Hodnet Doctor Stops Pancake Day

That headline got your attention!

However, this is nothing to do with the esteemed doctors of today’s Hodnet Medical Centre, but relates to an Feb 1886 Newspaper article, topical at the time, that was this week posted on Facebook’s ‘Shropshire Tales, History & Memories page’.

The article comes from Eddowes’s Shrewsbury Journal, and around 20 years after his death it seems Dr Walmsley was clearly still well remembered – perhaps as he seems to have been Hodnet’s first recognisable resident GP as well as a bit of a character.

At least two of his early medicine bottles survive, see picture of one of them below.

Note. The writer is always interested in acquiring more local old bottles and containers, so if you’ve got some to re-home, maybe after a ‘lockdown clear out’, please do get in touch via email at Contact Me

New 'Nostalgia Photos' emerge

Recent perusal of a (2003) copy of a Shropshire Star book ‘Pictures from the Past’ (borrowed from Market Drayton’s library), revealed two interesting local photos, as shown below.
They are reproduced here courtesy of the Shropshire Star Newspaper.

1965: Hodnet school children being escorted across Drayton Road (by Mrs Wilma Owen) to have their lunch at the Lyon Hall

Does anyone recognise any of the people in this photo?
If it’s you, or someone you know, drop us a line with any reminisences you/they may have of the event, or indeed life at the old school. We think the headmaster then may have been a Mr Hugill, who retired to Wollerton at around this time – to a house now lived in by the author of this post!
Contact us using this form
And here is the second photo
Former Weobley railway bridge being demolished in 1980, as part of road improvements to the A442 south of Hodnet

This bridge was an awkward ‘hump backed’ feature of the road, and in some of Gerald Mothershaw’s local history books he mentioned that the parapets were demolished several times, or grounding took place, when large vehicles crossed, especially WW II transport vehicles heading to/from nearby military bases.
Ther house in the background, Weobley Smallholding, is still there and if you look carefully when passing, some of the former railway line fence posts either side of the road indicate the original railway route.
For more photos of our area’s past, see the Nostalgic Photographs page here.

Remembering Ken Dodd

How many of our viewers / users remember that ‘Doddy’ visited Wollerton back in Jan 1972 – to present a ‘Perfect Pub’ award to the erstwhile Squirrel Inn?
The picture below was used by the Shropshire Star last week in their ‘Pictures from the Past’ item and is reproduced here courtesy of the Shopshire Star Newspaper.

Do you recognise anyone? maybe the photo includes you? – in either case we’d be pleased to hear from you with any further information / reminiscences. Contact us using this form
In the meantime, the webteam contacted Steve Howell-Jones, the then licensee of The Squirrel, and who is still ‘of this Parish’, and he kindly provided some further information for us:

I was fortunate enough to win the Perfect Pub award for 1971 having taken over the tenancy in 1969. The whole idea was sponsored by the Shropshire Star and promoted by Shirley Tart, one of their reporters (still going strong!). I was told by her there were 104 entries that year, the highest ever.

Ken Dodd was appearing at the Granada Theatre in Shrewsbury that bitterly cold January day and having rehearsed his act in the morning, went on to sign books at a shop in Shrewsbury before coming to The Squirrel to present the award. He spent ¾ hour in the bitter cold, signing autographs for the kids and mums who gathered in great numbers to see him, after which he came inside and did an impromptu ‘stand up comic routine’ from behind the bar.

His entourage included Pearl Carr and Teddy Johnson (the British entry singers of the very first Eurovision Song Contest) an ITV television crew (who were filming ‘a day in the life of’ type programme), staff of a woman’s magazine, and others. The pub was packed to the gunwhales and after an hour he went outside again and continued to sign autographs. Truly a real professional.

He then went to appear in an ice cream commercial, before dashing back to the Prince Rupert Hotel in Shrewsbury for a quick kip before his appearance at the Granada Theatre. He told me this was a typical day!

Marchamley Mysteries Revealed in Photos

Marchamley Bluebells and TreeSave the date Sunday 6th November 2-5pm.
Pull out your best photographs to share on the day.  Look forward to spending the afternoon chatting with others over tea and cake at Marchamley club.
Marchamley house in snowEnjoy the photographs, old and new. See the pictures of people, the village, surrounding countryside and its abundant wildlife.
Meet a local historian and chat about his maps and wealth of local historical information.
See how different photographic techniques can create different images.

