The Parish Magazine October 2021


Serving Charvil, Sonning and Sonning Eye since 1869

The Parish Magazine - October 2021 23

of a choir boy who keeps coming back

is choir stall in St Andrew's

Picture Sue Peters

But a very memorable incident was when the

captain of a steamer forgot to lower the funnel going

under Sonning Bridge. The resulting sound when the

funnel hit the bridge was tremendous! It no doubt

caused some damage too.

Lock down at Sonning meant something very

different when I was a lad. I spent many happy hours

down at the lock helping Mr Prince the Sonning lock

keeper. It was tough work in those days, you had to

physically push the heavy lock gates to open and close

them. It must have been some time in the 1950’s that

electric gates were installed. Oh, that made things so

much easier!

Also, in those days ice cream was sold at the back

of the Lock House: 3d for a wafer, (1¼p today), and 4d

for a choc ice, (now about 1¾ p).

Mr Prince had four sons — Bill, Peter, Norman

and Derek — and one daughter, who everyone called

Tricia. She also joined St Andrew's church choir.

The brothers went on to create Prince Brothers, the

garage in Twyford, and that still exists.

Football. I also played football. I played for Wargrave

Piggott, my senior school, and also for Sonning,

where my aforementioned friend Roly Hunt played in


Saturday jobs. On Saturday mornings, at 11 years

old, I was pleased to ride the trade bike and deliver

groceries for Miss South, of South’s Grocery in the

High Street. I was paid the princely sum of 1/6d, (that

would be 7½p today).

I did that for a while, until Country Kitchens,

also in the High Street, offered to pay me 2 shillings,

(nowadays 10p), for delivering cakes.

Not only was it more money but when I returned

to the shop I received a piece of chocolate cake and a

cup of cocoa. The cake was delicious but I wasn’t keen

on the cocoa, so, when no one was looking, I poured it

down a gap in the floorboards!

The ace of clubs. I must be the oldest living ‘Sonning

Club’ member. I joined in 1950 and have paid my

yearly dues ever since. Since this Covid 19 pandemic I

haven’t been there, but hope to soon. And especially

on Armistice Day, after the church service.

A change of direction. Although we still lived at the

Lodge House, my father began working for Mr & Mrs

Holridge at Sonning House, Pearson Road. They had

two maids that sometimes came to tea with us. One

was a very good pianist, and by watching her play our

piano, I began to learn.

When the Holridges died, their nephew Mr Rumble

and his wife came to live at the house. My father

continued working for them. He drove their beautiful

Armstrong Siddeley. And with their permission,

when old enough, I got to drive it too. Particularly at

the time Mr and Mrs Rumble holidayed in Cornwall

and I went with my father to deliver their golf clubs.

Finally, Mum's the word. My mother was always

busy keeping house and looking after us. But

somehow she also found time to work for Doctor

Bailey in Thames Street. She cleaned the house,

cooked for the family and spent time baby sitting too.

I’ve enjoyed remembering Sonning as I knew it.

Our family lived at the Lodge House until around

1950/51 when we moved to Little Glebe, off Pound

Lane. Since then so many different things have

happened to us all. My sister Jean married Jack,

an ex-Blue Coat School boy in 1957. They came back

to Sonning to live for some years in Grove Cottage,

Pearson Road. They now live in Guildford. I married

Margaret in 1971, we now live in Ruscombe, but we

get back to Sonning often, sometimes with children,

grandchildren and great grandchildren!

St Andrew's Church has always been special for

me. My grandparents are buried there — Harriet

Tigwell 1868 – 1950 and Lewis Albert Tigwell 1867 -

1937. And I still attend the services!

s: (top left) 1946: John with

ckey; (top right) 1960: John

ter being home on leave; 1945:

t on the river at Sonning; and

Sonning Fire Brigade. John's

left in the back row.

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