Swallowfield Local History Society




                                 June 2018 News Letter


There is no evening meeting in June. Instead we have an outing planned for the 21st June to the Berkshire Aviation Museum, Mohawk Way (off The Bader Way), Woodley, Nr. Reading, Berkshire, RG5 4UE.

Berkshire's dynamic contribution to aviation history is graphically re-captured at the Museum. Run as a charitable trust, the Museum is at the historic site of Woodley Airfield, near Reading, U.K. - once the centre of a thriving aircraft industry. Miles and Handley Page aircraft built at Woodley are being re-constructed and exhibited along with fascinating pictorial records and priceless archives.

We can meet at the Parish Hall at 1.45 pm and lifts and car sharing where possible, can be organised. Arrival time at Museum is 2.30 pm.  

Entrance Fee is: £ Adult: £3.50    -    Senior citizen: £2.50              

Teas will be available after the guided tour.

Could you let me, Maggie Uttley or Ken Hussey know if you would like to join the party to visit the Museum so that we can let the organisers know how many people to expect.


We have had the following request from a member of the Gregory family:

“Here’s a potted history of my grandfather, Sidney Gregory...

Sidney was born a gypsy with a ‘home’ location of Eversley, in 1875. Barnardo’s picked him up at the age of twelve, took him out of his tent and sent him on a ship to Canada. Lots of adventures ensued,

including being reported dead after an accident at a logging camp in Ontario, and being in San Francisco in 1906 for the earthquake. He returned to England at the age of 40,to fightinWWI.When that was over,

he came to Swallowfield where his mother (Ellen) and brother (Nelson) were living. Sidney Gregory married Emily May Gibbons at Swallowfield church n 1919. She already had two children of her own

– and the family lived on Riseley Banks. Two more children were born: my father, Howard Gregory, and his sister, Ellen, (in 1921 and 1923). But May Gregory succumbed to cancer in 1927. The oldest child went to live with his grandparents (May’s parents, Charles and Alice Gibbons) at Albion House. I think that was some sort of boarding house. The other three were put into the Home for Destitute Children in Wokingham. Sidney  continued to live in Riseley, probably for the rest of his life. He was certainly there in 1939. However, when he died in 1953, at the West Middlesex Hospital, he was described as being of no fixed abode, no other particulars known. We suspect he had reverted to form and was a wanderer again.

Anyway, I’m trying to piece together the last thirty years of his life and I wondered if anyone can help me? For example, where was Riseley Banks? What was Albion House and where was it?”

Apparently, Sidney was a larger than life character.

I realise it’s a long shot, but does anyone recall hearing tales of such a man or know anything of the Lee, Gibbons or Gregory families in the early to mid-twentieth century? Or the location of Albion House or, indeed, Riseley Banks as it doesn’t appear on modern maps? Were there cottages there? Or was it perhaps a site for Romanies?

If you can help, we’d love to hear from you, Contact through slhsoc@yahoo.co.uk.

We look forward to seeing you there.


Mike Round


Swallowfield Local History Society