Covid restrictions have moved the goalposts again as far as reopening the Village Hall goes.
Current restrictions do not allow us to open the hall for community use and therefore we will not be opening as planned. The Parish Council confirmed that the Melland Room will also have to close under current restrictions.
Discussions continue with Woodlands Medical Practice as providing a medical service is one of the notable exceptions. The Post Office remains open and Karen will keep everybody informed of opening hours via Facebook and Stop Press.
The second lockdown has moved the goalposts on the scheduled reopening, and our planned timescales have gone out of the window.
The good news is that the refurbishment work is finished. and we’ve resurfaced Heather Way and the car park and upgraded the drainage to prevent the regular flooding in front of the Post Office. For a sneak preview, do take a look at the gallery of photos of the refurbished Hall in the ‘Venues’ section of the village website.
Blewbury Village Hall Management Committee
A New Year present from Thames Travel: more buses, earlier and later buses, AND 6 buses each way on Saturdays!
The revised service will run linearly from Didcot through East Hagbourne, Blewbury, Upton, Chilton to Harwell Campus and back again, but unfortunately West Hagbourne’s only stop will be at the Horse and Harrow. You can now download a pdf copy of the new timetable from the Thames Travel website at thames-travel.co.uk/routes/94, and it should be displayed at bus stops from the official start date of January 3rd.
There will be no changes to the 94S buses on school days. As now, a single vehicle provides the entire service including the 94S School bus. The school service takes priority, which explains why the first direct bus from Blewbury to Harwell Campus does not get there until 0932. If you need to get to the Campus earlier you have to take a bus in the opposite direction to Didcot Parkway and transfer to the X32. Jo Lakeland (for Parish Transport Representative)
It’s almost Christmas and we were very much hoping that the bells would be able to ring out to celebrate the festive season. Covid-19 had other ideas!
We came out of the latest lockdown and into tier 2 meaning that ringing bells was still a no-no as people from different households couldn’t meet indoors which meant the ringing chamber was out of bounds so to speak! There was a glimmer of hope in that Richard and Gill (husband and wife) could ring and being very experienced ringers, they tried ringing two bells each and discovered that chiming was possible, albeit very hard work, they chimed the bells prior to the Advent Carol Service.
The Central Council of Bell Ringers are liaising with the government and we hope that the rules may be relaxed over the Christmas period allowing us to ring for the traditional services, fingers crossed.
We wish everyone a safe and Happy Christmas, traditions will, no doubt, be very different this year. We look forward to 2021 hoping that life will be able to return to a form of normal that includes bell ringing.
**UPDATE 22 DECEMBER **
The Christmas relaxation of the Covid rules permits church bells to be rung for a limited time, and Blewbury bellringers will be ringing 6 bells (the maximum permitted) on two occasions. We will ring at 11.05 pm on Christmas Eve for the Midnight Mass service which commences at 11.30 pm. We will also ring for 15 minutes at 9.45 am on Christmas morning. We do not recall any Christmas Day since the Second World War when bells have not been rung out over the village. Please note that there is not a physical service in the church on Christmas Day, and we request that you do not enter the church while ringing is taking place please. We hope that you will enjoy this brief sound of hope in this most difficult year. We wish you all a happy Christmas and a more joyful New Year.
Richard Loyd, Tower Captain
It’s Blewbury Pre-School’s 50th anniversary in 2021 and we’d love to hear from anyone who has memories of the pre-school.
You may have attended as a child, or perhaps you used to help out as a parent, or maybe helped on the committee, or were a member of staff? We’d love to hear from you! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any stories or photos you’d be happy to share.
We also plan to launch the Blewbury Pre-School Lottery in 2021. Anyone aged 16 or over will be able to take part. For just £5 per month you’ll be entered into a monthly lottery with a chance to win one of three cash prizes. The lottery money will be split 50:50 between fundraising and prize money. The proceeds going to the village pre-school will help fund equipment and resources, and to meet any other funding needs. We’re asking people to sign up for a whole year as annual members. We plan to sell a maximum of 200 lottery numbers each year. If all 200 lottery numbers are sold, the prizes each month would be: 1st prize £250, 2nd prize £150, 3rd prize £100. The remaining £500 per month would go to the pre-school. Please email email@example.com and we’ll send you a sign-up form in the New Year.
Finally, did you know you can support Blewbury Pre-School by ordering quality hardwood for your log burners? It’s £100/£60 for a full/half trailer load delivered (or £75/£50 for a full/half trailer load collected). Further reductions available if you prefer to split logs yourself. Single nets of logs are also available outside pre-school for £5. Email orders to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Quite a few Blewbury residents have moved house within the village numerous times. However, whether any of them have relocated as many times as our Post Office must be in doubt.
Will there be further twists to this tale of exploration around Blewbury? Who knows? If you can add further details or indeed corrections to this account the Local History Group would be pleased to hear from you.It isn’t known exactly when the Blewbury Post Office first opened, but it was certainly operating in Carramores, on Church Road, by 1887, and we have a photograph of the earl 1900s (top) to illustrate that. If you look closely at the front of Carramores today you can still see the bits of metal protruding where the Post Office sign used to be displayed. In 1914 it moved to Upstone’s Shop (see below) in Treble House Terrace on London Road, where no doubt it benefitted from more passing trade.
Upstone’s Shop and Blewbury Post Office in Treble House Terrace in the 1920s
In 1924 it then moved to Fir Tree Cottage, on the other side of London Road, where a new purpose built extension had been created for it by Jesse Dunsden, and the village telephone exchange was located in the Dunsden’s living room! After Jesse Dunsden retired in 1943 it then crossed London Road again to take up residence in Laurel Bank where it was run by George & Rose Smith. George was a relative of Jesse Dunsden and Rose was an Upstone, and together they were the parents of Derek Smith, whose book A Blewbury Life is the source of much of the information in this article.
Then in 1968 the Post Office moved to Old Wheelwrights for 24 years with Ann Edwards and then Marion Armstrong in charge. After 74 years of trading and crossing the London Road, the next move, in 1992, was to Prior’s Village Shop, in Chestnuts in Church End. With the eventual closure of Prior’s Shop the Post Office moved to the Village Hall, where it has lived ever since October 18th 2001.
Roger Murphy on behalf of the Blewbury Local History Group