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Incorporating Windsor Heritage

NEWSLETTER No 90   August 2020

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These have been such a strange few months during which we have experienced lockdown because of Covid-19.The Society as a result has had to cancel some activities such as the planned lecture, the eagerly anticipated summer visits and one of the highlights of the summer – the Royal Albert Institute Music Event. We hope that members have stayed safe and well through lockdown and the challenge of shielding.

The Society has had to adapt to these unusual circumstances and even someone as ‘non- technical’ as myself has got used to using Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams and WhatsApp.  The Society has been using Zoom for its Executive Committee meetings and we know that many of you are using these platforms to communicate both with families and with organisations to which you belong.

We are resuming our talks from September 2nd but the first two of these will be via Zoom, and speakers have been booked with the necessary expertise. There are some helpful guidance notes in this newsletter to assist members who would like to join these meetings but may be unfamiliar with using Zoom. In addition, the AGM in October will be held by Zoom.  Members will appreciate that with all the advice about cleaning and social distancing this course of action was inevitable if the Society is to resume these activities.

The Heritage & Environment Committee has continued to communicate monthly and monitor what is happening in Windsor and Eton. You will see from Anne Taylor’s report that we have gained a new member and said goodbye to Susy Shearer, who has stressed that she is not retiring but going on to a demanding role looking at the future of cycling.

We do hope that we are able to resume our face to face meetings towards the end of the year, but much will depend on what Government advice we receive. We also need to protect members who need to be shielded.  We are lucky to live in the Royal Borough which is at the bottom of numbers of cases of Covid per 100,000 in the population – 0.7 – but we must not be complacent.


The AGM of our Society will be held at 8.00pm on Monday 26th October 2020 and, this year, will take place via Zoom. Do please try to share in this important event in the Society’s calendar and, this year, be part of something that will be of significance in the history of the Society.


Our aim when communicating with members is to be able to share information with you as quickly and as efficiently as possible, especially when there are changes and updates that we need to notify you about.

During the current pandemic many people have seen the benefit of using email as their prime method of communication, so, after much thought, the Committee has decided to make a change in our approach to communicating with members. From 1st January 2021 we will be communicating with you by email only and will cease to send out hard copy communications and quarterly newsletters. When we reviewed the significant work involved, and the cost of printing and posting communications and newsletters, it is apparent that this cost approaches the amount of income to the Society from its annual subscriptions, therefore moving to electronic communications will be a considerable saving of the Society’s funds. It also means that we will be able to communicate with you more regularly and comprehensively regarding talks, visits, events and heritage and environment issues. The Annual Report will still be posted to all members as a hard copy.

The Committee already has email addresses for the majority of our members, but if you have not as yet supplied us with your email address, please make sure that you let us have the details to ensure that you continue to receive the Society’s communications after 1st January. Please send this to the Membership Secretary Sue Wells.

Would anyone for whom this approach creates major problems please contact our Chair, Margaret Lenton, to discuss it.


One of the last of our functions before the lockdown was the Society’s 74th Annual Dinner held in the Guildhall on 22nd February and attended by 80 members. The evening was not without its excitements, particularly as the sound system was causing problems, however this was solved when our Guest of Honour came to speak.

Among our guests was the Mayor of the Royal Borough, Cllr. Mrs Luxton and, given that this year we are remembering the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, our Guest of Honour and speaker was Geoffrey Pidgeon Legion d’Honneur.  Members and guests enjoyed a menu that was based on the dinner served at The Ritz on V.E. Day 1945 and, after the Chair had given a report of the year’s activities, Mr Pidgeon, who was the youngest ever member of MI6, talked about his role servicing the vehicles containing the equipment which linked the commanders in the field with Bletchley Park. This ensured that Enigma and Lorenz machine decrypts were available to generals via the Special Liaison Units. Given that time for speeches is limited, Mr Pidgeon had helpfully provided guests with detailed background material to read.


