Lost Elysium? takes a different approach to our local history from that of the Images of England book of old photographs featured last month, or the standard works by Morris Hughes, and Eileen Bowlt. It traces the development of Ickenham and five other Middlesex villages (including Ruislip and Eastcote) through the eyes of contemporary authors from the 1870s to WWII, giving a real feeling of how things looked at the time.
In 1876 it was an old fashioned country village with a pump that was the very place for a little cosy village chat and scandal on an idle summer afternoon (Ickenham without the roar of traffic?!) and all around are broad green meadows, spotted here and there with farm houses that look the very picture of comfort and prosperity, while sheep are busy nibbling among the wooden memorials of departed rustics in the churchyard.
By 1907 the Metropolitan line has begun to sow villas on the fields it has ploughed up in neighbouring Ruislip and by 1921 the appearance in the vicinity of an enormous aircraft works means that the drowsy atmosphere of Ickenham Village is rapidly changing towards the tenseness of the highly populated centres.
In 1928 active housing development is proceeding on the delightful Swakeleys Estate and in less than ten years the Village Green is feeling the suburban draught, and opposite the Village Church you can get a permanent wave or buy gramophone records, or even imbibe morning coffee.
The book complements existing accounts and also includes comments on the look and feel of Ickenham today by a local resident who is an active adherent of the U.R.C.
Lost Elysium? will be published by The Book Guild on 28th April as an attractive hardback costing £15.95 [ISBN 1 85776 889 2] and should be available from a number of local retailers including Euros, Mace, Book Cellar and Steve Williams Butchers Shop. Alternatively, you can order a copy, signed and/or dedicated if you wish, direct from the author on 01895 634348. firstname.lastname@example.org, with £1 a copy sold being donated to ICN.
Log on to www.lostelysium.com for more details.
DROP-IN FOR THE BEREAVED. Third Monday of each month. St Giles Church Hall, 2 p.m. to 3.30 p.m. A friendly, informal opportunity for a chat, over a cup of tea, with other bereaved people and pastoral visitors. The next meeting is Monday 18th April (also Monday 16th May). Just come along, or ring the Rectory (622970), if you would like to talk to someone first. Starting on 6th April, an Evening Drop-In will be held on the 1st Wednesday of each month, from 7.30 to 9.00 p.m. in the United Reformed Church Hardwick Room.
ICKENHAM GOOD NEIGHBOUR SCHEME exists to serve the whole of Ickenham. Were here to assist in an emergency. If you need help, the daytime contact numbers are: 01895 633020 or 01895 235061.