Help needed!

We were given a photograph from the family of Janice Cane of 60 Clares Green Road, Spencers Wood.  Janice passed away just before Christmas, and this was in her effects.

We were hoping that one of you could identify where it was taken & who are the people having tea? They look like they are celebrating! Were you one of the children? If so, please get in touch! We would love to hear from you!

Donated Image from Janice Cane
Janice Cane donated image

Feedback from “Our Village of Spencers Wood”

It took the group three years to research and write our most recent book. We would like to say how proud the community have made us by sharing their memories and their initial response. We would like to tell you of the success of sales through events and social media activity.

Our launch event in December 2016 was really successful, and we sold 50 books. In total we have sold approximately 300 books, and will continue to sell at local events over the spring and summer.

The book has been available in many outlets in the Parish – the Post Office and Library in Spencers Wood;  Budgens; Caf’ Active in St Michael’s Church; local pubs; Riseley Tea Rooms; Henry Street Garden Centre; Village Shop at Beech Hill; Waterstones and Amazon; Parish Office in Shinfield and Swallowfield Post Office. In addition, we have donated to many libraries, the Berkshire Record Office and Lambs Lane School. In fact, there are not many places you can visit in the Parish without seeing our book – if we have forgotten your outlet, please let us know!

Budgens have taken 60 and have been the top selling outlet! Well done Budgens 🙂 A huge thank you to Ian Clarke for passing on this contact. This does show how strong the community network can be.

We would also like to share some of our more “amazing” responses.

Maria Antonia Bertoni emailed the group. She is a researcher and was writing her village’s history. Maria is an History and Philosophy  teacher in a high school “Liceo A.F.Formiggini” in Sassuolo (Modena, Emilia Romagna, Italy) and lives in a small village, San Michele, five Km from Sassuolo. Modena is just north of Bologna in Italy.

Her father, Bertoni Pio, was a Prisoner Of War in Stanbury in 1941, after being captured in Egypt.  He was transferred there via Bombay and Bangalore.

He was held as POW 283614 German P.W.W. Bertoni sadly died in 1994. We were delighted to send her a book, and await further memories from her.

We heard from Brian Carter (also via email) who said – I have been enjoying dipping into your recent publication “More from our Village” and find it very impressive and clearly the result of a great deal of hard work by the contributors. Reading chapter 5 I was surprised to see in the centenary photograph of 1937 to see a Miss Bentall from Reading. I suspect she might be Miss E. M. Bentall (Mollie) a cousin of mine now long departed but cannot be sure as the picture is not very clear.  Best wishes for your future endeavours.   9CongregationalChurchCentenary

Have a look at this picture from our book – Miss Bentall is behind the two children on the right – Did anyone else know her?

Melanie Long emailed us having recently discovered she was a descendant of the Swain family, the brick makers of Spencers Wood.  I have to say what a great book, I have only just started to read it but I noticed ‘Swain’ appeared on 3 different pages and I saw the photo of the brick too.

She visited a member of the group, who showed her around pointing out where the brick makers was sited.

Spencers Wood Carnival! – Saturday 19th September 2015


Outside St Michaels & All Angels Church


We are delighted to announce we will be having a stand at












Cubs in Spencers Wood?

Were you ever part of the Cubs or Scouts in Spencers Wood? We have had a photograph kindly donated by David Blomley of Farley Hill from 1973. Two of his sons went to Mrs Hendersen’s Cubs every week.

This photograph is of the whole cub pack, and we need your help in naming the boys!!

You can see David’s son, Tom Blomley in the front row, 2nd from the left in the v-necked jumper. His other son, Nicholas, is standing just behind Tom, in the next row back. Both boys attended Lambs Lane in their early years, then moved on to Crossfields. The only other cub we’ve so far been able to name, is one of the group’s son, Alan Wheway, who is right at the back!

Do you recognise yourself? Did you attend one of Mrs Henderson’s cub packs over the years? Did you enjoy it? This bunch look like they had lots of fun!  Get in touch if you have any stories to share, or can name any of the boys!

(Our thanks go to David Blomley for the print)

Cubs Pack in 1973

Pubs in Spencers Wood

Currently there is only one Public House in Spencers Wood, despite the increase in population. There were at least six in earlier days. The only remaining one is The Farriers.

Farriers Arms, Basingstoke RoadWhen William Dopson purchased the building from William Goddard, we believe it was a smithy. After Dopson’s death, his wife, Sarah, ran the place as a pub. It has been a pub since 1891. There have been several owners. In 1985, there was a change of name when the landlord, who also owned The Swan in Three Mile Cross, instigated a competition to rename the pub. It became The Cygnet but reverted to the original name in 1993.

Red Lion - May Article

The Red Lion, which was situated on the Basingstoke Road opposite the Post Office, closed its doors in 1994 and was converted into two houses. We understand the men pictured outside the pub in this old picture were apparently railway men but as a group we would love to know more.

The Yew Tree Public House is now Farm View Day Nursery. In the 1891 census, the Beer House keepers were John and Jane Woodeson. We can find records of owners until 1935. Perhaps it became a house then. Locals called The Yew Tree, The Stump, when the yew tree after which it had been named, caught fire and burnt down leaving only a stump.

Does anyone know where The Fighting Cocks was? We have heard that it was situated on the Basingstoke Road between Beech Hill Road and Lambs Lane.

Little is known about The Four Mile Inn. It was pulled down many years ago but stood near the United Reformed Church. It had the alternative name of The Halfway Inn, as prisoners, who were appearing at Reading Assizes and were held at Basingstoke, would take refreshment there at the halfway point.

The Cricketers Public House was at Arden House, which is now The Hop Inn.

The Hop InnThe Inn has returned to its roots. In the 1891 census, James Darvall was described as publican and milkman. In 1925, it became a butchers shop with a slaughterhouse at the back. It remained a butcher’s shop until 1970’s and was run by Mr & Mrs Prankard. Later there was a TV repair shop here and in the 1990’s, it became an off licence.




Help Needed – Can you identify anyone?

One of our members, Margaret Bampton, recently came across an old photo album in an antique shop. The seller assured her that it was from a family who came from the Shinfield area & so we’re posting some of the pictures in the hope that we can identify some people!

This one has a sign in the field saying "Robert Veitch & Son Ltd"

There are many that appear to be taken during WWII. We do know that Spencers Wood provided soldiers billeting facilities at Stanbury Park and there are Royal Engineers based in Arborfield. It does appear though that some of these men are of different nationalities – perhaps they are prisoners of war?

You might recognise some of the buildings?

There are a number of the same man that appears to be convalescing, and since there are pictures of nurses that would seem to be logical.

There are also a few of some girls enjoying a day out at the seaside – you might recognise the seafront!







A word about “Robert Veitch & Sons Ltd”  – either they were a gardening dynasty who ran businesses in London and Devon, and funded the Wellingtonia (although the name was actually given by botanist John Lindley). The company was bought by Sutton & Sons in Reading in 1913 OR Is Veitch your family surname and do you recognise any of these people?  If you can give us any clues, please respond to the blog!