DOWN MEMORY LANE: Memories of Oving recorded

Images of Oving
Images of Oving

Four years ago I wrote a Down Memory Lane article reporting on the Oving Memories Day, which had been held in the parish church.

It was organised by West Sussex Record Office, together with the Friends of St Andrew’s Church and the Oving Parish Map group.

Oving Almshouse

Oving Almshouse

It was a huge success; people brought their old photographs for scanning, and we recorded their memories of life in Oving in years gone by.

There then arose the question as to what to do with all this information.

The recordings and photographs were deposited in the Record Office for future generations, but should something be done now to pull the project together?

As a result the Oving History Group was formed with the intention of producing a book, which would be illustrated by the photographs and enriched by quotations from the reminiscences.

Over the years more information was collected and this process could have gone on indefinitely!

However, last year it was decided to call a halt and the book was duly published in December 2011.

Facts and anecdotes

The book is available for £5 from the Record Office or the local pub, The Gribble Inn.

There was so much information collected it was not possible to include it all in the book.

However, illustrations shown here are available in the Oving Memories Collection at the Record Office.

Many interesting facts and anecdotes were recorded, but it was interesting that few of those interviewed gave any information about the accession of Queen Elizabeth II in 1952, her coronation in 1953 or the silver jubilee celebrations in 1977, although one local resident mentioned that Jubilee Cottages in Merston were so named for Queen Victoria’s jubilee.

However, the coronation was certainly celebrated with gusto in the village.

A Chichester Observer report of June 6, 1953, states ‘Notable at Oving was the broadcast viewing of the Coronation television in the centuries-old parish church… the church was filled with intently-gazing men, women and children’.

It was also reported that there were three screens (giving ‘excellent’ reception) and the cost was borne by Mr CD Herniman. Later the afternoon’s festivities began with races for the children and adults.

God Save the Queen

The Record Office does hold some records (WSRO Ref AM/231) relating to the preparations for the festivities, which back up the report.

It seems plans were being made as early as December 1952 when a copy of the electoral roll for the parish was obtained, so every resident could be invited to participate.

The school was hired for meetings and numerous suggestions were made regarding the choice of celebration events.

It was eventually agreed to include as many suggestions as possible in the programme.

Some of the more unusual events included the singing of Elizabethan songs and a parade of decorated bicycles and prams.

However, the day culminated in a traditional tea followed by the presentation of a coronation souvenir for each child and, of course, a rousing rendition of God Save the Queen!

Do you have any photographs or memories of accession, coronation or jubilee celebrations from your own town or village in West Sussex?

We at West Sussex Record Office are interested in hearing from you.

If you would like to share your memories with us please contact Susan Millard on 01243 753602 or email records.office@westsussex.gov.uk.