"The Winsham I Remember"


There was always a division between the Church and Chapel people, which in some respects is in evidence today. It was the custom of Chapel people to vote Liberal, and the Church people Conservative. I well remember at one time the Liberal Committee rooms were at the Manse, and right next door, where the yard entrance was situated, stood a large hoarding with large posters asking for your vote. Electioneering times in the village were lively, with quite a hectic period leading up till the day the actual voting took place. Meetings were held in both the Jubilee Hall and the Schoolroom, questions were asked, there were both hecklers and barrackers, as well as fierce arguments, and on voting day people came into the village that never came on any other occasion, but they all seemed to turn out to vote. I remember that, if you worked on the Cricket St Thomas estate, you were bought in to vote if they were reasonably satisfied that you would vote in the right direction. I also remember that my own father, who worked on the estate, was never afforded that privilege. This was a sure sign that they were doubtful as to his political views, although I can never remember him making his views public. 

I do recall one night, the Honourable Aubrey Herbert was coming to Winsham to address a meeting, and on such occasions the village would be alive with expectations and the streets would be thronged with grown ups and children alike, and on this particular occasion a crowd of his supporters had gone down to Axewater to meet him. The idea was to take a huge length of rope, tie it to the front of his car, and haul it manually, triumphantly, up through the village to the Jubilee Hall, where he was to address a packed meeting. On this occasion, regretfully, things didn't work out exactly as planned. One of the opposition had infiltrated the ranks, and cut the rope, and to the tune of "Vote, Vote, Vote, for Aubrey Herbert" the car went into reverse, causing a great deal of consternation and delay. However, with little material damage, the parade finally arrived at the Jubilee Hall to the strains of "See the Conquering Hero Comes" and the meeting duly takes place as arranged.




This page revised 16 May 2009