Woodford Halse Archive

Woodford Short History

The Thirties

As the population grew in the twentieth century, more people meant more opportunities for trade and the railway brought goods as well as jobs. Woodford Halse’s range of shops expanded dramatically. From four shops, a bakery a smithy and two inns in 1894, by 1936 Woodford offered over a dozen stores, a petrol station, a building contractor, undertaker and plumber, and four drinking establishments (the Hinton Gorse Hotel - now the Social Club – the Three Fleurs De Lys, the Hare and Hounds and the White Hart). Altogether 35 businesses were listed in the Kelly’s directory for that year. The parade of shops along Station Road, built as part of the Melcombe brothers’ development, largely took over from shops in High Street, School Street and Parsons Street although shops there continued until the railway closed.

To get some idea of just how varied a village shopping centre Woodford Halse had, imagine a walk from the Station to the Church in the 1930s. You emerge from the station stairway under the bridge and head along Station Road. On the right is the White Hart Hotel and on the left a butchers and then a fish and chip shop. On the first part of the site still occupied by a pharmacy today is a chemist and next to that is Billy Bright’s grocery shop. Crossing Cherwell Terrace there is a barbers, then W.H. Adams “High Class Bakers and Patisserie”. To your right, you see the ex-Servicemans&’ Hall (the current Memorial Hall replaced it) but continuing along the row of shops there is a butchers, a hardware and haberdashers, a shoe menders, a sweet shop, the carriers, Barclays Bank, another butchers and finally, on the corner of Percy Road, Miss Hemming’s Ladies Boutique. By King’s Corner is the large Co-operative store (now Faulkners Footwear) with its grocers, butchers and drapers. Continuing across Percy Road you pass another barbers, a general store, a newsagents, a “high class grocer” and, in what is now the Woodford Dynasty Restaurant, a glove factory. You could turn right up Parsons Street to the Doctor’s surgery in Jaffe House but you continue along Church Street. On your right are four new, semi-detached houses with bay windows, very much in the 1930s style with the brick arches over their front doors. On the left hand side of the road you see the local Electricity Board shop on one corner of Castle Road, and on the other side, the Post Office. Finally, for those of a pious mind there is a left turn into the churchyard and St Mary’s church while, for those in search of more secular pleasures, a right turn takes you into the newly opened Savoy Cinema. Just ahead of you is the Village Primary School. In the few hundred yards from the Station as you have climbed the hill, almost every need has been catered for.

At the same time housing was being expanded in the village. The 1920s and 1930s saw housing ribbon development on the Farndon Road, the north side of Byfield Road, the new houses on Church Street and new cottages built on High Street.

By kind permission of John Williams