Local History Society

 Memories - Christmas 1925




The Reading Mercury reported on the Christmas celebrations held in Arborfield in 1925, listing in great detail those who helped. At this time, there was no Village Hall, and so people met in the school hall, which was normally divided into two school rooms.

January 9th 1926


On the evening of New Year's Day a whist drive and dance, on behalf of the children's Christmas Party, was held at the schools, prizes for which were won as follows: - Ladies: 1. Mrs. W. T. Cox; 2. Mrs. Miles. Gentlemen: 1. Mr. Higgins; 2. Mr. R. Brean. Mystery, Miss M. Middleton; Mr. Kinch. Longest at one table, Mrs. Windsor; Mr. A. J. Bentley. Travelling, Mrs. A. J. Bentley; Mr. F. Middleton. The prizes were given by Mrs. Sturges, Miss Garland, Mrs. H Kent, Mrs. and Miss M. Middleton.

After refreshments, ably served by Mrs. Bentley and members of the committee (Mrs. Bune, Mrs. Kent and Mrs. Middleton), dancing continued till 2 a.m., and the proceedings were enlivened by toy balloons and paper streamers. The room had been tastefully decorated by Mr. W. Cox. Prizes for spot dances were won by Mr. Middleton and Mrs. G. M. Streater, Miss B. Cox and Mrs. Empson. The P'Knuts Dance Orchestra was in attendance. Mr. W. C. Grant made an efficient M.C.

Mr. W. J. Verrall thanked those present for their kind support. Those who helped in other ways were Mrs. Bune, Mrs. Barker, Mrs. Bayliss, Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Verrall, Mrs. H. Kent, Mrs. Hay, Mr. Grant and Mr. Naish.


The great event of the holidays - the Christmas party - took place at the schools on Monday, when more than 100 children attending the Arborfield and Barkham schools were entertained to tea. Afterwards, the little guests made merry over bonbons and toy balloons. They were much amused by the slides shown by the Rev. J. A. Anderson. A magnificent Christmas-tree was given by Mr. John Simonds, and decorated by Mr. W. J. Verrall and others. The tree was crowned with a fairy doll, the gift of Mrs. Bowyer. Then came the distribution of upwards of 150 presents to present and future scholars. In addition, each child on leaving received buns and an orange.

Before the party broke up the headmaster proposed a vote of thanks to all who had contributed in any way: To Mr. John Simonds, the Misses Simonds, the Rev. J. A. Anderson and Mrs. Anderson, Mrs. Prescott, the Rev. and Mrs. P. H. Ditchfield, Mr. and Mrs. Clatworthy, for donations, Mr. Bowyer, carting and milk; Mr. Wade Isaac, carting; Mr. Jackson, milk; friends from Barkham and Arborfield, for loans of tables, etc.; Mrs. H. Kent, Mrs. and Miss Middleton, Mrs. N. Smith, Miss B. Cox and Mrs. Naish, for dressing dolls; friends at the Depot, for proceeds of whist drive and dance - 7. 10s.; Mr. Harris, buns; Miss Harris, decorations and bonbons; Miss Bentley, superintending the tea. In reply the Rev. J. A. Anderson proposed to the children that they should thank Mr. and Mrs. Verrall, who wished to include Mrs. Bune, Mrs. H. Kent, Mrs. Middleton, Mr. S. Naish and Mr. W. C. Grant, members of the joint committee of the Women's Institute and British Legion.

Among the visitors were Miss A. Van C. Simonds, Miss Garland, Mrs. Hart, Mrs. Bowyer, Mr. and Mrs. Miles, Mr. and Mrs. Humphries, Mr. F. Bowyer and Mr. Wade Isaac. The helpers included Mrs. Bayliss, the Misses Meadowcroft, Bramley, Jackson and Middleton, and Mrs. Kent, senior.

[There were two further articles on Village life during 1926, namely the Empire Day Prize Distribution reported on May 29th, illustrated with two photographs of children in costume; and the Harvest Festival, reported on October 2nd. In addition, a three-day Furniture Sale at Arborfield Hall was advertised for several weeks from April 24th. However, during the Hunting season, there were regular reports of the Garth Hunt passing through the village.]

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