"The Winsham I Remember"


That about sums up the pubs and now I will deal with the many social activities that went on for the lads of the village. We had a scout troop, the older lads had a Boys Brigade, both fully dressed with uniforms and the Boys Brigade had a Drum and Bugle Band which paraded on Sundays when there was a Church parade. We also had a very active youth club which always used to meet on one of the floors of the old factory. We took part in all kinds of sports with boxing very much to the forefront. On the ground floor of the same building was a very keen Rifle Club, where they had a rifle range, and quite a few Marksmen took a keen interest in it. 

I well remember Tommy Hellier the butcher, and Fred Churchill the blacksmith in Fore Street. We also had a very strong football team that could match the best in this area, and they used to compete with teams from as far away as Bridport and Lyme Regis. On the long journeys they used to always travel in a four horse brake that used to come from Chard. It was owned by William Love and the drivers name was Jack Pidgeon. The whole village took a keen interest in the football team and when they played away from home, nobody went to bed until they finally returned, which was generally after the pubs had turned out, and if they were singing by the time they reached Axewater Bridge it was a sure sign that they had won. More often than not it was the horses that brought them home, rather than the driver, as after two or three stops he was usually past knowing anything about driving. We never did have a Cricket team, but we always supplied a fair percentage of the team that played at Cricket St Tomas. 

There were very few activities for the female side of the village, but in those days families were larger, and there was much more to occupy the women in the home. The one big exception to this was of course the Dancing Academy, run by the Courtney family, in the old factory. Not only did they teach almost the whole village to dance, but many outsiders for miles around attended at the regular sessions.

The Courtney's were great entertainers, and a wholly musical family. The father was a great accordionist, his son, Fred, a very gifted drummer, (he also played the kettle drum in the Brass Band) and the girls, of which there were three or four, could play a selection of instruments, and were all excellent dancers. The Mother, although a very large woman, was also a wonderful dancer, and light as a feather when on the floor. If you went to Courtney's School of Dancing you simply had to dance, Courtney and the girls saw to that. There were no wallflowers. "Everybody on the floor" Courtney would say, and then after a "One, Two", off we went. It was surprising how quickly you fell into the way of things. No one in those days found fault with either the Band or the floor and we also did all the set dances like the Lancers, Quadrilles and the Waltz Cotillion. All sorts and all ages took part, young and old, and it was fun for all, and served us all in later life when we attended the dances in the halls of the other villages around about the district. Courtney's band would normally supply the music for the Saturday night dances in our own Jubilee Hall. This extravaganza would cost a shilling, and was known to the customers at Tommy's as the "Bob-hop" and to the customers at The Bell as the "Hobnail Ball". There was also a Tennis club at Broadenham.




This page revised 20 May 2009