Hodnet Man's Historic Grave

The grade I St Lukes Church.
Recently the web-team were contacted by someone asking permission to use a photograph from our website on a local history site. It was not the first time we have had such a request and the photographer, Geoff Potter, was very happy to grant them permission. The image in question is of St. Luke’s Church (right). What made this request different is the fascinating story which motivated it.
The local history concerned is mainly on the far side of the world – in Australia, thought it starts with the birth of a baby boy right here in Hodnet. Henry Edward Dodd, the son of Ralph and Sarah, was baptised on 1 September 1748 at St. Luke’s Church, Hodnet. But it was not in Shropshire where he became prominent.
Aged around 15 Dodd moved south to Lyndhurst in Hampshire where he found employment as a farm labourer. The owner, Arthur Phillip, was quickly impressed by Dodd’s abilities and thus began a long association between the two. Phillip took Dodd with him when he captained the “First Fleet” of convicts to be sent to Australia. Phillip was appointed the Colony’s first Governor and searched for a good place for the first settlement. In time Dodd was given the task of organising the clearing and cultivating of the ground; his workforce consisted of one hundred convicts.
Phillip expected that he and Dodd would one day return together to Britain, but things took an unexpected turn in January 1791. Dodd was woken during the night by some of his “staff” stealing produce from his own garden. Dodd had been unwell for some months and was no longer young. He chased the intruders for several hours wearing only a shirt. This proved too much for his weakened state and he died that night.
Henry Dodd was buried in what is now Parramatta, today a suburb of Sydney and a major central business district [Google Map]. His grave is the earliest known, undisturbed European one with headstone in situ in Australia. This is why this story has come to light now. There is now a St. John’s Cemetery Project with those involved researching the stories behind the graves in what is Australia’s oldest surviving European cemetery. Of those graves Dodd’s is one of the most significant.
You can read more about this local man who left for Hampshire and ended up as a pioneer settler in Australia on The St. John’s Cemetery Project’s website.
Michaela Ann Cameron of The St. John’s Cemetery Project has given us permission to use two of her photographs on the Hodnet website. The one above is of a plaque added to the grave, whilst below is a picture of the whole grave. The bushel of wheat and large cabbage commemorate Dodd’s achievements at successfully cultivating crops, enabling the colony to become self-sufficient.

1953 Coronation Celebrations in Hodnet

A copy of the programme for the 1953 Coronation Celebrations was recently discovered in the personal archives of a Parish Councillor. They scanned it and then sent the webteam a copy of the file which is reproduced on the right. Click on the image to enlarge it.
The full wording of the programme is reproduced below.
We wonder how many other residents remember this special event? Did any of you win a prize in the Decorated Sticks, Decorated Bicycles or Fancy Dress competitions? Does anyone still posses photographs of the day which you would be willing to share via the website? Please let us know if you do. (The web team is also looking for other old photos from the area for a new section, so please let contact us if you would like to contribute to this wider project.) Click here to contact the web team.
In contrast to the 1953 event this year’s Diamond Jubilee Celebrations are not planned to last until midnight, and so far the Parish Council has not offered to provide buses “to transport Parishioners from outlying districts to the celebrations.” Details of this year’s event can be found on this page.
Update August 2014: More archives similar to this have now been included in the Hodnet Scrapbook section, which is part of our Local History pages.
The full text of the programme is:


Plans for Coronation Celebrations, 1953

The Celebrations will be held on the Cricket Ground, commencing at 3 p.m. on Coronation Day, June 2nd, and will consist of:

1. Tea for all children up to the age of 6 years.

2. Distribution of mugs and sweets to children.

3. A programme of children’s sports and country dancing.

4. The provision of sideshows to entertain everyone.

5. Competitions for children – namely:

(a) Decorated Sticks.

(b) Decorated Bicycles.

(c) Fancy Dress.

Children to assemble at Hodnet School at 2-45 p.m., to parade to Cricket Ground.

6. Adult events – Over Fifty’s Race.

Tug of war (Teams of 8), entries as early as possible please to
Mr. R. Major, Hodnet Post Office.

Teas and refreshments will be on sale on the ground.

7. Open Air Dancing (Old Tyme and Modern) on the Cricket Ground, weather permitting, from 8 p.m. until 9-30, followed by a Dance in the Lyon Hall until midnight.

Buses will be available to transport Parishioners from outlying districts to the celebrations.
Details of these and further details of the celebrations will be given in due course on Notices displayed at the following points:- Hodnet Parish Notice Board; The Square, Hodnet; The Post Offices at Hodnet, Marchamley, Wollerton and Peplow.