Village life between the two world wars is documented in new book about Shabbington

Richard Mayou. Picture: John Cairns
Richard Mayou. Picture: John Cairns

A second volume of Shabbington history has been published looking back at life between the two world wars.

‘A Village History 1918 – 1945’, by Richard Mayou, is packed with photographs, anecdotes and fascinating facts collected from the memories, mementoes and recordings of families living in the village.

Shabbington history book 1918-45

Shabbington history book 1918-45

It brings alive the everyday hardships of villagers, the dominant farming families, the various influential - and often eccentric - vicars who presided over some extraordinarily ambitious events, and the teachers who struggled to maintain standards at a school where toilets were buckets.

Shabbington no longer has a single shop, but the book describes thriving businesses, including a butcher, sweet shop, rag and bone shop, brewhouse, slaughter house, the ‘Little Shop’ and ‘Big Shop’, and a reading room.

Anecdotes recount the Mothers’ Social trip to a Lyons Corner House where some of the party got stuck in the lift, and how the only telephone in the village was based in the post office, and when it rang, the post-mistress’s daughter had to get on her bike and cycle to get the intended recipient to come and take the call.

Above all, the war dominates. Author Mr Mayou said: “To outward appearances Shabbington in 1918 looked as it had done for a hundred years, but its villagers were changed. They were grieving, demoralised and uncertain about the future, and would soon face unemployment and poverty.

The illustrated book continues the story from the first volume, ‘Shabbington, A Thousand Years of Village History’, which recounted the story of the village and its relationship with Thame through centuries of momentous events from Domesday to the First World War. The second book brings events much closer to home, with many relations of those pictured still living in the village.

The book is priced at £15 and all proceeds go to the Friends of St Mary Magdalene Church. It is available from The Book House and the Thame Museum, or by contacting pchild77@gmail.com