Remember When: Residents resisted the poll tax and Norden Farm took shape

Remember When: Residents resisted the poll tax and Norden Farm took shape

Cookham performers in their musical version of A Christmas Carol

Welcome to Remember When, our weekly delve into the Advertiser archives to see what was making headlines 25, 30, 35, 40 and 50 years ago this week. You can also take a look into the past by visiting our online digital archives at

1970: The annual Cookham pantomime was being presented at Pinder Hall (main picture).

The British Legion Women’s Section and Holy Trinity Church were jointly putting on a musical version of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

1975: A working model of a 1862 Kitson & Hewitson ploughing machine went on display at Maidenhead Library, attracting the attention of young people in the town.

1985: Icy Siberian air brought snow, frost and ice to the area as Maidenhead survived the coldest week of the winter with less disruption than expected.

The snow caused a wholesale cancellation of sports fixtures and made life difficult for pedestrians and motorists, but trains and buses continued to run and road accident figures were normal.

Families made their way to Punt Hill to make the most of the weather with a spot of sledding.

1985: Marlow firefighters praised the bravery of a 13-year-old girl who led her two younger brothers and sister to safety after fire broke out at their home.

Genevieve Watkins was looking after the youngsters at their home in Marlow while her mother was shopping at lunchtime when a fire broke out in the front bedroom.

The teenager raised the alarm and led her sister Magdalen, three, brother Dominic, two, and 10-month-old John-Joseph out the house.

Station officer Geoff Illingworth said: “She pulled them out and acted very bravely and was also very sensible as she shut all the doors. She did very well indeed.”

1990: The town hall was deluged with phone calls as concern over the controversial poll tax grew.

With the latest tax estimate standing at £537, council housing officers fielded 2,055 telephone inquiries and dealt with a further 500 residents over the counter.

Some residents were saying they would rather go to prison than pay the fixed tax, which was set to replace rates based on the notional rental value of a house, and a Maidenhead Against the Poll Tax campaign was led by Donna Curtis and Paul Addison.

1990: After three days of hard work, the skittle hall at the Stag and Hounds in Pinkneys Green was transformed into a 90ft slot car circuit.

The Maidenhead Slot Car Club came to be when regulars from the pub challenged a local Scalextric stockist, Model Makers of Cookham, to a race evening.

From that evening, the club grew to about 30 members, even attracting members of the ‘real’ racing fraternity – two mechanics from the March Racing team and a suspension technician from Benneton had come along to try their hand at the miniature version.

1995: Building work was taking place at Norden Farm Centre for the Arts.

A complex conversion was taking place to turn listed 18th century buildings into a multi-purpose auditorium, bar and catering facilities.

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