2023 - A Hundred Years Ago in 1923

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2023 - A Hundred Years Ago in 1923

Wheatley Urban District Council was acting as a local district council. It was responsible for public health, housing, rating, planning, building regulations, water supplies, sewerage and some roads. The committee comprised Rees Leyshon (chairman), William Tombs, Arthur Cullum, Henry Avery, R Cox, Edward and Charles Shepherd, Caleb Harris, James Munt, J Jennings and Joseph Rose. The rate levy in the £ was increased from 2/-d to 2/6d, and a mowing machine was bought to deal with the war memorial ground.

Rees Leyshon and Henry Avery were trustees of ‘Wheatley Common’; William Tombs president of the Wheatley Liberal Association and chairman of Wheatley Smallholders, a trading organisation with a turnover of over £1,000. Mrs Dorothy Miller, who had financed the building of the Merry Bells in 1888, was president of the W.I. Miss Antrobus was Wheatley’s representative on the Oxfordshire Red Triangle Federation. A British Legion branch had been formed.

‘The Lawn’ (now Wheatley House) and Iliffe Cottage (45 Church Road) were sold for undisclosed sums; The Manor with its four tenants sold for £700; the four Breach Cottages for £510; a house in High Street with 1 acre of garden for £650. The start of large houses up Ladder Hill saw the building of Edgehill, Windyridge, Longside  and Coombe House (owned by the extravagant Briggs sisters who regularly ordered delicacies from Fortnums and Harrods). The Catholics of Wheatley celebrated Mass in The Old House, where Miss Dale made a room available.

Entertainments included a massive W.I. fete in the grounds of Shotover House with three short plays, a perambulator parade, flight of balloons, and much more. There also frequent whist drives, and the village was not short of musical talent. It also had active cricket and football teams, with members of the Shepherd, Cooper, Munt, Surman, Clements, Shorter, Crick and Naish families prominent.

Colletts garage was destroyed by fire when a motor-cycle back-fired with the loss of two motorcycles, a car, valuable lathe, tools, tyres and spare parts. Henry Ernest Munt, 8-years-old, son of Henry Ernest Munt, slipped into a boiling copper, scalded his leg and died three days later. In 1923, Joseph Stowe, who had acquired the major Wheatley farm in 1902, died aged 85. Later it was bequeathed to Magdalen College.

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