Resignation of Committee member Susy Shearer

It is with some sadness that we received Susy’s resignation from this Committee. The Society owes her an enormous debt of gratitude for all she has contributed during her 20+ years on this Committee. Chairman John Long invited her to become a member after noting her work for a public awareness campaign both in the development of Clewer Manor and of the Convent in Hatch Lane. From the outset she has always given of her time and enthusiasm. She helped establish the quarterly meetings with RBWM and initiated and coordinated the Windsor and Eton Facelift 2012 project.  She has been on the Windsor Cycle Forum for many years and, more recently, has been secretary of the Windsor Neighbourhood Plan (WNP). Susy has acquired a profound knowledge of planning matters and buildings and has a great concern and love for Windsor, its buildings and heritage. Nothing is too much effort for her and we can only say ‘Thank You for all you have done’ She is stepping down from this Committee as she has been asked to be involved with the emerging RBWM Climate Strategy and new Windsor & Maidenhead Cycling Action Group which replaces the previous RBWM Cycle Forum. We wish her well and she was presented with an engraved pen from The Society.

Welcome to Theresa Haggart who has joined the H&E Committee. Theresa is an active member of the WNP and her knowledge of Windsor and planning will be of great benefit to The Society.

Tree and Woodland Strategy 2010 – 2020

A significant number of the applications which the Committee considers each month relate to the pruning or felling of trees; either trees in Conservation Areas or trees protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). Many more will involve some impact on trees, either trees on site or trees adjacent to the proposed development. In June the Committee considered the Borough’s Tree and Woodland Strategy which provides advice relating to the planting, management and felling of trees throughout the Borough. This Strategy is generally thought to provide a good basis for planning decisions affecting trees and woodland and the Borough’s Tree Team do a good job looking after the interests of trees. However, the Strategy expires later this year and there is nothing on the Borough website to say what will happen then. It was decided to send a letter to the Borough asking what plans they have for updating the Strategy. A speedy and reassuring reply was received saying that the Strategy will be brought up to date before its expiry, ensuring that there will be no gap in advice to developers.

The Committee is also concerned that information on which trees are covered by TPOs is not publicly available. If a particular tree appears to be threatened it is possible to contact the Tree Team to ask if it is protected. It is not, however, possible to check an area on the map for TPOs and this makes the task of ensuring that important trees are protected much more difficult. On this subject, the Borough response was less reassuring. There is an intention to publish the data, but some of it goes back to the 1950s, and we are told that there are anomalies which will have to be resolved before publication. Publishing TPO information will be an objective of a new Tree and Woodland Strategy but so far there is no time frame for this to be achieved. The Committee will continue the keep this matter under review.

Borough Local Plan 

In December 2019 the Committee reviewed the Borough Local Plan (2013-2033) Submission Version Incorporating Proposed Changes October 2019 (BLPSV-PC). We sent a considered response to all the suggested sites in Windsor and also commented on other areas of the BLP where we were either encouraged by proposals or disturbed by them. The Inspector has now produced her Matters Issues and Questions (MIQs) for Stage 2 of the Examination. We were very encouraged by this document and noted that most of the concerns mentioned by us in our letter have been followed up with relevant questions and comments.


Letters written after May 2020 meeting

(PA 20/00679)  – 37 Alma Road – Rear extension and conversion of building to create 5 flats
There was a similar application earlier this year to which we had objected and it was withdrawn. This is slightly amended but we expressed the same concerns about over development and impact on parking 

(PA 20/00663/FULL) – The Duke of York PH, 19 St Leonard’s Road – Mixed use development comprising of a convenience store (A1) and 6 residential flats above with associated access, refuse and cycle storage, parking servicing and landscaping.
We expressed concern about the mass of the building, the parking and access and various amenity aspects.

