May your days be merry and bright
Updated: Dec 21, 2021
Earlier this month we promised a second article about Denham's pubs, ale houses, beer houses and hostelries. We will be returning to that when our readers and followers have recovered from their pre Christmas preparations - perhaps with a little more time to relax over a few more village tales.
For now here's a review of our year of the village's social and community history both for new readers and for those who might like to go back and take another look.
January: We began the year with the story of the Nicholsons, the artist family who in 1893 moved into the former beerhouse known as The Eight Bells in 1893 and now known to us as The White Cottage. It was there that Ben Nicholson was born in 1894 to Sir William Nicholson and Mabel Pryde. For the appreciation of art (denhamhistory.online).
On the wall of The White Cottage is a memorial plaque which marks the occcupation of the cottage by the Nicholsons. For our second post in January 2021 former Parish Council chair Rosemary Temple told of the work done to have the plaque fitted and of the summer's day of its unveiling. Unveiling the plaque - a beautiful sunny day (denhamhistory.online) .
February: In February we took on the task of uncovering the story of the old Methodist chapel on Cheapside Lane. It proved to be a popular read. That story has so far been read 490 times. Behind the Ivy - a story of a Methodist Chapel (denhamhistory.online). Later in February we added to the tale with a few personal recollections from the times when the tiny chapel was still welcoming a congregation. Personal memories of the Methodist Chapel (denhamhistory.online).
March: A lot has been written about the appalling grisly murders of the Marshall family in Cheapside Lane in 1870. We took the opportunity in March to explore other aspects of law enforcement in the village first discovering the village's constables (A policeman's lot (denhamhistory.online) ) and following that with some tales of the village's miscreants both serious and not so serious. A Village Life of Crime (denhamhistory.online)
April: The Denham Country Park is a very special feature of the village, and what better time to explore its history than the beginning of spring when both locals and visitors stepped outdoors again after the winter of 2021 which of course had more than normal restrictions that kept us at home. In two articles for April we looked back at the history of the Denham Court estate and then at the development of the Colne Valley Regional Park of which the local Country Park forms part. Country Park Pursuits (denhamhistory.online) and Park Life (denhamhistory.online)
May: From the Blackbarn Cottages on Old Mill Road through the village all the way to Denham Avenue, up Cheapside Lane and along Ashmead Lane, curiously, and perhaps frustratingly to the delivery drivers from DPD, Yodel, Amazon and the rest, few of the houses have numbers. Their names, however, are very much part of the village's history. What's in a name ? - Part 1 (denhamhistory.online) and What's in Name ? - Part 2 (denhamhistory.online)
June: There's a lot of water in and around this village. Some of it flows naturally, as it has done for centuries, in the Colne, Misbourne and Fray's Rivers. Some of it forms lakes in quarries excavated for the needs of industry and housing. A lots of it flows by the village in the man-made highway that enabled the industrial revolution, the Grand Union Canal. In the first of our articles for June, we explored the history of the canal The Waterway passing by (denhamhistory.online) and for the second, and very popular, article we visited Fran at her tea shop at Denham Lock. Tea garden tales of life on the Canal (denhamhistory.online)
July: Summer, time for recreation, leather on willow and a gentle, though still highly competitive, game of bowls. Behind Ashmead Lane, the Way and Tillard Recreation Ground recalls the names of two significant figures in Denham's 20th century history and now provides the facilities for Denham's cricketers Howzat ! (denhamhistory.online) and bowling enthusiasts. Jack of the green (denhamhistory.online)
August: We had no idea in August what controversy would be caused by politicians holding parties, but with three historically important "manors" in and around the village it was inevitable that there would be leading political figures in the village in the distant and more recent past and that they would mix business with pleasure whilst enjoying the summer sunshine. So for August there were tales of party time in Denham. AUGUST - Summer Party Time (denhamhistory.online) and Party political (denhamhistory.online)
September: There are two people whose names crop up frequently in Denham's late 19th and 20th century history. The Village Memorial Hall has a meeting room named for one of them - May Coles. But to many locals, May Coles has been unknown or even perhaps forgotten. In September we refreshed the memory of "A Refined and Gracious Lady". A refined and gracious lady (denhamhistory.online)
The second of these significant figures is a former rector of St. Mary's Church, Robert Lathbury who in 1904 published a remarkable book documenting the history of the village over nearly 1000 years with extraordinarily diligent translations from Latin of documents together compiled in a treasured record. We searched for quite a while to find a photo of this benevolent looking vicar with a hint of a knowing smile and we uncovered a story of his appointment to Denham that, whilst no doubt entirely acceptable in Victorian times, might offend more modern sensitivities. Denham's History Man (denhamhistory.online)
October: As the denhamhistory.online website has become well known, we have had some very generous loans of copyright free old photographs which we have been able to digitise before returning them to their owners. Denham has long been a postcard village. October gave us the opportunity to publish many of these photos in two parts. They do say that a photograph is worth a thousand words. Well we added a few words to put the photos into their context, but mostly we let the photos tell the story. In Pictures - Part I (denhamhistory.online) and In Pictures - Part II (denhamhistory.online)
November: It's the month of remembrance and a time to tell something of the story of how the village and its people were affected, or indeed in some cases not much affected, by the wars that raged throughout the world in the 20th century. Part 1 recalls the First World War from 1914 to 1918 Denham Remembers World War 1 (denhamhistory.online) and Part 2, the second, or renewed, war from 1939 to 1945. Included are family remembered tales of how lives were disrupted by terrible events. Denham Remembers World War 2 (denhamhistory.online)
December: The darkest of months in the village when, in normal times at least, locals gather in the Falcon, the Green Man, the Swan or The King to enjoy a drink and an excellent meal in good company. This December which only a month ago seemed to offer a return to something close to normality, has of course become again uncertain. Nonetheless we carry on with our history of local pubs and hostelries confident that an untroubled opportunity to enjoy them will soon return. Open to the Public (denhamhistory.online)
Coming in 2022
We have exciting plans for 2022 to build on the 50 plus online posts we have already placed on this website. We're looking forward to finding out more of our local history - both on and off line.
For now we give to all our readers and visitors in all the Denham communities and to all our visitors from elsewhere, including our international visitors (yes we have quite a few), the very best wishes of the season and our hopes and expectations for a bright New Year.