You will probably have seen our DVS photographer, Adrian Giddins, at many village and DVS events. We keep photographic records of our activities and use these to illustrate our newsletter and website. They are also added to the DVS Photo Archive which is a unique set of images, collected and managed for many years by Rob Gordon and more recently by Adrian. (Please let us know if you don’t wish any photos of yourself to be used.)
30 November, St Nicholas Fayre, St Mary’s Church
As in previous years, DVS had a stall at the St Nicholas Fayre at the Church. There were more than 50 different stalls and activities this year. Thank you to everyone who came along to chat to us and to buy books, cards and prints for Christmas. Our stall was in the church rooms, next to the Datchet Neighbourhood Plan stall where children could write their letters to Santa while adults told the DNP team about their wish lists for Datchet.
28 November, Old maps, paintings and photographs
For our members’ Christmas event this year, we hired the Church Rooms and put on a display of fascinating old maps, paintings, photographs, and other items relating to Datchet, that Janet Kennish and the DVS have collected over the years. We were also delighted that DVS members also loaned us two paintings of Datchet Bridge for the evening, and the church allowed us to display their paintings of the village by William Corden.
The historic sequence of maps showed how the village has grown and changed over time with paintings and photographs providing additional context. We also had some interesting and surprising documents for members to browse through, including the handwritten minutes of the Working Men’s Club, and a photo album which belonged to Miss Gollop and Miss Dean who ran the village post office for many years. It was a very pleasant social gathering which drew a lot of interest. Thank you to everyone who came along to support the event.
15 September, Wildlife Walk at Datchet Golf Club
On a warm Sunday morning in September, a group of DVS members joined local wildlife expert, Brian Clews, for a walk around Datchet Golf Course. The golf course is a particularly interesting site because of its proximity to the river and the combination of open, managed greens and wild, untouched areas. There is a public right of way through the golf course but we were given permission to walk around the perimeter and the practice field – where we spent most of our time – and we visited the club house afterwards for drinks.
After the walk, Brian posted a report on the Wild About Datchet Facebook page: “We saw a few varieties of hoverflies on a lovely walk around the golf course with Village Society members this morning. Some busy shield bugs (Coreus marginatus), several orb web and sheet web spider species, a couple of the parasitic wasp species, and a few butterfly species. A highlight was a day-flying Large Red Underwing Moth – a large and stunning creature I had only seen a couple of times before. Birds included a Chiffchaff on passage, a busy Jay looking for acorns, and families of Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits and Long-tailed Tits. We found some galls and wondered whether they would be containing eggs or larvae at this time of year and we counted the growth rings on a snail shell. On the various Ivy bushes, it proved too early to find the ‘new’ Ivy Bee which has been with us in UK for just a few years but keep an eye open as they are due to emerge from their nests in lawns etc any minute now.”
28 August, Frogmore House
Frogmore House has been a favourite royal retreat for more than 300 years and public interest has increased since Prince Harry, Princess Eugenie, and Lady Gabriella Windsor held their wedding receptions here, and Prince Harry, Meghan and baby Archie moved into nearby Frogmore Cottages. Visits to the house and gardens are now restricted to three Charity Open Days each year or as a pre-booked group on a few dates in August. DVS had to book months in advance to secure a slot and we were delighted to take along a group of 21 members this summer. Security there is now very tight and, even though we live just down the road, we had to arrive together by coach. We were divided into two groups and our very enjoyable and informative visit to the house and gardens lasted about an hour and a half. We were not allowed to take photographs of the house and gardens but managed to take a group photo before we left for coffee and cakes at the Windsor Farm Shop.
6 July, Datchet Village Fete
Thank you to everyone who came along to support the DVS stall at the fete. The theme of this year’s fete was Peace Celebrations: 100 years on. In July 1919, the village celebrated the signing of the Treaty of Versailles and the official end of WWI with a sports day at Churchmead House (now the site of Churchmead School) and a regatta at the Riverside. Janet Kennish wrote an article for the fete programme, based on a newspaper article of the day, and the DVS stall had a display of newspaper articles, old photographs and details of the people involved in those celebrations.
1 July, Butterfly survey with Wild About Datchet
DVS members were invited to join Wild About Datchet on Monday 1 July for a butterfly survey of Willowfields and The Land at Mill Place, with Brian and Liz Crathorne from the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust and Hannah Needham from Wild About Datchet. It was fascinating to learn more about the butterflies, moths and other insects we saw. We were lucky enough to see a painted lady butterfly which originates in Morocco each year, As it breeds, each generation travels further north. The photographs show some of the butterflies we were lucky enough to see. (For results of the survey, please click here.)
