THE Stratford Mop of 1914 appeared little changed from previous years. Wartime austerity had not yet set in and few people foresaw that the conflict would be lengthy. One of the great traditions of the fair was its roasts. No less than five oxen and seven pigs were rotating on the spits outside the pubs on the big day. The excursion trains brought their usual hundreds of revellers from Birmingham and other centres of population. None of Stratford’s conscripts had yet embarked overseas, although just five days before, a regular with the South Wales Borderers, Sgt RH Savage, had been the first Stratfordian to fall victim to the war. He had been struck by shrapnel at the Battle of the Aisne and died of his wounds in Bournbrook Military Hospital.
Four years ago Ellis Holtom, of Stratford-upon-Avon, was born with half a working heart. Later, the Herald featured his condition as a tribute to the work of Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he was treated. Now, to mark Congenital Heart Defect Week his mum, Vicki, updates his story. . .
ALL 326 local planning authorities in England, councils like Stratford-on-Avon District, need a local plan. The core strategy is a component of that local plan. It contains all the local district wide policies that need to be considered when processing planning applications. New development needs to satisfy local needs, helping to realise the hopes and ambitions of its communities and protect them from situations they fear. New homes and places to work should provide then with a healthy lifestyle, a pleasant place to live, good recreational facilities and above all the infrastructure that enhances their quality of life. The buzzword to describe this is ‘sustainable’.
THE poor are paying more than they should be for their energy, according to damning new evidence from Stratford-upon-Avon’s Citizens Advice Bureau. Prepayment meters (PPMs) are costing users in fuel poverty a “disproportionate amount” for what little gas and electricity they can afford, the bureau has found. There are around 7.2 million people on prepayment meters in the UK and several thousand in the district of Stratford. Despite Stratford’s reputation as an affluent area, the bureau is being forced to come to the aid of more and more people living in fuel poverty on an increasingly regular basis.
A WOMAN who has lived in Stratford-upon-Avon all her life has turned 105 years old.
Jessie Gilchrist was born in a cottage on Alcester Road on 24th January 1909. She grew up in Henley Street, spent decades of married life in Cherry Street, and now lives in Bull Street.
After celebrating the milestone birthday at the Windmill Inn in Church Street on Sunday, her daughter Sue York said: “We are not sure if she is the oldest lady in Stratford at the moment, but we do think she may well be the oldest actual Stratfordian.”
The eldest of six daughters, Jessie’s father died after being gassed during the First World War when she was only 14. She helped her mother bring up the rest of the girls, going out to work to earn money and educating her little sisters at home.
As a teenager she worked in the office at the Shakespeare Hotel, where she met many famous people, and it was from there she watched the old theatre burn in 1926.
Her fondest memory of those early days was a rare flying trip around Stratford in 1930. A pilot was offering test flights to the public for £5, and although Jessie could not afford it, a rather large woman who nobody else wanted to go up in the plane with paid for Jessie to fly with her.
She met First World War veteran Reg Gilchrist while he was a waiter at the Falcon Hotel in Chapel Street, and married him in 1933 when she was 24.
Although they both briefly worked in the cocktail bar at Elstree film studios in Borehamwood, the majority of married life was spent in Stratford before Reg passed away in 1983.
Jessie also worked for Robert Garrett Auctioneers before her retirement.
She has two daughters, Janet and Sue, four grandchildren, Miranda, Katherine, Sebastian and Jessica, and six great-grandchildren, Amy, Zara, Christopher, Harriet, Annabelle and Niall. A lot of the family are still based in Stratford.
Probably the oldest ‘Stratfordian’, her family described her as an “incredible” woman.