VE Day and the Impact of the War on the Village

Although Shinfield’s VE Day Commemorations had to be cancelled due to the current restrictions we’ve taken the opportunity to update our website to create an area about the impact of the Second World War, and the Great War, on the Village and its residents.  This includes information from previous posts including accounts of evacuees and the impact of the wars on our village schools as well as new information.

The former United Reform Chapel, Basingstoke Road

We’ve also created a new Resources area on the website which will contain free downloadable files and information. With so many people taking advantage of the current restrictions to explore the area by bike or on foot, the first item to be uploaded is a history-focused walk along the Basingstoke Road.

Some people may feel that somewhere like this doesn’t have much of a history to speak of but we would beg to differ. All along the Basingstoke Road from Three Mile Cross to Swallowfield there are hints and clues to be found which add interest to an afternoon’s walk, for instance the old orchards that used to grow where Apple Tree Lane now stands, a reminder of the village’s former history of market gardening. No need to walk the whole distance in one go but if you’re feeling energetic…

Jeremy Saunders, May 2020

First World War 1916

posted in: Spencers Wood Village, WWI | 2

One hundred years ago in 1916, when the war was raging, things were happening here in the two local schools, Ryeish Green and Lambs Lane.  Many of the teachers were called up as they were male and the female teachers were few and far between and single women.  When Mr Jones left Lambs Lane to join the Army the staff duties had to be rearranged.  In 1915, pupil teacher Edith Wilson worked on a part time basis of 2 hours per week and the next year, a monitoress was appointed.  This meant that the monitoress would then count as a Supplementary Teacher in two years’ time when she became 18 years old.

Even with the shortages of staff, the attitude towards married women discouraged their employment.  At Lambs Lane, in 1916, Miss Rawson asked the Education Committee whether she would be retained after her marriage.  The Committee replied that they would approve her retention after her marriage provided that her domestic duties and physical health did not interfere, in any way, with her work in the school.

Ethel Snell, who with her sister Louisa, attended Lambs Lane School when it opened in 1908, had transferred from

Ethel Snell - Schoolmistress Lambs Lane School
Ethel Snell – Schoolmistress Lambs Lane School

Charles Russell School in Swallowfield which had then closed.  Ethel left Lambs Lane in 1912 and went onto Three Mile Cross School (Ryeish Green) where she was appointed as a monitoress, passing her Pupil Teacher test and appointed a Pupil Teacher 18 months later. She stayed at Ryeish for her five-year apprenticeship and in 1917, qualified as a teacher.  She was there in 1916 and after qualifying taught at Twyford.

There was a succession of caretakers at Ryeish Green who were also called up.  Mr Underwood who was appointed late in the war received his papers and the managers of the school appealed for his exemption from service to keep him there.  Mr Reely, the Headmaster, was called to the Recruiting Office at the small town hall in Reading.  The call was a mistake on the part of the recruiting office. He did however, eventually enlist in 1918 and joined the RAF despite having been refused permission to enlist earlier.

One of the Original Schools in Spencers Wood
Original School in Spencers Wood

 

 

 

The punishment book has an entry for 1916, which states that one boy refused to do anything he was told and was caned.  He still continued to refuse to do as he was told and said that his mother was his authority.  The boy was sent home.  More can be found in our books.

Margaret Bampton