(PA 20/00935/FULL)Essex Lodge, 69 Osborne Road WindsorConstruction of 10 Flats with associated landscaping, parking and bin store and alterations to the existing access, following demolition of the existing building

Letters written after June 2020 meeting

(PA 20/01145) – Windsor Garden Centre , Dedworth Road – Demolition of existing buildings and structures and the construction of a Class A1 discount food store with associated access, car parking and landscaping.
We expressed concern about the bland design, lack of landscaping and proximity to The Old Farmhouse.

Tree and Woodland Strategy 2010 – 2020
We noted that the current excellent strategy ends this year and asked what are the plans for reviewing this? We mentioned the Gardens Habitat Action Plan and the need for a map showing TPOs.

Letters written after July 2020 meeting

(PA 20/01291/ADV) – Auntie Anne’s, 12 Peascod Street.
We have many concerns about the signage and shop front in this Conservation Area in Windsor’s historic core.

(PA 20/01239)121 Springfield Road – Construction of 3 dwellings etc following demolition of existing dwelling.
This seemed overdevelopment of the plot and would cause harm to the established character of Springfield Road.

( PA 20/01374) Proposed Monopole mast and cabinet on verge adjacent to Sutherland Grange, Maidenhead Road.
We considered the proposed siting will blight the green verge and rural nature of this area. We suggested re-siting further from the verge where the pole and cabinet will be better screened by trees  and vegetation.
We have since learned that this does not require planning approval and the PA was unnecessary


During these times of lockdown and social distancing many members will have become familiar with using Zoom. The Executive Committee Meeting in June took place successfully on Zoom and, for some, was a Zoom initiation – but everyone was still smiling at the end of the meeting as is evidenced in this photo.

You will have read elsewhere in this newsletter that the first 2 talks of the new season and the AGM will take place on Zoom. We do hope that many members will join these meetings and in order for you to be able to do so it is essential that we have your email address by 22nd August at the latest so that you will be included on the list invited to the first talk on 2nd September. If we do not already have your email address please send it to Sue Wells, the Membership Secretary stating that you wish to be included on the Windsor and Eton Society members’ mailing list.

We realise that some members will not have used Zoom before and therefore we have included below a list of FAQs to help you get started and take part in the meetings.


I’ve never used Zoom before, will it cost me anything to use Zoom for the meeting?
Absolutely not. It is the host who pays!

What kind of device must I have to be able to use Zoom?The best is a laptop or mainframe computer – smart phones are very difficult to manage and small.

Do I have to have a webcam on my device?
If you wish to be seen the answer is yes but otherwise it is not necessary (most people do)

Once I have switched on my device what do I do?
You will receive an email invitation a few days before a meeting. This email will contain meeting details including an important link which you should click on when you wish to join the meeting. Once clicked you will, in time, be admitted to the meeting (be patient!)

Do I have to register with Zoom or download anything to be able to join a meeting?
No Zoom registration is needed, except clicking on the critical link referred to in 4

Do I have to be invited to join a Zoom meeting and do I need a code?
This has been covered in 4. Basically the answer is yes.

How do I get an invitation and do I have to accept it if I want to join the meeting?
The organiser of the meeting will send an invitation to your email address which you don’t actually have to accept or decline (although the option is often there to do so)

How do I join the meeting at the scheduled time?
Click on that all important link 5 or 10 minutes before the meeting start time, and then wait to be admitted.

Does everyone at the meeting see one another or can I join the meeting without being seen?
As said above you don’t have to be seen, but most people do.

What do I have to do to hear what’s being said at the meeting?
You will hear everything as long as your computer speaker is switched on.

Can I mute myself during Talks and how do I do this? 
The host will mute everyone prior to the speaker starting

What must I do if I want to ask a question at the meeting?
This will be conveyed by the host once you are at the meeting

What happens if my device malfunctions during the meeting – how do I re-join? Simply exit the connection and re-join by repeating the above procedure

Can I leave the meeting before it finishes if I need to?
Yes at any time

Once the meeting is over how do I successfully leave the meeting?
The host will let you know what to do, but it is a very simple ‘click’

Generally we recommend you “Google” Zoom and get familiar with the system. There are several very helpful websites which will give you confidence in time!!


