Previous Entry Share Next Entry
(no subject)
2012
unknownj
As part of my interest in local history, I found and bought a report on my village from 1969, which was intended to assess the way in which teenagers could integrate into the village as it expanded. I've transcribed some of the more entertaining sections, because I think the tone of the report is just brilliant...
This report was commissioned by Chinnor Parish Council in March 1968 to examine the problems which were likely to arise in the future from an unprecedented increase in the child population of the village which had occurred since about 1960.

[...]

Chinnor is a small village dating back to the Middle Ages and lying just inside the south-east corner of the Oxfordshire boundary with Buckinghamshire. It lies also below the north-west facing escarpment of the Chiltern Hills and at the junction of the Icknield Way with the old road connecting High Wycombe and Thame which crosses at right angles to the escarpment. London is about forty-five miles to the south-east, Oxford about eighteen miles to the north-west and there is no direct means of transport to the latter. The immediately neighbouring country towns are Thame (four miles), Princes Risborough (four miles) and High Wycombe (ten miles). Only the latter has any pretence at sophisticated entertainments such as cinemas and swimming baths but any access by public transport is of insufficient frequency to be in any way useful.

[...]

The educational background of the pre-1960 inhabitants is mostly at secondary modern level with a sprinkling of former grammar school pupils (or their equivalent). University graduates are only to be found among the professional and retired people who have settled in the village before or since 1960. This does not reflect in any way on the native shrewdness of the original villagers but it does perhaps mean that their concepts of leisure activities are essentially unsophisticated and mainly of the open-air variety - as befits a rural community who have the still-valid pastimes associated with fields and hedges available all around them.

[...]

The families moving into Chinnor in the last seven years now outnumber the original inhabitants by about 3 to 1. Their average age i around thirty and they were responsible in 1968 for 80% of the births in the village which have been so numerous that rather more than 1 in 4 of the population is aged ten or under and 1 in 6 aged five or under. This is the unprecedented situation in Chinnor which has given rise to this report. These young families have come for the cheap two and three bedroom houses, in the main from South Bucks towns such as High Wycombe and Slough and also from London itself. Thus they are orientated towards comparatively sophisticated town-based leisure activities and it would be reasonable to assume that their children will be reared with similar expectations. Although no formal survey of the occupations and incomes of the newcomers has been carried out recently, our impression is that their educational standing is often high and many have at least a technical and some a professional education. Many of the wives have been or are teachers, secretaries, medical ancillary workers and so on, while the husbands represent a wide range of business interests, often at management level, or have technical occupations in laboratories, factories or universities.

[...]

It is also our impression that few of the newcomers have any sympathy towards or understanding of such bodies as the Women's Institute (who have certainly not increased their membership substantially from the influx of young women) and the newcomes' image of this body is often the townsman's one of a number of elderly ladies in felt hats who mainly drink tea nad knit. (This is in fact the opposite of the truth as far as Chinnor W.I. is concerned.) There is probably very little sympathy for what remains of the 'squirearchy' of the village or for the traditional village religious orientations. It is interesting that recently the occupants of one new estate by concerted action were prepared to challenge the rights and actions of a senior member of the old village society.

This energy and drive is at present lost fo the village as a whole, unfortunately, but we assume that gradual integration between the adult generations of village and estate will occur. The problem may be more acute in the next two decades with the children of the estates who will take up the parent's attitudes and expectations. It is most important that these children should achieve integration at both personal and group level into the life of the rest of the village community and they can do this only through three agencies - the primary school, the leisure activities outside school hours and their parent's attitudes and activities.

Both sides of the village will need to adjust, but it is probable that the existing village organisations will have the greater adjustment to make in terms of the raising of their standards of performance, the level of sophistication of their activities and the range of these activities.
Well, I like it anyway... I think it gives an amusing insight into the dynamics of the village just when it started to grow, and a view of how the villagers saw the "newcomers" (which would include me, up to a point).

Actually, touching on that point, it's probably worth noting that because of my mother's very rural upbringing, I don't know that I fall into the group of people who might be "reared" with an expectation of "sophisticated" leisure facilities. When I was little, it was enough to go up into the hills, or wander down to the stream, or any number of other rural pursuits. I always felt kind of sorry for all the kids hanging around on street corners for a lack of anything better to do - how limited their imaginations must have been...

In other news, I have a new book full of old pictures, so I may be wanting to take some more contemporary shots soon for comparison purposes.. The amateur historian's work is never done :o)

?

Log in

No account? Create an account