His Last Shot

Dunstable Downs Golf Club Captain 1929

I recently came across this picture of my Great Grandfather (founder of The Cottage Garden Flower Shop) on a putting green at Dunstable Downs Golf Club. He was captain of the club in 1929 and the photograph appears to be some sort of memorial possibly presented to the family.

I also remember my Grandmother, Clarice Headey, was awarded a hole in one trophy from the club. The story was that she was the first female member of the Dunstable Downs Golf Club to achieve such a feat.

Trash or Treasure?

ebay

Well, they claim you can sell anything on Ebay.  We were slightly amused when we came across this listing.  It features a message card that was sent with some flowers that came from one of our old shops, Chiltern Florists, that opened in Middle Row, Dunstable in 1959.

Here’s a copy of an advert that was placed in the Dunstable Gazette, announcing the opening of the shop at 34 Middle Row.

chilternflorists

A Walk Into The Past In Totternhoe

Having been established in Dunstable for so many years we have a number of pictures of the town and the surrounding areas, some of which date back many years.

As we work our way through the pictures we find that unfortunately some are not labelled, however with a bit of detective work we believe we can make some well educated guesses as to the content of the photographs.

The following four photographs were found entered together in a family album. The dapper young man is Maurice Alfred Headey, who was sadly killed aged 19 on the 18th September, 1917 during the First World War.  We believe Maurice is shown sitting on a stile on or around Totternhoe Knolls.

This clearly dates the photographs to circa 1910-15. We’ve entitled this collection of images as ‘A Walk Into The Past In Totternhoe’. We believe the other photographs depict Doolittle Mill reflected in the water of the adjacent mill pond, Totternhoe Stone & Lime Works and a labourer working a field somewhere in the village.

The Totternhoe Stone and Lime Works which would have been in operation at the time was served by a siding from the railway track which then ran along the Sewell cutting to the station at Stanbridgeford and on to Leighton Buzzard.  We believe the funnel shape chimneys sit atop a row of lime kilns in front of which a railway track can clearly be seen.

Should anyone who finds this post have further information please get in touch.

Update.

We’ve located the following information about Totternhoe Stone & Lime Works which includes a similar picture to that shown below confirming its location.  You can also read more about Doolittle Mill here.

We’ve also found another interesting article on the Totternhoe Quarries and some good pictures of Standbridgeford Station.  There are some pictures of the ‘Dunstable Dasher’ here and a lot of information on the Dunstable North Station here.

mauriceheadeytotternhoestoneandlimetotternhoemillpondtotternhoefield

 

Tall Tales Of Dunstable Life

agheadeyshootingwithnames

Alfred George Headey who originally established the Cottage Garden Flower Shop and Nurseries was very much a larger than life character about whom many tales were told by his contemporaries.

One concerned a drinking bout in the Red Lion (top of Church street, now demolished) with the landlord, Johnny Crute, and Alfred, who fell to arguing as to their physical fitness and strength. It was thus agreed that he who could carry a sack of coal from the Red Lion to the Rifle Volunteer (foot of the Downs, now demolished) and give it to the landlord Bill Dennett in the shortest time should be acknowledged “The Man”!

redlion
Courtyard Of The Red Lion

There was great anticipation among the pub population as the race drew near and bets were laid, silver changing hands and even it was rumoured a ten shilling note!  Ten o’clock on the morning the two competitors and a dozen or so supporters set ot with half 100cwt bags of coal supplied by Dobin Holt the local bookmaker.  Suitably primed with mild and bitter they crossed the road to the Nags Head where they had another drink, weary after over 50 yards of travel, and collected a few supporters, the next door, round the corner to the Plume of Feathers where the performance was repeated.

The party then headed up West St, crossed the road to the Victoria, again a little refreshment during which some dastard person slipped a few big lumps into Alfred’s bag, but he was not that far gone, and made his own arrangements for the next stop which was the Pheasant next to the Primrose Laundry at the top of Chiltern Road.

By now it was half past twelve and the whole company, now said to number over thirty, was fed with bread and cheese by the landlady, and during the frivolity two or three large bricks found their way into Johnny Crute’s bag. It was mid afternoon before the whole caravan hit the road again, nothing before the bottom of the Downs apart from hedges and ditches, into one of which Tammy Barber, who was indeed the local barber, fell and had to be rescued.

Dunstable Rifle Volunteer
The Rifle Volunteer

There were other unruly incidents along the way sorted out by the local bobby, who I think was called Denton, who had been fetched to control the crowd, but in fact joined the revelry. Bill Dennett opened the Rifleman early to avoid a riot, and the serious drinking began, until that is, Crute discovered the bricks and challenged Alfred to a fight. The fight never took place, and nobody ever knew who won the race!!

Featured in the above photograph but not necessarily the aforementioned revelry.

Alfred George Headey of ‘Westleigh’ West Street, nurseryman and florist.

Edgar Franklin of Church Street, local carpenter, builder and undertaker and bellringer at the Priory Church.

Dobin Holt also of Church Street, councillor, game dealer and book maker.

Hugh Woods, straw hat manufacturer.

Walter Summerfield of High Street South.

Billy Gibbard, corn merchant in High Steet North.

Frankie Anderson, gents outfitter.

 

New Website Launch

Welcome to our new website, we’ve been developing it over the past few weeks and we’re ready to go!  We hope our customers will find everything they are looking for here, we’ve tried to make the site as easy to use and navigate as possible.

Although this is a brand new website we’ve actually been on-line now for 18 years.  We thought for our first blog entry it might be interesting to look back at our on-line history.

The earliest remaining version of our website from the year 2000, already 4 years old. Taken from archive.org.

Initially back in 1995 we launched our first site on some free webspace provided by our ISP.  Back in those seemingly more innocent days customers would actually place their orders via e-mail, sending all their payment details to us openly and unencrpyted!

For a while we could be found at www.cgfs.co.uk, then in 2001 we moved to the more eye friendly and memorable www.netflora.co.uk.  We were one of the founder members of the Which Webtrader Scheme, an early kitemark for on-line businesses.  A few years later, as members of Interflora we were offered a website as part of our membership.

By this time our Netflora site had morphed into a website that was competing with the national players rather than your typical local florist’s website.  It’s hard to believe now, but those were the days when many businesses were still to be convinced that they needed a website.

Netflora in 2002

We therefore launched our Interflora site at www.net-flora.com with the intention of it being more of a destination for our local customers.  However as the years have passed its lack of available customisation and development has become a hindrance.

After much research we decided to launch a new ‘local’ site for our customers in Dunstable and the surrounding areas.  Having blogged with WordPress for some time we felt its familiarity and increasingly mature on-line commerce options would make it an ideal platform for our new site.

We looked at a number of e-commerce plugins and in the end opted for Woocommerce coupled with the Icarostore theme from Themeforest.  Payment for now will be handled by PayPal.

Although customers will have to leave our site to complete payment on the PayPal servers we feel this will be a considerably more secure method for all concerned.

netflora2006
Netflora in 2006

With a number of plug-ins we have been able to customise the site to our needs and we hope we’ve designed a responsive, easy to navigate site with a simple, fuss free ordering process.

Customers will also be able to set up accounts to keep track of their previous orders and we hope to provide personal areas for our existing account customers in due course.

If there is anything else you would like to see included, please leave a comment below.