BRC Website Home
Quainton Virtual Stockbook
Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 41 - Summer 1980
Recollections of a Quainton Supporter - The Late Harry Hammond - Roddy Rodwell
Just two months before his one hundredth birthday, death has come to Harry. Although he had visited the Society premises only a few times, he had gladly supported our efforts for many years (by granting us car park facilities), and had been associated with the Railway all his life.
It is probable that Harry's grandfather was the first tenant of the Railway Arms, which is now a private house renamed the First Inn, and the tenancy was handed down in the family until Harry took it over in 1911. He was the only one of his family not to have been born there, for he was born two doors away in a cottage built for the first Quainton Stationmaster.
He went to school in Quainton, first to the Junior School in Lower Street, then to the Upper School next to the church . He remembered going with the school to the big gates of Waddesdon Manor on the Aylesbury Road to see Queen Victoria arrive for a visit in 1890.
When he left school he first helped his father in the family brickworks that were near the Doddershall Lodge. The first load of clay was dug by his father, and they produced bricks, tiles and pipes, until the works were closed in 1895. All that now remains is a small series of ponds.
His first proper job was as a level crossing keeper for the Brill tramway when the gates were first installed across the Waddesdon Road in 1893/4. He remembered Mr. Mole, driver of the Brill Tram in 1889, also Mark Stephens and Harry Wakelin who left for London in 1893. He could recall the arrival of the big new engine Huddersfield, and much more besides.
He once went up to London with a cartload of hay, and then loaded up with stable manure for the return trip.
When the brickworks closed, Harry went off to Oxford to serve a five year apprenticeship as a carpenter. He travelled by train, changing at Verney Junction. He was at Oxford for the Relief of Mafeking, and recalled some students throwing a wheelbarrow through a shop window.
About this time the navvies arrived to build the Great Central. They lived in huts which were alongside the hedge on the village side of the station and they had strange names like Lincoln Tom and Devonshire Tommy. He was at home when he saw the first Great Central train go through in 1898.
In the First World War he served in the Bucks Yeomanry. At this time he left the Railway Arms and went to live in one of the cottages in Lee Road, then owned by Hazell Watson and Viney as part of Fieldside Farm. He later worked at Cubitts, Bicester Road, Aylesbury, building cars of the same name.
In 1936 he travelled on the last passenger train to Verney Junction and joined the passengers and crew for a celebration drink in the Verney Hotel. Later he retired to the old stationmasters house at Granborough Road. Right up to the end of his life he had a wonderful memory and was pleased to help in the recording of local history. I shall miss my visits to this grand old man -the world is a poorer place without him.
Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
Page Updated: 17 November 2017