Questions about Banbury and surroundings

Questions or points of interest about Banbury people or places, from anyone (member or otherwise), can be sent to any Committee Member, or to the the Website; and if they seem as though they might interest the Society they will be mounted here (possibly after editing). Similarly, if you have an answer, do please contact the Website.

Question 2.

Frederick Simson is doing some genealogical research on his 'Weaver' and 'Simson' ancestors who lived in Kings Sutton in the 19th century (though by 1920 his immediate relatives had moved to London). From the census returns from 1841-1911 he has learned that during that period Weavers and Simsons lived in various houses in Whittall Street, namely: Nos. 22, 24, 136, 137, 145 & 160. He is puzzled that present day Whittall Street only runs to No. 30. Were house with higher numbers pulled down, or was Whittall longer in the past, running northeast into Richmond St. or south towards Mill Lane? Or was it somewhere else altogether?

He writes: "My question is: was there a different Whittall Street, not only with more dwellings in the street  but possibly of a more modest type of accommodation? For the present houses are substantial and look as though they have been there for many years and do not lead one to believe that they have ever been given over to multi occupancy. The Francis Frith photos of Whittall Street taken around the turn of the century indicate that it had indeed been previously known as the 'High Street' but there is no indication as to when  this name change had taken place."

(Any suggestions sent to website@banburyhistoricalsociety.org will be passed on)


Question 1.

Dear whom it may concern.

I am making enquiries about the history of Wykham Park and Sir Arthur Smith-Bingham, in possible relation to my late father who  was born 1916 in Dorden near Tamworth and went to Polesworth school. In his class was a Arthur Bingham. They both left (and parted company) at the mandatory age of 14 in 1930. From what my father told me in the past, possibly a year from leaving school he went into “ gentlemens service” for a Sir Arthur Smith -Bingham who had previously lived near Polesworth and had moved to Banbury area, and his son was the Arthur Bingham who had been in my fathers class.  My father worked his way up and very shortly  became a First Footman Valet. On his day or evenings off he and fellow servants /workers used  to frequent The Three Pigeons public house. He also mentioned that when Sir and Lady Bingham went to a show in London he accompanied  them with their chauffer. I have a few “sepia” photographs of my father's which I believe to be of Wykham Park manor and some of the servants ( including my father) relaxing in the grounds, obviously on their time off. I am hoping that all of the above  can be confirmed with what knowledge you may have already about Wykham Park. I read one of your  past “Cake and Cockhorse” journals which mentions that Sir  Smith-Bingham owned Wykham from 1928-1939. I am hoping that this is one and the same. I can if you wish look out these photographs and scan one or two of them and email them to whoever may want to have a look to confirm if my photo’s are indeed Wykham Park.

Regards, Anthony Archer.

 Webmanager writes: There is a brief mention of Smith-Bingham in the Victoria County History Oxfordshire; Vol 10 Banbury Hundred (available online):- "Robert William Perks, later M.P. for Louth (Lincs.) and President of the Wesleyan Conference, purchased Wickham Park from (x) in 1903, and was still there in 1915. (ref. 147) Later occupants were Major Eric Crossley (1920, 1928), and Arthur Turberville Smith-Bingham (1939). (ref. 148) In 1969 Wickham Park was a girl's public school, Tudor Hall School." . There is reference  online to an Arthur Turberville Smith-Bingham (1906-1988), who got married to Jean Garland in 1930 whose son Charles Arthur Smith-Bingham was born 1931; but no evidence so far of where he lived or of a title.

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