November 29, 2017|Reports

“Once Upon a Time in Wickham” by David Warwick

Just under 60 members and visitors came to hear David Warwick share his boyhood memories of Wickham and its people.  David, a retired author of 40+ academic books and just one novel (“Chorus Endings” partially based in Wickham but with a changed name), is a member of the well-known Wickham family.

Dorothy, his mother, was a teacher from Preston and his father Reginald started R.G.Warwick, Ironmonger and Agricultural Supplier, still thriving today.  David’s Godfather was nurseryman Mr. Roberts, owner of A.E.Roberts, who with David’s mother were billeting officers responsible for finding housing for bombed-out people from Portsmouth during the Second World War.  David’s father was born in Wickham, delivered by Wickham’s doctor, Dr. James C.M. Kinnear who lived and had his surgery at Wickham House, and David himself by Dr. Kinnear’s son, James Duncan Kinnear.

David told us many brief stories of Wickham people:

  • about the newly cast church bell that was too big to hoist into the tower and was left outside until stolen
  • about Mr. Stich the coachman from Rookesbury, who came from the Italian Embassy
  • about renowned aviator Amy Johnson the who stayed at the Kings Head
  • about Walter West the Town Crier who was arrested by the Constable
  • about Mr Baxter, the manager of Wickham Brewery, who lived at the Old House, driven out by clamour about his keeping a ‘fancy woman’.

David remembers during the war collecting aluminium strips dropped by German bombers, supposedly very secret but now known as ‘window’, and playing between the concrete ‘teeth’ used as obstacles in case of invasion by tanks.

David summed up the description of Wickham people by his father’s generation as: not very talkative; sharp of tongue; never gave up

After David concluded, memories of past characters were recalled by several in the audience.

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