr Mike McLeod, said he would press Mr Rendel for action. Mr McLeod has warned that while the building is unoccupied, it will continue to deteriorate.
10 years ago - July 3 2008
A high speed train packed with local commuters passed through a red danger signal, the Newbury Weekly News can reveal.
The incident, which happened at 7am on Friday, between Newbury and Hungerford, involved the First Great Western (FGW) service from Frome in Somerset to London Paddington.
Subsequent drink and drug tests on the driver are understood to have proved negative. An investigation is now under way.
An FGW spokesman confirmed: “An internal inquiry has been launched into an incident in which a train passed through a stop signal.
“The train was allowed to continue from Hungerford to Newbury but we take such incidents, which are extremely rare, very seriously.
“The train was required to stop because of reports of a cow on the line. Cows can do serious damage to trains.
“There is a system which kicks in if a signal is passed at danger, but the driver realised his error and applied the brakes himself."
A high speed train travelling at 125mph can take up to two miles to come to a halt but, in this instance, said the FGW spokesman, it was travelling slowly between stations.
A signal passed at danger (SPAD) was a contributory factor in the 1999 Ladbroke Grove, Paddington rail crash in which 31 people died and more than 400 were injured.
Bereavement counsellor Dr Liz Capewell, co-ordinator of the Ufton Nervet Train Crash Network, said: “The Ufton Nervet tragedy (on November 6, 2004, in which seven people died after motorist Brian Drysdale took his own life by parking on the level crossing) is still raw for many commuters.
“Incidents such as this do nothing to restore public confidence in local people’s minds.”