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Who Lived In Aldbourne

Here are some mini-biographies of folk who have lived here, these articles are adapted from the ones originally published in The Dabchick magazine.

[Eleanor] Maud Hawkins aka “Pat” Cheramy

Eleanor Maud Hawkins, third child of Edward (Teddy) and Mary Hawkins, was born 21 March 1906 at Westfield Cottages (top of Castle Street). The 1911 census records the family living in ‘Hightown’ area. Her father was listed as a ‘General Bricklayer’. I have no details of her early life …

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Charles McEvoy – Playwright, Producer and Director

Charles McEvoy was a playwright whose play ‘The Village Wedding’ was famously premiéred in his own pioneering Aldbourne Village Theatre in 1910. An early typescript of the play, which was discovered as a result of research for this article, was purchased by the Aldbourne Community Heritage Group and can be viewed in the Heritage Centre. …

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Gerald Brenan – Writer & Hispanist

In Malaga, near the bullring, is the ‘English Cemetery’. In the cemetery is a headstone inscribed ‘Gerald Brenan- Escritor Ingles – Amigo de Espana” which translates as: English Writer – Friend of Spain. Gerald Brenan once lived at Bell Court.

Edward FitzGerald ‘Gerald’ Brenan, born in 1894, came from a military family but he shunned …

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Gerald Finzi – Composer

Gerald Finzi was born in London in 1901. During World War l, after his father’s death, the family moved to Harrogate, Where Gerald began to study music (his music teacher commented that the teenage Finzi was “very shy, but full of poetry”). He later studied at York Minster, and then moved to Gloucestershire and finally …

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Hilda Beatrice Currie nee Hanbury – Politician

Hilda was born in 1872 to Quaker parents, and grew up at the botanical gardens that her parents were creating at Ventimiglia, Italy. In Italy she was closely involved with the training of nurses which led to her being decorated by Queen Elena. She founded the first school for nurses in Italy at Rome, for …

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Hugh Dalton – Economist & Politician

Hugh Dalton was an economist and politician who rose to become Chancellor of the Exchequer in Clement Attlee’s  post-war Labour government.

Educated at Eton and Cambridge, he initially help an academic post at the LSE where he made important contributions to the theory and measurement of income distribution. During WWI he served as a lieutenant, …

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Ida Gandy – Writer

With hindsight. Aldbourne in the late 1940s was a bit of a ‘literary oasis’ with writers Hammond Innes, Gerald Brenan Foster all living here at that time. At the close of that decade, another writer moved here and took the village to her heart: she was Ida Gandy. Ida was born in 1885 in Bishops …

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Jankel Adler – Artist

Just up Castle Street from the Square, Aldbourne is ‘Whitley Cottage’. It has an unusually large, north facing paned window which gives a clue to a person who lived there in the late 1940s. Jankel Adler was born in 1895, the seventh of ten children, in Lodz, Poland. In 1914 he moved to Germany, studied …

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Jimmy Bomford

Herbert James (Jimmy) Powell Bomford was born in Surrey in 1896. Towards the end of WWI he was called to service in the Artists Rifles but soon transferred to the newly formed Royal flying Corps, After the war he established himself in the hectic but profitable world of the London Stock Exchange. He flourished and …

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John Henry Wakefield

Many interesting characters have lived in Aldbourne over the years but only a few have the distinction of leaving a permanent mark on the village map. One of those was John Henry Wakefield.

John was born in Nottingham in  1851, son of a coal labourer and charwoman. Nothing is known of his early life but, …

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Johnny Morris

The 1940s were a bit of a ‘golden age’ in Aldbourne for ‘characters’ who not only left their mark on the village but also on the wider world. Once of these was Ernest John Morris, better known as Johnny Morris, best known for his zoo-based ‘Animal Magic’ programmes and many other TV and radio series …

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Joy Finzi – Artist, Sculptor, Musician and Poet

Joy Finzi was an artist and poet, born Joyce Black in 1907. She initially studied music, in particular the violin, but then turned to sculpture and pottery at the Central School of Art and Design in London. Her skill at drawing pencil portraits, for which she later became best known, was entirely self-taught. She married …

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Margaret Longhurst – Writer and Curator

A short way up Castle Street is the pleasant, if unremarkable, ‘Cobblestones’ cottage. Previously part of this cottage was a separate dwelling named ‘Wayside’ where a lady, who was a groundbreaker in her profession, lived out her retirement.

Margaret Helen Longhurst, born in 1882 in Certsey, Surrey was the daugher of a successful, if modest, …

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Muriel Foster – Artist and Fishing Enthusiast

Some writers achieve success in their early years then fade to obscurity. Some lucky ones find success in their later years and for some, curiously, their real talent is only recognised after they have died. Muriel Foster was one of the latter. Muriel Constance Foster, born in 1885 in Shenley, Surrey, was the eldest daughter …

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Robert Drew – Soldier

‘Dabchicks’ have roamed far and wide from Aldbourne in search of their calling or inclination. One of those found himself on the remote but important island of St. Helena. He was Robert Drew (sometimes Drewe). Robert was one of two Robert Drews born in Aldbourne in early 1790, so he was either the son of …

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Rover the Fundraising Dog

Rover was a brown and white spaniel owned by Harry Liddiard who lived in the corn Stores, the building which later became Raffles Restaurant and is now Nos 1 & la The Green, adjacent to The Crown. Rover was a loveable character and Harry used this to the great benefit of the community. Between 1924 …

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Spencer Bertram Horn – Soldier and Fighter Pilot

Spencer Horn was born in 1895, his parents having arrived back in England the day before!

He passed out from Sandhurst in 1914 and was commissioned as a 2nd lieutenant in the 3rd Dragoon Guards. He was promoted to lieutenant in 1915. In February 1916 he was seconded to the Machine Gun Corps, and then …

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Thomas Chandler – Farmer and Inventor

Thomas Hicks Chandler was born in 1811 in the village of Heytesbury, near Warminster, Wiltshire and became a farmer. In the early 19th century, the national population was expanding rapidly and there was desperate need to maximise crop yields. Natural fertilizers such as guano (bird droppings) were being imported by ship from far off lands …

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Thomas Fairchild – Plant Hybridiser

By the time that this article is published, many readers have enjoyed the display of late summer flowers in the gardens of Aldbourne. Many of these plants will be the result of deliberate ‘hybridization’, that is, the crossing of one type of plant with another. We have to thank a ‘son of Aldbourne’ for the …

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Tom Rolt – Writer & Waterways Revivalist

Lionel Thomas Caswall Rolt (1910-1974) was a prolific writer and biographer of 18th and 19th century British engineers, and a successful early campaigner for the revival and preservation of heritage railways and canals.

Born in Chester and educated at Cheltenham College, in 1928 he became an apprentice at a locomotive works in Stoke-on-Trent. This move …

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