Page 24 - Moreton Village Only Book
P. 24

24 Moreton Village Only

                           This was a period of great economic difficulty and life was a real struggle for many
                        families. The General Strike of 1926 brought home to everyone just how much suffering
                        there was in the country as a whole – reduced working time, reduced wages and worst of
                        all of course, the dreaded spectre of unemployment. The time from 1931 to the end of the
                        decade became known as the Great Depression. Despite this grim background, some
                        positive things were happening. In 1934 or thereabouts, electricity came to Moreton and
                        by this alone it could be said that at last the village really did step into the 20th century.
                           As mentioned earlier, the village is low lying with a high water table and floods lasting
                        several weeks regularly occurred. In 1930 the floods along the footpath to Thame were so
                        severe that bikes had to be carried by one hand whilst the other hand was used to hang on
                        to the fence. The problem was not solved until Cuttle Brook had been dredged.

                           Later on that year, the village school closed. The schoolhouse building was let to a
                        private family but the schoolroom was retained for several years as a kind of village hall
                        which the Curate from St. Mary’s church in Thame came on Friday evenings to hold
                        services. The whole premises were sold some years later and the sale proceeds formed the
                        basis of the Moreton Welfare Fund which is still in existence.

                           In the late 1920’s Leonard Gilbert Bradbury (generally known by his nickname of
                        Brad or Braddy) moved to Moreton with his wife Ethel Maud. Brad worked as a farm
                        labourer, in the livestock markets and also as a part-time gardener to Mr. Everett at The
                        Old Bell. The Bradbury’s had two sons and three daughters: Maurice, Bill, Nancy (Peggy),
                        Dorothy (Dorell) and Margaret (Jick). The family lived at No. 12 The Furlongs for a
                        number of years but had earlier lived at one of the cottages which comprised Jessmere.
                        Their stay at Jessmere was remembered chiefly for the occasion when Ethel Maud was
                        producing Bill, as the bed partly fell through the ceiling during labour.

                                                                 The explanation was that woodworm had
                                                              weakened the joists, but it is not everyone
                                                              who can claim to have arrived in this world
                                                              with such a bang! Some of the Bradbury
                                                              children have moved from Moreton to Thame,
                                                              but Peggy and Jick still live in The Furlongs.
                                                              The name Jick, incidentally derives from the
                                                              fact that a boy was expected who was to be
                                                              called Jack. The Bradbury sisters have many
                                                              fond memories from their youth, through the
                                                              latter part of the 1930’s and into the war years.
                                                                 In about 1930, a serious fire occurred
                                                              in the village when a property burned down
                                                              in the lane opposite the former Royal Oak.
                                                              This was situated on the right hand side
                        Photograph of the house burnt down – circa 1930.
                                                              between the farm buildings, now converted
                                                              to New Barn and Harvest Barn, and the
                                                              corner house being No. 14 The Furlongs.
                                                              The owner was a Mr. Bird, who was a horse
                                                              breaker and some-time publican. The fire
                                                              began whilst everyone was out, the only
                                                              victim being the poor old dog, which was
                                                              chained up too firmly to escape.

                                                                 One colourful character from this period
                                                              was a man by the name of Joe Honour who
                                                              lived with Betty Gubbins and family of three
                                                              boys and one girl in a horse-drawn caravan
                                                              at Lobbersdown Hill. Joe made a living by
                                                              working for local farmers doing hedging
                                                              and ditching, whilst as a sideline he grew
                                                              rose briars, which he sold to a local nursery
                                                              to be budded into standard roses. In
                        Rose’s Cottage demolished in the 1930’s.  addition, he cut and trimmed blackthorns,
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