Tuesday 21st April 2020 – Rye and Great Dixter House & Garden, East Sussex

Tuesday 16th June 2020 – Leeds Castle, Kent

Disappointingly both these visits had to be cancelled due to the lockdown but will be rebooked for April and June 2021 respectively. However, at the present time it is impossible to obtain forward dates for us to visit as neither property is answering telephone calls or emails.

As regards an October 2020 visit, this has been shelved as the coach would present problems if the current regulations for spacing between passengers remains. Hopefully there will be some better news in the coming weeks.


Daniel Gooch – Locomotive and Telegraph Engineer, was the subject of our March talk. Malcolm Lock spoke on how this local character played such an influential role in the development of the railway system, in particular the Great Western Railway. His association with Windsor began when he and his wife came for a holiday at Clewer Park, the house that they eventually bought. They are buried in the Clewer Churchyard and there is a commemorative plaque to his work outside the information office in Windsor Royal Shopping/Windsor and Eton Central Station.

Unfortunately our April talk, Hackney carriages in Windsor – past and present, was cancelled due to Covid-19 but has been rescheduled in our 2020-21 programme.


Wednesday 2nd September – 8.00pm – Zoom Meeting  Alan Clare, RAF Air Traffic Controller, will speak on Heathrow and what makes it work so smoothly. Alan’s experience covers expertise in air traffic management, operations (both air traffic control and air defence), policy, safety management and system procurement. He is a graduate of the RAF and NATO staff colleges, a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and member of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Thursday 1st October – 3.00pm – Zoom Meeting   John Anderson, Keeper of the Gardens, The Crown Estate will speak on The Savill and Valley Gardens

Thursday 5th November – 3.00pm – Gardeners’ Hall   Barbara Askew, who is a Blue Badge Guide, will speak about Britain’s Lost Baroque Palace – Charles II’s Windsor Castle. Barbara is an acknowledged expert on Windsor Castle, for which she has been the Blue Badge Guides’ Site Liaison Representative since 1990.

The full programme of Talks for 2020-2021 is included with this newsletter.


The Society’s membership now stands at 331. The committee would like to welcome three new members who have joined the Society since the February newsletter.
Members are reminded that subscriptions for those who do not pay by bank standing order are due for payment on 1st October. 


Windsor Town Forum – The next 2 meetings are scheduled for Wednesday 23rd September 2020 and Wednesday 25th November 2020, both at 6.30pm in Grey Room, York House, Windsor. However, dependent on the situation at the time, it would be advisable to check the RBWM website to see if/how this is going ahead as the meeting in July took place on Zoom. Minutes of previous meetings, the Agenda and dates of future meetings when available, can be accessed through the RBWM website http://www.rbwm.gov.uk 


Members will recall that “From the Archives” has been a feature in a number of previous newsletters. I have found the articles interesting to research from a small collection of newspaper cuttings and references in Annual Reports, and a number of different topics of interest from the Society’s history have been covered. Whilst the Society regularly engages in events and actions that could, in the future, be of importance in the heritage our 2 towns, this year has probably been second to none in creating an unusual chapter in the Society’s history. A future newsletter editor will no doubt find it interesting to read in our archives about how we had to totally abandon our programme of talks and visits at short notice; the state of limbo that we experienced, and are still experiencing, in being unable to plan future events with any confidence; and our willingness to try something new by embracing technology to allow us to hold Executive and H&E Committee meetings, our AGM and to begin our Talks Programme. This year we are not only members of a Society that is helping to preserve our heritage and environment, we are also creating together a significant chapter in our Society’s history.

Published by The Windsor and Eton Society www.wesoc.org.uk