Living History Project

(You may also find the Archives pages and Historical Background pages of interest)

Contributions now welcomed about life in Ashbury between 1935 and 1955

Thanks to many willing contributors our Living History Archive now includes a long list of very important and interesting contributions dating between 1935 and 1955.  We are now looking to capture some more recent memories of life in Ashbury – say from 1955 to 2000.  If you would be interested in contributing your own recollections and photographs please get in touch with Ray Gigg (710345) who would be very pleased to hear from you and discuss it further.


If you were living in Ashbury or the Parish between 1935 and 1955 and would be interested in sharing your memories and creating a permanent record for generations to come, Marion Turner (710302) would be pleased to hear from you.

For a list of topics to start you thinking click on the heading in the left menu. Additional ideas are much welcomed, as are old photographs, news cuttings etc. that will help bring the stories to life. Once collated, the information will be archived and also posted on this web page for others to read, enjoy and hopefully add to.

Our first entries were a letter from Cyril Gulland to Ray Gigg setting out his recollections as a WW2 evacuee to Ashbury, a note by Ernest Pound about the water supply and the cress beds, memories by Cherille Simpson about Ashbury and Kingstone and memories by Ray Gigg of digging an air raid shelter in Ashbury. More recent memories have come from Ray Gigg, Eunice Gigg, Tony Stayne and Patrick Arbuthnot.

Photographs: If you are interested in viewing photographs of past and present Ashbury residents please click here. Photos taken in 1953 of Ashbury residents celebrating the Queen’s Coronation may be viewed here. If you have any photographs to add to our collection please contact Marion Turner on the telephone number given in paragraph 1 above.

Literature: You may also be interested to read “Villages of the White Horse” written by Alfred Williams and published in 1913, which chronicles rural life in villages near South Marston including Ashbury.

Current Contributions to our Living History Project

Chris Sealey – 2017

My Recollections of the Royal Observer post at Ashbury (Word Document Download)

Tricia Stayne – 2016

“I Remember” by TRICIA STAYNE

A Poem written by Tricia Stayne – 2016


Recently discovered memoires written by Frank Partridge, born ~ 1907 (contributed by Sue Reade)


Bill Lovegrove – 2013

Bill Lovegrove’s Memories

Gordon Reade – 2011

Gordon Reade Memories

Hazel Tilling – 2015

Memories of Ashbury

Alan Day – 2015

Ashbury Memories

John Jordan – 2015

a) Down Memory Lane    a) Jordan Photos 1 c) Jordan Photos 2

Cyril Gulland – 2012

a) Memories of a WW2 Evacuee b) Photographs of Cyril (George) Gulland and his Family in 1940 and 2012

Ray Gigg – 2012

a) Digging the Air Raid Shelter b) Pre-World War 2

Eunice Gigg – 2012

Pre-World War 2 and Other Memories

Patrick Arbuthnot – 2013

Memories of Ashbury – from 1940 to around 1953

Tony Stayne – 2012

a) Memories of Growing Up in Ashbury between 1940 and 1955 b) Memories of Growing Up in Ashbury between 1940 and 1955

Cherry Simpson (now White) – 2012

a) Memories of Ashbury and Kingston b) Additional photographs  c) Programme for a variety entertainment staged by the Ashbury Players in 1946 

Contributed by Michael C New

Memories and Mementos of Ashbury

Contributed by Dennis Chivers

Biography Memories of Ashbury: page 1,   page 2, page 3. Photographs – grp1    Photographs – grp 2

Notes by Ernest Pound 1974

The Whirly’Ole Ashbury

Memories recorded in the 2009 Centenary Celebration Booklet of Ashbury Evangelical Free Church

Memories recorded in the publication “Ashbury cum Chapelwick”  by David Disbury 1983                   

Topics to start you thinking about your contribution:

Pre-World War 2

  • School – building, teachers, classrooms, lunchtime, getting to and from school, lessons, playtime games
  • Shops – location, name of shop, shopkeeper’s name, what they sold
  • Mobile shops – name of shop, what they sold, how often they came, where they stopped
  • Countryside – farmers, crops, animals, wild flowers, dairies
  • Water – drilling for water – Ashbury water supply and water cress beds
  • Royalty – King George V,  jubilee, coronation

World War 2

  • Evacuees – who they were, where they lived. where they came from
  • Air Raid Shelters Dunkirk troops returning
  • Manoeuvers
  • Practice bombing range
  • Searchlight battery
  • Aircraft flying target practice
  • Wartime accidents
  • Aircraft landing strips
  • Land army girls
  • Troops stationed at Ashdown
  • Local engineering works, war time services, employees etc
  • Prisoners of war – German and Italian
  • Rationing etc
  • Keeping livestock, allotments, trapping
  • Ashbury school in war time, teachers, games etc
  • Dutch auctions to raise investment in National Savings
  • VE and VJ days
  • Local defence volunteers; home guard etc
  • Special constables, air raid wardens, auxiliary fire wardens, royal observer corps etc
  • Rubbish tip

A photograph of the Home Guard from Shrivenham and Surrounding Villages taken in about 1945 may be viewed in the “People” section of the Archives Page (click)