30 June The Ellis Journey
The veteran cars returned to the village on 30 June on their now-annual recreation of the first recorded journey of a motor car on English roads, which was made in 1895 by Datchet resident, the Hon Evelyn Ellis, from Micheldever Station to his home in Southlea Road, (now the site of Woollacoombe).
Around 40, pre-1905 motor vehicles, most with drivers and passengers in period costume, set off at 8.26am, just as Ellis had done, and started arriving in the village around midday. They were welcomed on to the Green literally with bells and whistles, courtesy of Datchet Border Morris, and their arrival was announced by the booming voice of Windsor’s Town Crier.
Meanwhile a display of Victorian tricycles, bicycles and penny-farthings had gathered on Memorial Green and, on Gossip Green, there was a 1931 Railton Terraplane from Brooklands Museum, a 1907 Berliet Curtiss with a 1916 8.3l aero-engine, 1946 Railton Hudson Straight Eight, 1931 Morris Minor flatbed truck used by Hill & Sons, Datchet, and 1931 Rolls-Royce 20/25hp. (Did you know that the model for Rolls-Royce’s Spirit of Ecstasy lived in Datchet?).
The future of motoring was represented by hydrogen fuel-cell cars from Hyundai and Toyota; and a trio of three-wheeled Morgans also parked up to join in the fun.
In the WI Hall, Datchet Village Society had displays about Evelyn Ellis and Victorian Datchet, including the two paintings of Datchet from the 1850s/60s which were purchased last year; Windsor Museum had brought Victorian artefacts as well as photographs of Evelyn Ellis and his 1896 passport; and the ladies of the WI were doing a brisk trade in cakes and coffee. On the stage, local residents Mike Hill and Richard Jensen had individual displays of engineering and artefacts which ranged from a scale working steam locomotive and tender to a ‘candlestick’ telephone, wind-up gramophone and a mannequin of Charlie Chaplin. Also in the WI hall were bicycles, penny-farthings, and motorbikes including a 1914 Douglas and 1954 Douglas Dragonfly, BSA Goldstar 500cc, and, for contrast, a 1994 custom-built Harley Davidson drag bike.
Music and entertainment was provided by the Romsey Ukulele Group, Jazz Magic trio, and Datchet Border Morris, while Datchet Players strolled around in period costume.
Next year will be the 125th anniversary of Ellis’s famous journey.
18 JUNE Visit to Brooklands: Tommy Sopwith
We organised a special members’ visit to Brooklands, ‘the birthplace of British Motorsport and Aviation’, to learn more about aviation pioneer Sir Thomas Sopwith. He created quite a stir in Datchet in 1911 when he landed his bi-plane on the golf course, twice! Once on the way to see his family who lived here and, two weeks later, en route to visit the royal family at Windsor Castle. Brooklands’ volunteer David Hassard gave a fascinating talk about Sir Thomas, his links with Datchet, his flying achievements, and his impact on the development of planes, motorbikes and yachts, then we were free to explore the various halls and exhibits at leisure, with the opportunity to race in an F1 car simulator, board a variety of aircraft, and even sit in the cockpit of a Harrier Jump Jet and Hawker Hunter.
You can read more about Tommy Sopwith on the Datchet History website.
25 MAY Bird survey at Willowfields and The Land at Mill Place
DVS members were invited to join a bird survey of The Willowfields and The Land at Mill Place, the area behind the Recreation Ground, with Wild About Datchet, on Saturday 25 May at 7.30am. (Wild About Datchet is a new community group which aims to discover, celebrate, improve and protect wild things and wild places in Datchet and the surrounding countryside.) Birds are an indicator species; the numbers and types of birds can tell us a lot about the condition of these areas and how well they can support wildlife. The results of this survey might help inform any future decisions about how best to manage the trees and scrub in that area.
The survey was led by Brian, a volunteer from the Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust, who has a remarkable talent for being able to identify birds from their songs and calls, he didn’t even need to see them. It was an interesting and informative walk even for those of us who didn’t know much about birds already but were keen to learn more. Around 25 different birds were identified.
1 MAY Stone Age Datchet
After a short business meeting at this year’s AGM on 1 May at St Mary’s Primary Academy, John Powell, senior fieldwork archaeologist from Wessex Archaeology, gave a talk about the fascinating archaeological remains dating back 12,000 years which have been found at Riding Court Farm. One of the most exciting discoveries is a huge Stone-Age circular enclosure of national importance. Excavations are revealing the hidden secrets of this monument, including what is thought to be a Stone-Age house, as well as fascinating finds of pottery, tools, and a rare antler comb. (Images from Riding Court courtesy of Wessex Archaeology)